Widener University
Center for Social Work Education
Vol. II, Issue IV
March 2013
In This Issue
Best Wishes to Michelle McCann, LCSW
2013 Graduation Banquet
Phi Alpha Honors Society Induction Ceremony
Job Opportunity: Fee for Service Counselor
Social Work Thailand Trip
Job Opening: Director of SWCS and Clinical Asst. Professor
BSW Student Profile: Liz Braccia
Illuminating the Meanings of February and March
Take Back the Night 2013
NABSW Tree of Knowledge
Careers in Social Work Conference
Upcoming CEU Events
Alumni Banquet
Alumni Scholarship Recipient
Knowing What Works: Designing a Service Evaluation
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Looking for Field Placement Supervisors
If you or someone you know has an MSW and would be interested in becoming a field placement supervisor for the Center's current BSW or MSW students, please contact Pat Fletcher, Director of Field Education at 
610-499-1133 or pafletcher@widener.edu.
Support the Center for Social Work Education
Did you know that the percentage of alumni giving is almost as important as the amount a university receives?  Your donation of as little as $5 can make a big difference for the Center for Social Work Education.  Please consider helping to support the Center and its students by mailing a check to:
Widener University Development Office
Attn: Center for Social Work Education
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013

or through the University Advancement Office's website.

Thank you for your support of Widener University's Center for Social Work Education. 


John Poulin

Higher education is changing and the ways of delivering education have changed dramatically during the past few years.  The traditional classroom setting, with a professor and students all together in a room, is now the exception rather than the rule in many disciplines.  Social work education has lagged behind the movement to non-traditional class formats, but that is changing.  Many of today's social work students work full-time while pursuing their MSW degrees.  The external demands on our part-time MSW students are great.  Stressful jobs, pressing family responsibilities, demanding graduate classes, and time-consuming field placements all make obtaining a graduate social work degree a challenge, to say the least.


In the past year, we have significantly increased the number of hybrid, weekend, and on-line courses in our MSW program.  Hybrid courses have a combination of in-person class sessions and on-line components.  The typical hybrid course will have six or seven in-person class sessions rather than the traditional 14 three-hour on-campus classes, with the other approximate half of the course delivered on-line.  Weekend courses are just that: held on weekends only.  There are two formats: those that meet on six or seven Saturdays throughout the semester from 9:00am to 3:00pm and those that meet on both Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am to 4:00pm two or three weekends during the semester.  Additional course content is delivered on-line.  We now also offer a small number of on-line courses. These courses are 100% on-line with no on-campus class sessions. Our hybrid, weekend, and on-line courses all provide students greater flexibility than the traditional 14-session on-campus course.


I am pleased with our progress in creating more options for our students.  However, completing our MSW program still requires students to take most of their courses on campus in a traditional class.  Believing that we need to do more, I recently appointed a faculty task force to explore the development of a 100% on-line/weekend option for our MSW program.  I believe that such a program will be an attractive option and make graduate social work education more assessable to those unable to attend graduate school full-time.  I look forward to the faculty task force's recommendations and in the meantime, we will continue to expand the number of hybrid, weekend, and on-line course we offer each semester.


John Poulin, Ph.D.

Director and Associate Dean

Best Wishes to Michelle McCann, LCSW

Michelle McCannMichelle McCann, Director of Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS) and Clinical Assistant Professor, has decided to leave Widener as of June 30th and return to the corporate world.  Michelle received her MSW from Widener in 2004.  She joined SWCS in 2008 as a supervisor and coordinator of the Circle for Change (CFC) program serving long-term welfare recipients.  CFC was an innovative program that incorporated a strengths perspective in helping the program participants overcome barriers to their joining the world of work.  Michelle and her CFC team of interns had remarkable success in helping women who had been on welfare for years make significant changes in their lives.


