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

April/May 2015 Connect

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Happy spring term!  Here is a quick round of up of interesting items for this April-May blog update.

Good News! 

Faculty Publications


  • Zuckerman, K.E., Lindly, O.J., Sinche, B.K., Nicolaidis, C. Parent health beliefs, social determinants of health, and child health services utilization among US school-age children with autism. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Journal of Behavioral Pediatrics. 2015;36:146-157.
  • Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, D.M., McDonald, K.E., Baggs, A.E.V., Dern, S., Kapp, S.K., Weiner, M., Boisclair, C., Ashkenazy, E. “Respect the way I need to communicate with you”: Healthcare experiences of adults on the autism spectrum. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice. Published ahead of print, April, 2015. DOI: 10.1177/1362361315576221.
  • Walker, J. S., Brennan, E. M., Jivanjee, P., Koroloff, N., & Moser, C. L. (2015). Introduction to the special issue: Empirically-based interventions for emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2).  (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Walker, J. S. (2015). A theory of change for positive developmental approaches to improving outcomes among emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2).  (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Geenan, S., Powers, L. E., Phillips, L. A. (2015). Better Futures: A randomized field test of a model for supporting young people in foster care with mental health challenges to participate in higher education. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Friesen, B. J., Cross, T. L., Jivanjee, P., Thirstrup, A., Bandurraga, A., Gowen, L. K., Rountree, J. (2015). Meeting the transition needs of urban American Indian / Alaska Native youth through culturally based services. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Walker, J. S., Koroloff, N., Mehess, S. J. (2015). Community and state systems change associated with the Healthy Transitions Initiative. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2).  (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Brennan, E., Nygren, P., Stephens, R., Croskey, A. (2015). Predicting positive education outcomes for emerging adults in mental health systems of care. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2).  (NOTE:  Available online and print version will be available in April 2015)
  • Pugh, G.L. (2015).  Perceptions of the hospital ethical environment among hospital social workers in the United States.  Social Work in Health Care, 54(3), 252-268.  DOI: 10.1080/00981389.2015.1005271
  • DeFilippis, J.N., Anderson-Nathe, B., & Panichelli, M. (2015). Notes on same-sex marriage: Concerns for feminist social workers. Affilia. doi:10.1177/0886109915572848
  • Anderson-Nathe, B. (2015). We are not “just like everyone else.” In C. Sickles (Ed.), Untangling the knot: Queer voices on marriage, relationships, and identity, (pp. 1-11). Portland, OR: Ooligan Press.
  • DeFilippis, J.N.. (2015). Wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine: The loss of legal protections for LGBT families in the wake of gay marriage victories. In C. Sickles (Ed.), Untangling the knot: Queer voices on marriage, relationships, and identity, (pp. 123-140). Portland, OR: Ooligan Press.
  • Oschwald, M. M., Lund, E. M., Latorre, A., Shelton, R., Hughes, R. B., Liston, B., Flaherty, M. C., & Powers, L.E., (2015). An exploratory study of a computer-assisted abuse awareness and safety planning program for men with disabilities: The men’s safer and stronger program. Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation. DOI: 10.1080/1536710X.2015.1014533
  • Blakeslee, J. E. (2015). Measuring the support networks of transition-age foster youth: Preliminary validation of a social network assessment for research and practice. Children and Youth Services Review.

Other Publications

  • Chazan-Cohen, R., Green, B. L., Ayoub, C., Bartlett, J. D., Von Ende, A., & Furrer, C. (March 2015). Promising evidence that Early Head Start may help to prevent child maltreatment. Administration for Children & Families Research-to-Practice Brief.

