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

August 2014 Connect

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Happy summer to all.  Although most of our academic programs are on summer break, some classes are held during this season – and of course all of our research and sponsored programs (along with all faculty conducting research) stay very busy during the summertime.

Welcome to the SSW

We are so excited to welcome four new faculty and community members to the SSW this fall.  In total, the represent some of the brightest new talent in social work and child and family studies research education and scholarship, and individually, they represent unique and powerful voices poised to create new momentum and focus in their respective areas of scholarship.

Erin Elizabeth Flynn, Ph.D.

Erin for enewsletter

Erin Elizabeth Flynn, Ph.D. is an educational researcher who specializes in language and literacy development during the early childhood years.   Dr. Flynn holds a Doctorate in Literacy, Language and Culture from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Erikson Institute in Chicago.   A former State Pre-K and Head Start teacher with an Early Childhood Teaching License in the state of Illinois, Dr. Flynn has developed an expertise as an educator and researcher in early childhood education over a fourteen year period.  In her most recent research, Dr. Flynn studies the social, emotional and linguistic power of engaging young children in storytelling activities that forefront the strengths and experiences of young children.  Dr. Flynn’s work acknowledges the desire to make meaning and understand other’s meanings begins at birth.   It is only fitting that the transition from meaning through language to meaning through print occurs by harnessing the lifelong imperative to understand, and in turn, to be understood.  Storytelling places this imperative at the heart of learning and development in meaning-focused classroom settings.

Gita Mehrotra, Ph.D., MSW


Gita Mehrotra holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Washington and an MSW from the University of Minnesota.  She has been involved in anti-violence work for over 15 years in a variety of capacities including:  direct service, education/training, and program and organizational development, with a focus on Asian and South Asian women and LGBTQ communities of color.  Her current research and teaching interests include: queer people of color identities & wellness, diversity and social justice education, domestic violence in minoritized communities, and critical and feminist theories and methodologies for social work.

Ericka Kimball, Ph.D., LISW

kimball faculty 162Ericka Kimball, Ph.D., LISW completed her Ph.D. in Social Work at the University of Minnesota.  Her dissertation examined the relationship of fathers’ parenting support and parenting stress on risk for family violence.   Ericka’s scholarship centers around two main areas:  social support for children exposed to domestic violence and the use of technology in social work education, research, and practice.  In bridging both areas of interest, Ericka worked with leading researchers in the fields of violence against women and children exposed to domestic violence to develop and implement two online training resources to guide practitioners and the general public in supporting children who have been exposed to domestic violence.  She has spent the last two years teaching at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN focusing mainly in macro courses including research methods social policy, program planning, human behavior, and organizational change. She’s also been practicing as a medical social worker at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.  In her position there, she assists patients and families in adjusting acute and chronic illness, changes in lifestyle, and addressing end-of-life issues in an acute care setting.  She also helps with social, financial, and emotional issues related to health care and rehabilitation.  Her current research projects include a study of emotional stress related to social work education and identifying the needs of adults exposed to domestic violence in childhood.

New Development Officer – Richard JungRichard Jung

Richard “Rick” Jung is currently working as the Development Officer for the College of Urban and Public Affairs and the School of Social Work. He brings over 20 years of frontline experience in the non-profit sector including stints as the National Senior Program Officer at the Gill Foundation in Denver, CO and most recently as the Director of Development for the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs at Boise State University (his alma mater). His degree in Theatre Arts from Boise State University and to this day remains a passionate supporter of the arts and an avid tennis player.

New Roles at the SSW

In addition to our new community members, we are fortunate to have a few folks who have been previously affiliated with the SSW, but are joining us this fall in new roles.

Sarah S. Bradley, MSSW, LCSW

IMG_0600Sarah Bradley will be joining the Administrative Team at the SSW as the newly appointed MSW Program Director. Sarah has been a full-time faculty member in the School of Social Work since 1998. She has an MSSW from Columbia University and prior to joining the faculty had been a practicing social worker for 19 years. She has experience in hospital based psychiatric social work, outpatient mental health, as well as administration and management. Since joining the faculty she has taught practice courses across the curriculum and been a field liaison. Administratively she was one of the core faculty that worked on the development of the BSW program and subsequently became the Assistant Director of Field for the BSW program. In Spring 2013 she and Ann Curry-Stevens were awarded a PSU Provost Challenge reTHINK grant to develop an online MSW option with a focus on Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations and took on the role of Coordinator of the Online MSW. The Online MSW will launch with the first cohort of students this fall. In addition to work within the School of Social Work Sarah has been involved in the community providing training, licensure supervision and from 2002-2011 served on a local school board, including as the Chair. Her main passion outside of family and social work is tennis, something she does competitively as much as possible.

Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, MSWMichael

Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, MSW will be joining the SSW as a full-time NTTS Faculty member serving the MSW and BSW programs.   He has been a progressive educator for over two decades. He has lived in ten states in almost every region of the country, giving him a deeper understanding of varying cultural norms and differing views of diversity. Michael has worked in a wide variety of environments including private and public K-12 education, colleges, non-profit organizations, and educational consortia. In all of these environments, Michael has been a champion of social justice and has had some formal responsibility for the evolution and caretaking of institutional cultures. Michael does diversity/equity workshops through the Pacific Northwest.

Michael’s formal education includes a Masters in Social Work from Portland State University, a degree in English from Oglethorpe University and graduate work in Feminist Studies at DePaul. He has formal training in research practices, diversity work, mediation, and education. He has learned and implemented best practices for team building and diversity training, providing consulting to businesses both large and small.

Lisa Hawash, MSW

lisahawashloresLisa Hawash, MSW will also be joining the SSW as a full-time NTTS Faculty Member.   She has been teaching graduate courses at the SSW since January 2011 and has been an advisor/liaison for students in the field for the past two years.  She has served as a volunteer/community representative to the school’s Curriculum Committee for four years and was Community Based Practice sequence chair in the 2013-14 academic year. She also served on the committee which collaboratively developed the new advanced practice curriculum for the Practice and Leadership with Communities and Organizations track which will launch in the 2015-16 academic year.    Lisa holds many years of community practice and leadership work, specifically with local grassroots organization, Sisters Of The Road (Sisters).  It was at Sisters that she learned and embraced the consensus decision-making model and began facilitating consensus decision-making trainings and workshops in the community for organizations.  Lisa has led numerous strategic planning and fund development change processes with local organizations to center community practice and community member/leadership in their work.  She currently teaches in both the foundation year (Macro Theory/Communities & Organizations and Social Welfare Policy), in the advanced year (Community Based Practice) and teachers elective courses Poverty: Policies & Programs and a newly revised Fundraising/Grant Writing to be offered this coming Spring 2015.  Lisa has been co-developing curriculum in partnership with others in our new Online MSW Program and leading the development of two new elective courses (Poverty & Fundraising/Grant Writing).    In her free time she enjoys sewing, gardening, skiing, hanging out with her three kids, Jared, Sarra and Amani and husband Maher; enjoying good coffee with dear friends, partnering with local organizations in social change work and is a board member of the North by North East Community Health Center.  She is very excited to be at the School full-time this year working in partnership with coworkers and students.

(Additional updates on other new roles at the SSW in next month’s post!)

Good News and Accomplishments!!

(Great to see this section grow – please contribute to future editions!!!)

New publications:

Nissen, L.B. (2014).  Alcohol and drug prevention, intervention and treatment literature:  A bibliography for best practices.  Best Practices in Mental Health, 10(1), 59-97.

Wahab, S., Anderson-Nathe, B., Gringeri, C. (Eds.) (2014). Feminisms in social wrk researchPossibilities for justice based knowledge. New York: Routledge.

Other publications news:

Update:   The article – Anderson-Nathe, B., Gringeri, C. & Wahab, S. (2013).  Nurturing “critical hope” in teaching feminist social work research.  Journal of Social Work Education, 49(2), 277-291 – was awarded an Honorable Mention for being among the best conceptual articles in JSWE’s volume 49.   Many congrats to all involved on this terrific piece!


As many know, Dr. Roberto Orellana was in attendance at the 2014 20th Internatioanl AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.   He took part in several ways:

First, he shared a poster session entitled:   Impact of structural factors on HIV and drug use vulnerabilities among indigenous men who have sex with men (MSM) in Guatemala and Peru with colleagues I.E. Alva and J. Yac.  Specifics about his presentation can be found here.   He was also part of two panel discussions on HIV prevention among indigenous people in Latin America in two other settings affiliated with the conference including the 2014 International Indigenous Pre-conference on HIV & AIDS and another at the AIDS 2014 Global Village Event.   Finally, on a personal note, Roberto and his son Carlos participated in numerous vigils related to honoring both the millions of lives lost to AIDS as well as to colleagues lost on flight MH17.  Here is coverage of these vigils in the Australian (Carlos is in front wearing a hat), and another in the Sydney Morning Herald (scroll down to see another photo of Carlos in his hat, with Roberto standing right behind him).

In the media:

SSW Doctoral Student Beckie Child was quoted in this recent Willamette Week article discussing inadequate resources for psychiatric services and resources in Portland.

Did you know that SSW’s Dr. Christina Nicolaidis is a national expert and change agent in the practice area of adults with autism?  Check out this comprehensive web resource she has been a leader in creating on this topic!

Dr. Stephanie Wahab was included in a story covering a controversial program in Phoenix, AZ involving sex workers’ rights and social work ethics.


