Widener University
Center for Social Work Education
Vol. I, Issue II
November 2011
In This Issue
Farewell, Loretta Glavin
Interpersonal Neurobiology
Phi Alpha Honors Society
Hunger in Chester
BSW Club
Center for Violence Prevention
Family Matters Conference
Alumni Event
MSW Student Organization
Redefining Cinderella Forum
LGBT Youth Violence Prevention
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Thank you for your support of Widener University's Center for Social Work Education. 


John Poulin

For the past six years, the Center for Social Work Education has had a collaborative relationship with the social work program at Chongqing Technical and Business University (CTBU) in Chongqing, China. We have had faculty and student exchanges, collaborated on research projects, published scholarly articles in both English and Chinese social work journals, conducted trainings, and co-sponsored an International Social Work Conference.


This August we received a two year $100,000 grant from the Pacific Millennium Corporation's foundation to further our collaboration with the social work program at CTBU. Pacific Millennium is very interested in developing family counseling services and social work services for "immigrant" individuals and families - people that have moved from rural to urban areas. This coming May, four of our social work faculty and four graduate social work students will spend two weeks in China working with CTBU social work faculty and students in developing three new field placement sites in Chongqing.


The teams will be creating social work services for immigrant workers and their families in a work setting, in a hospital, and in a community. These sites will serve as field placement sites for CTBU social work students who will be providing the social work services. The Widener team will also conduct trainings for CTBU faculty and students on family therapy, marital counseling, and working with children with behavioral issues. This project will be a wonderful opportunity for our faculty and students to gain international experience and contribute to the development of social work education and services in China.


John Poulin, Ph.D.

Acting Director and Associate Dean

Farewell, Loretta Glavin!

Loretta and Brent
 Loretta's Farewell Party

Loretta Glavin, devoted Assistant to the Director and employee of Widener University for the past 14 years, left her role as of October 21, 2011.  The faculty and staff of the Center for Social Work Education sent Loretta off with a festive goodbye party.  We cannot begin to express our appreciation for Loretta's tireless, dedicated work and helpful spirit.  We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors and hope she comes back to visit soon! 
"Know Thyself": Catching Up with Interpersonal Neurobiology by Tom Young, Ph.D 


Tom Young

Back in the day, when most people thought that self-object experiences occurred only in long-term relationships, I asked Ernest Wolf what he thought. His response was to say, "Think about when you walk into a convenience store and the clerk first ignores you and then acts as if annoyed that he or she has to take money for your purchase and give you back some change. How do you feel then and how does it compare to when the clerk greets you with a smile when you enter and wishes you a good day as he or she hands you back your change?" Hmm... (By the way, Wolf was a friend and collaborator of Heinz Kohut, the founder of self psychology, who set the stage for intersubjective perspective on client-worker interactions.)


What Wolf was telling me is now taken as a given among those of us who are trying to catch up with the ever-increasing findings of interpersonal neurobiology (Siegel, 1999). When two people interact, both parties are affected--both physiologically and psychologically (Cozolino, 2010). Others (Lewis, Amini & Lannon, 2000) have referred to this as "limbic resonance" to call attention to the fact that the effects of interpersonal interactions are registered in one of the older areas of our brains that have enabled us to survive as a species. One implication of this is that we are not always consciously aware of what is happening within us. We are often applying "implicit relational knowing" to our experience of the other (Boston Change Process Study Group, 2010; Lyons-Ruth, 1998).

If you are bored now, feel free to skip to another article in the Newsletter--but I suggest you do a "gut check" first for clues as to why you might want to move away from me...

The take-home point here is that in every interaction with a client--even a telephone call to set up an appointment--both you and the client are engaged in trying to find out if you "fit," or perhaps even if you can find your way to "fittedness," which is a necessary condition for any successful helping process to take place. As Arnd-Caddigan (2011) puts it in her article in the most recent issue of Families in Society, "Intersubjectivity is the mutual knowing between two people of the other's experience, including meaning, intentions, and emotions...based on a shared state. This knowledge is acquired by means of two people bidirectionally modulating each other's psycho-physiological state..."

One implication I take from this is that it is always important to attend to the experience my client and I are having of each other--not just initially but throughout the duration of the interaction. The temptation, especially with so many of our clients who have been traumatized, is to become preoccupied with the client's story or the agenda for the meeting--losing both ourselves and the person of the client while doing so. The best evidence we have available to monitor this lies within ourselves.

Further Reading:

Arnd-Caddigan, M. (2011). Toward a broader definition of evidence-informed practice: Intersubjective evidence. Families in Society, doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.4160.

Boston Change Process Study Group (2010). Change in psychotherapy: A unifying paradigm. New York: W. W. Norton.

Cozolino, L. (2010). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain. New York: W.W. Norton.

Lewis, T., Amini, F. and Lannon, R. (2000). A general theory of love. New York: Random House.

Lyons-Ruth, K. (1998). Implicit relational knowing: Its role in development and psychoanalytic treatment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 19(3), 282-289.
 Siegel, D. J. (1999). Developing mind: Toward a neurobiology of interpersonal experience. New York: Guilford
Meet the Phi Alpha Honors Society, Nu Alpha Chapter Executive Board

Phi Alpha E-Board
Faculty Advisor Laura Sadtler, Secretary Charlotte Hangsterfer, Treasurer Michelle Toland, President Steph Willets, and Vice Presidents Tamika Knox and Trish Kozlowski.
Widener University's Nu Alpha chapter of Phi Alpha, the national honors society for students in the field of Social Work, has just inducted new members and officers for the 2011-2012 academic year.  The executive board is pictured above.  This is a scholastic chapter with an emphasis on professional development and service that welcomes eligible MSW and BSW students.  Nu Alpha will be participating in a number of service projects throughout the year.  Two highlighted events include collaborating with CBS United Inc. to collect school supplies, including book bags, binders, notebooks, and pencils, throughout the year.  These donations will be presented to the Chester School District next August during their Back to School Fair.  Nu Alpha will also be joining forces with other student organizations to cosponsor Widener's Take Back the Night, an event to promote awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence.  Congratulations to these talented, accomplished students!
Dr. Marina Barnett - Fighting Hunger in Chester 
Marina Barnett

Dr. Marina Barnett has a passion for investigating and addressing food access and availability in Chester. Unfortunately, this is a significant problem in the community that houses Widener's campus. Last spring, Dr. Barnett collaborated with Dr. Chad Freed, associate professor of environmental science at Widener, to determine where Chester residents can purchase food. They discovered that Chester does not have any grocery stores and has very few places that sell fresh produce. As Dr. Barnett succinctly puts it, "If you live in Chester and want to put together a Thanksgiving meal, you wouldn't be able to do so without leaving the city." This poses a problem for a city that has approximately 38,000 residents who need access to healthy food options and have limited means for getting them.


Currently, Dr. Barnett is in the process of obtaining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant for the Healthy Eating Research Program in order to distribute surveys to Chester residents. In the meantime, she has been using focus groups to test survey questions and gain insight into this problem. Participants come from several local agencies, including the Chester Senior Center, the College Access Center, and the Women, Infants, and Children Office. The results of these groups and the survey will assist food missions and Philabundance in better serving the needs of the citizens of Chester. In addition, Dr. Barnett is getting students involved by planning to have her community organization classes create a resource guide about emergency food services in Chester next semester. We applaud Dr. Barnett on her dedicated efforts in addressing this issue and encourage students to partner with her in her ongoing work to improve the Chester community.

Meet the BSW Club Executive Board
BSW Club Eboard
Secretary Rachel Randazzo, President Liz Braccia, Treasurer Rita Sharma, and Vice President Erica Lopez.
The Center would like to extend a warm congratulations to the 2011-2012 BSW Club Executive Board, pictured above.  The Board is working hard on numerous events and community service activities for BSW students.  

President Liz Braccia explains one of the recent events the Club hosted: In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the BSW club hosted speaker Blake Cohen from the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County (DAP) on Wednesday, October 26th. DAP offers counseling, housing, legal, medical, welfare, prevention education, workplace consulting, and cell phone program services.  Ms. Cohen presented valuable information about the services the agency provides and the issues surrounding domestic abuse. She spoke about the dominating factors that may cause a victim to stay with their abuser.  She concluded by offering useful handouts in order to spread awareness and strengthen the commitment in others to stand up against domestic violence.

The next BSW Club meeting will be on Friday, November 18 at noon in the Social Work Conference Room.  Please attend so you can help the BSW Club plan upcoming activities, including working with City Team Ministries to deliver Thanksgiving meals to families in Chester and celebrating World AIDS Day on December 1st.  


Character Building & Bullying Prevention Conference

Jim Tice, Jenny Wyatt, Zane D. Memeger Bullying Prevention Conference














On Tuesday, October 18th, the Widener Center for Violence Prevention hosted "Character Building and Bullying Prevention: A Conference for Professionals." There were more than 180 attendees, including social workers, police officers, school counselors, and case managers. The conference featured presentations by Dr. Michael Lindsey of Southern Methodist University and Captain David Madonna and Sergeant James Reif of the Upper Darby Township Police Department. The conference focused on ways to prevent bullying and lessen its occurrence among students in the community. Dr. Lindsey recommended offering more appropriate after-school programming, while Captain Madonna and Sergeant Reif urged schools to utilize lessons and activities that will engage children and prevent violent behavior.


The Center for Violence Prevention, led by Dr. Jenny Wyatt, opened in 2009 with a mission to decrease violence in Delaware County through public awareness, education, and advocacy. One way to achieve this goal is through sharing outreach ideas and hosting conferences such as this one that bring together various professionals. The center also provides leadership to the region on the anti-violent movement by enhancing how the criminal justice system functions and providing targeted education and programs to increase resource access. Look out for future opportunities to attend one of the Center's informative workshops and network with professionals in the community.

Meet the NABSW Executive Board
NABSW Eboard
Treasurer Donna Oriowo, Parliamentarian Tamika Knox, President Talisha Lee, Vice President Stacy Shamburger, and Secretary Adama Crocker.
Congratulations to the 2011-2012 NABSW, Widener Chapter Executive Board, pictured above. 

