Author Archives: Sherri Rinderle

Congratulations to Dr. Tamara Davis who has been selected as one of four recipients of the 2017 Ohio State University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award. Davis serves as the College of Social Work’s associate dean for academic affairs. The announcement was made on March 27, at PrimaryOne Health, a federally qualified health center on Parsons Avenue in south Columbus. It’s just one of the field sites where Davis’ Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP)  Program trains MSW students to provide behavioral health services in an integrated care model to diverse populations living in underserved communities of Columbus.  Many of her students and program staff attended the award ceremony.

“Tamara has been a champion of diversity in the college since she joined its faculty in 2005,” said College of Social Work Dean Tom Gregoire. “This award reflects a career of commitment to diversity, and one that is expressed through teaching, scholarship, and service.”

In addition to the MEDTAPP service, research and training endeavor which has prepared 67 students to work with diverse individuals in culturally relevant practice, Davis is the lead-author of a study that explored the experience of LGBTQ students across all of Ohio State’s campuses. This report made far ranging recommendations that have influenced the university’s current and prior Provost’s effort to create a more inclusive campus community leading to changes in its university physical and cultural environments and curricula.

Davis was nominated by colleagues Adriane Peck and Stacey Saunders-Adams.

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Davis. “I work alongside some really special people who share my commitment to diversity. I thank them for helping to sustain and advance our work towards reducing service inequities and health disparities.”

This year, Davis also received the Community Psychiatrist of the Year Award from Ohio State’s Division of Public and Community Psychiatry, which honors faculty who have  provided excellence in public and community psychiatry education to its residents and or medical students. Dr. Dale Svendsen presented the award to the team (Davis, Ellen deFrance, Staci Swenson, Dr. Ernesto Ortiz-Cruzado) who were chosen for their efforts in putting together the integrated behavioral health and physical health care educational program for the residents at PrimaryOne Health.

To read more about their MEDTAPP work at PrimaryOne Health, click here.

As we continue in this special month of Thanksgiving, the College of Social Work would like to share some stories of gratefulness with you. On this special Day of Thanks, we are thankful for those at Franklinton Gardens and for our own Dr. Michelle Kaiser. They all work to nurture the hungry by providing safe, affordable and nutritious food for residents of impoverished communities.

Several months ago, Kaiser was featured in The Ohio State University Alumni Magazine for her groundbreaking work in food security. Check out the story “Why should where you live determine how long you live: A look at disparities based on location.” You can also read the entire report here.











The College of Social Work has nearly 1,000 students ardently studying to become social work professionals so that they can make the world a better place. On average, our students complete over 500,000 hours of service and field experience in our communities each year. The College of Social Work strives to create an environment where our students feel impassioned and empowered to change the world and help those who are the most vulnerable and who are falling through the cracks of injustice. We are proud of our students. They are the backbone to a healthier and more opportunistic future for all. To them, we say thank you for your passion, advocacy, hard work and heart.

Take a moment to view a video of our students serving others while in the field, learning in the classroom, on service trips here and abroad and just enjoying the days of being a Buckeye student.




As we enter into this special month of Thanksgiving, the College of Social Work would like to share some stories of gratefulness with you. On this special Day of Thanks, we are thankful for Rick and Carol Delaney who have established the Sean and Anna Delaney Endowed Scholarship in Veteran’s Services for social work students focused on working in veterans affairs.
Please take a moment to watch this video to learn more about this special scholarship dedicated to improving the lives of veterans and supporting those who wish to serve them.




When MSW student Terrahl Del Taylor heard about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, he wanted to do something to help so he contacted the College of Social Work to brainstorm ideas. The result: a student-sponsored water drive running now through March 11.

Both financial and water donations are being accepted. Visit to make a financial contribution to purchase water for Flint residents. Cases or gallon jugs of water can also be dropped off at Stillman Hall, 1947 College Rd., on Saturday February 20, February 27, and March 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The donated water will help families who do not have clean water to drink, cook with, or bathe in. For specific donation requirements, click here.

Terrahl Taylor

“I wanted to do this because I think every single person needs to have clean, healthy water. Every day, I take having clean water to drink and bathe in for granted,” said Taylor. “When I heard about the water crisis I started to think about how much I rely on water daily and I knew how much it would mean to them to have additional help.”

A group of social work students, faculty, and staff will deliver the donated water to Catholic Charities in Flint during the week of March 15.

The significance of Buckeyes helping the Wolverines isn’t lost either. Taylor added “I also thought that coming from students at a rival university would help encourage a culture of connectedness.”

Together, we can make a difference!

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.

Congratulations to CSW undergraduate students Paige Yerger and Sierra Mollenkopf, for BuckeyeSoupwinning the Fall 2015 Buckeye Soup competition! Yerger and Mollenkopf are co-presidents of STRIDE, a student organization that raises awareness of sexual violence through running. They were among five finalist who presented in the Buckeye Soup competition and received $565.00 to fund a walk to honor survivors of sexual violence, and raise awareness/prevention of sexual violence in our community. The walk will be Friday, April 15, so stay tuned for more details.

“Paige and Sierra are truly amazing leaders,” says Andréa Severson, STRIDE advisor. “STRIDE won Buckeye Soup because of their ability to build a narrative about sexual assault that resonated with the folks in the audience. They took a taboo subject and moved people in the audience that night to understand that survivors need to know they are not alone.”

“Soup” events happen in communities throughout the country as a means for individuals and organizations to earn one-time grants for various community development projects. Buckeye Soup is the official soup event for student organizations at The Ohio State. To learn more about Buckeye Soup, click here.

Started in 2015, STRIDE (Seeking To Reclaim our Identity, Direction, and Energy) is a student organization at OSU that brings awareness of sexual violence through running/jogging. They offer a wide variety of activities, from short runs and walks to teas, wellness events and open dialogues. All levels of athletic ability are invited and encouraged to join. For more information visit STRIDE on Twitter @OSU_STRIDE.

Doctoral student Kathy Lee recently presented at The Gerontological Society of America  conference in Orlando. Lee was also one of twelve doctoral students across the nation to be selected as an Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work, 2015 Pre-Dissertation Awardee. Way to go Kathy!

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.

On this special day of thanks, The College of Social Work is grateful for the spirit of philanthropy exemplified by our advocates, friends, and alumni who believe in our mission.  Your gifts not only impact the lives of our students, but the individuals, families, and communities they will serve throughout their careers.  Through scholarship support, you lessen the burden of financial debt to allow our students to follow their innate calling—to be the change in the world.  To that, we say THANK YOU!


Jason Fullen isn’t your typical student pursuing a master’s in social work. His undergraduate degree isn’t even in social work; it’s in music, from New York University. But despite having no formal background in the field, he always seemed to exemplify the best qualities of a social worker, spending his free time at NYU working on service projects, alternative-break trips, and volunteer activities.

After graduating, Fullen had the chance to pursue his passion for service by working as a high school social studies teacher in rural North Carolina through Teach for America. A two-year program, Teach for America places college grads in underserved communities around the country. That’s the simple definition, but for Fullen the experience was so much more. It clarified his purpose and focused his career aspiration – to improve the quality of education in impoverished areas. In short, it changed his life.

During his time in North Carolina, Fullen saw firsthand how some students struggled to succeed in the classroom because of issues outside of it. The topic is near to his heart and why he feels so strongly that educational policies need to be improved to support students not only at school but beyond. To that end, Fullen is pursuing dual master’s degrees in social work and public administration. “I want to be able to give students of disadvantaged populations the type of opportunities that I have had in my life,” he says.

Fullen has enjoyed his time as a Buckeye, and a favorite memory was serving as grad adviser for a Buck-I-Serv trip to New York City. The group worked with a homeless shelter, an organization that helps disabled populations, and a foster center that assists teenagers. “It was an amazing chance to show my students the importance of service and what it might be like to pursue a service-oriented career,” he says. “It was my way of giving back, because service opportunities such as Buck-I-Serv helped me get my start in social work.”

Now in his last year at Ohio State, Fullen appreciates all the opportunities he has had here. Besides learning from world-class professors, interning at influential organizations and taking part in service trips, Fullen was given one of the best gifts any student could have — a scholarship.

“The biggest thing about this scholarship is that the gift isn’t just supporting me,” he says. “It is ultimately supporting all the people and communities I hope to impact during my life.”

Written by: Dinu Godage, ACE Student Intern, Social Work

The Ohio State University College of Social Work is immensely grateful for the tireless work of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, friends and supporters, and all who advocate for the advancement of civil rights in this country and abroad. On this Day of Thanks, we celebrate diversity and encourage all of you to continue to Be The Change the world needs.


