Category Archives: News & Events

No one wants to miss a loved one’s graduation, but what if you’re on the other side of the country or across the ocean?

Chz-_wxXAAAHzoy

The Ohio State University College of Social Work solved that problem for those faraway guests wishing to attend its annual pre-commencement ceremony known as the Evening of Recognition. More than 60 guests from all over the United States—17 states to be exact and as far away as Hawaii—streamed live to watch their graduating family and friends recognized, receive honors and walk the stage. In all, about 412 students receiving BSSW, MSW and PhD degrees were recognized at Mershon Auditorium. Onlookers, both in person and via the live feed, were also invited to tweet shout outs and well wishes to the graduates on a 12 x 16-foot screen displayed above the stage.

The college, known for being technology-forward, added live streaming and tweeting during the ceremony several years ago. The ceremony, unofficially themed “Look out world, here comes help!,” was a perfect blend of celebration, technology and social media at their best.

To watch the ceremony, click here.

generic
For the first time in its history, The Ohio State University College of Social Work’s graduate program is ranked in the top 10 among public universities and in the top 20 among public and private colleges and universities in the United States.

According to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools,” the college ranks 9th and 17th, respectively. The ranking of 17th is out of 220 social work programs nationally. The score is based on a survey, conducted every four years, of academics at peer institutions. Some of the factors academics consider are the rigor of the curriculum, quality of doctoral students, innovation in programming, quality of faculty research and impact in the community. In 2012, the college ranked 26th and 15th, and 31st and 19th in 2008.

“This is really a meaningful movement in a ranking system where it is notoriously hard to move at all, let alone achieve a jump such as this,” said College of Social Work Dean Tom Gregoire. “Our college, as a community, has achieved its highest rankings ever. Our hard work is reflected in this national recognition.”

The huge jump in rankings comes nearly a year after Gregoire was reappointed dean through June 30, 2020. Since becoming dean in 2010, he has made it a priority to develop innovations in teaching, research and funding that will advance the College of Social Work through the 21st century. In 2012, the college introduced a new, extremely dynamic curriculum redesigned at the BSSW, MSW and PhD levels, empowering social work graduates to be better prepared to provide leadership and scholarship and understand society’s most vexing social problems.

The redesigned curriculum was soon followed by a push toward technology which resulted in iPads being provided to all of the college’s honors students, faculty and staff for research, teaching and field work. The college was the first unit on Ohio State’s campus to make such a leap, aimed at developing the technology as a teaching and learning skill. The move resulted in the nation’s first three social work courses on the Apple content management system, iTunes U, as well as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on human trafficking, taught by the college’s Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah. The MOOC attracted more than 30,000 students from 187 nations, with between 5,000 and 14,000 active students in any given week.

Another faculty member, Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, incorporated technology to meet educational objectives in her courses. She used FaceTime to bring in practitioners to help classes see real-world applications, the college’s iPad-equipped classroom space to let students record each other and practice interpersonal skills and the app Poll Everywhere to survey students in real class time.

“I want technology to find its way into the classroom, not because it’s novel or cute, but because it engages people in a broader way around their learning,” said Gregoire. “Integrating technology into the classroom so our students can put it into practice is critical to our program, and to social work as a whole. The most effective social-work practitioners will be those who adapt as the technology evolves.”

Gregoire also recognized the imperative to establish an online presence for the college. In 2013-14, the College of Social Work offered 58 sections of 20 different courses online, enrolling 1,106 students. Just three years before, the college had no online courses. The college will be offering its first fully online graduate-level ASAP (Advanced Standing Alternate Program) in autumn 2016.

The improved rankings are indicative of other milestones.

As an extension of its online mission, the college expanded its undergraduate program to regional campuses in Lima, Newark, Mansfield and Marion. The move not only increased enrollment, it helped social service providers in all four communities, where the need for social work graduates has largely gone unmet. Also in his first term as dean, Gregoire worked aggressively to raise the national profile of the college by recruiting noted researchers and helping bring the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery to Ohio State.

Other achievements since the last rankings include:

  • Becoming the first of three programs at OSU to offer an international undergraduate track that allows students to prepare for practice abroad.
  • Developing the first social work doctoral program designed to prepare students for careers as scholars in translational research.
  • Creating or expanding research, teaching, and service collaboratives with campus partners in Nursing, Law, Pharmacy, Student Life, Engineering, Public Health, Food Agriculture and Environmental Health, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Education and Human Ecology, and Athletics.
  • Exceeding its fundraising goals and expanded alumni activities in central Ohio and outside the state.

