with Laura Nissen, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work at Portland State University

July 2014 Connect

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Celebrations – Congrats to the Class of 2014

Of course our June was filled with many events celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of our graduating students from the CFS, BSW, MSW and Ph.D. Programs.    Their enthusiasm and excitement to begin their careers inspires us all – and they will be missed!


This has been a particularly notable time in terms of recognizing some key retirements among our SSW family.   This spring (in no particular order) we acknowledge the retirements and the many years of dedicated leadership, scholarship, teaching excellence and research from Dr. Laurie Powers, Dr. Matt Modricin, and Ellen Masterson, as well as Paula Mike.    We also celebrate the accomplishment of Dr. Vikki Vandiver, who has been selected as the new Dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and will be beginning in that role this summer, as well as Dr. Kevin Corcoran, who will also be beginning a new professorship at this same institution this fall.

Special thanks also are also due to Dr. Julie Rosenzweig who will end her term as Ph.D. Program Director and return to her faculty role in Fall of 2014.  Dr. Thomas Keller, newly named Associate Dean of Research and Sponsored Projects, will serve as an Interim Director of the Ph.D. Program for the 2014-2015 school year.

Dr. Keva Miller, former MSW Program Director, has been named as the new Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, and Julie Kates, former Assistant Director of Field, has been named the Acting Director of SSW Field Programs.  Both Keva and Julie have served successfully as long-term members of our community. Their dedication, leadership, and shared sense of excellence will assure our continued positive development as a school.


Julie (l) and Keva (r) are both ready to jump into their new roles!

Stay tuned for next month when we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of promotions, new faculty and other SSW members, and other transitions from this spring!

Good News and Accomplishments

New Publications:

Catania, J.A., Fortenberry, D. Orellana, E. R., Dolcini, M.M., & Harper, G. (2014).  Translation of “At-Home” HIV testing:  Response to Katz et al. and Hurt and Powers.   Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 41(7), 454.

McBeath, B. & Austin, M.J. (2014).   Improvisation in human service management and scholarship.  Human Service Organizations:  Management, Leadership & Governance, 38:193-198.

Green,B. L., Ayoub,C., Bartlett, J. D. (2014).The effect of Early Head Start on child welfare system involvement: A first look at longitudinal child maltreatment outcomes.  Children and Youth Service Review42127-135.


National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN): New Orleans, LA;  May 2, 2014; “From Risk to Multiple Levels of Protection: Connecting the Dots from Research on Child Maltreatment to Prevention, Policy, and Practice.”  Peggy Nygren, PhD, Andrea Gromoske, PhD,  Jessica Dym Bartlett, PhD,  and Kathryn and Maguire-Jack, PhD.

National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN): New Orleans, LA;  April 30, 2014
“Early Childhood Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment: New Evidence from Two Randomized Longitudinal Studies.”  Beth Green, PhD,  Carrie Furrer, PhD,  Erin Bumgarner, PhD,  and Jessica Dym Bartlett, PhD, MSW.

National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN): New Orleans, LA;  April 30, 2014; “Four Randomized Controlled Trials: Results from the Rigorous Evaluation of Existing Child Abuse Prevention Programs Initiative”. J. Mark Eddy, PhD,  Kay Gonsalves O’Neill, MSPH,  Craig LeCroy, PhD, and Beth Green, PhD.

Other Notable Mentions:

Doctoral Student Joseph DeFilippis was interviewed on KBOO Radio on June 16, 2014 on the topic of “Beyond Marriage Equity.”


