Futuring Paper – Education and Social Welfare

Co-Conveners: Nancy Claiborne and Ginny Goatley

Questions 1 and 2.  What forces are shaping your discipline today (learning, work, and professional practice)?  In ten years, what forces will shape changes in your discipline? How will professional practice be affected?

  1. Environment and Social Impact
    1. Rapid changes in technology, globalization, employment needs, relationships, private/public sector partnerships, and so forth impact all aspects of education and community settings, with a pace of change that appears exponential in nature.
    2. Climate change is leading to an influx of migration due to natural disasters resulting in social/community disruption that strain community and government resources, housing, property damage, etc. (e.g., Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans).
    3. Social justice issues including racial issues, rural/urban, privileged vs non-privileged will continue to cause political and social divides which impact communities and schools and access to resources and treatment (who gets it and how).  The increase in current social tensions will continue to impact schools and human service agencies (e.g., treatment centers, hospitals, non-profit support organizations, government offices).
    4. Upheaval from changes will cause an increased demand for individual and community services that will exceed the availability of professionals in all areas of education and social work.
    5. Increased capacity needs for communities to provide a basic standard of living for all citizens in an era of economic disparities (e.g., epidemics in opiate addiction and alcoholism, increased poverty). This creates complex caseloads in health, child welfare, mental health, education, and so forth where students/clients are not getting the needed interventions due to isolated services.
    6. Current challenges in delivering culturally appropriate and effective services across all communities.
    7. Challenges in providing flexible professional educational programs to a mix of students from widely varying backgrounds (e.g., students from privileged vs. not privileged communities, students from different countries/cultures)
    8. Rapid and increased globalization that breaks down geographic boundaries and restrictions

  2. Technological Influences
    1. Use of online teaching to serve a range of students (e.g., age, goals/needs, specialty, flexible schedules).
    2. Marketing shifts that capitalize on technology opportunities, including increased use of social media
    3. Increasing use of technology in all aspects of learning, such as synchronous technology for convening classes across locations.
    4. Technology changes lead to new and shifting work force needs and employment
    5. Use technology as a way to come to know, consider, and make sense of world, not simply to use it.
    6. Shifting nature of how literacies are defined, enacted, and valued as technology develops.
    7. Increased assessment and treatment in online environments has implications for how we think about engaging clients, interventions, and work with other agencies, while maintaining confidentiality.

  3. Demographic differences and disparities
    1. Changing demographics of students and families in PK-20 educational, community, and health care settings
    2. Educational equity and opportunities for all students, families, and communities
    3. Increased range and frequency of students identified for special services in schools, human service agencies, and communities
    4. Changing nature and definitions of families
    5. Education and services supply and demand shortages in next ten years (e.g., anticipated need of 20% more school psychologists; teacher shortages in special education, STEM; shortages of mental-health professionals in 55% of US counties; occupations associated with human development increased need of 25-30%)
    6. Teacher and social worker shortages in high-poverty and high-minority settings
    7. Rapid changes in understanding medical, neurological, health, and social determinants will impact how we do treatment interventions

  4. Collaboration, bridges, and community engagement
    1. Increased expectations for cross-disciplinary collaboration in grant funding and research projects
    2. Shifting conceptions of professional development/learning and related opportunities (e.g., Partnership between School of Social Welfare (SSW) and School of Education (SOE) for Continuing Education Program; Response to Intervention PD project)
    3. Need for approaches such as the Cradle-to-Career Education systems for poverty-challenge, diverse people and places initiative funded by the compact plan
    4. Shift in funding streams and reimbursement for human services, medical, health care delivery, and education costs will lead to increased collaborations/partnerships

  5. Regulation, accountability, accreditation
    1. Government regulations on funding and educational expectations – how to influence and inform policy makers
    2. Restrictions and/or potential improvements based on accreditation requirements and accountability
    3. Regulations and laws for health and behavioral health care funding and practices continue to impact the delivery of services, e.g., affordable health care act, managed care, etc.
    4. Implications of standards and assessment movement at all levels
    5. Focus on competency-based/evidence-based outcomes

  6. Public perception and stakeholder awareness
    1. Accountability to stakeholders – business, parents, community leaders, policy makers, etc
    2. Critical moment in time for varying views and perceptions of practitioners situated in a complex system
    3. Practitioners are recognized and valued for their professional contributions and leadership
    4. Practitioners required to educate and advocate for including their expertise and intervention models for addressing complex problems

Question 3. What are the implications for your profession, continuous professional development, and teaching and learning? Specifically, what new opportunities may be created in the future?

    1. Applied research capacity to these complex issues (e.g., action research, participatory research).
    2. Smart and connected communities can address social problems through interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches.
    3. Shifts in adults/k-12 students/graduate students will require different approaches related to how they learn,
    4. Shifts in funding and/or regulations will require changes in knowledge and skill preparation for professionals, e.g., delivery system protocol, understanding payment structures, gathering and analyzing data for interventions and protocol processes, working with interdisciplinary teams, etc.
    5. Shifts in populations and communities will require changes in knowledge and skill preparation for professionals, e.g., 2nd & 3rd generational approaches to addressing poverty and other complex problems, managing community intervention systems for delivering education and human services
    6. Globalization will allow us to capitalize on international opportunities and commonalities
    7. Increase the capacity for community-based research on these complex issues, including valued interdisciplinary collaborations.
    8. Online technologies encourage opportunities to engage and conduct interventions in new populations (e.g. rural, area with shortages)
    9. Overall use of technologies that reach a broader range of students and clients, support increased workforce needs, while also engaging communities for intervention.
    10. Being open to non-traditional approaches and ideas for educational change and interventions
    11. Develop collaborative community-focused educational and operational structures to address emerging prevention and intervention.
    12. Using a core education approach that prepares university students to be culturally responsive/relevant in their professional activities.
    13. Form collaborations and alliances for effective and successful education and client intervention.
    14. Create school community partnerships that bridge many areas (e.g., social work, counseling, literacy, health care)
    15. Take advantage of cross-disciplinary collaboration in health care (e.g. potential Degree in Psychopharmacology; Certificate in Health Disparities)
    16. National and global collaboratives will design coursework, research, and professional education beyond current practices that are culturally responsive/relevant to individual and community needs.
    17. Take advantage of opportunities to bridge research and practice to influence policy, rather than simply react to it
    18. Market and publicize the valuable work of the profession to relevant stakeholders

Question 4. How will the future developments and opportunities affect the university – impacted departments or units? How might UAlbany respond to these within the strategic planning process?

    1. Accountability for per student enrollment limits innovation and interdisciplinary collaborations. Consider benefits outside of coursework structures (e.g. professional development, international workshops, community engagement)
    2. Maintaining and increasing community partnerships for a range of teaching, research, and community involvement.
    3. Establishing opportunities for collaboration that do not harm programs (e.g., who gets the enrollment credit)
    4. Infrastructure needs to focus on what students need to learn rather than the number of students enrolled, focus on providing opportunity structure (e.g., employment preparation for parents in collaboration schools and communities)
    5. Meeting the needs of the consumers (e.g., value of summer session for educators rather than academic year only)
    6. Need to shift geographic boundaries on campus for integrated and cross disciplinary conceptual areas (e.g., research centers, collaborating faculty, teaching clustered together)
    7. Shifts and supports for marketing programs, research, teaching, community involvement to create awareness and interest
    8. Maintaining and increasing faculty/staff in current programs in addition to adding faculty for new programs.
    9. Social entrepreneurship, develop new jobs, identify new structures, education and train people on the continuum of who the student population is going to be in the future.   We want to be part of this systemic change rather than the university bypassed in the process.   Suggests an organizational re-design to facilitate work collaborations (e.g., Education, Social Work, Public Health, other professional schools, hospitals, community organizations) to bridge complexities of what our society is facing in schools and community.
    10. To create innovative curricula to meet the demand and shortage for educators, social workers, health care professionals, etc. and to prepare students to meet the changing and emerging needs for their profession.   
    11. Recognize an increase in a range of research methodologies and funding to support the critical research on these complex systems (e.g., shift in internal funding opportunities, more support for post award research). 

Trend websites:

Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016).  Employment by detailed occupation.  See http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_102.htm

Fields, G., Dooren, J.  (2104).  For the mentally ill, finding treatment grows harder.  Wall Street Journal, http: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579218204163263142

Ingersoll, R.M., May, H. (2016).  Minority teacher recruitment, employment, and retention: 1987-2013.  See https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/minority-teacher-recruitment-brief

New York State Department of Labor (2016).  Employment Projections. See http://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/lsproj.shtm

Sutcher, L., Darling-Hammond, L., Carver-Thomas, D., (2016) A Coming Crisis in Teaching?  Teacher Supply, Demand, and Shortages in the U.S. See https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/coming-crisis-teaching

U.S. News and World Report (2016).  Best social service jobs #2 School Psychologist. See http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/school-psychologist