“Ohio State’s College of Social Work is a great place to teach, engage in the community, and conduct research,” added Gregoire. “And we won’t stand still as the world changes around us.”

Congratulations to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery (HECAOD), which has been named an academic center at The Ohio State University. Ohio State’s University Senate approved the HECAOD’s proposal to be established as an official academic center in its January 21, 2016 meeting, following approval by the Council on Academic Affairs on October 21, 2015. Academic centers at the university are non-degree granting educational units engaged in research; instruction; or clinical, outreach or related service. The HECAOD serves as the premier alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery resource for colleges and universities across the nation. It is a collaboration among Ohio State’s College of Social Work, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Life and Student Wellness Center, Generation Rx Initiative and Collegiate Recovery Community. The HECAOD is funded by a $2 million grant from The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. For more information, click here.

 

 

BEGUN AUDREY

Dr. Audrey Begun

Congratulations to Dr. Audrey Begun who became a Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research this year. Begun became a fellow during an induction ceremony at the society’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. in January. She joins Dr. Natasha Bowen as Ohio State’s and the College of Social Work’s  two faculty members inducted into the Society for Social Work and Research as a SSWR Fellow.  Induction into the fellowship is a prestigious acknowledgment that is awarded to a very limited number of the SSWR membership.

College of Social Work 304

Dr. Natasha Bowen

According to SSWR: “Fellows of the Society for Social Work and Research are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.”

Begun’s research, service, and leadership in SSWR has focused on substance misuse and addictive behaviors. She has presented work in the past on training social workers about alcohol use disorders and preventing violence against women. To read more about Begun, click here.
Bowen does research on how elementary and middle schools can reduce academic achievement disparities associated with race/ethnicity and socio-economic status.  To read more about Bowen, click here.

Around the world, women working illegally in the sex trade are often at the mercy of pimps, partners, clients and police, powerless to stop a beating, powerless to get justice, powerless even to protect themselves from HIV should a client refuse to use a condom.

KarandikarNepalDr. Sharvari Karandikar has devoted her professional life to changing that, focusing her research on gender-based violence among female sex workers and how it affects their day-to-day lives. Her most recent work was in Kathmandu, Nepal, where women recounted the challenges of living as sex workers in a society where every aspect is dominated by men.

By understanding the circumstances that brought these women into the sex trade and the violence they face, and then by talking to the clients themselves, Karandikar hopes her research will lead to interventions that will protect women from physical harm and HIV risk, and restore their basic human dignity.

Many women in Nepal’s sex trade, she notes, were forced into it, either by dire poverty, traffickers, even by husbands or fathers in some cases. And once in the sex trade, women can never shake off the stigma that Nepalese society attaches to it.

“These women are seriously on the lowest rungs of society,” she says.

Karandikar arranged a collaboration with the Nepal School of Social Work for her latest work. She was joined by Dr. Lindsay Gezinski (OSU PhD 2011), assistant professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Utah and a former PhD student of Dr. Karandikar’s, and by Marissa Kaloga, a PhD student at Ohio State.

En route to Kathmandu in late April, Karandikar and her team were forced back after a devastating earthquake struck central Nepal. They eventually made the trip in December, joining up with Pradipta Kadambari and Kipa Maskey from the Nepal School of Social Work, and Bijaya Dhakal, who represents a sex-workers-rights organization called Jagriti Mahila Maha Sang.

Nepal’s unregulated sex industry is burgeoning, and the principle driver is poverty. The earthquake only compounded the misery, driving desperate women and girls into the sex trade or into the clutches of traffickers promising “good jobs” in India.

Having interviewed 30 women over the course of 10 days in Nepal, she and her team learned what specific circumstances compelled them into the sex trade in the first place and the type and degree of violence they faced in their work. Her next step is to look at the problem from the other side.

When she returns to Nepal in May 2016, she and her team will interview clients to better understand their violent triggers and to identify steps that can be taken to reduce disease transmission.

“One of our partners in Nepal, a sex-workers-rights organization, came to us and said there has to be some change in this and you have to talk to the clients, not only about HIV protection but also about respecting women and children.”

In the upcoming research, Karandikar and her team will set out to do just that, though she understands that persuading men to talk candidly about their sexual practices and their treatment of women poses a considerable challenge.

“The intention is not to expose clients, but to understand their perspective, to gain knowledge so we can reduce violence,” she says. “I understand that might not be a priority in their heads, but that is the only way to get this information.”

As part of their work, Karandikar and her team plan to devise interventions to educate clients — for example, holding workshops on gender sensitization and HIV prevention. While these are small steps, she believes they can be the start of a path that leads to a much better future for the women of Nepal.