OSU alumni Joel and Craig Diaz were with friends at a crowded Union Café in the Short North, where news programs blared from a dozen TVs scattered around the bar. It was June 26, 2015, the day the U.S. Supreme Court would announce its ruling on same-sex marriage, a day they hoped would be historic.Weddingparty

The mood in the bar was electric if understandably cautious. While the nation’s attitudes were clearly shifting on the issue — 37 states now allowed same-sex marriage — federal appeals courts were divided over whether states were constitutionally obligated to do so. That would be decided today.

“We knew there was a good chance that it would go in our favor,” Joel recalls, “but there was still that shadow of doubt.”

When the court announced its ruling, the cafe erupted in cheers. By a 5-4 vote, the justices held that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage; the ban that Ohio and other states had tried so hard to keep intact was invalidated. The victory, so long in coming, was finally here.

“We were in the room with people who were involved in the struggle since the ‘80s,” Joel says. “It was remarkable.”

Despite the hugs and tears of joy all around them, for Joel and Craig the day was bittersweet.

Both had been enrolled at Ohio State for several years before their paths crossed in 2011, when they met at a friend’s birthday party. Fast forward to April 2014.  Joel proposes, but as he and Craig go about planning their wedding, they realize that prospects of getting a marriage license are limited. With the political climate on same-sex marriage uncertain in the United States, they look to Spain — where equal marriage has been legal since 2006 — and plan a fall wedding in the Mediterranean beach resort of Sitges. Still, their wish for an Ohio marriage license, and their dismay at knowing they have no legal standing to get one, is never far out of mind.

Though too late for Joel and Craig, the landmark Supreme Court decision changes all of that. They acknowledge the progress the country has made on LGBT issues and recognize the struggles of the men and women who made it happen.

“We’re still relatively young,” Craig says, “but for those who have gone their entire lives fighting for this, we’re so appreciative of their work.”

Hearts and minds have begun to change, but the LGBT community continues to face significant obstacles. As active members in the national Human Rights Campaign and advocates in local efforts to advance LGBT rights, Joel and Craig cite employment, housing and workplace discrimination as tremendous barriers to equality. They are especially concerned with rights of transgender people, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“The LGB part of LGBT definitely has a difficult time, but the T is often overlooked,” Joel says. “Fighting for their rights is a crucial next step.”

Adds Craig, “I agree. I also believe we really need to re-focus our energy on the health care of our community and address well-being, specifically with LGBT youth. So many of us navigate these waters with little to no support.”

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

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

During the month of November the College of Social Work would like to thank those who inspire us.



Why, after decades of research and effort on so many fronts, does the scourge of alcohol misuse remain entrenched in society?



For Drs. Audrey Begun and John Clapp of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, and 31 of their colleagues, what’s needed is a vision as vast as the problem. What’s needed is a unified, concerted strategy that employs the best minds and most effective weapons from multiple disciplines, a plan founded on the latest research and best practices from the fields of social work, biology, medicine, psychology, public health, economics, engineering and geography, among others.

The vision, outlined in a concept paper first-authored by Begun and Clapp, has been accepted by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) as part of its inaugural Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative. Titled “Reducing and Preventing Negative Consequences of Alcohol Misuse,” the paper includes contributions from social work scholars from around the world.



Contemporary research approaches make it possible to address  increasingly complex problems such as alcohol misuse, the authors note, and emerging technology gives contributors the ability to capture new types of data to analyze the problem and offer practical solutions.

The paper, along with other accepted proposals, will be published on the AASWSW website and in other publications. Academy President Richard Barth said members will generate interest among policymakers and potential funders for implementing what has been proposed.

The Grand Challenges initiative, announced in January, seeks to solve the most pressing societal problems through innovations in social work science and practice. Areas identified include ending racial injustice, reducing mass incarceration, stopping family violence and achieving health equity, an area that Begun and Clapp’s paper addresses.

Founded in 2009 by major social work organizations, the AASWSW serves to advance the public good and contribute to a sustainable, equitable and just future—a goal that aligns compellingly with the concept of grand challenges.

In a decision that bodes well for the growth and stability of the College of Social Work, Tom Gregoire has been reappointed dean through June 30, 2020. The move was announced earlier this year by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees.tom_big

Since becoming dean in 2010, Gregoire has made it a priority to showcase faculty, staff, students and alumni for their contributions to the understanding of society’s most vexing social problems. In the years to come, he looks forward to working with them to develop innovations in teaching, research and funding that will advance the College of Social Work through the 21st century.

