Social work

Spring 2012 Newsletter

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Fall 2012 • Spring 2012 • Fall 2011

Greetings from the Department...

Amy LevinThe California State University Northridge Social Work Department is brimming with activity and exciting news this winter. In September we had our Council on Social Work Education reaccreditation site visit with Dr. Cathryn Potter. Our faculty worked incredibly hard to highlight all that we have developed as a team since the start of our program in 2005.  In early February 2012, we received news that the CSUN MSW program was granted reaccreditation for another eight years, through 2020.

Our faculty is currently reviewing over 400 applications for fewer than 100 seats in the MSW program for fall of 2012. We are proud of the reputation that the CSUN MSW program has developed, and appreciate our alumni and friends of the Social Work Department speaking highly of our program to current and future applicants.  

All the best for a wonderful 2012,

Amy Levin

Professor Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson

We are thrilled to share that Dr. Susan Love (Assistant Professor, Social Work) has been awarded nearly $1.2 million dollars from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop an online social network for parents which will focus on positive parenting methods in an effort to reduce the mistreatment of children. Joining Dr. Love in developing the online community are Dr. Matt Sanders of the University of Queensland and Dr. Theresa Knott, Associate Chair of the Social Work Department at CSUN .

According to Dr. Love, the online community will incorporate the practices of  the "Triple P - Positive Parenting Program" which was developed more than 30 years ago by Dr. Matt Sanders of the University of Queensland. "The whole point is to provide parents with the tools they need to make the right decisions for their families so that their children grow up in loving, supportive, healthy environments. These parents need to be able to learn to make good decisions for themselves, not to be dependent on others."


The "Triple P" program relies on self-regulation to help parents re-examine how they are raising their children and offers simple, straightforward advice on becoming resourceful, independent problem-solvers who create a positive environment for their children. The program has been hailed by child-rearing experts around the world and is currently implemented in 26 countries, including the United States.

The 30-month grant funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund the creation of a prototype online community around "Triple-P" and the beta-testing of its acceptability, usefulness and engagement of vulnerable families. It also will compare finding with previously conducted in-person and online "Triple P" studies. The whole process will involve about 100 families through two Los Angeles non-profits, Shields for Families and The Children's Bureau.   

New Off-site Programs Starting in Fall 2012

We are excited to announce the launching of two new MSW off-site locations for the Fall of 2012! The Department of Social Work will be welcoming MSW students to our  3-Year Ventura MSW program and 2-Year Online MSW program. These two new locations are in addition to our existing offsite MSW programs held at the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) in the City of Industry, and at the College of the Canyons (COC) in Santa Clarita.

The Ventura, COC and DPSS programs will continue to accept applicants until May 1, 2012. For more information, visit the Tseng College/MSW website at:  

The MSW program in Ventura is three years in duration. All courses will be held in the City of Ventura starting August 23, 2012. The field practicum portion of the program will take place the first and second year of the program at agencies approved by the MSW Department.

The Online MSW program is two years in duration, and courses will begin on August 27, 2012. There will be a field practicum during the first and second year of the program at MSW Department-approved agencies.

We are thrilled to be able to offer more opportunities to highly-qualified applicants who wish to participate in our professional, advanced preparation program.  The CSUN/Tseng/MSW curriculum emphasizes critical and creative thinking to enable graduates to initiate, adapt and evaluate the interventions appropriate to diverse urban populations.

Diversity Day: Immigration, "What's your story?"

Immigration is the topic of Diversity Day this year, with a focus on bringing immigrant stories alive with the intent to create awareness, break down barriers, and eliminate biases. Our students have done an incredible amount of work to create and help facilitate 18 workshops that are designed to engage students in exploring psychosocial experiences, trauma, social and structural barriers of the immigrant population. Discussion will center around the policies, social services, and activism needed to promote social justice.

We have an exciting keynote speaker, Andrew Becker from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Andrew Becker covers the federal judiciary for CIR and is currently reporting on the immigration court system. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, New York Times, Newsweek, The Nation website, and Mother Jones. Before joining CIR in 2008, he was a fellow at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he reported on the business of human smuggling and corruption along the Southwest border for a joint New York Times and PBS FRONTLINE/ World production. Previously he was a reporter for the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also written and reported for the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, FRONTLINE, KQED California Report, and Los Angeles magazine. He received a master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. 

A video on last year's Diversity Day is available at:  

You can also "like" the CSUN Diversity Day page on Facebook at:

Lobby Days: Advocacy and Policy in Practice

Every year for one weekend in April, social work students from across California head to Sacramento for Lobby Days to learn how to effectively lobby for social justice issues. There they get a chance to meet with elected state representatives to try out their newly honed skills.

Lobby Days gives MSW students the opportunity to see how policies are created, and how they affect social work at the micro, macro and mezzo level. Students are taught the tools and information required to advocate for social change.  According to Lobby Days Faculty Adviser Jose Ramos, Lobby Days is an excellent opportunity to take knowledge learned in the Social Welfare Policy class and see it at work: "A core mission of Social Work is to address injustices that impact our families on a daily basis.

