Harvest on the Rio Grande dedication ceremony

Harvest on the Rio Grande – Dedication Ceremony

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 4:00pm – 5:30pm in the Quadrangle east of Craig Hall, University of Denver 2148 South High Street, Denver 80208 GSSW, the University of Denver, and community members had a dedication ceremony for the Harvest on the Rio Grande sculptures generously donated to the University of Denver.

The site selected for the work, adjacent to the Graduate School of Social Work, celebrates shared themes of family and community. The artist will attend the dedication ceremony, which will include a Native blessing. GSSW Dean James Herbert Williams and DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp spoke. We hope you will join us as we welcome the six life-size figures of Harvest on the Rio Grande into the University of Denver community!

To learn more about the sculptures please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/gsswnews/2015/15-4-sculpture.html

Please see below for pictures of the ceremony.

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The Hyde Sculpture Garden at GSSW

The Hyde Sculpture Garden has been installed. The sculptures, entitled “Harvest on the Rio Grande”, were created by Douglas Hyde and donated to DU by Gerri Cohen. Mrs. Cohen’s husband was a long-time member of the DU Board of Trustees. Chancellor Emeriti Ritchie & Coombs both requested that the sculpture garden be given to GSSW. A dedication celebration which will include a shaman’s blessing will take place on Wednesday, May 6 at 4:00 p.m. out by the garden.

All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.

Watch the main GSSW Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GSSWDenver) for further information about the shaman blessing on May 6.

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Come check out the sculpture garden just east of GSSW on the green near Frontier Hall.

A Student Perspective on the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as

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The certificate program consists of 4 mandatory classes and a field placement that includes at least 30% time in Spanish. The four classes are:

1. Critical Perspectives in the Latino Context: taught by Oscar Samoza, this class is a great way to get a taste for using Spanish academically and to draw upon the wealth of knowledge Oscar brings to the table. Less focused and structured than other classes, this was also a great space to get to know classmates and hear about Oscar’s background. This was on class that was always a joy to go to. Oscar is open to discussing anything anyone may have curiosity about, including slang and Latino film. PMX6

2.Social Work and Mexican Culture: this class is the trip to Puebla, MX. I know in the future students will have the option of going to Costa Rica which honestly saddens me a bit. Especially if you are invested in the politics of immigration and working with Latinos/as in Colorado, Mexico seems indispensable. The two weeks in Puebla ended up affecting me very profoundly as a Mexican-American and as a social worker. While the immersion part of the trip is really up to everyone in the room (and at times was difficult to keep up), the cultural immersion and educational components were extremely impactful in deepening my understanding of US-Mexico relations and the experience of everyday people.

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3. Social Work Interventions with Latinos/as: this was a great way to continue connecting with students from the trip as well as others passionate about affecting change with/for this population. This course covered a wide variety of topics and lent itself to the clinical context, particularly challenging in Spanish. The guest speakers were fabulous and the site visits worthwhile. This might be tough for my fellow macro folks but helpful nonetheless.

4. Social Development in Latin America: I have yet to take this course and will updated when I do! So far, I have heard good things and know it will be offered over two weekends in English.

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Aside from the academic aspect of this program, there is a strong community-building component. Personally, I had hoped to make stronger ties at GSSW, however that can be a challenge with the quarter system where there are long breaks and extreme bouts of busy-ness. The certificate program was exactly what I needed and I feel very close to those in the program. The two people I roomed with are people I spend a lot of time with now.

In addition to classroom learning and friendship, the certificate coordinator, Stephen Von Merz is a really great support system. His experience and willingness to share expertise is invaluable. I personally have gained a lot from him being my adviser and have come to consider him a mentor.
PMX2All in all, the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as has been extremely formative in my graduate education, shaping my passions, cementing my language abilities, and linking me to amazing individuals.

Why you should present at the Grad Research and Performance Summit

Last week, a group of students from the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as and I presented at the DU Graduate Research and Performance Summit (DU RAPS). Along with a handful of other MSW students, we contributed our perspective and shared a framework that can often be quite different from that of other academic programs.