Faculty Presentations

Welcoming Dr. Angelo McClain, national Executive Director of NASW to the 2015 NASW Oregon Conference with Delmar Stone, NASW Oregon Director

Dean Nissen, Dr. Angelo McClain, national Executive Director of NASW, and Delmar Stone, NASW Oregon Director


  • Dean Nissen recently gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of NASW – Oregon. The keynote focused on the topic of the future of social work education and emerging workforce trends. It was a great event, and the Dean had the opportunity to meet and get to know Dr. Angelo McClain, Executive Director of NASW.
  • At PGE’s Diversity Summit 2015 (April 7), Ann Curry-Stevens presented at the lunchtime forum (with over 1,100 attending) on her research with the Coalition of Communities of Color (in general) and CARE’s new release on the effectiveness of minority contracting initiatives.
  • MSW Program Director Sarah Bradley presented at the Social Work Distance Education Conference in Indiana, on ‘Taking the MSW Degree Online – Pedagogy, Challenges, and Lessons Learned’.
  • Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens was selected as one of six presenters from a pool of 81 applicants to present at the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education Annual Conference, Washington DC. in mid-May. She presented on “Building equitable institutions in partnership with communities of color: Sharing the journey of Portland State University’s collaboration with the Coalition of Communities of Color”.
  • Pugh, G.L. (2015, February).  Preliminary considerations for measuring and managing the ethical environment for social workers in an entire state.  Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Annual Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.
  • Cantu, R., McDaniel, C., & Pugh, G.  (2015, February).  Panel: The use and abuse of empirical ethics.  Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, Annual Conference, Costa Mesa, CA.
  • Pugh, G.L. (2015, January).  Hospital social workers’ perceptions of ethical environment.  Society for Social Work and Research, Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.
  • Melton, R.P., Lambert, S., Goodman-Scott, E., Taylor, E. & Gill, G. (2015 March). The impact of training mental health counselors in sensory integrative approaches on treatment planning. Poster presented at the American Counseling Association National Conference. Orlando Florida.
  • Cohen, R., Von Ende, A., & Furrer, C. J. (March 2015). Associations between early parenting behaviors and maltreatment. Symposium paper presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Blakeslee, J.  (April 2015). Preliminary validation of a support network measure for research and practice with transition-age foster youth. Paper presented at the Western Social Science Association Annual Conference, Portland, OR.
  • McCormack, M. & Blakeslee, J. (April 2015)  University-Community research partnerships: An embedded researcher model for social work doctoral students and early career researchers. Paper presented at the Western Social Science Association Annual Conference, Portland, OR.


  • Current MSW students Amy Delahanty and Sonja Crisosto were recently recognized for their impact on campus at PSU’s annual Hats Off! Student Employee Recognition event. Amy and Sonja were two of eight student employees nominated for their work. Congratulations to Amy for receiving the 2015 PSU Student Employee Award for Adaptability and Versatility  and to Sonja for winning the 2015 PSU Student Employee Award in Outstanding Service to the Community!

Other Good News

  • The SSW strategic planning process is moving forward.  Members of the SSW Strategic Planning Ad Hoc Committee (SPAHC) met for their second half-day retreat in early April. During this meeting, the group further refined a set of proposed strategic priorities (developed during the first meeting and based on data gathered from the SSW over the last few years) and prepared to present the priorities to the faculty and community of the SSW at the April 24 All Faculty Meeting.  Thank you to all of the members of the SPAHC for their hard work, and click here to stay up to date on the committee’s activities
  • In collaboration with Oregon Humanities, the SSW recently hosted a series of dialogue events titled The Conversation Project, which focused on topics ranging from gun violence to racial diversity in Oregon and brought interested students and community members alike to campus for 4 free dialogue events. Thank you to the RACC and the PSU Multicultural Center for their generous contributions to these events.
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    Governor Kate Brown & Dr. Miller

    Dr. Keva Miller, Associate Dean for Academics at the SSW recently met with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, to discuss Dr. Miller’s program evaluation of the prison-based family preservation program.