One step towards that includes learning about policies and advocacy."  Ramos emphasized that the skills learned at Lobby Days are invaluable. "Your Lobby Days experience will make your first step (of advocacy) come to life."  

Last year twenty-seven CSUN MSW students were able to attend Lobby Days. This year, almost sixty students will represent CSUN in Sacramento. The growth of this very important experience is made possible by the continued support that the CSUN Student Social Work Society has received from fellow students, alumni, faculty, staff, Associated Students, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences here at CSUN and members of our community.

To see the student-created "Lobby Days 2011" video, please visit:  

If you would like to contribute to the Lobby Days fundraising pool by "chipping in", go here:   

Student Research, Awards and Scholarships

16th Annual Student Research & Creative Works Symposium

The symposium, which took place on campus on February 24th, highlights undergraduate and graduate student achievement and serves to inform the campus community of the quality, diverse research and creative works that students conduct in all academic fields.

This year four of our MSW students: Kelly Arbaut, Marisol Barragan, Sally Gonzalez, and Nancy Menjivar presented their capstone research projects covering topics from treatment fidelity to palliative care. Congratulations to Marisol who won third place in her category. 

Kelly was awarded the 2011-2012 Northridge Earthquake Scholarship and received $2,000 to help with the cost of her degree. The scholarship honors two students who lost their lives in the Northridge earthquake. She also received $400 from the CSUN Office of Graduate Studies to help fund her capstone research project which is an experimental design evaluating the effectiveness of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy in reducing secondary trauma with staff from a domestic violence council. 

New WRAD Mentors

We are excited to announce that graduating students Sandy Cuevas-Garcia and Terrez Gordon have been selected as WRAD (Writing and Reading Across Disciplines) Mentors. They will be able to provide direct support to students in our Department toward developing writing skills.  

All CSUN MSW students, who would like to get some assistance in strengthening their writing, are encouraged to contact the Department for more information. You can also visit the WRAD website at:  

MSW Alumni Association

The newly charted MSW Alumni Association gathered on a delightful fall afternoon in November at The University Club on the CSUN campus. Alumni from all classes re-connected, shared pictures of new family members and friends, enjoyed delicious food and drinks, and participated in a very successful silent auction (all proceeds benefited the MSW Alumni Association Scholarship Foundation). As colleagues, we also shared job opportunities, and collaborated in sharing ideas as we advance in our professions to successfully serve the needs of our community.

As a reminder: Anyone can join the MSW Alumni Chapter as a member of the CSUN Alumni Association! Even if you did not graduate from CSUN, you can support your Matador MSW program by joining the CSUN Alumni Association and designating that your funds be directed to the MSW Chapter.  You will feel good supporting our program, and you can also take advantage of great campus discounts such as shows at The Valley Performing Arts Center and also the newly built 37,000 square foot CSUN Student Athletic Center (special pricing for alumni association members).  

A large portion of your dues directly benefit our chapter! We use the funds to support Chapter activities, which include professional development lecture series for our alumni. We thank you for your support!    


Department Events

Our 3rd Annual Diversity Day

The event will be held on campus from 8:30am - 3:30pm on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Lunch and Learn
These events allow students the opportunity to learn about various topics of interest in the Social Work field:

  1) Mental Health of Aging Adults: 
      February 28th, 12:15pm - 1:45pm in SH 451 (Whitsett)

  2) Joann Rodgers: Faculty Scholar, Senior Communications

      Adviser, Johns Hopkins Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins  
      School of  Medicine
      March 6th, 12:15pm - 1:45pm in SH 451 (Whitsett)  

  3) Where Can This MSW Degree Take Me? (Part 1)

      April 10th, 12:15pm - 1:45pm in SH 181 

  4) Where Can This MSW Degree Take Me? (Part 2)
      April 17th, 12:15pm - 1:45pm in SH 272 

Docs and Talks

Students and Faculty members meet to watch documentaries on topics of interest and then have a lively discussion afterwards.Past films have included: The Black Power Mixtape, The One Percent, For the Bible Tells Me So, and Which Way Home.  

  1) TBD: March 7th, 6:00pm - 9:00pm in SH 293 

Lobby Days

The event will be held in Sacramento, California on April 15th and 16th, 2012.

Capstone Presentations and Field Instructor Luncheon

Graduating students will present their capstone research findings at a poster session in the University Student Union Grand Salon on May 16, 2012 from 10:00am until 12:00pm. This will be followed by a field instructor luncheon for all of our volunteer field instructors from 12:00pm until 2:00pm.

MSW Department Graduation

The Department  graduation ceremony will take place on the Manzanita Lawn on Monday, May 21, 2012 from 1:00pm until 3:00pm.   

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Graduation

The college-wide graduation ceremony will take place on the Oviatt Library Lawn on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 8:00am until 11:00am.

Please look for future Department of Social Work Newsletters for more information about what is happening in the program. We appreciate your support and please feel free to forward this on to anyone who might be interested. Hope you have a great semester!


The Faculty and Staff of the Department of Social Work at California State University, Northridge