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Education, Democracy & Social Change Cluster


  1. To provide an opportunity for students to behave in a professional manner with social work professionals from around the world. The nine students were in the presence of over 350 faculty and deans, authors of group work textbooks, and group workers of some renown representing university and non-profit agencies from around the world. The expectations, which were reviewed with students prior to departure for NYC, were related to comporting themselves as ambassadors of PSU, of the Social Work Department, and to me, as I have significant collegial relationships with attendees of this symposium. All nine students were professionally attired during the symposium events, wearing business casual clothing, their demeanor was positive, respectful, helpful, and mature. The president of the organization shared with me, how impressed he was that they were as mature as they were and as “delightful”. He found it hard to believe they were undergraduates and the youngest students in attendance.
  2. To provide students an opportunity to present their research findings in a professional venue. Four students presented their research in the form of a poster presentation. The poster presentations were held prior to the Gala event, to which all symposium participants were in attendance. As a result, for one hour or more, the four students were asked to respond to questions regarding their research and to accept feedback and suggestions as a means of building on their initial research. They worked collaboratively and took turns explaining their research and answering questions. They (and I) received many positive comments about the timeliness of their research questions.
  3. To provide students practice in speaking professionally in front of social work professionals. The nine students served as volunteers in exchange for their registration fee waivers. In this capacity, students handled the registration desk, gave directions, were in charge of the continuing education process in workshops and generally followed through with whatever was asked of them. This entailed conducting themselves professionally in dress and demeanor. It meant having a respectful approach to people from around the world, being polite, helpful, engaging, and positive. The students were able to mingle with faculty outside of their university. The four students who presented had the additional responsibility for speaking in front of faculty, graduate students, and Social Work professionals as they explained their research. As the students sat at a table on an earlier day’s events, each time I introduced a faculty member to them and explained they were presenting on their research, the faculty member would have them discuss various elements from their project. The students had opportunities for speaking professionally and continuously, for four days.
  4. To provide students from a predominantly rural community, an urban experience. Students were exposed to NYC neighborhoods, restaurants, sights, and the diversity that is differently represented in an urban center than from a rural one. The students appeared comfortable with what they saw and experienced. They maintained a respectful demeanor, engaged people from cultures different from their own respectfully and easily.
  5. To provide students an opportunity to learn group work from acclaimed social work faculty specializing in group work. All students participated in the workshops as either participants or volunteers. They answered questions when they were asked of them, they actively participated in the experiential components of the workshops, and were impressed that they were in the presence of some of the authors of articles and textbooks they had read for class.
  6. To help students learn group work through experiential workshops outside of the PSU classroom. Students actively participated in experiential workshops. They were not required to attend workshops, but rather were encouraged to attend those of interest to them. All students spent the majority of daytime hours in workshops.
  7. To provide students opportunities to work collaboratively in teams as they develop and present their research findings. The students worked as a team in completing their research study. Initially there were five students in the research task group but they convinced the fifth member to drop out as her work product was not sufficient to warrant having her name associated with the team. This was executed respectfully and there were no hard feelings during the NYC trip. The four presenters also worked collaboratively during the presentation, each taking turns sharing information. (17020 kB)
student photos in PNG format


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