How should social work education respond to the changing political landscape?

As the new presidential administration takes office, many social workers question the extent to which it will reflect the profession's values of equality and social and economic justice. Students, too, may be wondering how the administration's policies will impact their work with clients and communities, in particular the implications for marginalized groups. What are some ways to help students make sense of the emerging, often confusing, political era in the classroom?

The CSWE Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice explored this question in a live webinar panel on March 21, 2017. The Center provided curated resources to further these discussions in the classroom.

In this webinar, participants will learn ways to help students feel empowered in order to apply their skills to intervene on behalf of and with their clients in the face of the current political uncertainty by:

  • helping to create a vision of a just society
  • providing information that will help to analyze the current political environment, and
  • critically considering how to frame issues for social change.

Who should participate?

Social work faculty, administrators, field educators, and students with an interest in helping students navigate the changing political landscape in their work with clients and communities

Yolanda Padilla

Clara Pope Willoughby Centennial Professor in Child Welfare The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work Director, CSWE Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice

Dr. Yolanda C. Padilla is the inaugural director of the CSWE Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice, which focuses on developing innovative education. A graduate of the doctoral program in social work and sociology at the University of Michigan, she is an expert in social inequality and poverty. She has conducted population-level studies on social and health disparities with a focus on Latino populations, which have been reported in Social Work, Families in Society, Social Service Review, and Social Science Quarterly. Dr. Padilla is a research affiliate of the National Poverty Center located at the University of Michigan and is a network scholar of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Her teaching focuses on generalist social work, community practice, and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of social justice. Dr. Padilla is a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and is a member of the Grand Challenges Executive Committee. In 2015-2016, she served as Vice President and Conference Chair of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Kaetlyn Cordingley

CSWE Government Relations Staff

Kaetlyn Cordingley utilizes her extensive knowledge of education policy at both the state and federal levels to advise and advocate on behalf of Lewis-Burke clients. Ms. Cordingley joined the firm after working on education issues on Capitol Hill in the offices of Montana's Senator Jon Tester and Senator John E. Walsh. She also brings a wealth of state education policy knowledge from her experience working for Montana's state education agency.

As a legislative assistant for Senator Walsh, she was responsible for advancing legislation included in the Higher Education Reauthorization draft. In this role she gained vast expertise on the critical issues of higher education quality, access, and affordability. In addition to her work on education policy, she also served as the senior advisor on women's and children's health, banking, housing, consumer protection, and business engagement.

Katie received her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington in Journalism and Political Communications. She holds a master's degree from Harvard University in Education Policy and Management.

John L. Jackson, Jr.

Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice and Richard Perry University Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jackson's research examines racial and class-based differences in contemporary urban environments, including a focus on how urbanites themselves theorize and deploy those differences in everyday interactions.

Dr. Jackson's scholarship uses ethnographic research methods to extend and expand Critical Race Theory as an analytical and explanatory framework for understanding contemporary social conflicts.

Dr. Jackson's work also critically explores how film and other non-traditional or multi-modal formats can be most effectively utilized in specifically scholarly research projects, and he is one of the founding members of CAMRA ( and PIVPE, two Penn-based initiatives organized around creating visual and performative research projects—and producing rigorous criteria for assessing them.

Dr. Jackson's work also examines how contemporary urban religions are being mobilized to improve health literacy and health outcomes in poor and underserved communities around Philadelphia and all across the world.


03/21/2017 at 12:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
03/21/2017 at 12:00 PM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
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