In July 2011, Michelle became the Director of SWCS and began teaching foundation practice courses in the MSW program.  Michelle has been a highly successful classroom teacher and is viewed by her students as being very supportive and nurturing.  We are sorry to see Michelle leave the Center for Social Work Education, but respect her decision to pursue opportunities and use her clinical skills in the financial industry.  We thank her for her many significant contributions to SWCS and for the students she has supervised, mentored, and taught.  We wish Michelle the very best in her new journey.

2013 Graduation Banquet
Congratulations to this year's BSW, MSW, and PhD graduates!  In honor of your accomplishments, the Center is holding a graduation banquet.  All graduates, full-time faculty members, and Center Advisory Board members, along with one guest, are invited to attend this event at Heritage Ballroom on Thursday, May 16th from 6:30-10:30pm. The evening will include hors d'oeuvres, a buffet dinner, a cash bar, student awards, speeches from your favorite professors, and an opportunity to socialize and celebrate. Graduates will also have the chance to win a Google Nexus 7 Tablet!  For more information and to register, please click here.  We hope to see you there!

*If graduating students wish to be included in a slideshow to be displayed at the banquet, please send at least one picture of yourself to socialwork@mail.widener.edu. Other photos from your time at Widener and/or of you with other graduates would also be greatly appreciated!
Phi Alpha Honors Society Induction Ceremony
Phi Alpha 2 Phi Alpha

On Monday, March 18th from 6-8pm, the newest members of the Phi Alpha Honors Society, Nu Alpha chapter were honored at an induction ceremony.  President Lindsey Kunkel, faculty advisor Prof. Laura Sadtler, and Center Director Dr. John Poulin gave inspiring and thoughtful speeches to the inductees, friends, family, and partners in attendance.  All participants were provided a buffet dinner and celebratory cake. Each inductee was also individually recognized and awarded a medallion, certificate, and ribbon to commemorate his/her achievements.  Congratulations to our new Phi Alpha members!
Job Opportunity: Fee for Service Counselor

Many graduate students experience stress and other issues that require counseling and support.  Unfortunately, our part-time MSW students and full-time Psy.D students are not allowed to use the university counseling center. The MSW students are not eligible because of their part-time status and the Psy.D students because the counseling center is staffed by Psy.D interns.


The Center for Social Work Education and the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology are looking for a therapist who can provide short-term counseling services to our graduate students.  Counseling will be provided at the Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS) facility on campus. We would like to contract with a therapist who can provide counseling services to our students for a discounted fee in exchange for the use of the SWCS counseling offices for their practice.  The service would be free for the students.  The negotiated fees would be paid by social work or clinical psychology.  If you are interested in exploring this further, please call John Poulin at 610-499-1150 or email jepoulin@widener.edu.

Social Work Thailand Trip
Thailand Trip 

Thailand Trip 6  

On Feb. 28th, 2013, twenty-five MSW students and three faculty members, Robin Goldberg-Glen, Celeste Johnson and John Giugliano boarded United Airlines 837 and headed to the "land of smiles:" Bangkok, Thailand.  Arriving at 23:45 hours, they began their first day as participants in an overseas field study focused on international social work from a Thai perspective.  This project was organized by long-time friends Dr. Goldberg-Glen and Dr. Decha Sungkawan, Dean of Thammasat University's School of Social Administration.  The two, with the assistance of Thammasat social work staff, organized the international field study opportunity that focused on learning about non-governmental organizations, the Thai rural community lifestyle, community welfare and development, cultural activities, and academic lectures from the Thammasat faculty.  Cultural highlights of the trip included visits to the Klong Lat Mayom Floating Market, Wat Phra Kaew, Coral Island, the Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha Temple, Wat Khaokadone Temple, and riding elephants at a non-profit sanctuary.  Student excitement was heightened by their introduction to Thai rural culture and cooking classes led by the leader and residents of a self-contained community designed to avert gentrification and displacement of the vulnerable.  Students savored Thai delicacies such as Po Pla Tod, Phad Pak Ruam Mit, Tom Yum Gung, and Pla Ka Pong Rad Prik under a thatched gazebo built by the community for their visit.


Faculty members quickly noted informal and formal learning. This was best evidenced when students visiting the Father Ray Foundation for disadvantaged children, children of street workers, and children with disabilities; Taksin Hospital outpatient and inpatient units for victims of HIV; and an orphanage in Pattaya compassionately asked questions regarding service delivery.  Students were quick to compare and contrast welfare programs, clinical services, and policies in the US to the 50th largest country in the world where 95% of the population are Buddhists and, based on their values, selflessly provide care for those at risk. Observations in Pattaya regarding human trafficking introduced dual degree MSW/Human Sexuality students to the macro perspective of economies of sexuality.  An overnight home stay at the Rayon-Ban Jumrung community exposed students to a unique community development project based on the values of self-reliance and simplicity as an approach for success in life. 


The trip concluded with two nights of lively Karaoke, John Giugliano joining the Thammasat faculty singing Dream, Dream, Dream, Dr. Johnson line dancing, and the formation of many new alliances and friendships which hopefully will lead to future collaborations.  Given the success of this trip, The Center for Social Work Education will be offering SW688: Global Social Work: A Thai Perspective again next year, in addition to offering a certificate in international social work.  The students who attended have been transformed by this experience and received valuable information they will now apply to their personal and professional lives, as evidenced below:

"What I learned in Thailand is that little is more! It doesn't take much to be happy! Thailand helped me face my challenges and it gave me a new perspective on life." - Shea Marriott, MSW student 
"The trip to Thailand was absolutely incredible. We were able to see different Thai communities and each one welcomed us as if we were family. Learning more about Thai culture was so enriching, it was an experience I'll never forget." - Erica Massimino, MSW/M.Ed student
"The trip was an amazing experience.  Special thanks to Robin and everyone involved in making it happen!" - Tiffany Pheasant, MSW student
"The trip was very humbling. Thailand is a beautiful place to have fun and learn. The Thai are so nice and very friendly.  They smile all day which helps. I learned so much about others and myself. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yes, I want to go back!!" - Nikoya Williams, MSW student
"Thailand was definitely the most amazing experience I have ever had!  The most eye-opening experience was when we cooked a Thai lunch in a Thai community.  One man used his wealth to develop this community.  I was so touched by his passion for the people and for the community.  He created this community for the good of the people and spread his wealth rather than being "rich."  This experience really put a lot of things in perspective." - Rachel Kay, MSW student
"The trip to Thailand provided me with a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience another culture and develop an understanding of global social services.  We had a fantastic time eating new foods, socializing, and riding elephants." - Anna Antram, MSW student
"The Thailand experience was amazing! It truly holds to its name of being the "land of smiles" because even in a country with poverty surrounding every inch of it, they still manage to stay humble and welcoming to all people.  What I took away was that uniting communities and families will strengthen a society regardless of the health and welfare conditions.  This experience will carry me through my professional life as a social worker." - Airika Pollard, MSW student  
"This once in a lifetime opportunity allowed us, as students of social work and human sexuality, to witness not only the life experiences and needs of international communities, but the amazing work being done by social workers and community organizations abroad.  With this knowledge and insight, we might better inform our own practice as professionals in the field and bring to our careers a revitalized sense of spirit and inspiration." - Loretta Fitzgibbons, MSW/M.Ed student
Thailand Trip 2   Thailand Trip 6  
Job Opening: Director of Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS) & Clinical Assistant Professor

Requirements: Master of Social Work, LSW or LCSW, at least three years of agency supervisory experience, and knowledge of the Chester community.  Experience working in a school setting would be an asset.


SWCS is a Center for Social Work Education operated service agency that provides free social work services to vulnerable populations and communities.  All SWCS services are delivered by Widener BSW and MSW field placement students.


