Program Highlights

Thursday – January 11, 2018

8:00 am – 12:00 pm                                           Research Methods Workshops (click here)
8:00 am – 12:15 pm                                            Special Sessions on Research Priorities & Capacity Building (click here)
12:15 pm – 1:30 pm                                      “Meet the Scientist” Luncheon

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) will be holding the “Meet the Scientist” Luncheon to be held at the SSWR 22nd Annual Conference in Washington, DC. This special session provides a forum for early career scholars and doctoral students to talk and interact with established senior scholars who are leaders in social work research and the Society. Early career scholars and doctoral students will have the opportunity to ask questions about career development, challenges in the field, research initiatives, and where the field might be heading. Each senior scholar will be seated at a table with up to 6 early career scholars and doctoral students.

Senior Scholars: Mark Courtney, Jeffrey Edleson, Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, Flavio Marsiglia, Ruth McRoy, Enola Proctor, Anna Scheyett, Jane Waldfogel, Mieko Yoshihama, Luis Zayas

3:15 pm – 4:45 pm                                               Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop I

This symposium brings together a panel of editors from five generalist research journals in social work: Journal of Social Service Research, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Research on Social Work Practice, Social Service Review, and Social Work Research. The editors will describe their respective journals, offer guidance on submissions, explain the editorial decision-making process, and advise on the process of creating publishable articles. Time will be provided for questions, comments, and suggestions from the audience and responses from the Editors.

Speakers/Presenters: Jeffrey M. Jenson, PhD, University of Denver, Mark E. Courtney, PhD, University of Chicago, Sophia Dziegielewski, PhD, University of Central Florida, Bruce A. Thyer, PhD, Florida State University and James Herbert Williams, PhD, University of Denver

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm                                              Opening Plenary Session

Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou, Māori) is Professor of Education and Māori Development at the University of Waikato and  has served as Pro-Vice Chancellor Māori, Dean of the School of Māori and Pacific Development and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She is Principal Investigator on the NPM Project – In Pursuit of the Possible: Indigenous Well-being, an international comparative study of the conditions, strategies, catalysts and meanings that indigenous people employ to realize their aspirations for well-being.

She has worked in the field of Māori education, research, and health for many years as an educator and researcher and is well known for her work in Kaupapa Māori research. Smith has published widely in journals and books. Her book Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2nd ed., 2012), has been one of the most widely cited publications relating to decolonizing research practices in the world since its initial publication in 1999. She is well known internationally as a public speaker.

Dr. Smith was a founding Joint Director of New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence from 2002-2007 and a Professor of Education at the University of Auckland.

She is a member of New Zealand’s Health Research Council and the Marsden Fund Council, Chair of the Māori Health Research Committee, President of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and Convener of the Social Sciences Assessment Panel. Most recently she was appointed to the Constitutional Advisory Panel Committee in New Zealand and the High Panel – Science, Technology and Innovation for Development in Paris.

In her groundbreaking 1999 book, Decolonizing Methodologies, Smith traces the history of scientific knowledge as it developed through racist practices and the exploitation of indigenous peoples, and asserts a challenging vision for how research and education can be used to confront colonialism and oppression. Re-released in 2012, this book launched a wave of indigenous-led critiques of academic power and proposals for indigenized methodological interventions.

Linda Tuhiwai Smith has continued to expand her work, most recently linking critiques of scientific authority to analyses of colonialism and anti-Māori bias in the Aotearoa (New Zealand) health care system. Decolonizing Methodologies remains the essential text in confronting colonialism in the academy and indigenising research methodologies and has sparked a major turn in methodological scholarship and perspectives on colonialism and research. Important works building on Decolonizing Methodologies including excellent works including (but certainly not limited to) Indigenizing the Academy by Devon Abbot Mihesuah and Angela Cavender Wilson (2004), Indigenous Methodologies by Margaret Kovach (2009), and Research is Ceremony by Shawn Wilson (2009). In 2013, she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for her work in support of Māori research and education.

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm                                              Opening Reception

Friday – January 12, 2018

9:45 am – 11:15 am                                      RCDC Research Roots & Wings Roundtable 1

“Using the GADE Quality Guidelines to Improve Doctoral Education”

The purpose of this roundtable, co-sponsored by SSWR’s Research Capacity Development Committee and the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE), is to discuss how the GADE Quality Guidelines may lead to PhD program improvement and increase the quality of student outcomes of PhD program graduates. GADE created its Quality Guidelines to help in developing, monitoring, and evaluating PhD Programs. These are not prescriptive, but rather serve as aspirational guidelines that provide PhD programs with a set of educational practices that guide and enhance programs, including a specific emphasis on research development. This roundtable will provide an overview of these guidelines and examples of how students, in addition to faculty and program administrators, can use these to optimize doctoral education. Discussion will be focused on how the GADE Quality Guidelines can help engage doctoral students in their own research development.  Participants will be encouraged to offer insights regarding how to apply these guidelines across a range of program-level priorities.