  • Dr. Bowen McBeath has been appointed to the Oregon Child Welfare Governing Board.  Thank you for your service Bowen!
  • We’re honored to share that Terry Cross, Portland State University School of Social Work MSW graduate and former adjunct professor, will be delivering the keynote address at the upcoming Northwest Council on Family Relations Annual Conference on May 14 and 15, 2015 here in Portland. And we’re also pleased to be hosting the second day of the conference right here in the School of Social Work’s space on the PSU campus! For more information on the conference and to register, visit:

Getting Connected Around Oregon

In March, Dean Nissen, her assistant Katie Cagle, and Distance Option – Bend Site Coordinator Gary Smith visited Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. We met with Provost Sarah Witte and Regina Braker, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Oregon University, along with EOU faculty and students to discuss the significant need for social workers in Eastern Oregon.  We had a great time meeting everyone, and getting to know the eastern part of the state better. Meeting students from Eastern Oregon University was a definite highlight of the trip – these students were full of energy and passion, and committed to improving their communities. 

Dean Nissen and Katie also had the pleasure of meeting with Colleen McDonald, an SSW alumna who graduated from one of our distance sites. We caught up with Colleen over dinner, and learned that her daughter, Amanda McDonald, is a current MSW student at the SSW. It was a delight to hear all about Amanda’s accomplishments from her proud mother!

Dean Nissen attended a community luncheon celebrating and honoring the NAYA Early College Academy with Susie Barrios, Lea Ann Holder, and doctoral student Danica Brown in early April.

11150251_10153061942785141_2696485057823000913_n (1)

Dr. Clifford Rosenbohm, Dr. Anissa Rogers, Dr. Sonja Vegdahl, Sue Newell, and Dean Laura Nissen

In early April, social work education leaders met at the PSU School of Social Work to get better acquainted and work together to build a strong social work and human service launchpad across Oregon and beyond. We had a great lunch with Dr. Clifford Rosenbohm, Director of Social Work Education at George Fox, Dr. Anissa Rogers, Director of Social Work Education at University of Portland, Dr. Sonja Vegdahl, Director of Social Work Education at Concordia, and Sue Newell, Director of Social Work Field at George Fox. Thank you all for joining us!

A few weeks later, over 40 social work professionals working for Multnomah County gathered for a special lunchtime program. The lunch was organized and hosted by health department director Joanne Fuller, MSW. PSU School of Social Dean Laura Nissen also participated along will faculty and staff from the School. Laura noted that nearly half the folks in attendance were PSU School of Social Work alumni. Many thanks to Joanne and the team at the county for facilitating this gathering, and letting PSU School of Social Work be a part of it!

11136199_10153093078830141_360220715199985167_oLeading feminist scholars from the US and Canada gathered at Portland State University recently for the annual editorial board meeting of Affilia: Women and Social Work, social work’s leading feminist journal. A reception at the Simon Benson House hosted by School of Social Work Dean Laura Nissen, Stephanie Wahab, and editorial board members and consulting editors Gita Mehrotra and Ben Anderson-Nathe kicked off the meeting Friday evening. We were honored to host these amazing scholars and welcome them to sunny Portland!

Around Portland State University

Did you know that Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Provost Sona Andrews has a blog?  She updates this regularly with key information relevant to our campus activities – definitely a good one to bookmark to stay current with larger university happenings.  Here’s a recent entry she made describing the work of the ALT (the Academic Leadership Team of Deans).

Are you keeping up to date with what is happening with the larger university strategic planning process?   If you’d like to see what is happening you can go here for the fundamentals, and go more in-depth with the activities of the emerging topic teams here.  You can also speak to Associate Dean Dr. Keva Miller who is an active member of this process (thanks Keva!).

Around the Web

As always, here’s a round up of interesting items that appeared across the web this past month.   Thought provoking!  Thanks to all who share great ideas about things you find you’d like to share and keep them coming!

Important note on the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

The new 2015 Social Work Practice, Education and Educational Policy Accreditation Standards are official and in final form.  You can see them here.

General Items of Interest to Social Work and Human Service Practice and Research

Oregon Human Service/Social Justice Landscape

Higher Education

  • Excellent brief piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education about qualities of powerful teachers.
  • Increasing discourse about the concept, practice and protection of academic freedom in higher education.   Increasing numbers of universities are elevating the conversation and formalizing it in revised statements on the topic.  This particular example from Johns Hopkins is noteworthy as it is increasingly serving as a model for other universities.  Worth a look.

Technology and Social Media in Social Work and Social Work Education

Author: sswdeanconnect

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

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