The Director will be responsible for the overall operations of the SWCS program.  This will include working collaboratively with the Widener Partnership Charter School and other community partner agencies.  The Director will provide direct supervision to the interns and any other designated supervisors and work closely with the school or agency staff to ensure that the interns have appropriate and enriching learning opportunities. Other responsibilities will include budgeting, grant writing, teaching in the MSW program, faculty committee work, and functioning as the faculty liaison to the MSW Alumni Organization. 


This position requires an individual who is able to work autonomously and take initiative and who has excellent leadership qualities and vision.  The applicant needs to be well-organized, enthusiastic, collaborative, and excited about working with students and the mission of SWCS.  


This is a 12 month, full-time, non-tenure track faculty position in the Center for Social Work Education with a competitive salary and generous benefits package.  If interested in applying for this exciting opportunity, please email a cover letter and resume to Professor Pat Fletcher at pafletcher@widener.edu.

BSW Student Profile: Liz Braccia Liz Braccia

Liz Braccia is currently a junior in the dual degree BSW/Gender and Women Studies

program here at Widener University.  She has been the president of the BSW Club for the past two years and is also the president of the sorority Tri-Sigma.  Liz currently serves as one of two BSW students on the Center Advisory Board.  In addition to all of that, her main project this semester is acting as Committee Chair of Take Back the Night, an annual event around raising awareness about sexual violence.  


Liz has been dedicated to helping people her entire life.  In high school she always said if she could make a career out of volunteering, she would.  When Liz discovered the field of social work at the age of 16, she knew it was the perfect career path for her.  As of now, Liz would be happy working with any population, but her primary interest lies in working with victims of trauma and being an advocate for women dealing with domestic violence and/or sexual abuse.


After her expected graduation in May 2014, Liz plans to continue her education by pursuing her MSW.  She hopes to get accepted into an advanced standing program.  In regards to her future career as a social worker, Liz is interested in working in a hospital setting and in getting her EMDR certificate.  We wish Liz the best of luck during the rest of her time here at Widener and want to extend our appreciation for her many wonderful contributions to the Center!

Illuminating the Meanings of February and March by Dr. Richard Cooper   
As wRichard Coopere benignly move away from the month of February and begin the month of March from within the semester-driven calendar, we take a moment here to briefly inhale with a Sankofa-like gaze back at February and gently exhale with a womanist-social work examination of March. For me, social work epistemology teaches us to explore the often veiled "seemingly normal" and undiscovered reality of a particular event or phenomena to illuminate deeper meanings and truths for both ourselves as social workers and also for the often "marginalized others" whom we hope to better serve.

Social work, in part, should be a corrective worldview which seeks to uplift the oppressed via their own agency or will as articulated in the nomenclature of empowerment. By undertaking this truth-seeking endeavor, social workers debunk hegemonic discourses and create authentic consumer-driven meanings based on their own lived experiences rather than simply accepting those ideas being manufactured by the elite to quell the potential of the "sleeping giants" as identified by Marx.


Affirming March as both Women's History Month and Social Work Month initially creates some minor discord for more historically astute social workers, being that the naming of March is attributed to Martis or Mars, the Greek god of war.  Historically, it has been the male species that has most contributed to warfare and death based on multifaceted disputes which social work ideally would seek to resolve in womanist-oriented ways. Celebratory months like February and March do require further illumination of the eras in which they were metaphorically birthed as a way to pay greater homage to the ascribed positive attributes that we hope to take away from these times as enlightened social workers.  


When the late historian, activist and scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1925, he sought to correct both the lack of recognition and lack of awareness of the historical contributions of African Americans. This effort was one of many that Dr. Woodson would devise to address varied forms of then ongoing institutionalized oppression and even sanctioned lynching, murders and mutilations of African American men and women. America at that time was more of a "bi-polar society" that on one level touted the virtues of a "post-slavery enlightened immigrant welcoming society," while simultaneously fueling the treachery of the Jim Crow era. In 1976, being the bi-centennial anniversary of the United States, Negro History Week was expanded to a full month of "28 days."


