National Leadership on Social Work Education in aging

I have served as a national leader on geriatric social work education through the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Gero-Ed Center. Most recently, I was an invited member of a national working group to develop resources for social work programs that seek to enhance their curriculum on aging, particularly in response to the CSWE’s 2015 educational guidelines. My work focused on creating materials specifically related to policy practice, research, and evaluation. I also developed a Gero-Ed teaching module on age-friendly community initiatives, which is available here.

Lead Teacher of “Human Behavior and the Social Environment” (HBSE)

This is a foundation course for master-level social work students. I have developed an innovative approach to this course that systematically organizes material by theoretical perspectives that address different aspects of person-environment systems. (See an abbreviated version of the syllabus here.) These perspectives provide a lens through which to understand various aspects of individuals’ functioning across the life course and reflects contemporary approaches to conceptualizing life course human development. I describe the theoretical foundation for this approach to generalist HBSE education in a paper published in Social Work Education: The International Journal. In the spring of 2013, I transformed this course from an on-the-ground format to a fully online course as part of the Rutgers School of Social Work’s fully online MSW program. I am leading a team of four faculty colleagues in working with more than a dozen other faculty and part-time lecturers to use this model for delivering the curriculum across all sections of HBSE at Rutgers.

Lead Teacher of “Aging Services: A critical Perspective”

This course is offered as part of the Rutgers MSW Certificate in Aging and Health. The course aims to provide students not only with knowledge of specific components of healthcare and social services for older adults and their caregivers, but also with an understanding of how these various components do and do not relate to each other. The course explicitly aims to facilitate students’ identity as leaders to address issues in efficiency, effectiveness, and equality within supportive services in aging. For the spring of 2015, I developed this course in a hybrid format, which combined online and on-campus learning. For the spring of 2016, I developed a fully online version of this course.

Lead Teacher of “Clinical Social Work: Aging”

This course is offered as an advanced elective and is designed especially for students who are specializing in aging. It provides an overview of clinical social work issues in work with older adults (e.g., cultural competency in working with diverse older adults, communicating with older adults with sensory impairments), topical issues (end-of-life care, depression, dementia, and maltreatment), and intervention approaches (psychotherapeutic, cognitive-behavioral, groups, and creative approaches). As the course “architect,” I designed the course’s curriculum and assignments.

Instructor of “Methods of Social Work Research I”

This course is the first of a two-part research sequence that all MSW students at Rutgers are required to complete. The course aims, in part, to introduce students to the scientific method, to help them develop skills in conducting and consuming research, and to enhance their familiarity with issues of conducting research with vulnerable populations. Among the core course objectives, my section of the class emphasizes fostering students’ understanding the essential role of research in advancing social work’s core values, as well as helping students master skills in finding high-quality and relevant research publications to enhance their social work practice.