Gary Smith

Gary Smith, LMSW, Site Coordinator for the Bend MSW Distance Option took office as the President of the Oregon Chapter of the NASW on July 1.  He will serve a two year term. Since earning his MSW from Portland State in 1974 Gary has held a number of social service positions during his career, including Social Services Division Director for Multnomah County, and Community Mental Health Program Director for Tillamook and Deschutes counties.  Gary has been with the School of Social Work for five years, and shared with me:  “I’m honored to have been elected by the members of the Oregon NASW.  It is a pivotal time for our organization as we work to build our membership and continue to demonstrate our value as the primary trade association for professional social workers in this state. Among my goals for Oregon NASW are to improve communication with social workers across the state, help build and maintain an engaged board of directors, identify and pass legislation that will benefit social workers and our clients, and build strong partnerships with the many social service agencies and organizations in this state that share our values and goals.  I’m sure that my connection with our school will be a big asset to me in my new role as President.  I encourage all of our faculty to contact me with suggestions for how the NASW can better serve them and our school.”

Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens received a $7000 grant from the Pacific Power Foundation for a study called:  “Students of Color in Multnomah County:  Exploring How Affluence Affects Outcomes.”  Pictured here are Lilisa Hall, Executive Director (on the far right) and Laurie Simmons, Grant Administrator (on the far left) paying Ann and I a visit to deliver the check to the School of Social Work.


I had the utmost pleasure to meet and have dinner with the renowned Senator Margaret Carter, who retired this past month, along with Dr. Katharine Cahn, Assistant Dean for Continuing Education and Director of the Center for Child and Family Services Improvement.    Listening to her expertise, stories, advice, and overall joy for life was a high point of my experience as dean thus far.

margaret carter

New Media, Technology, Social Work and Higher Education

We continue to see reviews of new apps and technology for classroom use.   Interesting overview of “Top Social Work Professors on Twitter” which continues to give clues as to how members of our community are beginning to use these tools.  Taylor & Francis Online has a number of helpful resources related to academic blogging including an interesting info graphic which describes how a sample of academics are using this tool to communicate about their work.

A new article in the Nonprofit Quarterly explores how use of social media and mobile technology is being used in provide outreach and service to the homeless community.

Social Work and Racial Equity

The Social Work Policy Institute recently published a new report based on a national think tank meeting entitled “Achieving Racial Equity:  Calling the Social Work Profession to Action.”  

General Community Well-Being, Human Rights, and Other Inspiration

I’ve long spoken of being so proud to be the daughter of a librarian – please take a moment to check out this powerful little film put together by the Atlantic Monthly magazine about “Why Libraries Matter” which showcases the range of real world community building, information access, human connectivity and opportunity development that is provided by NYC libraries every single day.

Talk Poverty is a website organized through the Center for American Progress “to educate and mobilize the public around policies and programs to cut U.S. poverty in half in 10 years” (from website).   Extremely interesting, innovative and social media savvy interactive website that engages stakeholders from many sectors in learning, working and being effective activists in addressing poverty reduction on an accelerated timeline.  Includes a useful blog.

There is an increasing flow of information related to mental health coverage under ACA and differential access based on state expansion of Medicaid.   This article gives a timely overview and this helpful map shows you where expansion is happening and where it isn’t.   This is another piece on the skyrocketing costs of mental health coverage through a social justice lens.   In case you care to leave the U.S. press to get a sense of how to fix the mental health system here, check out this very well-done piece by the Guardian in the U.K.   Finally, SAMSHA has put out new a new standard framework for understanding and achieving true integrated healthcare.   This publication provides a timely and concise overview – it is currently being referenced on a number of important fronts across the SSW.

Here in Multnomah County, Commissioner Liesl Wendt recently conducted a community-wide meeting called “Beyond Enrollment” which had a goal of exploring how health care reform would likely be impacting the entire community and human services non-profit sector.   It was a really interesting day filled with important political and positional dialogue from a variety of partners across the health care and human service continuum. This is a copy of their final report on the day:  BeyondEnrollmentCharretteReport .  It continues to inform what our service ecosystem will be looking like as health care reform continues to evolve.

A new article from the ATTC here in Oregon, discusses “Behavioral Health, System Transformation and Team-Based Care.”  Many (including SAMHSA) increasingly suggest that this framework is becoming a more powerful and permanent part of our social work ecosystem.

Other Resources


Author: sswdeanconnect

Laura Nissen is Professor and Dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State University.

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