case western reserve university



February 21, 2011

Dean's Letter - February, 2011

Dear SASS/MSASS Alumni,

Winter greetings from the faculty and students at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. As we embark on a new semester, our classrooms are busier than ever.

Even before full-time students arrived, we welcomed field instructors, alumni and other practitioners to continuing education classes. Our students, in addition to juggling studies with field work (and often families and employment) found time to participate in a job opportunities fair sponsored by the MSASS Admissions Office and “Ethnic Eats,” a luncheon sponsored by the Black Students Association.

Our curriculum and classrooms have added some new features. Curricula have been written for four new courses being offered to CWRU undergraduates. The first, introduced this semester, is SASS 355 Drugs and Youth which explores the biopsychosocial nature of the problem – both the etiology as well as the effects of addiction. Three other classes are under review for the 2011-12 academic year. Those classes will focus on poverty and social entrepreneurship; community based strategies to support the wellbeing of children living in poverty; and 21st century approaches to social networking and community organizing. We believe many students who already have an interest in the social sciences will be attracted to the profession of social work and pursue graduate education (hopefully at MSASS) through exposure to these classes.

We have some exciting visitors to MSASS. Dr. Oguz Polat is a visiting scholar in the Begun Center this semester. Dr. Polat lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and is an M.D. specializing in forensics. He is currently studying children at risk, particularly abused children, street children and delinquents. Engineers and architects are visiting MSASS in anticipation of much needed building renovations and expansion. Currently, 75% of our research faculty and staff are located in rental space around the city. Faculty and staff have participated in space and function assessments over the last several weeks.

MSASS faculty has received recognition for their leadership. Congressman Louis Stokes was inducted to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site on January 28. Previous inductees include Rosa Parks, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ralph McGill, Congressman John Lewis, Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and others. Dr. Aloen Townsend is now the Chair of the Doctoral Program, succeeding Dr. Betsy Tracy and the interim leadership of Dr. Victor Groza. Dr. Townsend has been a long time member of the Doctoral Executive Committee and has been very active in all aspects of the doctoral program. She brings enthusiasm and a commitment to continue to build and support a program that attracts and serves great students.

As always, I would enjoy hearing from you. In January, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of alumni living in the Tampa, Florida area during the Council on Social Work Education conference, and hearing about their remarkable journeys since graduating from SASS or MSASS. April Hirsch of our Poverty Center staff compiled the maps on the page following, so as you can see, our alumni are everywhere. We are delighted to connect with them whenever possible, and I know they like to reconnect with each other.


Grover C. Gilmore, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor

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