Parliamentarian Tamika Knox explains the history and mission of the NABSW: The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) was created in the 1960's during the Civil Rights Movement by a group of Black Social Workers who formed one of the strongest advocacy groups to address social issues and concerns of the Black community. The NABSW continues to advocate for the social welfare and social justice of the Black community. We advocate for the inclusion of people from African ancestry to be involved in policy-making and other important social issues. The Widener University Chapter continues to follow the mission of the NABSW in order to promote positive change in our society as a whole.

NABSW members are also actively involved in community service events such as the ones listed below.  This semester, the NABSW will be putting together a food basket for a family in need and are accepting donations for their cause.  If you wish to participate, food items should be given to Jill Brinker in the Center by Friday, Nov. 18th and Stacy Shamburger should be emailed about what you are donating (sdshamburger@mail.widener.edu).  The NABSW will also participate in the Delaware County Memorial Hospital's Hospice "Candlelight tree lighting ceremony."  Monetary donations will be accepted by President Talisha Lee  for this event until Friday, November 18th.


In addition, the NABSW will be assisting with Men in Motion Inc.'s contribution to Toys for Tots by packaging and delivering gifts to families in need who suffer from substance abuse.  Finally, the NABSW will be collecting new and gently used clothing for Dress for Success Inc., a program that helps women reenter the workforce by providing clothing for interviews and work.  Non-business attire will be donated to West End Organization in Delaware, an agency that provides transitional housing for teens who have aged out of the foster care system.  Donations will be accepted until Wednesday, December 7th.  We wish the NABSW the best of luck with their future events!

Family Matters Conference
Kim McKay and KidsStudents and Kids

On Saturday, October 15th, Philadelphia Family Pride (PFP), the Center for Social Work Education and the Center for Education's Graduate Programs in Human Sexuality co-hosted "Family Matters," a conference
for LGBT parents, children, and prospective parents.  Marla McCulloch, an adjunct professor in the Center and leader of PFP, worked with the collaborators to make Family Matters a huge success.  PFP overtook Widener's University Center with over 100 attendees and various workshops.  The conference featured four tracks: prospective parents, current parents, transgender, and legal.  Kim Fuller, Steph Willets, and Kira Manser, current MSW students, presented workshops to attendees and volunteered with PFP.  Congratulations on a wonderful event!
Save the Date: Alumni Event
The Widener University and Smith College Alumni Associations will be co-sponsoring a presentation on Grief, Loss, and Transformation by Dr. Carolyn Walter, Professor Emerita and Lenore Khan, LCSW on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 from 6-8pm in the Webb Room in University Center on Widener's campus.   Two CEU's will be offered to those interested for $25.  Please mark your calendars and look out for future information on how to register!  
Meet the New MSW Student Organization
MSWSO E-board
(back l-r) William Thompson, Vice Chair Jackie Reyes, Erin Cliffe, Secretary Jeremy Irvin, and Nathan Smith.
(front l-r) Chair Cole Glaser and Treasurer Helen Zwiebel.
Congratulations to the newly-elected 2011-2012 MSW Student Organization Executive Board, pictured above (with the exception of board members Kristen Kendall, Mark McGuire, and Ana del Puerto).  The MSWSO is in the middle of restructuring its format and focus, so look out for many changes ahead!  So far, the Board has divided itself into three committees: Fundraising, Community Service, and Social.  They will be looking for volunteers to assist with events and activities, so mark your calendars and please plan to attend one of their next meetings: Wednesday, November 16th at 2:00pm or Thursday, November 17th at 6:00pm.  We look forward to seeing what this group has in store for the rest of the school year!
Redefining Cinderella Forum
Linda Houser
On Friday, October 14th the Center's new faculty member, Dr. Linda Houser, was the featured keynote speaker at "Redefining Cinderella," a forum sponsored by the Morris County Advisory Committee on Women.  The forum was intended to challenge gender role expectations and stereotypes, and to help women find ways to empower themselves to choose their own happy endings and not wait for their "prince charming."  Dr. Houser was joined by other notable speakers, including Virginia Lyttle, author on the NJ Women's Writers Project and past New Jersey State President of American Association of University Women; Florence Block, Executive Director of the NJ Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and former Morris County Chamber of Commerce President; Bernadette M. Mueller, Executive Vice President for Valley National Bank; and Butler Councilwoman Judy Woop, owner of JW Consultants and professor of Nursing Education at Caldwell College.  Congratulations to Dr. Houser for this exciting and honorable opportunity!
LGBT Youth Violence Prevention
On Thursday, Dec. 1st
, the U.S. Attorney's Office EDPA, Office of the District Attorney, Delaware County, G. Michael Green and the Center for Violence Prevention will be co-hosting an event entitled Violence Prevention: Listening to the Voices of LGBT Youth.  The event will be held in the Webb Room of University Center from 4-6pm.  Professionals from various agencies and educational backgrounds will help develop a plan of action, share their unique perspectives, and participate in dialogue around this topic.  We look forward to hearing the results from this important collaborative event.