I argue that America never really vested resources to buttress Woodson's real dream of bringing awareness of African American accomplishments to the masses. What remains today regarding said accomplishments is largely a symbolic gesture to Woodson as most cultural diversity gazes are standard fodder in American lore as more organic contributions of African Americans largely remain hidden.


Social workers should learn to place significant meanings on March as both National Social Work Month and Women's History month. Women's History Month was birthed in 1981 and National Social Work Month was birthed in 1965. We should not lose sight of the upcoming one hundredth anniversary of the women's suffrage march for women's rights on March 3, 1913, later affirmed finally as the 19th amendment to the constitution. We should seek to cogently apply this year's theme, "Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy " of social work history month to all aspects of our work and beyond. As Woodson's vision for Black History month remains largely deferred, let us continue to more fully acknowledge the contributions of women in all areas, but especially in building and creating theoretical frameworks used in social work and uplifting our profession which continues to be beautifully populated by the oft unrecognized efforts of women who fuel the work of our profession.

Take Back the Night 2013
Take Back the Night, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence, promoting respectful relationships, and creating safer communities throughout the world, will be held on Widener's main campus next Wednesday, April 3rd.  There are many events planned throughout the day and your participation is much appreciated! From 12-4pm the Clothesline Project will be held at the University Center.  Victims and family and friends of victims are welcome to decorate shirts to spread awareness of sexual violence.  During that same time there will be various workshops held at the University Center following the schedule listed below:

Room A:

12 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Basic Self Defense With State Troopers

1 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Basic Self Defense With State Troopers

2 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Dana Forrest, "How Men can be More Involved in Issues of Violence Against Women"

3 p.m. - 3:45 p.m

Victoria Panna, Human Sexuality Doctoral Student, "The Sexual Victimizing of Men"


Room C:

12 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Blake Cohen, Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, "Dating Violence 101"

1 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Dr. Angela Corbo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, "Communicating About Abuse"

2 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

Blake Cohen, Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, "Dating Violence 101"

3:20 - 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Angela Corbo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, "Communicating About Abuse"


The day will culminate with a talk from the keynote speaker, Debra Puglisi-Sharp, at 5:30pm in the Webb Room.  Ms. Puglisi-Sharp, author of Shattered, Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence, wife, nurse, and mother of teenage twins, was attacked, raped, and kept hostage for five days by a man who broke into her home and shot and killed her husband of 25 years.  She promotes the understanding of the difference between a survivor and a victim and urges rape victims to reclaim their shattered lives. Following her talk, attendees will be invited to participate in a Speak Out in the Webb Room starting at 7pm.  A speak out provides individuals with a safe environment in which to speak about their experiences with sexual violence.


Everyone is welcome to attend and your support and participation will be very meaningful.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Committee Chair, Liz Braccia, at embraccia@mail.widener.edu. We hope to see you there!

NABSW Tree of Knowledge

In honor of March as Social Work Month, the NABSW created a Tree of Knowledge and asked social work students and faculty to think about what social work means to them. Participants wrote their responses on leaves and pasted them to the tree, creating a beautiful display that has stood outside of the social work office all month.  Responses to the question "What does social work mean to you?" included: 
  • "Bringing hope and support to those who need it most"
  • "The fight for social justice"
  • "Creating limitless possibilities"
  • "Saving lives one person at a time"
  • "Love for humanity and equal rights for all" 
  • "Community"

Thank you to the NABSW for introducing a unique project that has reminded us all of social work's values and intentions and thank you to all who participated. Happy Social Work Month!

