Month: October 2014

SSW Partners with Social Work Examination Services to Offer License Review Program

The School of Social Work has partnered with Social Work Examination Services and NASW CT to offer a license review program for LMSW and LCSW. Classes will be held at the School of Social Work in West Hartford. Alumni receive a $25 discount.

The license review course focuses on test preparation and content review. All major clinical areas are covered with a special emphasis on test-taking skills using sample multiple-choice questions in the style of those found on license exams. The course and review books provide extensive practice with multiple-choice questions.

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Students March for Climate Change

Last month, fifteen students from the UConn School of Social Work marched among 311,000 people in New York City in what became the most historical march for climate change to date – The People’s Climate March.

AASO co-chairs Vicki Armstrong (1st year Admin) and Renee Hamel (2nd year CO) present a cantastoria, a theatrical form of storytelling through a series of images. The cantastoria was performed in some classes as an interactive teaching tool about climate change and global warming. The cantastoria was designed by local artists supporting the People’s Climate March.

The Asian and Asian American Student Organization (AASO) with support from Social Workers for Global Justice organized the event for students in collaboration with the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice. The People’s Climate March occurred just days before world leaders convened at the United Nations for a summit to discuss solutions in preparation for next year’s Climate Change Conference in Paris. Marchers in New York City and across the world in companion demonstrations emphasized solidarity in support for a world with an economy that works for the people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change.

UConn SSW students march during the People's Climate March
UConn SSW students, representing all concentrations, march along 42nd street in NYC during the People’s Climate March – the largest climate change march in history.

“Climate change is not something we think about every day,” says Renee Hamel, 2nd year CO student and co-chair of the AASO. “When we do think about it, it’s often associated with the distant future, but in reality, action is needed right now. Just recently, we have seen low crop yields for grain production, droughts, increases in natural disasters, and last year was the warmest on record. Climate change affects everyone, but as social workers we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable individuals and communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation.”

Marching in such a large scale demonstration was a first time experience for many of the UConn social work students. It also represented an opportunity to learn about environmental activism and climate justice.
“This incredible ‘call to action’ demonstration has shown me that environmental justice is justice for all regardless of gender, class, skin color, or language barrier, says 2nd year casework student Brandon Burke and co-chair of Social Workers for Global Justice. “When the world benefits, we as people benefit too.”

UConn SSW students march along 42nd Street in NYC
UConn SSW students, representing all concentrations, march along 42nd street in NYC during the People’s Climate March – the largest climate change march in history.

Roxanne Wilson, 2nd year group work student agrees. “To see such collaboration of different individuals from all walks of life coming together, was so liberating that I cannot even begin to explain. As social workers, I feel it is important to acknowledge the bigger picture. I believe that was accomplished the day of the climate march. It was such an unforgettable experience.”

School Recognized by NASW Connecticut Chapter

On October 2, 2014 four members of the SSW community were honored by the National Association of Social Workers CT Chapter at their Annual Awards Dinner.

Award recipients: Waldo Klein, Rebecca Thomas, Kyle Barrette, Jennifer Glick UConn SSW faculty, staff, students and alumni turned out in force to celebrate with the NASW CT award recipients

Emeritus Professor Waldo Klein, MSW, Ph.D. received the Lifetime Achievement Award “for his leadership, scholarship, and education of students in gerontology, compassion and commitment to quality of care, significant contributions through community engagement, and for a career that exemplifies the mission, values, and aspirations of social work”.

The Educator of the Year Award was presented to Professor Rebecca Thomas, MSW, Ph.D. for “being an educator of extraordinary ability and dedication, for innovative teaching, collaborative engagement with students, and abiding commitment to equality and social justice”.
Jennifer Glick MSW ’05 received the Social Worker of the Year Award for her “tireless advocacy on behalf of mental health and the older adult, generosity of spirit in assisting colleagues, and for leadership in the 60 West Project”.

The MSW Student of the Year Award was presented to Kyle Barrette MSW ’14 for his “distinguished academic achievement, innovative thinking, vision for social change, and dedication to expanding the field of international social work”.

Winston Johnson MSW ’74 Receives the 100 Men of Color Award

The June Archer 100 Men of Color Gala was held on October 3, 2014 and Winston Johnson MSW ’74 was among the group of honorees. The event recognizes men of color in business, education, entrepreneurship, government, and services. It celebrates the progress that these pioneers, have made in their professions, and the invaluable contributions these men have given to their communities.

Winston Johnson, MSW '74
Winston Johnson, MSW ’74

Winston B. Johnson, ACSW, LCSW is the Director of Prevention/Intervention Services for the Hartford Public Schools. He has worked for the Hartford Public Schools for 34 years in a variety of positions, as a school social worker, Assistant Coordinator of Social Work Services, Vice Principal, Coordinator of Social Work Services, Acting Principal, Acting Coordinator of Alternative Education Program, Acting Director of Adult Education, Special Education Director, Director of Psychology and Social Work Services, and Director of Prevention Intervention providing supervision and oversight for all of the school social workers in the Hartford Public Schools.

He has been on a number of community boards and community teams responsible for providing services and support for children and families in the Greater Hartford community. In addition, Winston is a member of the UConn School of Social Work Dean’s Advisory Board and an adjunct faculty member teaching a course on School Social Work.

In addition to recognizing the 100 Men of Color, June Archer’s goal is to provide financial support through scholarships and mentorship programs that promote the advancement of young men of color.

Upon receiving the award, Winston commented “I am truly honored to have been nominated to receive this most distinguished recognition as one of the 2014 June Archer’s 100 Men of Color Awardees. Special thanks for all the well wishes and congratulatory messages sent from my Hartford Public Schools, community and family. Your kindness will never be forgotten!”

Hispanic Heritage Month 2014

This year as part of Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, under the leadership of the UConn School of Social Work’s Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Project (PRLSP), two presentations were held on the topic of Discovering Puerto Rico: History, Action and a Future of Success. This focus relates to the national theme of Hispanics: A legacy of history, a present of action and a future of success.

Eleven participants from the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 Travel and Study courses to Puerto Rico shared their experiences and knowledge and the powerful impact it has had on their professional development and services to stateside Puerto Ricans. These presentations have attracted the interest of students and professionals in the field about the upcoming May/June 2015 course and trip.

Also, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, the PRLSP coordinated a collaboration with Central CT State University, Eastern CT State University, UConn Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center & El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean & Latin American Studies, and the University of Saint Joseph to present TOCANDO FONDO.

Six presentations were given over three days by the authors, Juan Carlos Rueda and José Luis Sierra about different social, economic and political problems affecting Puerto Rico as they are addressed in their book TOCANDO FONDO. The book is a collection of 15 short stories in which the characters portray life struggles, difficulties and limitations of individuals, families and communities in Puerto Rico; in addition to their resiliency, strengths and accomplishments. Close to 250 individuals attended these presentations.

This was the first interdisciplinary and inter-university collaboration in decades and has led to stronger relationships and conversations on scholarly efforts and future projects. The TOCANDO FONDO program gave important visibility to our School and recognition for our leadership in bringing together these institutions.