Spring 2015

Winter Issue
School of Social Work
Our vision is to create a better society through individual and social change. 

We seek to develop a more equitable, caring, and socially just society. Such a society meets basic human needs, eliminates social and economic inequities, and empowers individuals, their communities, and institutions to reach their aspirations and potential.

Continuing Education
Fall Web Programs

Starts 10/16/15
(1/14 - 12/15)
Hazelette Crosby-Robinson, '08



Randy Ross, '94

Vice President

Jonathan Stern, '84


Rhea Braslow, '76

Stephanie Francois, '07
Norm Lancit, '98
Judy Levick, '82
Alan McBroom, '77
Joseph Mole, '01
Mary Ortega, '86
Vicki Poleni, '91
Nan Richter, '09
Will Sherry, '07
Tracy Thomas, '98
Anne Walker, '92
MeShon Watkins, '08
Jamila Weathers, '04
Clifford Yee, '05
Dean Laura Lein
Mike Spencer
Susan Himle
Laurie Bueche


(734) 763-9534   

Read about SSW alumni in the news.

You can share your news and updates with fellow alumni in the Class Notes section of the SSW website.

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Student support is our number one priority for the Victors for Michigan campaign. You too can help us address this need by establishing an endowed scholarship or by making a gift to an established scholarship fund. If you are interested, please contact the SSW Development Office ([email protected]). 

Celebrate Homecoming & Reunion Weekend
We have planned an exciting line-up of events, including an All-Class Reunion Lunch, Alumni Tailgate Party and more. Check back here for event details and registration.

Distinguished Alumni Awards
The School of Social Work 
Alumni Board of Governors 
will soon be accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Letter from the Dean
SSW faculty regularly appear in leading academic journals, are frequently cited by the press and have recently published six new books. Whether you seek knowledge you can apply at work or simply the joy of learning, there's a research topic from our SSW faculty that's sure to pique your interest and spark creativity. Gifts to the Victors for Michigan campaign fund SSW research efforts. Your support of the campaign allows faculty members and the students they mentor to explore new areas of inquiry, expand the scope of their research and disseminate their findings in exciting and inventive ways. Support our School of Social Work research efforts and student scholarships by checking out the links. 

We aspire to make the world a better place-through the research discoveries of our faculty, students and graduates wide range of contributions to our society. Your generosity enables us to continue leading the profession in teaching, research, innovation and service.

Laura Lein

Dean, School of Social Work 


SSW Faculty's Newest Books

Beth Spencer MA, LMSW
Brian Perron, PhD, MSW, BA
Lydia Li, PhD, MSW
Mary Ruffolo, PhD, MSW, BS
Brian Perron, PhD, MSW, BA
Diane Vinokur-Kaplan, PhD, MA, MSW, BA
Scholarship Established for Students Focused on Medical Social Work 
Lauren Hanley
"I am incredibly grateful for the Mary DeLue Romano Memorial Scholarship because it allowed me to start preparing for life after graduation and my future social work career." - Lauren Hanley


Mary Romano
A generous endowed scholarship has been established through an estate gift provided by Ross and Leona DeLue, parents of Mary D. Romano, MSW '68, to honor their daughter's work advocating for persons with disabilities and her contribution to the social work profession.

Romano was the ultimate patient advocate, who ensured persons with disabilities were successfully reintegrated into the community. The endowed scholarship provides support for U-M School of Social Work MSW students interested in medical social work.

Carol Goss Leadership Scholarship Motivates Students Toward Success


"The Carol Goss Leadership Scholarship afforded me tremendous opportunity to enrich my development as a future social worker and community leader far beyond what I was learning in the classroom at U-M,"  Michael Joiner-Hill, MSW'14 said. "You just can't put a price on that". 


Carol Goss

The Carol Goss Leadership Scholarship was established by a grant from the Skillman Foundation to honor Carol Goss, MSW'72, former President and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, upon her retirement. We are honored that the Foundation selected the U-M School of Social Work to celebrate Carol's legacy at the Foundation and her many years of service to the Detroit community. This scholarship provides support for MSW students with leadership potential, from the Detroit area, who have a passion for the community and the social work profession. 

Continue reading about the Carol Goss Scholarship >>


Teaching Innovation
Teaching innovation at the School of Social Work is in constant motion.
Here's a 
glimpse at recent faculty research.


Breaking Down Silos
Debra Mattison
Brad Zebrack
SSW is collaborating on a new course to break down silos in the education of healthcare workers to optimize patient care. The schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Social Work and College of Pharmacy are launching an innovative course titled Team-Based Clinical Decision Making. The winter 2015 course is the first of its kind at U-M and may be one of the largest semester-long inter professional education courses in the country. SSW's Associate Professor Brad Zebrack and lecturer Debra K. Mattison are participating in teaching the course, along with faculty from each of the participating schools.

PhotoVoice Project on NHK Japanese TV 


Mieko Yoshihama
Professor Mieko Yoshihama's PhotoVoice Exhibit was featured on NHK Japanese TV and also on the home page of the Center for Japanese Studies. The overall goal of the PhotoVoice project is to strengthen the disaster response policies and practices in Japan (and beyond) by engaging the women affected by the disasters in the analyses of societal conditions and collective efforts to address them.













E-portfolios Increasingly Useful 


Over the past few years, Professor Mary Ruffolo, Associate Dean and Professor Mike Spencer, and various other ePortfolio stakeholders, have worked diligently to integrate ePortfolios into the MSW experience. Click here to see examples of outstanding ePortfoliosincluding work by Zoe Zulakis

and Aaron Gibson.  

Ruffolo received a grant to bolster the ePortfolio initiative at the SSW. Two courses were developed, SW 631 and SW 731, and focus on integrative learning and creating an ePortoflio. Additionally, numerous professors are using ePortfolio in the classroom in a variety of capacities. In the near future SSW ePortfolio stakeholders hope to implement a capstone course requirement, use ePortfolios as a student success outcome measure, and hold virtual or in person career fairs with ePortfolios as a centerpiece. 

The ePortfolio Showcase is similar to a professional poster session. Students are expected to present themselves and their work as though they're at a professional networking event or job interview.


Student Spotlight 


Neetha Mony MSW Candidate December 2015
Coverdell Fellow
Practice Method Concentration: Management of Human Services
Practice Area: Community and Social Systems
Minor: Social Policy and Evaluation

Field Placement: American Indian Health and Family Services


Neetha Mony
The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program provides Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) with the opportunity to earn a Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan and to participate in the Community-Based Initiative (CBI) Fellowship in Detroit. This year, Neetha Mony, MSW'15, is one of three students chosen for the Coverdell Fellows Program, and together these RPCVs are bringing a global perspective to the courses, projects and field placements at CBI.

"We focus on meeting the needs of the Detroit community and creating social change," says Mony. "My international experience has definitely impacted how I observe and assess needs, identify goals and develop ways to create sustainable change. With the CBI fellows, we all bring something different to the table, work together as a team, and learn from each other."

In addition to her Coverdell Fellowship, Mony also received the Katherine Reebel Scholarship Fund, the Dean's Mission Scholarship, and a School of Social Work Michigan Opportunity Grant. Mony is studying Management of Human Services and Community and Social Systems. She hopes to one day become the director of an international humanitarian organization.

"I'm very passionate about issues affecting women and children globally, especially human trafficking," said Mony. "When I began looking at MSW programs, all of my research pointed to U-M. But because I was from out-of-state, I didn't think I could afford the cost of tuition. The scholarships I received made a huge difference for me. I would not have been able to attend U-M without such generous funding."

CBI is a partnership between the School of Social Work, the city of Detroit, and its surrounding communities. The initiative was established to provide training and support for future social workers who are dedicated to community and social change. After graduation, CBI students work as community organizers, policymakers, program planners, organization managers and administrators, evaluators, and foundation staff in Michigan, around the U.S. and internationally.

Faculty Spotlight 


Adjunct Professor Laura Sanders Named Activist of the Year

Laura Sanders
Adjunct Professor Laura Sanders, MSW '88, has many accomplishments to her impressive career and most recently was named 2014 Activist of the Year by the Organization of Latino Social Workers, which is committed to improving the overall health and psychological well-being of the Latino population. 

Sanders has been an adjunct instructor with U-M SSW since 1996, and currently teaches Interpersonal Practice with Children Youth, Interpersonal Practice with Adult Individuals and Interpersonal Practice with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Clients. Her dynamic classroom presentation includes many case examples and emphasizes evidence-based interventions addressing diverse groups of children or adolescents within their social contexts.

She also co-teaches the class Immigration Enforcement, Human Rights, and Social Justice with Associate Professor Sherrie A. Kossoudji, which focuses on the community and personal impact of controversial public policy. This course concentrates on one aspect of immigration policy, undocumented immigrants and the public policy strategy of enforcement for undocumented immigrants. Class discussion of the policies and practices of enforcement examine the public policy impact on people, families and Michigan communities. The discussions also include a global, national, state and a local component to help students acquire the skills to critically analyze this aspect of immigration policy and its controversies.

In addition to her adjunct teaching and private practice, Sanders is the co-founder of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition of Immigrant Rights, an all-volunteer organization which responds to the needs of families and communities targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, detainments and deportations.

Sanders shared her Activist of the Year award with Melanie Harner, Margaret Harner and Ramiro Martinez, her fellow co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition of Immigrant Rights.
Thank you for all you do to support our students and strengthen our school.