Mid-semester message from dean, associate dean
Dear School of Social Work Students,
We reach out to you as we move into mid-semester to acknowledge the heavy weight of this time, and to remind you of ways you can communicate with us as administrative leaders of the School. As you maneuver learning during a global pandemic and during a time when we are deeply affected by continued racial injustice and anti-Black violence, we want to recognize the impact this has on you as students, as future social workers, and as people.
This is an incredibly challenging time to be pursuing your degree, and despite these challenges, your resilience, perseverance and commitment to social justice are evident to us and to your professors, field instructors and advisors. We are all inspired by and grateful to share community with you.
We are also proud of how you have risen to these challenges and advocated for your needs as learners. Many of you have reached out to us with feedback. You have an active role in ensuring that our curriculum, community and culture continue to reflect the very best in social work education. You have taken this responsibility seriously and for that, our community is better.
We ask that you continue to communicate with us, and would like to remind you of several opportunities to share your perspective and vision for the school.
- Students are welcome to visit with the associate dean for academic and student affairs. Dr. Gomez is available every Tuesday for a student community hour from 11 a.m.-noon ET. This is a time when students are encouraged to come and go as your schedule and needs permit; you may share concerns, ideas or simply visit. You do not need to be formally prepared, but instead should feel safe to simply brainstorm or process. You may access that meeting here.
- You will also be receiving a mid-semester survey (if you have not already) that will allow you to provide feedback to both your individual instructors and the programs which will be incorporated into current programming, as well as used for spring planning.
- Students also have representation through a leadership council that is made up of representatives from all the student organizations. This group meets with the dean and associate dean of academic and student affairs monthly. Consider becoming involved in one or more student organizations – a great way to experience service, advocacy and connection.
We also want to stress that your feedback informs important initiatives in the school. Based on feedback we received in the spring and early fall, the school has taken on two important initiatives to address racial justice within our community. This fall we have begun the process of evaluating the curriculum across programs for how we teach social justice, oppression, anti-Blackness and anti-racist practice. We also instituted a Racial Justice Task Force, which includes six students who were awarded Racial Justice Fellowships and who will play an important role in bringing student voice to our school-wide effort to address anti-Black racism across all areas of the School.
In closing, we know that this semester, when we are seeking to return to “learning as usual” during an isolated and anxiety-ridden time, is stressful beyond comparison. As you walk through this season, know that you are not walking alone – the school is walking right alongside you. We encourage you to keep reaching out and staying connected with us, and with each other. Keep doing exceptional work, and remember to take good care of you.
Dean and Professor
Rebecca Gomez, Ph.D., LCSW
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Associate Professor