School of Social Welfare February 2010 News Highlights

Great Danes Give Back

The School of Social Welfare’s Community and Public Service Program (CPSP) and NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) are teaming up once again for the second annual Great Danes Give Back event to be held April 17th 2010.

Great Danes Give Back is an opportunity for local non-profit community organizations to identify projects that would benefit from additional person power and time that the organization does not typically have. Past projects have included spring yard cleanup, painting, garden preparation, spring cleaning projects, etc.

UAlbany students and alumni will be invited to gather teams of 4-5 and spend up to four hours of a Saturday in volunteer service. Morning breakfast will be offered starting at 9:30, with a 10:00 start time for volunteer service. We anticipate this event to grow from 19 projects and 100 students plus alumni, to 30 projects and 200 students plus alumni.

Organizations that submitted projects in 2009 included: Grand Street Community Arts, Capital District Community Gardens, Vanderheyden Hall, Farnsworth Middle School Organic Garden, Homeless Action Committee, Mohawk &Hudson River Humane Society and Samaritan – Rensselaer Children’s Center.

Grants have been received from UAlbany’s Alumni Association and University Auxiliary Services to support this event.

If you are interested in volunteering for Great Danes Give Back, please contact:
Students contact NYPIRG - 518-442-5658 or

Alumni contact Elisa Martin – 518-442-5683 or

MSW Students to Assist in Haiti

Six of the School of Social Welfare’s MSW students, along with other graduate students from various disciplines, will give up their spring break to travel to earthquake-ravaged Haiti for a week-long relief mission. They plan to assist in clearing away rubble and to help rebuild the homes, health, and hope of some of Haiti’s people. The students will be working directly with habitat for Humanity International as well as other various outreach agencies and academic and community organizations.

The students are seeking financial help in raising funds for the trip. Beyond giving of their time and energy, the students hope to realize their passion of helping people to better understand themselves, their strengths, and the world around them, increasing their potential to achieve goals, to make change, and to help others do the same.

UAlbany Schools of Public Health and Social Welfare Collaborate for “Conference on Public Health, and Child Welfare: Impact on Society”

A collaborative initiative of the New York National Guard, the University at Albany Schools of Social Welfare and Public Health, the SUNY Cobleskill’s Department of Early Childhood Education and Office of International Programs, the University of South Africa’s School of Social Work, and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (South Africa) has resulted in a conference which will be held from March 8-12, 2010 – “Conference on Public Health, and Child Welfare: Impact on Society.” One of the goals of the conference is to promote a civilian to civilian approach to address public health and child welfare concerns that lead to global social, economic and security challenges. The conference is designed to bring together public health, child welfare and community-based practitioners, faculty, students, and representatives from both South Africa and the United States to dialogue about these concerns that have implications regarding the security of a nation. It is anticipated that this dialogue will bring about collective wisdom for change and development in both countries.

The conference will be held at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health on March 8th and March 9th, and at SUNY Cobleskill on March 10th and March 11th.

An award will be presented to Mr. David Muir, ABC journalist, for his outstanding report on HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa on December 2, 2009; and to Major Patrick Chaisson of the New York National Guard for his work with the Civilian to Civilian collaborative partnerships.

For further information, or to register for any part of the conference please contact:
Dr. Shirley Jones, School of Social Welfare, University at Albany
(845) 266-3844,

SSW Students Honored and Recognized

Two MSW students have been honored with a President’s Award for Leadership. These awards recognize and reward students and organizations who have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of life at UAlbany. Ms. Lauren Ford has received the Outstanding Senior award, and Ms. Sonia Silvestre has received the Great Dane Award.

Ms. Naomie Placencio has been awarded the first Julia Filippone Scholarship.

Twelve other SSW students have received the following SSW scholarships: Ms. Shavina Richardson – the Association of Minority Affairs (AMA), the Social Welfare Student Association Scholarship (SWSA), and the Elfrieda Textores Endowed Scholarship; Ms. Courtney DeKorp – the Bill Roth Scholarship Fund; Ms. Binahayati Binahayati – the Bonnie Carlson Scholarship; Mr. Jeffery Barnes – the Charles and Charlotte Buchanan Endowed Scholarship for a Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar Student; Mr. Paul Urbanski – the Dennis Dooley Scholarship; Ms. Nyesha Alana Mendoza – the Dr. Shirley J. Jones’ Award for International Community Building; Ms. Carrie Snyder – the Kathryn Zox Scholarship; Ms. Shiau-Fang Chao – the Kenneth (Kent) Price Brown II Fund; Ms. Rita Rotunno, the Ralph & Judith Sidman Memorial Fund; Ms. Tami Colwell – the Seth W. Spellman Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Distinguished Service, and the Sheila Coleman Scholarship; Ms. Lei Wu – the William J. Reid Endowment; and Ms. Elizabeth Louden – the Nola R. Hooper Scholarship.

SSW Assistant Professor travels to Haiti

Assistant Professor Loretta Pyles is currently helping to build partnerships and assist in planning and fostering joint community based research on the effects of the devastating earthquake on the Country of Haiti with the University of Fondwa. The mission of the university is: “to train a new generation of citizens who participate with determination and conviction in the sustainable and integrated development of their country and to develop a sense of citizenship, where students place the needs of the community as high as their own.” Not more than 35% of Haitian secondary school graduates have a chance to pursue higher education.

While in Haiti, Dr. Pyles attended the University of Fondwa International Conference. Her areas of specialization include community organizing and civic engagement with post-disaster contexts.  She is the author of Progressive Community Organizing: A Critical Approach for a Globalizing World (Routledge, 2009). She is also Director, of the University’s Community and Public Service Program based in the School of Social Welfare.

Mr. Kifle G. Jikamo, from The Addis Ababa University School of Social Work in Ethiopia visits UAlbany School of Social Welfare

The School of Social Welfare is pleased to welcome Mr. Kifle G. Jikamo as a Scholar in Residence from The Addis Ababa University School of Social Work in Ethiopia. As a Scholar in Residence, Mr. Jikamo will complete a synthesizing portfolio as well as develop the proposal for his doctoral dissertation.

His research examines the provision of social welfare services in an Ethiopian religious and political context. His participation as a Scholar in Residence is a benefit of the Memorandum of Understanding that exists between the Addis Ababa University and The University at Albany.

Alumna Adela Beckerman, Ph. D. ’90 Honored

Dr. Adela BeckermanDr. Adela Beckerman will receive the Social Work Educator of the Year award by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at their Third Annual Social Work Month Gala & Awards Ceremony on March 4, 2010. She is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Florida Memorial University. “Dr. Beckerman has led a distinguished career, that has included positions in academia, research, and community work. She has earned widespread recognition, written numerous papers, and conducted important research on social services and legal issues associated with incarcerated women whose children are in foster care, the incidence of birth defects in immigrant communities, health policy issues related to HIV/AIDS among at-risk populations, and the infusion of social work, practice, knowledge and techniques in clinical legal education.” (Faculty profile, The Promise, Florida Memorial University, Fall 2008.

Professor Ronald Toseland Selected as Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare

Professor Ronald Toseland will be inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare on April 21, 2010 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (Academy) is an honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high impact work that advances social good. The Academy has been established to:

Encourage and recognize outstanding research, scholarship, and practice that contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and just future;

Inform social policy by serving as a frontline source of information for the social work profession as well as Congress and other government agencies and non-government entities charged with advancing the public good;

Promote the examination of social policy and the application of research to test alternative policies, programs, and practices for their impact on society; and

Celebrate excellence in social work and social welfare research, education, and practice.

Dr. Toseland has been the Director of the School’s Institute of Gerontology since 1990.