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Field Education Office Professional Development Workshop

BSW Cording & MSW Hooding

Kirk A. Foster, PhD,

Making Change Happen

What keeps Dr. Kirk Foster up at night is poverty and the fight against it. With a background in social work and theology, Foster researches how people with little or no income can use the resources available to them to make systematic change. Through community-based organizations, he wants to see marginalized populations overcome the forces that keep their voices from being heard.

Foster believes he can best effect change through the classroom. He hopes his high expectations will encourage students to push beyond their own limitations even after the semester ends. “My hope is that they go out into the world and that they help other people go where they didn’t think they could go,” Foster said. “That through their conversations, through their actions... they achieve things that they never dreamed were possible.”

Foster practices pedagogy and research with heart, cultivating compassion and giving others the tools to make change. Working against poverty is challenging, but Foster knows that achieving social justice takes risks. In his words, “Sometimes you have to do things right, but more often than not, you have to do the right thing.”

Research Background

Having worked as a local church pastor in diverse communities, Dr. Foster focuses his research on religious congregations and community-based organizations as brokers of resources necessary for social and economic development among the poor. His work emphasizes the role that diverse social networks play in gaining access to information and resources for development at both the individual and community levels. He is specifically interested in social capital leading to collective action for large-scale, sustainable community change. He uses social network analysis, GIS (geographic information systems), and quantitative and qualitative methods.

Kirk A Foster
Contact Info
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  • Office: 803.777.2377
  • Curriculum Vita
Major Classes Taught
  • SOWK 732 - Foundations of Social Work with Communities and Organizations
  • SOWK 712 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
  • SOWK 742 - Social Welfare Policy Analysis
Community Partners

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