It seems simple enough: Gather a group of young kids and older adults at a neighborhood center, involve them in creative activities they will enjoy and benefit from, add some smiles and hugs and – bingo — everybody goes home happier, healthier and a bit smarter.Champion-IG-center

Only, it’s never simple to bring different generations together in a planned, structured setting, even under the best conditions.

And it’s most assuredly not simple when the kids and seniors live in poverty, there’s nobody with expertise to organize activities, and there’s not even a building available to gather in. What’s more, getting a place up and running would take millions of dollars, require innovative planning and endless collaboration, and involve navigating a thicket of legal, regulatory and licensing issues.

In short, that’s what the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center is all about and what it had to overcome. Yet seven years after it was first envisioned, the center is a reality and a lynchpin in a broader plan to transform the Near East Side. And it happened in large part because of the OSU College of Social Work and the planning, persistence and vision of Associate Professor Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, Professor Shannon Jarrott and Dean Tom Gregoire.

The first of its kind in central Ohio, the center officially opened Dec. 9 in the former Poindexter Community Building at 240 N. Champion Ave., a building that four years ago was scheduled to be demolished. Cynthia Dougherty, a PhD student in social work, is program director.

The Champion center provides preschool and early childhood education, adult day services, support for caregivers and parents, and basic medical assistance. When kids and adults get together, they might spend time reading, mixing cookie dough or planting seeds in the garden. Activities are designed to build relationships, improve health and wellness, develop educational skills in children, and create a sense of purpose in the elderly. The center will serve about 50 kids and 50 adults each day.

“The idea is to harness the power of both generations,” says Dabelko-Schoeny, who has been involved with the project since its inception.

“Programs like this provide meaning and improve well-being through engagement. They also overcome assumptions about aging and disability. And then there’s the learning component. They improve literacy, educate and train caregivers, and provide a workshop to teach students who aspire to go into child care or work with the elderly.”

Early on, Dabelko-Schoeny reached out to Jarrott, an expert on best practices for intergenerational programs and, at the time, a professor at Virginia Tech and director of research for the university’s Neighbors Growing Together program. As it turns out, Gregoire also reached out to Jarrott, eventually persuading her to join the CSW faculty and to lend her expertise to the Champion team.

Jarrott has been impressed with the planning done by the team. “It was time well spent,” she says. “It’s clear they sought input from clients and stakeholders to identify shared values and to come up with a shared mission. In a complicated process like this, voices need to be heard and relationships need to be built and sustained.”

The center is able to serve so many functions — and was so tricky to create — because of the expansive list of community, university and government partners involved. National Church Residences provides services for seniors, and Columbus Early Learning Centers directs child development programs. The colleges of Medicine, Social Work and Nursing will help develop intergenerational programming while pursuing opportunities for research, teaching and community engagement.

And then there’s the bigger picture, the plan to add housing, reduce crime, improve educational opportunities and increase employment in the neighborhood. Ohio State, the city of Columbus and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority are key players here, all under the direction of a nonprofit called Partners Achieving Community Transformation, or more commonly, PACT.

“It’s pretty awesome to see the efforts on the East Side,” Jarrott says. “It’s exciting that the university is there. I have a high sense of confidence that residents are being heard and the university is responding.”

Oddly, the Champion center’s roots go back not to any of the three lead colleges involved, but the OSU Office of Human Resources. Concern was growing among faculty and staff about the wait for child care and the need to tend to elderly parents and relatives. An idea for a campus intergenerational center was hatched in 2008 and later fleshed out at a World Café sponsored in part by the College of Social Work and facilitated by Assistant Dean Lisa Durham. When money became an issue, the idea was expanded to include the larger community and was folded into the PACT plan.

But moving from plan to production proved difficult within the university. “Nobody would commit to it,” remembers Dabelko-Schoeny. “The problem was, Who would own it?

Help came from Stillman Hall.

“Something that Social Work brings to the table is we have a dean who is available and very nimble,” she said. “Because Tom believed in the idea, he was instrumental in moving the deans forward. And once Medicine and Nursing committed, it got the ball rolling.”

Now that the center is open, Dabelko-Schoeny is looking ahead to research, possibly studying how kids and adults at Champion are affected by food insecurity. “The neighborhood is an 800-acre food desert,” she says. “There are corner stores around, but it’s mostly chips and cigarettes and that sort of thing.”

Jarrott hopes to develop longitudinal studies to examine how Champion and other intergenerational programs affect kids’ perception of aging. “Children in these programs tend to have greater empathy and lower anxiety about aging,” she said. “They tend to have more positive expectations of old age.”