“Ohio State’s College of Social Work is a great place to teach, engage in the community, and conduct research,” he said. “But we can’t stand still as the world changes around us. Finding new ways to fund our research, for example, is an urgent challenge. The traditional model no longer exists, and we need to be creative and innovative to find alternatives.”

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.

As part of his agenda to increase the use of technology, the College of Social Work became the first unit on campus to provide iPads to all faculty and staff and to train them in the use of mobile technology for teaching, research and field work.

“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,’’ he said. “The most effective social-work practitioners will be those that 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 ASAP (Advanced Standing Alternate Program) in autumn 2016.

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.

During Gregoire’s first term as dean, the college also:

  • Became the first of three programs at OSU to offer an international undergraduate track that allows students to prepare for practice abroad.
  • Developed the first social work doctoral program designed to prepare students for careers as scholars in translational research.
  • Created or expanded 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.
  • Exceeded its fundraising goals and expanded alumni activities in central Ohio and outside the state.

Gregoire joined the OSU College of Social Work faculty in 1996 and served as associate dean and director of the master’s program from 2003 to 2009. He took over as interim dean in September 2009 before being named dean the following May.


How does the environment of a neighborhood and its social cohesion affect the likelihood that a parent will abuse or neglect a child?

For years this has been a burgeoning field of investigation among researchers, and a principal topic of inquiry for Dr. Katie Maguire Jack of The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Now, in a significant shift, the third-year assistant professor is extending her research to an area that’s been mostly overlooked and vastly understudied, but one of potential importance to Ohio and states like it.Katie-Maguire-Jack

Child maltreatment is a serious public health problem in the United States. Kids who are abused or neglected are at greater risk of developmental delays, psychiatric disorders, and aggressive and antisocial behaviors. And as adults, they are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from depression and take part in criminal activity.

Numerous studies have documented a strong correlation between neighborhood poverty and child maltreatment, but the effects of other variables within a neighborhood –crime, racial makeup, turnover, access to child-care and other services — are less clear. Even less understood still is to what degree social aspects of a neighborhood play a role.

The body of research to date, though abundant, is glaringly narrow in one regard – it focuses almost exclusively on neighborhoods in major cities and urban centers. Research on rural communities has gone begging, though population statistics clearly point to the need.

In Ohio, 22 percent of residents – more than 2.5 million people — live in rural areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Maine and Vermont, more than 61 percent of the population is rural, and by sheer numbers Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania have more rural residents than Ohio.

Maguire Jack’s latest study, an examination of parenting and family life in rural Ohio, begins to address this gap in the research.

Working with Dr. Bridget Freisthler of UCLA, Maguire Jack will undertake a pilot survey in Shelby County, on the western edge of the state. Of particular interest is whether the availability of social services and the interaction of neighbors provide any protective effect against child maltreatment. In earlier studies, conducted in urban areas of California and Ohio, Maguire Jack found evidence that suggests they do.

A fundamental challenge in developing the Shelby County study, given its rural setting, was defining the unit of geography to be used, in other words, determining what constitutes a “neighborhood” in an area where houses might be separated by vast distances.

Instead of relying on census tracts or political jurisdictions, common in urban studies, Maguire Jack and Freisthler will concentrate on what they call “personalized neighborhoods.” These are areas in which survey respondents most often travel – for instance, the activity space that includes a person’s job site, physician’s office, friend’s house, grocery store, pharmacy, gym, child-care provider, schools and so on.

As a step toward finalizing the format of the survey, Maguire Jack and Freisthler have created a draft questionnaire that will be distributed to 200 to 500 parents with children 12 and younger. The survey examines topics at both the family and community level, including economic hardship, availability of services, community involvement of parents, their interaction with neighbors, child behavior and discipline, and means of emotional support.

The questionnaire will be distributed in November and December by the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA and will also be available online.

The Shelby County research continues a collaboration between Maguire Jack and Freisthler, who earlier this year published a paper titled “Understanding the Interplay Between Neighborhood Structural Factors, Social Processes, and Alcohol Outlets on Child Physical Abuse.”

Freisthler, a professor at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles, will join the OSU College of Social Work faculty in 2016.

For more information, contact Dr. Katie Maguire Jack at

On Saturday, May 2, the College of Social Work faculty, staff, students and friends marched as part of the #CBUS2Ferguson Solidarity with Baltimore, also in support of #BlackLivesMatter. More than 300 protesters marched from The Ohio State University campus to the Short North. Click here to see it on Storify.