Presenters: Renee Cunningham-Williams, Liz Lightfoot, Paula Nurius, Peter Maramaldi, Jelena Todic  

11:30 am – 12:30 pm                                   Aaron Rosen Lecture

“Understanding stigmatization and resistance through ethnographic research: Implications for Practice”

Most of the groups of concern to social workers experience some form of stigmatization; that is, they are socially discredited by virtue of physical appearance (for example, a visible disability), by the group to which they belong (for example, an ethnic minority group) or by their behavior (for example, substance misuse or criminality). For the afflicted person, stigmatization is essentially an attack on the inherent worth of the self as a member of the social group. In this talk, I will draw on three ethnographies to understand how adults from different cultural communities scaffold the emerging “self” of children exposed to stigmatization; in other words, how diverse adults support children in resisting what Goffman (1963) termed the “spoiled identity.” We will consider African American children at church in Salt Lake City in the 1990s; Japanese children currently navigating elementary school in East Asia during a time of changing ideas and policies concerning disabilities; and White children from impoverished, substance-involved families in the rural Midwest in the first decade of the 21st century. We will consider socialization practices common across these very different cultural contexts, and also how those practices are culturally nuanced. I’ll argue that the understanding gained through this ethnographic research on how individuals resist stigmatization using resources available in their everyday lives provides important lessons for effective social work practice. If our interventions are informed by an understanding of how others in our clients’ cultural communities have successfully resisted stigmatization or other forms of oppression, then they are more likely to be culturally sensitive; in other words, to make sense to our clients and be effective and sustainable  in their everyday lives.

Speaker/presenter: Wendy Haight

1:45 pm – 3:15 pm                                               Invited Symposium I
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm                                       Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop II

“Forum on Publishing Qualitative Research”

This workshop is for conference participants seeking to publish qualitative research and scholarly work in social work journals. The workshop brings together a distinguished panel of editors, former editors, and researchers from four journals: Qualitative Social Work, Affillia, Journal of Social Work Education, and Families in Society. These journals are highly regarded in the profession and share commitments to excellence in social work research and publication.

In this session, the editors describe the aim of their respective journals and the editorial decision-making process. Most important, they will create a discussion with participants about what constitutes a publishable qualitative study that influences practice and policy. Before the session starts, participants will write their questions and comments on 3×5 cards. The chair will collect the cards and and use them to facilitate discussion. In this workshop, the editors contribute to the scholarly development of the participants by building skills related to successful publications.

The editors will discuss several issues, including how to match topics to specific journals, review processes, features of articles they’ve accepted for publication, how to respond to reviewer comments, and how to address the implications of their research for practice and policy.

Chair: Jane Gilgun, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; presenters: Sondra Fogel (Families in Society), Karen Staller (Qualitative Social Work), Susan Robbins (Journal of Social Work Education), Rupaleem Bhuyan, Yoosun Park, & Stephanie Wahab (Affilia)

Saturday – January 13, 2018

8:00 am – 9:30 am                                             Brief and Brilliant Session
9:45 am – 11:15 am                                             Invited Symposium II
11:30 am – 12:30 pm                                   Annual Social Policy Forum

“Young Lives at the Brink: How Social Work Can Address the Human Rights Issue of Our Time”

On September 5, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an administrative effort providing protection from deportation and work authorization to close to 800,000 immigrant youth and young adults. The decision to end a program that has provided opportunities for social mobility, increased mental health, and a sense of belonging—a model of immigrant integration—may be viewed as part of a troubling trend towards anti-immigrant hostility as policy. What’s more, enforcement activity in communities across the country has seen an uptick during this administration. What awaits these young people and their families? And how can social workers respond? While much of the public debate takes place at the 30,000 foot level, undocumented young people and children of mixed-status families have real needs that require immediate and local solutions. But immigrant youth and young adults are not without agency. Over the last decade, their social movement has garnered them significant political power and has captured the attention of the American public. This forum highlights the untenable circumstances of immigrant youth at the margins and, in doing so, reflects on the complex and nuanced ways in which they have responded – and directions for social workers to respond through policy research, advocacy, and other action. 

Speakers/presenters: Roberto G. Gonzales, Cristina Jiménez

12:30 pm – 1:45 pm                                     Doctoral Student Session and Luncheon

Please join us for food, conversation, and networking.  This year’s doctoral student panel will include panelists sharing their thoughts on how to network to enhance research collaboration, to prepare for the job market, and to disseminate your work beyond academia.  Dr. Anderson-Butcher is a Professor at the Ohio State University and the recent author of a book chapter on interprofessional collaboration.  Dr. Kevin Tan is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois and has recent experience on both sides of the job market.  Dr. Anasuya Ray completed her PhD at Rutgers before working as a Congressional Fellow for Senator Bernie Sanders.  Dr. Ray now works as the Special Assistant to the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations.

