eNewsletter — July 2010 Archives
July 12, 2010
Dear Alumni and Friends:
This is my last newsletter column as the Interim Dean of the School of Social Work. As of July 1, I will be returning to my position as Associate Vice President for Research at VCU and Dr. Jim Hinterlong will be taking over as the new Dean of the School of Social Work. It has been an honor to serve as the School’s dean for the past two years. There have certainly been some challenges with the difficult budgetary times we are facing but, with the dedicated commitment of the faculty and staff, the School has moved forward and we continue to offer the quality educational programs that have kept VCU one of the best Schools of Social Work in the country.
The future for the School looks exciting. Dr. Hinterlong will bring the kind of leadership necessary for meeting the challenges of the next decade, a decade in which it is clear that state support for higher education will play a smaller role and we will need the assistance of our alumni and friends even more. It is also an exciting time because we have been given approval to hire three new faculty in the coming year to replace those who have retired over the last few years. The School also continues to make plans for its Center for Collaboration, Research and Practice, and expanding its delivery of online MSW courses to make this degree more accessible to those living away from Richmond. I look forward to the School’s future.
Thank you for the privilege of being your dean.
Dr. James E. Hinterlong has been named dean of the VCU School of Social Work effective July 1, 2010. Dr. Hinterlong was previously an associate dean in the College of Social Work at Florida State University and served as director of the university’s Institute for Social Work Research.
Dr. Hinterlong received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his MSW and Ph.D. from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at the Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). He began his academic career at WUSTL and joined the faculty at Florida State University (FSU) in 2002 as an assistant professor in the College of Social Work. At FSU he became a tenured associate professor and director of the doctoral program in 2008 and was appointed associate dean and director of the Institute for Social Work Research in 2009.
Dr. Hinterlong’s research has focused on the interactions between demographic change, social policy formation, and social service delivery. He is known nationally and internationally for his work on productivity and civic engagement in later life. In addition, he maintains a strong interest in using information technology to enhance social work practice and instruction. His teaching background includes courses in social welfare policy and programs, policy analysis, gerontology, social policy and aging, quantitative analysis and research methods.
Dr. Ann Nichols-Casebolt, who served as interim dean in the School of Social Work for nearly two years, has returned to her role as associate vice president for research development in VCU’s Office of the Vice President for Research.
by Elizabeth P. Cramer
Imagine that you are a woman who has been in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship with a male partner for eight years. Two years ago, after a particularly horrific beating, you were diagnosed as having a traumatic brain injury. After this, you left your partner for six months and worked on regaining motor and cognitive skills that had deteriorated because of the brain injury. During these months of outpatient rehabilitation, your former partner regularly begged you to return to him and insisted that you needed to depend on him for help because your “brain wasn’t working right.” After many apologies and promises to change, you return to your boyfriend. For a few months, all seems to be well. Your boyfriend seems more attentive and he understands when you don’t remember things or mix up words. Then, the abuse begins again with derogatory comments about your forgetfulness and how he resents driving you places because you have difficulty remembering how to get somewhere. One day, he is especially frustrated because you forgot to bring your identification with you when he took you to cash a check at the bank. When you both get back into the car, he yells at you about how “stupid” you are and then backhands you across the mouth.
The next day, when your boyfriend is at work, you get on the computer and look up “help for abuse” and many different websites come up, including one that offers assistance for something called “Family Abuse Protective Orders.” You click on the site and it takes you to an online program called “I-CAN,” which asks you questions to determine if you are eligible for a protective order against a family or household member. But when you go through the questions on the site, you get confused and you don’t understand some of the language. You decide that you’ll need to go to the courthouse, but you aren’t sure how you’ll get there because you are having trouble driving. You find a friend who can drop you off at the courthouse on her way to work the following day. The court house’s security screening feels scary and perplexing to you, and you are thankful that you don’t own a cell phone because you wouldn’t have been able to bring it into the courthouse. You can’t remember the name of what you came there to get, so you ask someone sitting behind a desk where you should go if you want someone to stop hitting you. This person points you down the hallway and tells you to start at “intake.” There are several people in line in front of you. By the time you get to the front, you still don’t remember the name of what you want, and there are people behind you. You are becoming anxious. The woman at intake asks how she can help, and you tell her you need something that can stop someone else from hitting you. The woman pulls out a very long form with a lot of questions on it and tells you that the form needs to be completed and you’ll need to go in front of a judge (but you’ll have to wait awhile because they only hear cases a couple of times a day). You really have no idea what she is talking about. You tell the person at intake that it was mistake to come there and you leave the courthouse and wait outside several hours until your friend picks you up again.
The scenario above is not unusual for abused people with disabilities. Physical, attitudinal, institutional, and other barriers present significant obstacles for abused persons with disabilities who desire to leave abusive relationships. Reluctance to involve law enforcement and inaccessible domestic violence programs are just two examples of challenges for persons with disabilities who are reaching out for help.
