Talking SSWR with Dr. Denise Burnette
Dr. Denise Burnette of the VCU School of Social Work is participating in four sessions at the Society for Social Work and Research Conference in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16-19.
How many times have you presented at SSWR?
I think at least 12 years and usually one to three presentations per year. I have watched SSWR grow from a fledgling free-standing gathering of social workers interested in building research in the profession (in 1994) to its present status as the largest and most influential conference on social work research in the country.
How else have you been involved with SSWR?
I have reviewed abstracts for the conference annually since 2009.
Why is it important to present research and connect with colleagues at a conference like this?
Social and scholarly networking; keeping up with latest developments in one’s area of scholarship and research more generally in the profession; learning new areas and analytic strategies for research; opportunities to meet and mentor emerging social work scholars/Ph.D. students.
Can you talk about the importance of working with colleagues at other universities? How do these connections form and grow through collaborative projects?
Virtually all research is interdisciplinary now. To enrich the depth and scope of one’s work and to extend its reach requires intellectual interaction and connections with colleagues who are working in your area or in areas adjacent to it. In addition, being exposed to ideas and areas beyond your typical realm of experience can contribute to innovation and originality.
What do you like best about the SSWR conference?
The ability to develop new and expand existing networks for research and scholarship in the profession.
Of the presentations or events you are participating in this year, do you have a favorite; and if so, why?
I am pleased and proud to be presenting with two of my former Ph.D. students on two of my key areas of interest – one on aging and the other on global mental health. I am especially excited to be awarding the VCU Ph.D. Program’s Making a Difference Award to Dr. Trenette Clark Goings from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has already made tremendous contributions to knowledge and practice in the profession.
Can you share any details about the origins and/or takeaways from the project(s) on which you are presenting?
Re: the Special Session: Reimagining social work research and doctoral training using futures frameworks and human centered design … the idea for this initiative sprang from a session in the 2018 GADE conference. The topic was Social Work Grand Challenges, and it occurred to me that there were very few opportunities for incorporating Ph.D. students into the GC -– and that the absence of their voice represented quite a potential loss since they are typically on the leading edge of new and emerging issues and technologies.
I proposed and led a session at the 2019 SSWR on integrating Ph.D. perspectives into the GC, and Dr. Kim Bender went on to organize the gathering of representatives from U.S. and Canadian doctoral programs at the Reimagining… conference in fall 2019.
Can you talk about the importance of the collaborative experience of faculty and students working and presenting together?
The main purposes of professional conferences, in my experience, are to exchange new knowledge and new ideas and to bring new generations into the scholarly community and its conversations.
View a complete list of all VCU social work presentations from #SSWR2020.