Speakers/Presenters: Dawn Anderson-Butcher, Anasuya Ray, Kevin Tan

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm                                            Grand Challenges Roundtable
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm                                             Board Service, Fellows and Awards (30 minutes)
2:45 pm – 3:45 pm                                       Presidential Plenary (1 hour)

Morris Dees was born in 1936 at Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers.  As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic depravation and Jim Crow treatment at its worse.

While at the University of Alabama Law School, he met Millard Fuller.  The two formed a highly successful publishing company during their time in law school.  After graduation, they moved the business to Montgomery, Alabama.  Fuller left the company in 1965 and later founded Habitat for Humanity.  Mr. Dees continued the business and also began taking controversial civil rights cases.

Mr. Dees sold his publishing company to a major national firm in 1970 and formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin.  Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA.  The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms.

In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity.  The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups.  A made-for-television movie about Mr. Dees aired on NBC.  “Line of Fire” describes his successful fight against the Ku Klux Klan.  It included the $7 million precedent-setting judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Alabama.  Wayne Rogers portrayed him in the feature film “Ghosts of Mississippi” about the murder of civil rights worker Medgar Evers.

Other victories against hate groups include a $6 million judgment that bankrupted the Aryan Nations, a $12.5 million jury verdict against the California-based White Aryan Resistance for the death of a black student and a $26 million verdict against the Carolina Klan for burning black churches.

Klansmen burned the Center offices in1983.  The arsonists were convicted but not before their leader plotted to kill Mr. Dees.  More than thirty men have since been imprisoned for plots to harm him or destroy Center property.  This threat requires a high degree of security during public appearances.

To promote acceptance and tolerance, the Center founded Teaching Tolerance in 1990.  Over 80,000 schools use the project’s free videos and teaching materials and over 400,000 teachers receive the award winning Teaching Tolerance magazine.  The Center has won two Oscars for its tolerance education films and received five Oscar nominations.  Mr. Dees believes that it is important to teach tolerance in the classroom as well as fight hate in the courtroom.

Mr. Dees has received numerous awards in conjunction with his work.  The U.S. Jaycees chose him as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America for his early business success.  Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named him Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987.  In 2009, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyers’ Hall of Fame by the National Trial Lawyers Association.  The American Bar Association honored him in 2012 with the ABA Medal, their highest honor, and The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) honored him with their Courageous Advocacy Award in 2015.  He received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolence Peace Prize in April 2016 from The King Center in Atlanta and the National Education Association President’s Award for Human and Civil Rights in July 2016.  Dees was honored again by the National Trial Lawyers in 2017 when he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.  He received the Champion of Justice Award from the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights in 2017.

Mr. Dees is the author of three books, A Lawyers Journey, his autobiography, Hate on Trial and Gathering Storm, America’s Militia Threat.  He remains actively engaged in litigation. He and his wife, Katie, reside in Montgomery, Aabama.

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm                                             Invited Symposium III
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm                                      RCDC Research Roots & Wings Roundtable 2

“Open Channels: If, when, and how to communicate social work research beyond academic outlets”

Peer-reviewed publications may be the “coin of the realm” in the social sciences, but alternative modes of sharing scholarship are gaining traction among social work researchers. Multiple motives may drive this: investment in demonstrating community engagement and impact; frustration with academic publishing norms and constraints; concerns about the inaccessibility and unaffordability of journals and consequent disconnect between research and stakeholders; a desire to use our scholarship to shape policy and practice more directly; and excitement over the ways in which the proliferation of digital media has opened up new channels of communication with diverse audiences. Nevertheless, a host of concerns accompany these opportunities: catchy sound bites or hot topics may supplant complex analyses, whose significance is less readily distilled; engaging public audiences may expose researchers to new liabilities (e.g., trolling and harassment); learning to communicate in non-academic modes detracts from researchers’ time for research itself; doctoral students are rarely trained in non-academic communication; and it is unclear how to account for non-academic engagement in faculty hiring and tenure decisions. This roundtable will bring together featured participants and audience members to consider the catalysts and consequences, for better and for worse, of social work researchers’ engagement with diverse media and audiences.

Moderator: Laina Y. Bay-Cheng, Associate Professor & PhD Program Director, University at Buffalo

Featured Participants (alphabetical order): Tina Barr, PhD student, University of Minnesota; Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; JaeRan Kim, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Tacoma; Desmond Patton, Assistant Professor, Columbia University

5:45 pm – 6:15 pm                                               Membership Meeting (30 minutes)
6:15 pm – 7:15 pm                                                President’s Reception

If you have any questions, please contact: DeeJay Garringo, CAE, SSWR Program Director,, 703-352-7797, ext. 218

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