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Specifically, we shared our experiential learning from the Puebla, MX trip and discussed our views on immigration, influenced both by our classroom learning and field experience. Overall,  presenting at DU RAPS was challenging and valuable as a growth experience. We were placed in a section titled “Power, Privilege, and Resistance” with one other presenter from GSSW, one from Performance Studies, and one from Communication Studies. I was proud to be contributing to the conversation from an applied perspective and to be learning from others with differing theoretical frameworks.

I want this blog to encourage others to present in the future. We make up a significant portion of the Graduate student population on campus (totaling at approximately 6,000). We have strong foundations in social justice, human rights, and ecological approaches. We bring a perspective that differs from other departments, in that we directly apply our learning every week in our field placements. Furthermore, as professionals in the field, I think it is important to have these interdisciplinary dialogues outside of our social work-framed conversations. After all, if our aim is to effect social change, we can’t be relegated to conversations amongst one another.

Logistics

Just to demystify DU RAPS, here are some (I hope) helpful insights about the summit:

  • You can present on research, you can perform a piece, or you can reflect on experiential learning (something we are extremely well-versed in doing :)).
  • The application process is somewhat simple with just a 250 word abstract for the presentation.
  • Presentations happen in break-out rooms that are themed to group the different presenters together. Rooms can hold up to 50 people. You have access to things like power-point or images if that seems appropriate.
  • Your presentation can be no longer than 10 minutes but it’s more of a gentle warning rather than a cut off.
  • The facilitator will draw connections between the presentations and ask for you to dialogue.
  • Everyone is very welcoming and in the spirit of encouraging this cross-disciplinary event.
  • There is free food!

I hope to see more GSSW presenters in the future and I hope we all grow from the interdisciplinary dialogues this event promotes.

MSW Priority application date is right around the corner!

For some readers of this blog our subject might be a reminder to submit an application. For some readers this might be the first time you’ve thought about submitting an application to get your MSW. For some, you’ve already submitted and are probably thinking “did I get in?”

For those that have not yet submitted their application it is not too late! We thought we would provide some tips for applying and know it’s not too late to apply and still join us next Fall!

Tip #1

GSSW has three different MSW program applications currently available. One in Denver, one in Durango, and one in Glenwood Springs. Now the question might be: what program is right for me? Well ask yourself the following question:

Where do I currently live or would prefer to live as a MSW student?

If you answered Denver then you will need to apply online by visiting: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/admission/index.html

  • Our Denver program is currently accepting applications for our Advanced Standing (BSW holders only) and Two-Year MSW programs. If you are applying as a two year student select Fall, if you are applying as an Advanced Standing select Summer when starting your application.

If you answered Durango then you will need to download our application and mail it into our office. To get your very own copy of our application please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/fourcornersapplication.pdf.

  • Our Four Corners Program (located in Durango) is currently accepting applications for our Advanced Standing (BSW holding) students only.

If you answered Glenwood Springs then you will need to download our application and mail it into our office. To get your very own copy of our application please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/westerncoapp.pdf.

  • Our Western Colorado Program (located in Glenwood Springs) is currently accepting applications for our Two Year program.

Tip #2

Have your transcripts sent to GSSW directly. This is for all programs!

What’s the address you may ask? Well our address is:

Graduate School of Social Work

University of Denver

2148 S. High St.

Denver, CO 80208

GSSW can accept some electronic transcripts. Before requesting an electronic  transcript be sent please check with Nick Ota-Wang at Nick.Ota-Wang@du.edu.

Tip #3

Ask for recommendations before you apply.

Giving a recommender a heads up that you are applying will give them time to watch for our recommendation request and give them time to submit your recommendation.

Remind your recommenders  that our email maybe in their junk/spam folder.

Tip #4

Your career goal statement, and your resume are your documents. Both tell us about you and why you would be a great fit to join the GSSW student body.