The SSW received three awards from PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, including:

  • Random Assignment to Programming for Youth in Foster Care: Longitudinal Educational Outcomes for Preadolescent and Adolescent Youth – Lew Bank, $5,000
  • Strong and Healthy Immigrant Children (SHIC) and Families – Junghee Lee, $5000
  • Enhancing Community Partnerships Towards a Sustainable Sibling Program for Youth in Foster Care – Bowen McBeath, $7,500
  • Latino Family Involvement in Diabetes Self-Management – Jana Meinhold, $7500

HUGE Milestone for the B.S.W. Program:charlotteandmel copy

The B.S.W. Program hit a huge milestone in its completion of the self-study required for its reaffirmation utilizing the new 2008 EPAS from CSWE.   Here are Dr. Charlotte Goodluck and Melissa Penners demonstrating how happy a person can be when a big job like this is signed, sealed and delivered!   Congrats to everyone involved in the BSW Program for all the hard work and dedication to complete this significant project.

Alumni Visiting the SSW and in the Community!

LauraandDenaRecently encountered former student and delightful Alum, Dena Dalton, MSW  in the halls of the SSW.   Always great to see members of our Alumni community visit the school and sharing their real-world adventures.

Did you all happen to see this Alumni Profile of Joanne Fuller, MSW (’86) featured on PSU’s website recently?    Or did you happen to hear MSWAlum Abbey Stamp (’02) discussing gang activity and efforts to help build stronger positive youth development infrastructure in Multnomah County this past month on OPB’s Think Out Loud?


A Visit To PSU’s Bend School of Social Work Distance Site

Gary and Laura in Bend

garyandstudentHad a terrific visit late in July to our Bend Site where Gary Smith, LMSW hosted Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Projects, Dr. Tom Keller and myself to a social work tour of Bend, a visit with some terrific alums and field faculty, and some current students as well.   Here is a photo of Gary with MSW Student, Bryan Ruwaldt, and Gary and myself in front of the former location of the MSW Distance Offices, the Dennis Maloney Community Justice Center.  As an unexpected and touching surprise, Denny Maloney was a dear friend of mine – and though I knew this building had been named after him, I had never been there.  Additionally, Tom and I had the pleasure of a great dinner with Campbell Professor Donor, Duncan Campbell while in town.

Resources, News and Notes for Human Services in Oregon

Oregon’s Dept. of Human Services has been holding Town Hall meetings to solicit input on how they are doing.  Interested in learning more or getting involved to provide input?  Check out this link to learn more (Power Point presentation includes great update of the state of the state in many key areas related to our professions).

The new Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book is out, including new rankings of child-well being state by state. Oregon moved from 17 to 7 due to the Oregon Healthy Kids program, but ranked in the bottom ten states for family economic stability.  Get the full report here, and see some local news coverage about the report here.

Interesting article about structural and historical problems with Portland’s districting practices, and resulting voting/political inequity appeared in the Oregonian.  Another discusses and describes Oregon’s severe increase in concentrated poverty – among the highest in the nation.

Do you wish you had a handy FAQ-resource for all things related to getting licensed as a social worker in Oregon?  Look no further – check out this link!

Resources, News and Notes for Human Services in the U.S. and Beyond

SAMHSA is soliciting input for its “Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018” report to the nation until August 18, 2014.  You can see the report and provide feedback at this link.

You can take a peek at the just past national NASW Conference, as well as the Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development conference programs and agendas.

Enjoyed this terrific piece about how to be more supportive of Macro students in schools of social work, as well as a helpful infographic explaining key data about child abuse produced by the Institute of Medicine.

In case you haven’t heard about it, the city of Detroit has been much in the news about cutting off water for a significant portion of the population due to inability to pay – this is just one of many stories focusing on the human rights issues at play.

This piece discusses the state of poverty in the world – featuring the sobering news that 2.2 billion people in the world are poor.   And another in the NYT, discusses the role of legal action in addressing poverty.

Both the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work are considering new definitions of social work.  You can read about them and this process in a recent article from the Guardian in the U.K. 

New Media

Ever wondered how to properly cite social media in academic papers?  Here is a helpful chart!   Also, Dr. Goodluck found and shared a great Social Media from A to Z of Social Media for Academics resource.

Our colleagues in Canada offer this piece about using text-phone-technology to offer more supports to youth addressing mental health issues.

Good luck to Drs. Vandiver and Corcoran!


Last but not least – we share a couple of farewell and good luck photos from Drs. Vikki Vandiver and Kevin Corcoran just before leaving for their big relocation to University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa!     Here are some fun shots of Keva Miller and myself celebrating Vikki’s new job as Dean at her new home base, and Kevin and Vikki on their way to their new lives!  



Author: sswdeanconnect

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

One thought on “August 2014 Connect

  1. Thank you! What a wonderful collection of news, information, and resources. Proud to be part of this community in so many ways.

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