These obstacles to accessing assistance are some of the reasons why the School of Social Work, along with the VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities, sought funding to improve the legal and community responses to abused persons with disabilities in the Greater Richmond area. We found a funding match in the Department of Criminal Justice Services, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund. The initial grant award covered 2007-2008, followed by another two-year grant from the same funder to continue and expand the project. The primary goals of the grant project are to (a) make Family Abuse Protective Orders easier to obtain for individuals with disabilities and (b) to enhance the ability of disability services professionals to work with consumers who have experienced sexual or domestic violence. Our community partner, Resources for Independent Living, Inc. (RIL), is one of 16 independent living centers in Virginia providing empowerment-based services to consumers with disabilities.
The project’s Advisory Board has been an important component of the success of the project. The Advisory Board includes representatives from law enforcement, courts, victim-witness, local and state domestic and sexual violence programs, social services, state departments for the blind and vision impaired and for deaf and hard of hearing, local and state disability services and advocacy organizations, legal services, and consumers with disabilities. Because of the diverse representation on the board, a training component is included during each of our quarterly Advisory Board meetings.
Some of the project’s accomplishments over the past three years include:
●Three separate trainings were provided to RIL staff on issues of domestic and sexual violence. These trainings provided the staff with knowledge and tools to intervene and provide initial support to consumers experiencing violence. The YWCA of Richmond has been our partner in training RIL staff members.
● Three training manuals plus a Facilitators’ Guide have been developed. Each of the manuals was designed as a reference tool for RIL staff.
●Post-training, there has been on-going advertising of the availability of RIL staff to assist consumers in needs related to sexual and domestic violence. Informational Wallet Cards were developed for people with disabilities. All materials distributed to RIL consumers were made available in Braille and Spanish. Handouts were also altered to accommodate the Deaf community.
●A Case Management Review Team was developed. This team consists of representatives from Adult Protective Services, YWCA of Richmond, Second Responders, RIL, and I-CAN! staff.
● The booklet, “Understanding Family Abuse Protective Orders Booklet in Richmond, Virginia” was developed. With editing assistance from people with disabilities, the booklet was made available to RIL consumers and was also requested by agencies throughout the Richmond area. The booklet was produced in English, Spanish, English-Braille, and Spanish-Braille.
● An evaluation by people with disabilities of the I-CAN! Program was completed. A report of the findings was submitted to The Supreme Court of Virginia, Office of the Executive Secretary (OES). The OES is in the process of making modifications to the I-CAN program based, in part, on recommendations resulting from the I-CAN! Program evaluation, which was completed by people with disabilities. The project is also now assisting in the development of a stalking protective order on-line module.
●A replication working group has been formed to design a framework for Centers for Independent Living in Virginia to develop or enhance supportive services to consumers experiencing domestic/sexual violence.
For more information about social work practice with abused persons with disabilities, please see this book chapter:
Cramer, E.P., & Plummer, S. (2010). Social work practice with abused persons with disabilities. In Lockhart, L., & Danis, F. (Eds.). Domestic violence: Intersectionality and culturally competent practice (pp. 128-154). New York: Columbia University Press.
July 8, 2010
The School of Social Work is proud of our more than 9,000 alumni whose professional careers were launched here at VCU and RPI. We are pleased that so many of our graduates have been in touch with the school and, particularly as they retire, reflect with satisfaction on their professional lives. So many alumni have spoken eloquently about the critical role played by dedicated faculty members in preparing them for professional practice. They have told of how the School of Social Work provided educational opportunities that allowed them to pursue rich and rewarding careers. As we near the school’s centennial anniversary in 2017, we will celebrate and build upon this legacy.
If you believe social work matters to individuals and communities and see how your education prepared you to make a difference, please consider investing in the next generation of social workers. Contact Myra Isaacs, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, to discuss your interest in making an investment in the school now, or to discuss your intention to make a planned gift through your estate. Call (804) 828-7166 or e-mail Myra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 7, 2010
VCU sponsored the Passport event at the Science Museum for graduating seniors to celebrate their achievements and learn about the many benefits available to them as VCU alumni. There were three bands playing, international food available, vendors promoting services and information booths informing seniors about “Career Beam” – career search services – , travel discounts and more for students who join the VCU Alumni Association. Membership in the Alumni Association is discounted for recent graduates (out of school less than 5 years), and, of particular value to SSW graduates, is the continued access to on-line journal articles after graduation.
Upcoming meetings ~
July 14th, 5:45 PM
Wine & Cheese, meet Dean Hinterlong
Robertson Alumni House, 949 W. Franklin Street, Richmond, 23284
July 21st, 5:45 PM
Meeting, presentation by Dean Hinterlong
Carter Woods, 301 Dabbs House Road, Richmond, 23233
Organizational Meeting ~ April 2010