Keep your career goal statement between 7-10 pages double spaced. Answer questions in order asked, and if you want to use labels please do. If you want to write a flowing essay please do. It’s up to you!

Your resume should be a professional resume but remember that volunteer experience.

Tip #5

Email gssw-admission@du.edu or call our office 303-871-2841 with questions, check your application status, and to ensure we have received your materials. We want to hear from you!

Fun face about GSSW: We were founded in 1931, have been fully accredited since 1933, and are the oldest MSW program in the Rocky Mountain Region. Come be part of a long historic tradition of excellent Social Work Practice!

8th Director/Dean – Catherine Alter

CATHERINE FOSTER ALTER (1938-present)

Dean and Professor (1996-2006)

Dean Emerita (2006-present)

Catherine Alter

Catherine Alter attended Grinnell College (Iowa), graduating in 1960 as a double major in American Studies and Journalism. Her MSW was completed at University of Iowa (1975). The results from her masters thesis, indicating the overrepresentation of children of color in special education classes in the Davenport, Iowa School District, were used as data in supporting a complaint of racial bias filed with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which eventually led the school district to institute a plan of remediation. She completed her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Maryland (1985), conducting dissertation research on interorganizational service delivery systems.

Alter’s prior professional practice career includes staff and executive positions in public relations, television production, urban planning, administration of area-wide services for seniors, directing a program for at-risk children, and conducting research on social and economic development. She has held paid and/or consulting positions with the Children’s Defense Fund, the Carnegie Council on Children, the Institute for Social and Economic Development, and served as technical expert for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Prior to coming to GSSW as the eighth head of the social work at DU, she was a faculty member at St. Ambrose College (Iowa), University of Maryland, and University of Iowa. At University of Iowa, she chaired the four-city social work satellite programs, was Director of the School of Social Work, and Coordinator of the Graduate Program.

Notable achievements during her tenure as GSSW Dean include curriculum innovations such as: the distance education program in the Four Corners area; certificate programs in working with Latino/as, survivors of trauma, and the use of animals to assist social work practice. She instituted the first comprehensive strategic planning and budgeting process at GSSW; greatly expanded the size of staff and faculty; significantly increased the financial aid assistance to MSW and doctoral students; created continuing education and outreach programs to alumni, community practitioners, and human service agencies; networked with other Colorado social work education programs about the advancement of the profession; coordinating the efforts among NASW, Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work, and other groups to continue social work licensing in Colorado; and, most recently, successfully led a seven year capital campaign which raised over $11 million for the renovation and expansion of the School’s present home, Craig Hall. As a result of these efforts, along with increased faculty scholarship and research, GSSW has moved significantly higher in the national rankings of accredited schools of social work place.

2014-2015 Information Sessions

Interested in obtaining your MSW degree? Ever wonder how the application process, financial aid, and academic work happens at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work?

If your answer to any or all of the questions above is YES then please consider signing up for one our information sessions this year!

2014-2015 Information Sessions

  • September 20 (Saturday, 9-noon)
  • October 10 (Friday, 1-4)
  • November 14 (Friday, 1-4)
  • December 5 (Friday, 1-4)
  • January 10 (Saturday, 9-noon)
  • March 6 (Friday, 1-4)
  • May 15 (Friday, 1-4)

To RSVP click here.

The sessions will be held in the Community Room in Craig Hall.

If you have any questions or would like to have the opportunity to speak with one of our Admission & Financial Aid staff please email us at gssw-admission@du.edu or give us a call (303)-871-2841.

We look forward to seeing you or speaking with you soon!

GSSW Deans and Directors Series: Leverne McCummings, 5th GSSW Dean, 1978-1985

LEVERNE MCCUMMINGS (1932-)

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5TH GSSW Dean, 1978-1985

The first person of color to serve as director or dean of GSSW.

The first African American to serve as a graduate dean at the University of Denver.

