December 08, 2005

MSASS sponsors spring break courses in the Netherlands

Case’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences will again offer its “Study in Amsterdam,” program, March 10-19. “Eye opening,” “engaging” and “a powerful learning experience” are how undergraduate students have described a past spring-break experience in the Netherlands.

“Transformational” is what Grover C. Gilmore, dean of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, has to say about what students see and experience on their tours throughout Amsterdam, in its public buildings and in meetings with government officials and social workers and about how the country is driven by “harm-reduction” public policies in contrast to America’s “law and order” social mentality.

Following last year’s trip, undergraduate students made the following
comments about their tour to the Netherlands:

“The class in the Netherlands has been one of my most memorable experiences
at Case. It helped me to get a sense of the world.”

Another student said, “I have never been in a course like this one, and I have found the hands-on experience so much more interesting and informative than a classroom lecture...It really helped me understand and look critically at various aspects and policies that we have in the U.S. and see how culture greatly influences these policies.”

According to Gilmore, up to 45 students will have the opportunity to experience internationalism in a new light as they view how the Netherlands through its social policies and leniency towards prostitution, euthanasia and drug use have taken a radically different approach from many other countries in the world.

MSASS will offer five, three-credit hour courses during this alternative spring experience and tap into the internationally recognized expertise of its faculty. The courses also reflect what makes the Netherlands unique in its approach to social issues, according to Gilmore.

He will accompany MSASS faculty members and teach the undergraduate seminar (CRN 52970, SASS 350) with Deborah Jacobson, an assistant professor and also an expert on women’s health issues.

At the graduate-level, MSASS will offer the following courses:

  • “Corrections,” (CRN 52970, SASS 575), led by Mark Fleisher, the Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor and director of the Begun Center for Violence Research, Prevention and Education. Fleisher’s research is on prison and prison cultures, with a cultural anthropological focus to his research.
  • “Alcohol
    and Drug Abuse,” (CRN 52988, SASS 575) will be team
    taught by Mark Singer, professor of social work, and Lenora Kola, associate professor
    of social work. Kola has been actively involved with the National Institute on
    Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism since 1975 and has developed training in dual diagnosis
    for individuals with both addiction and mental health issues. Singer is director
    of Case’s Dual Disorders Research Program and co-director of the university’s
    Center on Substance Abuse and Mental Illness, who also studies violence
    in the media and works closely on social-related issues with local law
    enforcement in Cleveland.

  • “Health Policy” (CRN 53003, SASS 575)
    is under the direction of David B. Miller, associate professor of social
    work. His research focuses on urban stress and mental health, violence
    and the resiliency of African-American youth.

  • “Women’s Health” (CRN 52997, SASS 575) will draw upon
    Jacobson’s extensive research and practical and professional experiences
    in women’s health issues and support group interventions through
    prior work with the Jewish Community Center, the Juvenile Court Services
    and Youth Alternatives and her active involvement with the National Association
    of Social Workers.

The fee for the 10-day trip is $1,650, which covers airfare, transportation in the Netherlands, lodging and continental breakfast. Students will stay in a three-star hotel which is near the museum district and the Leidseplein. The latter is a popular entertainment area with many restaurants, clubs and shops. In addition to the cost, students will need a current passport.

After meeting with the faculty leading the course and getting a permit required for registration, students can register for the experience while signing up for spring semester courses.

For information about the “Study in Amsterdam” program, contact Fleisher at or visit

Posted by: Heidi Cool, December 8, 2005 11:02 AM | News Topics: Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

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