For both women, the experience has been challenging, sometimes frustrating, and overwhelmingly rewarding. Along the way, a deep friendship blossomed. In fact, Dabelko-Schoeny’s commitment to adult day services and her passion for research played a big part in Jarrott’s decision to move to Columbus.

“Holly’s going to have a hard time shaking me,” she says.

Dr. Michelle Kaiser of the College of Social Work was recognized for research that “makes a difference in our daily lives” during the annual state of research address on Oct. 22 at The Ohio Union.

An assistant professor, Kaiser and her team of researchers from seven OSU colleges and schools are mapping areas of food insecurity in central Columbus so community and government leaders can direct resources to where they’re needed most.

Vice President for Research Dr. Caroline Whitacre noted that the fight against food insecurity is one of President Michael Drake’s priority issues for the university to solve, and she praised the interdisciplinary approach that Kaiser and her team have taken.

“The problems we are addressing are big, complex and important,” Whitacre said. “Solutions will require the collaborative efforts of scholars with very different perspectives. This is how we ensure that our work has impact.”

In a note to the faculty and staff of the College of Social Work, Dean Tom Gregoire said the recognition is “a reflection of Michelle’s work and leadership.”

“Many of you are undertaking creative work that will make a difference in the world,” he said. “I’m pleased to see some well-earned acknowledgement by our university. More is sure to come.”

The food mapping project is funded by the OSU Food Innovation Center. More information about the team and the project can be found at foodmapping.osu.edu.

Making a great college better starts with enhancing its faculty, and The Ohio State University College of Social Work took a significant step forward recently when it announced the addition of four noted researchers. That, coupled with the reappointment of Tom Gregoire as dean for a 5-year term, builds on a vision of growth and stability as the College of Social Work pursues its long-range strategic plan.

The new faculty members bring years of research and practice to the college and an immeasurable commitment to their profession and the university.

Professor Natasha Bowen, PhD, formerly of the University of North Carolina at Chapel College of Social Work 304 Hill, conducts research to help teachers and school administrators understand the social environmental factors that affect students’ learning and behavior. She developed the Elementary School Success Profile (ESSP), a state-of-the-art assessment tool for students in grades three through five, and works with schools and districts to use ESSP data to determine how best to help their students succeed. Some of Bowen’s time will be spent contributing to the Research Methodology Center in Education and Human Ecology.

Visiting professor Bridget Freisthler, PhD, a UCLA faculty member for more than a College of Social Work 306 decade, uses community mapping to study how the availability of alcohol and illicit drugs affect neighborhood rates of child maltreatment. She is an expert in incorporating cutting edge spatial analysis methods through Geographic Information Systems, spatial statistics, and spatial econometrics. Freisthler will join the college in fall 2016.

Professor Shannon Jarrott, PhD, formerly of Virginia Tech, studies aging and how youth College of Social Work 307 and older adults can interact to benefit each other. She will lend her expertise to the Champion Intergenerational Center when it opens on the East Side this year. A university-community partnership, the center will serve as a model in the care of children and the elderly.

Assistant professor Njeri Kagotho, PhD, studies the short-term and long-range Kagotho 2015economic impact of chronic illness on vulnerable households. At Ohio State, she looks forward to creating adaptable programs that promote economic security for HIV impacted families in East Africa. She was most recently at Adelphi University.

The Online Advanced Standing Alternative Plan (ASAP) Program has been approved! Beginning October 15, 2015, students meeting the qualifications can apply for the very first cohort for this online program. This Online ASAP curriculum will be part-time, so students will complete this MSW degree in two years. The deadline for applications will be May 15, 2016 with a priority deadline of March 1, 2016.

Want more information about the Online ASAP Program?  CLICK HERE

rappel4rappel3

 

Nearly 200 people from universities and colleges around the country attended the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery’s (HECAOD) 2015 National Meeting at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Inn & Conference Center in August. The conference focused on collegiate alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery. It provided the training and tools necessary to strengthen alcohol and drug prevention, intervention, and recovery during the higher education experience and beyond.

 

Following the National Meeting, a “Rappel to End the Stigma of Addiction” event was held at Columbus at Capital Square. Here, the HECAOD joined forces with the Shatterproof Challenge Rappelling Series to host a fundraiser to help end the stigma of addiction and increase funding for the prevention, treatment and recovery of this disease. In the United States alone, alcohol and other drugs claim more than 135,000 lives every year — that’s 370 people every day and 15 lives every hour. For every dollar raised over $500, Shatterproof donated 50 percent or at least $250 to the HECAOD ($1000 minimum required to participate).