Announcements — November 2009 Archives

November 24, 2009

Congratulations, Dr. Chen !

Congratulations to Dr. Hsing-Jung Chen who successfully defended her dissertation on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. Hsing-Jung’s title is Robust protective factors that promote the positive adjustment in youths of a parent with depression. Dr. Pamela J. Kovacs chaired the dissertation with support from committee members Dr. Patrick Dattalo and Dr. Sarah Kye Price, and from the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Center for Family Research, Dr. Gene H. Brody. The study was a secondary analysis of data from a Family and Community Health Study at Dr. Brody’s Center collected from 126 families with a primary caregiver with major depression. Drawing on the resilience perspective, she specifically examined the association between several individual, family and community-level protective factors and four outcomes among the youths in the sample: emotional adjustment, behavioral adjustment, school performance and educational aspirations. Parental monitoring, defined as parents knowing where their children are and what they are doing, emerged as the most important protective factor in the youths’ adjustment, echoing previous research on this topic. She recommends further explorations of the mechanisms underlying this finding, as well as promoting parental monitoring with at-risk youth.

Hsing-Jung came to us in Fall 2005 with a BSW from Fu-Jen Catholic University and an MSW from Soochow University, both in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2008 she received a Fellowship from the Virginia Board of People with Disabilities to support her work here. Hsing-Jung is currently applying for post-doctoral positions.

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Dr. Hsing-Jung Chen


Dr. Chen and dissertation chair, Dr. Pamela J. Kovacs


Fellow students Suzie Weng and Robin McKinney, Ph.D. Program Assistant Fay Wade, and Dr. Gerry Meeks who will graduate with Hsing-Jung next month, celebrate the day with Dr. Hsing-Jung Chen and her dissertation committee, Dr. Sarah Kye Price, Dr. Pamela J. Kovacs (Chair), and Dr. Patrick Dattalo.

Give “peas” a chance…

On November 18, VCU students held a celebration to kick off VCU’s Year of the Environment. A photo from VCU’s 2009 Earth Day Celebration, which featured Elizabeth Siudyla (MSW ’09) — the “peas,” was used to promote the event. The “give peas a chance” is something that grew out of the School’s community practice course last year. The other people in the photo are volunteers from William Bryd Community House.

Learn more about VCU’s Year of the Environment:

November 18, 2009

BSW Junior Field Orienation 12/1 @ 1pm

Attention BSW Juniors:

Field Orientation for all BSW Juniors beginning field in Spring 2010 on Tuesday, December 1st from 1-2 pm in the Raleigh Building Room 112.

November 13, 2009

VCU SSW representatives brief White House on violence against women in Guatemala

Dr. Karen Rotabi; SSW alumna Abby (Torres) Dini (MSW ’09); BSW student Priscilla Witwer; and, alumna Janett Forte (MSW ’92), director, VCU Institute for Women’s Health and assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry recently visited Washington, D.C., to brief the Obama administration and members of Virginia’s Congressional delegation on violence against women in Guatemala.

Read the full VCU View article online at:

November 12, 2009

Ryosho and Jagger Defend Dissertation Proposals

On October 19th, Nana Ryosho defended her proposal entitled Job resources and demands and their effects on job satisfaction and job search behavior among certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working in nursing homes. The project is chaired by Dr. Ellen Netting with support from Drs. Pam Kovacs, Sarah Kye Price, and outside member, Connie Coogle, who is with the VCU Center on Aging. Nana’s IRB proposal has already been submitted and she is on her way to a timely completion.

On November 5th, Jessica Jagger, who just passed her comprehensive exam last month, successfully defended her proposal, Emergency management policy intent and experiences for people with disabilities: A comparative policy analysis in the US and Jamaica. Dr. Netting is also chairing this dissertation, this time with the support of Drs. Mary Katherine O’Connor, Sarah Kye Price, and outside member, Fred Orelove of the VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities. Jess is leaving today for her related Fulbright experience in Jamaica.

Congratulations, Dr. Meeks !

Congratulations to Dr. Geraldine L. Meeks, who successfully defended her dissertation at VCU’s School of Social Work on October 26, 2009. Dr. Meeks’ title is Environmental and organizational factors influencing similarities and differences between nonprofit human service providers that are faith-based and those with no religious affiliation. Dr. Patrick Dattalo chaired the dissertation with support from committee members, Drs. Ellen Netting, Mary Katherine O’Connor and Kevin Allison, of the College of Humanities and Sciences. Dr. Meeks relied on Resource Dependence Theory and Neo-Institutional Theory to aid her analysis in hopes of building a conceptual model for understanding similarities and differences in faith-based versus non-affiliated service providers. Specifically she used data from a cross-sectional survey with 121 nonprofits in the Richmond area. Findings show that the most important differences are expected differences in funding sources: congregational/religious funding for faith-based organizations and government/contracts for non-affiliated organizations. She concludes that, as in previous research, “similarities outweigh differences, ” and that instead of dialogue and decisions that place emphasis on which type of provider provides the most effective service, more attention should be paid to their community service delivery capacities, which she suggests would move organizations from competition to collaboration.

Gerry was one of our first Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellows, and in 2006 received the Graduate School’s Jesse Hibbs scholarship. Her dissertation was in part supported by a SAMHRP Dissertation Award. A former administrator with the local YWCA, Gerry received two previous degrees from VCU, an MSW and a MPA, and is now employed in a research coordinator position in VCU’s new department of Social & Behavioral Health.


Dr. Geraldine L. Meeks and Dissertation Chair, Dr. Patrick Dattalo


Dr. Meeks with dissertation committee members, Drs. Kevin Allison, Ellen Netting, Mary Katherine O’Connor and Pat Dattalo

November 11, 2009

Lectureship Honoring Emeritus Faculty Member Dr. Hans Falck

The Evangelische Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit & Diakonie in Hamburg, also known as Das Rauhe Haus, established a Hans Falck Lectureship. Every year a renowned scholar in social work will deliver this lecture. The first lecture was given by Prof. Timm Kunstreich, a dear friend of Hans who has promoted and expanded Hans’s Membership Perspective in Germany. The title of the lecture was “Membership und Dialogisches Prinzip als Basis einer partizipativen Sozialen Arbeit.”

Timm made an attempt to bring Hans’s ideas together with some of Martin Buber’s thoughts. Hans received a standing ovation and for a short while there he was his old self again – what a gift for everyone.

November 4, 2009

Dr. Karen Rotabi quoted in Star Tribune article “Burned by a baby broker”

Read the full article here: