Mar
20

Special Feature Screening: Paper Tigers, One High School's Unlikely Success Story
Mar
21

The 2017 Mary Baskin Waters Lecture Series
Mar
31

A Community of Connection
Apr
11

Social Work Practice Meets Religion & Spirituality

11.01.2016

College students are not the only beneficiaries of the CoSW’s faculty experts and community partnerships. The CoSW often offers CEU opportunities for practitioners in an effort to strengthen our community and foster positive relationships with organizations. The Second Tuesday Series and i3’s Innovation Design Institute are just two ways in which the CoSW is committed to community.

The Second Tuesday Series features rotating guest speakers and is open to anyone. Lana Cook, Field Seminar Instructor and Training Coordinator, currently facilitates the program, which was started by Director of Field Education and Clinical Associate Professor Melissa Reitmeier. Reitmeier introduced the idea three years ago as a way to give back to the field community, explains Cook, and the series took off from there. “Field supervisors give so much of their time,” says Cook, and offering free CEU opportunities seemed like a good way to thank them.

The purpose of Second Tuesdays is to provide the tools required for developing a certain skill set. Additionally, each event boasts excellent opportunities for networking. Social workers from schools, hospitals, and non-profit organizations can learn from each other. Attendees may come to the event hoping to learn about an underserved population, but they can also gain exposure to how other organizations work to serve that population.

This fall semester, Second Tuesday has hosted a workshop on poverty and homelessness, led by the MSW graduate and Director of Programs at Transitions Lauren Wilkie, and a program about working with undocumented immigrants, led by Assistant Professor Ben Roth. Roth was “pleasantly surprised at the number of people in the room who came with questions.” Roth began the evening with a brief history lesson starting in the 1800s, in order to show “how recent the idea of ‘undocumented’ as a category is in relation to the story of immigration in the U.S.” and how important understanding this history is for social workers. Participants asked questions about immigrant rights and immigration policy in South Carolina and were engaged and enthusiastic.

The last Second Tuesday of the year is “Introducing Welcome Table SC: A Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation” with Rushondra James, a Student Services Program Coordinator with the CoSW, and Dawn Campbell, an instructor in Women’s and Gender Studies. James and Campbell were selected as Faculty Facilitators for the new South Carolina Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation sponsored by UofSC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Advance registration is a must, as seating is limited.

i3 photo2A very different learning opportunity is offered via Dr. Robert Hock’s i3 project, which is an incubator for bold ideas for solving social problems. Applications for the 2017 cohort are due on November 14th. Groups from non-profit organizations can attend a Prep Session and apply for the i3 Incubator. In the future, i3 will host an Innovation Design Institute. The Institute “is part of i3’s mission,” explains Hock, “to help equip leaders in social sector organizations to create innovative solutions and implement them in the community.” Though any group is welcome to apply for the i3 incubator, Institute participants will have an “opportunity to put focused energy into teams of people and to walk everyone through a process” that will help gain a nuanced look at a problem and determine possible solutions. In this human-centered design process, teams identify a problem, craft a problem statement, and use visual thinking techniques like storyboarding or creating a composite of a client. Then, after participants have made some insights, they move on to the brainstorming phase. The goal here is to “keep pushing for the ideas that haven’t emerged yet—then we move into the prototyping process,” says Hock. Participants “build to learn,” an energizing strategy which is not always feasible for time- and cash-strapped non-profits.

“Our hope is to inspire leaders and equip teams to launch new social solutions in our community—and get people excited again!” says Hock. “We’re hoping to spark and be a hub of creativity” for social organizations looking to innovate and invigorate.

i3 will continue to offer prototyping and workshops on program implementation and a variety of free resources on its website. Through innovative projects like i3 and workshops like Second Tuesdays, faculty and staff at the CoSW are engaging the community and strengthening social work practice in South Carolina.

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