LeVerne McCummings was born and raised in South Carolina, attending segregated elementary and secondary schools in Marion County. Although his family moved to Philadelphia when he was 19, McCummings returned to the South, attending St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1952 to 1960. (His undergraduate work was interrupted by two years of military service in the U.S. Army.) He graduated from St. Augustine’s (a four year liberal arts college for African Americans, operated by the Episcopal Church), majoring in social studies, with minors in psychology and urban mental health. As a college student, he was active in two national civil rights organizations. After graduation, he married Betty Hall, who later earned a doctorate in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

He began his practice career in the Philadelphia area, starting in 1960. Over the next 15 years, McCummings worked in various positions as a public school teacher; a public welfare caseworker; development director for the Lutheran Social Mission Society; community development director for the Wharton Settlement House; and held several administrative or executive positions in the Model Cities Program in Philadelphia. He also held administrative positions in public and private agencies in Columbus, Ohio, while completing his doctorate.

McCummings completed his MSW in 1966 at University of Pennsylvania. In 1973, he joined the social work faculty at University of Kentucky. He earned a doctorate in social work from Ohio State University in 1975, while also serving on that faculty as an assistant professor. His areas of expertise were group work, administration, health, and aging. He spent two contentious years as a faculty member at Syracuse University School of Social Work, battling what he perceived to be entrenched institutional racism.

He came to DU in 1977 as Associate Professor. Became GSSW Dean in 1978, at age 45. Later, was elected president of the Council of Deans and Directors (1982-1985). His tenure as GSSW Dean occurred during a period of prolonged severe financial crisis at the University. Much conflict occurred with the faculty over program direction, hiring, budget and spending priorities, and the threat of GSSW’s potential consolidation with the School of Professional Psychology and College of Education–which would have resulted in the loss of GSSW’s status as an independent academic unit. McCummings left GSSW in 1985 to become the President of Cheyney University in Philadelphia, one of the oldest Historically Black Colleges in the United States, which was threatened with loss of accreditation because of its own prolonged financial crises and administrative turnover. McCummings served as president of Cheyney until 1991.

4th GSSW Dean – Kenneth W. Kindelsperger (1914-2000)

KENNETH W. KINDELSPERGER (1914-2000)
4th GSSW Dean (1971-1978)
Interim Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (1978-1979)
Acting Dean, Colorado Women’s College, 1980-82 (supervising its merger with DU)
Recipient, Outstanding Service to the University of Denver Award, 1986

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Ken Kindelsperger was born in Galesberg, Illinois. Ken received a B.S. and M.S. degree in social group work from George Williams College (Chicago) in 1942. He completed his doctorate at the Syracuse School of Social Service Administration in 1956. He held various social work positions in Chicago while attending college and graduate school. During WW II, Ken served as Lt. Commander, U.S. Naval Reserves, which included a stint as Fleet Morale Officer at Pearl Harbor. After the war, he was the Secretary for Planning and Research for the Council of Social Agencies at Syracuse, NY, and eventually joined the social work faculty at University of Buffalo in 1950. Subsequently, he served as dean of schools of social work at three universities: Syracuse University, University of Louisville (KT), and University of Denver.

Two major themes highlight his career as a social work educator and administrator. First, he was committed to international social work. He worked for two years in India, studying social problems and helping to establish schools of social work. Later, he made two visits to South Vietnam as a consultant for the Agency for International Development, studying social welfare conditions and making recommendations. He traveled to many other countries and served on numerous international committees at CSWE and other social work organizations. Second, he was deeply committed to the advancement of civil rights for oppressed racial and ethnic groups. As Dean of the Kent School of Social Work at Louisville, he participated in the march on the state capital to demand passage of civil rights legislation.

He came to GSSW during the time when student protests over the Vietnam War and racial discrimination were at fever pitch. Although faced with the loss of federal stipends for social work training, instituted by the Nixon administration, he nonetheless managed to increase significantly the number of MSW and doctoral students of color, and also increased the faculty of color. He was a widely respected administrator, known as hard working, compassionate, and fair.
Ken and his older brother, Walter, were both deans of social work at the same time–the only known set of “brother deans” in the history of the profession.

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