As 2006 winds down and we gather together with our families for the holidays with hope in our hearts for a peaceful and prosperous new year, I wanted to take a moment to update you on what is happening here at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
TOWARDS A NEW CURRICULUM
With the fall semester came a new course in direct practice skills. In the spring we will introduce another new course on macro practice skills which will focus on group work and advocacy, among other skills. These courses will ensure that each graduate of the Mandel School has the fundamental core social work practice skills to enter the challenging world of social work. The courses also integrate theory and practice in ways that are relevant to the real world right now. So far, the early feedback on the additional course work has been encouraging. Some have commented that they don’t know how they could have worked in the field without this foundation. Because skills training is given even more emphasis in the curriculum, students and field advisors can count on a richer field experience. Students are able to provide better service in the field and receive exceptional training experience in their placements.
I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am of the dedication of the faculty to create a curriculum that is grounded in evidence-based practice that meets the needs of the 21st century. I know of no other faculty at other high-ranking universities that has engaged in such an endeavor with their degree of commitment.
Because of its curriculum emphasis on both direct practice and community and social development, the Mandel School has been able to attract more highly qualified students. The faculty hires since the implementation of the School’s strategic plan – Kathryn Adams, Michelle Munson, Mark Joseph and Mark Chupp -- have reinforced the plan’s goals.
THE OUTLOOK FOR MSASS
We are pleased to report that devising and implementing our strategic plan has placed the Mandel School on firm fiscal footing, even during a time when the University as a whole was experiencing more difficult challenges.
This year we received a record number of applications for the master’s program. We are purposely maintaining smaller classes in order to meet the needs of students within the limitations of our classroom space. The doctoral program, now chaired by Betsy Tracy, also had a high number of applications and was able once again to bring in a full class of ten very qualified students from around the country.
MSASS AROUND THE GLOBE
I also want to make special mention of the Mandel School’s burgeoning international programs. At a time when global tensions are making some turn inward and away from the rest of the world, the Mandel School is reaching out across the globe to foster greater understanding among cultures. We are leading study trips to El Salvador, Kenya, the Ukraine, Dominican Republic, and the Netherlands. This summer, following on the success of the annual Netherlands trip, we will take Mandel alumni on a trip to Amsterdam where they can learn about the unique Dutch social policies and earn continuing education units (for updates about this trip, check our website, http://msass.case.edu).
NEW UNIVERSITY LEADERSHIP
Finally, we’re excited about the historic choice the Trustees made when they chose Barbara Snyder, provost at Ohio State University, to become the new President of Case Western Reserve University beginning July 1. The Mandel School and its faculty are looking forward to hearing Dr. Snyder’s vision for the University, and we will ensure that the Mandel School continues its leadership position within and outside the University.
The progress and the gains we’ve made at the Mandel School not only provide a high-quality learning environment for our current and future students, they help to solidify the value of your own Mandel education. You have our pledge that 2007 will bring continued growth and that your M.S.S.A. degree will continue to signify high quality, commitment and compassion.
From the entire staff and faculty of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, I wish you the happiest of new years.
Grover C. Gilmore, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor