The faculty believes that "doing with others" builds community, enhances learning, empowers students, and models teamwork as collaboration. The faculty are committed to furthering opportunities for faculty/student collaboration involving learning, service, social action, and research. The spirit of faculty/student research collaboration has become a fundamental part of our work with students and constitutes the Research Institute that Drs. Hayes and Grossman envisioned.
INVESTIGATING MSW PRACTITIONERS PERCEIVED USE AND EFFICACY OF DIFFERENTIAL PRACTICE SKILLS AND OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE
Upon receipt of a Committee to Aid Faculty Research (CAFR) grant for the 2008-2009 academic year, the research team of Dr. Katherine Kranz and student Stacey Smith-Israel distributed a mail survey to MSW practitioners' in the State of Rhode Island. Ms. Smith-Israel inputted survey data into SPSS and worked collaboratively with Dr. Kranz analyzing the data for their preliminary presentation of findings at the annual Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA) in Denver, CO. in April 2009. Their presentation was entitled: "Scaling Substance Abuse Skills: Investing in Empirical Practice Research with BSW Students". The presentation provided a snapshot of the sample population from a 66% response rate, a more than acceptable data set. Preliminary results of the findings were discussed by Dr. Kranz and Ms. Smith-Israel at the oldest interdisciplinary social science organization in the United States. This experience provided opportunity for the student and teacher to collaborate on a research proposal and engage in a research/practice partnership.
BUILDING A TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE
Culminating from two years work together and part of the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) grant to build a transatlantic social work practice model (TRANSPRAC), two senior majors, LeeAnn Byrne and Melanie Sharot, and Dr. Grossman presented a paper titled "Building a Transatlantic Alliance for International Exchange" at the 25th Annual Conference of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors in March 2008. The presentation included the statistical results of their investigation into the differences between European Union and United States legislative advocacy and policy practice models.
INTEGRATING RESEARCH AND PRACTICE PEDAGOGY: Learning from Social Workers' Stories of Practice
Two faculty, Drs. Hayes and Kranz and two students, Courtney Dillon and Kathryn Wood worked on this two-year project. It introduced undergraduate students to the correspondence between qualitative research methodology and social work practice methods of investigating human meanings by having them work with experienced social workers' "war stories" about practice. The project grew out of students' reports that
formulations in their classes were belied by field experience of working with complex, often "ill-defined," situations over which they had very limited understanding and control. Students illustrated this disjunction by contrasting "war stories" told by workers--often fresh from encounters with clients--to professional texts. Faculty and students decided to treat these "coffeepot narratives" as a basis for practice learning, assuming that they are part of an oral culture that creates the actual "community of social work practice". The group presented their findings at presented at the 54th Annual Program Meeting (APM) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in Philadelphia, PA in November 2008.
EXPANDING THE STATE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM: Arguments in Favor and Against
Dr. Grossman and the Social Policy class (SWK 360) debated the pros and cons of the issues concerning the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The group integrated their individual position papers and these were submitted these to the Brown University Policy Review. The publication of our students work in the fall 2007 Brown University Policy Review has deepened student commitment to scholarly work, in addition to their coordination and participation in a community organizing and awareness raising.
LISTENING TO THE VOICES OF AGING-OUT YOUTH
A research team of junior social work majors based at the RI Foster Parent Association and Professor Hayes engaged in an investigation into the perceptions and feelings of aging-out youth about the preparation and support of state-custody for emancipation.
COMMUNITY BASED RESEARCH: Building Ties between Academy and Agency, Family and Community
A research team of junior social work majors based in the Intake unit at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) and Professor Hayes are engaged in a an investigation into the effectiveness pf a family-centered, enhanced intake initiative providing services to families at risk for abuse and neglect. The students and Dr. Hayes presented the findings of their research at the 24th annual conference of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors in Los Angeles, CA in October, 2006
THE EFFECTS OF FAMILY CENTERED PRACTICE TRAINING ON DCYF PROTECTIVE SERVICE WORKERS IN RHODE ISLAND
A research team of three senior social work majors,Colleen Collins 06, Allison Klugman 06, and Michelle Willoughby 06, and Professor Hayes completed a research study about the effects of family centered practice training on the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) protective service workers in Rhode Island. Family centered practice (FCP) emphasizes strengths-based family-involved assessment and implementation of culturally-sensitive, community linked care plans. The study investigated the feasibility of inculcating such a practice stance in existing protective service units. Six units of Rhode Island’s protective service department were exposed to an 18-month FCP training program. The researchers measured pre- to post-training changes in practice stance by scaling workers’ qualitative descriptions of practice and via a quantitative Q-sort task. Significant qualitative and quantitative changes toward use of family centered practice were found. These results were reported in a paper presented by the whole team at the 23rd Annual BPD Conference in Austin, TX, in November 2005.
INNOVATIVE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM AMONG EUROPEAN UNION AND UNITED STATES BSW STUDENTS
A growing number of Social Work students are interested in studying Social Work abroad and developing discipline related internships in foreign countries. While curricula innovations are encouraged, baccalaureate social work programs’ curricula in the United States are designed and developed in accordance with curriculum guidelines established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the central educational standard setting and accrediting body for baccalaureate and master level programs, ensuring the standardization of professional preparation and the integrity of the relationship between and among the various levels of professional education. In order to better inform the development of innovative international exchange programs that would permit the crediting of professional studies abroad, specifically in countries of the European Union (EU), the research team of three students, Erica Rioux, Ana-Maria Spencer, and Shannon Kelly and faculty member, Dr. Susan Griffith Grossman conducted a comparative study of course content/field comparability of three US schools (Providence College, the University of Maine, and Barry University) and three EU schools of social education (Belgium, Denmark, Spain). This exploratory research is of particular significance because the EU has no uniform set of standards for educational preparation and certification of social workers. Some EU countries have clearly delineated curricular standards that are enforced by the process of peer review or through statutory regulations, whereas other countries have no formal standard-setting or accreditation mechanism. The student faculty team was invited to present their findings at the Baccalaureate Program Directors annual meeting in November 2005 in Austin , Texas .
SOCIAL WORK MARKETING STUDY
Prepared for a panel discussion at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, Detroit, Michigan November 3-7, 2004, whose theme is "marketing BSW social work,” this research project involves collaboration between faculty members Hayes & Griffith and three senior social work majors. The research involves developing a profile of the kinds of intrinsic, extrinsic, and altruistic career motivations typical of actual social work students via a structured Q-sort and then sampling undeclared college students with similar profiles about how attractive they find social work as a potential career. Early results show that students with motivational profiles similar to those of social work students tend to rate typical social work professional roles such as community organizing and psychotherapy much more positively than they do social work itself (and that they rate social work as much more attractive when informed that these roles are choices in social work), suggesting that “marketing social work” must involve raising student awareness of specific social work role options rather than emphasizing only social work values.