Careers in Social Work Conference

Kim & Helen The first annual Careers in Social Work Conference was a success! The Master's of Social Work Student Organization (MSWSO) imagined this conference increasing students' knowledge and motivation for when they enter the Social Work field. In collaboration with the Center for Social Work Education, MSWSO achieved its goal. Approximately 30 students attended and found the conference valuable. To start, Amy Sagen, the NASW representative, presented on the importance of becoming licensed and what steps are involved in the licensing process. One student confessed that they were anxious about moving across state lines because they were unsure of how that would affect their licensure. Ms. Sagen comforted them by clarifying how to become licensed across the United States and what to do if you relocate. The rest of the morning was filled with professional development information presented by Mary McCaffrey from Career Services. Ninety percent of students stated that learning how to improve their resume and up their interview game was extremely useful.


During lunch, representatives from NHS spoke with students about job opportunities. Also, students were engaged by Human Sexuality Student Organization (HSEDSO) representatives and the MSWSO board. The afternoon began with Victoria Panna informing students about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP).  She shed light on an interesting therapeutic aid and provided students with research supporting its efficacy. Following her, Kimberly McKay taught students about the lessons she has learned along the way.  She also helped students explore their career options. The final piece of the afternoon was a panel, organized by the Alumni Organization, consisting of Lydia DeBiase, Louis Grow, and Jennifer Rose. They told students about their agencies and advised them on how to navigate difficult situations. They conveyed to students the high value of a Masters degree and described their most rewarding and challenging experiences. One student expressed that "the presentations were varied, which opened up options I wouldn't have otherwise known." Another shared that the presentations were "diverse in concepts and areas of knowledge." Overall, students appreciated the "vast amount of information" given to them and they hope that there will be a second annual Careers in Social Work Conference.

Careers Conference  Careers Panel

Upcoming CEU Events
The Japanese American Experience: Learning from History 
Presented by Dr. Hiro Nishikawa 
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 from 6pm-8pm
Widener University, University Center, Room C


Refugees and Immigrants: Culturally Competent Research and Practice
Presented by Dr. Sachi Ando 
Tuesday, April 23, 2013  from 6pm - 8pm 
Widener University, University Center, Room F
Registration information coming soon!
Alumni Banquet
Alum Banquet 2 Alum Banquet  
On Friday, March 15, 2013, nearly 80 Widener MSW alumni, faculty, and their guests gathered at the Heritage Ballroom for an Alumni Banquet to celebrate 20 years of MSW graduates. What a milestone for the Center! The evening was spent reminiscing with one another over the good times enjoyed during our education at Widener. People also had the chance to catch up on everyone's activities and accomplishments since graduation. We shared a delicious meal and participated in a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. A highlight was the presentation of this year's $1,000 scholarship to recipient Regina Sellman.  We hope to make this banquet an annual occurrence, as it was so enjoyed by all who attended!
The evening was organized by the Center for Social Work Education's MSW Alumni Organization, along with the assistance of our terrific graduate assistants. The goal of the MSW Alumni Organization is to help MSW alumni stay connected to Widener and the Center and to support current students in various ways, including offering an annual scholarship. We always welcome new members! If you are interested in participating, please contact Michelle McCann at mdmccann@widener.edu or 610-499-4684.
Alumni Scholarship Recipient 
The Alumni Organization would like to announce that Regina Sellman is the recipient of this year's $1,000 Alumni Scholarship Award.  Regina was selected for her compelling essay as well as her academic and service achievements.  Many current MSW students applied for this award, so this is quite an accomplishment.  Regina was honored with her award at the Alumni Banquet on March 15, 2013.  Congratulations, Regina!
Knowing What Works: Designing a Service Evaluation
On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, The Center for Social Work Education held its latest workshop in their monthly CEU series, "Knowing What Works: Designing a Service Evaluation." Associate Professor Dr. Stephen Kauffman presented this informative workshop to help a variety of professionals, from the highest level of agency administration all the way to the line worker, understand program evaluation. Furthermore, the workshop was designed to assist professionals with designing an evaluation by examining the purposes, methods, and measures that are often easily available. As a part of the training, Dr Kauffman provided opportunities to discuss and examine specific "real world" problems with participants. Participants enjoyed the interactive and engaging presentation and felt that "the content helped to inform their teaching and offered great advice and examples for application."