Barry University School of Social Work
Calendar  May 2016 Issue

Prevention is Possible: Sexual Assault Month

April was Sexual Assault Month and BUSSW participated in several university-wide initiatives throughout the month, including hosting a screening and panel discussion of the film “Brave Miss World.” The event provided a safe opportunity for students, faculty and members of the community to learn more about the impacts of sexual violence. The film was followed by an open forum discussion with Dr. Alissa Ackerman, a member of the “Brave Miss World” outreach team. Ackerman is a professor of criminal justice at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Her passion to prevent sexual violence manifests in broad ways, from research on sex crimes policy to survivor-centered storytelling and healing. As an advocate and activist, Ackerman is a fiercely outspoken advocate for ending the shame and stigma associated with sexual violence. She believes that the only way to stop sexual violence is to understand how it impacts survivors, families and communities. She uses her expertise and voice to provide safe spaces for survivors to speak out.

Trauma Informed Education and Practice
Trauma Informed Education and Practice

Trauma Informed Education and Practice

BUSSW has been working to promote Trauma Informed Education and Practice to our students and community at-large. As part of its Trauma-Informed, Resiliency-focused signature curriculum, the School is educating the community and our students on identifying a trauma-informed approach and trauma-specific interventions to facilitate healing.

The School of Social Work recently hosted a training provided by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) to help our community enhance its trauma-informed service delivery. The free, day-long training was also live streamed and archived, and CEs and a certificate of attendance was offered for all participants.

On March 15, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice also hosted a screening and guided reflection of the award-winning documentary “Paper Tigers.” The film examines the powerful impact and possibilities of trauma-informed communities through its intimate look into the lives of students and the transformation of a learning environment at an alternative school specialized in educating traumatized youth. The event was free and open to students, community members and partners.

From Death Row to Restorative Justice

On March 21, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice sponsored a day of education, planning and action. High school and college students, and community members gathered to talk about the flaws of capital punishment in the State of Florida and learned about Restorative Justice.

Speakers included Sociology Professor and death penalty advocate Dr. Laura Finley, and Social Work Professor and behavioral health expert Dr. Ed Tucker.

BUSSW Offers new PART-TIME MSW 60-credit Saturday Program for Working Professionals

BUSSW Offers new PART-TIME MSW 60-credit Saturday Program for Working Professionals Coming this fall, the School of Social work will add a part-time MSW Saturday Program at the Miami Campus. Designed for those who work full time, this unique 60 credit program allows you to earn your MSW degree in 28 months through weekend study. This program option is open only to new first-year MSW students. In addition to coursework, the SSW offers a variety of diverse placements across South Florida. The Office of Field Education meets with each student individually to discuss their areas of social work practice and internship availability, including the possibility of completing field education and their agency of employment. Application deadline is July 15, 2016.

For more information and to apply, contact SSW Office of Admissions, Enrollment & Student Services or call 305-899-4765/3047 or visit

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Dr. Jill Levenson is invited to the New Zealand Psychological Society and the Institute of Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology

Dr. Jill Levenson traveled to Auckland, New Zealand, to offer a one-and-a-half-day workshop about Trauma-Informed Care. She was invited by the New Zealand Psychological Society and the Institute of Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology. Day one focused on general trauma-informed practices for all clinicians. The workshop discussed basic concepts of trauma and trauma-informed care, the prevalence and correlates of early adversity, the role of trauma in the development of behavioral and relational problems, and clinical strategies for strengths-based assessments and trauma-informed counseling interventions. Day two was directed toward practitioners working with forensic clients, and focused on the role of trauma in the development of criminal and antisocial behavior, with specific strategies for trauma-informed practices in forensic and correctional settings.

Miami Beach PRIDE Parade

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students continue to experience discrimination on college and university campuses. Social Work Students Speak Out! – a recent research report published by the Council of Social Work Education – documents experiences of homophobia and transphobia too often experienced by LGBTQ social work students within their social work programs (Craig, Dentato, McInroy, Austin, & Messinger, 2015). Study findings underscore the importance of visible support and advocacy for LGBTQ issues within schools of social work. This year, Drs. Ashley Austin and Ed Tucker joined the Barry University student PRIDE group and members of several allied student organizations as they marched in the eighth annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade on April 10. With the support of the School of Social Work and under the advisement of Dr. Austin, Barry’s student PRIDE group was newly instituted on campus this academic year. Under the co-presidency of two students, Diomaris Bello and Britney Philippeaux, PRIDE group members were determined to be actively involved in fostering a supportive and inclusive community for sexual and gender-diverse students; being visibly represented in the Pride Parade for the first time was a primary goal for the group. The experience was exhilarating and empowering for PRIDE members. Philippeaux shared her experience in the following words: “Walking in the parade and representing Barry University was inspirational, and honestly reminded me of Margaret Mead’s famous quote: ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.’” PRIDE made a tremendous impact on the Barry campus this year, winning a majority of the Recognized Student Organization awards for 2016, including Rising Star, President of the Year, Member of the Year, Transformational Leader and the Barry Pride awards. The rights of LGBTQ individuals continue to be challenged nationally, regionally, and globally through anti-LGBTQ legislation, a lack of sexual and gender identity-based non-discrimination policies, and health, safety and economic disparities. The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice in the School of Social Work remain committed to its continued partnership with PRIDE to ensure a visible commitment to advancing inclusivity of and support for LGBTQ individuals on the Barry campus and in our local and global communities.

Advancing Social Justice through Dialogue

TRACKS is a program that was developed out of the University of Michigan to promote prejudice awareness and reduction. Using an intergroup dialogue method in a closed-group setting, the model serves to provide a safe and in-depth facilitated discussion on a range of issues relating to privilege and oppression. Trained facilitators help participants discuss their personal perspectives on such issues relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, ability and immigration. TRACKS focuses on ideas of discussion that are current, trending and hot topics within our society and culture. No judgment is passed and all ideas and opinions are welcome. Its belief is that attitudes can only be shared and transformed when honest exchange takes place. TRACKS promotes continuous education, information and communication through these sessions. This spring, more than 50 students participated in one of the three TRACKS Series about Ability, Race and Gender Identity. This fall, there will be three more series on Political Diversity, Sexual Orientation and Xenophobia.

Individuals who commit to a series commit to attending all three sessions of the series. At the end of the series, a certificate of participation is awarded. Participation in a TRACKS series is required to be certified as a TRACKS Trainer.

For more information, please contact Dr. Mitch Rosenwald at, or Alysa Gregory, graduate assistant, at

Global Perspectives

Thanks to the SSW Student Fellowship fund, MSW student Ana Miranda and BSW student Quayneshia Smith traveled to Haiti in March with the Alternative Breaks program, which was coordinated by the CCSI. Both students have expressed a strong passion to help others through volunteer work and their social work profession, so when they found out about the program, it was a perfect fit.

“Even in high school I heard about these kinds of trips, so that’s something I always wanted to do,” said Smith. “Go to a new place and you learn about different ways people live and ways that you can help, so when I found out about it my freshman year I did it and have been doing it every year since. I will continue to do it until my last year here at Barry.”

Before the trip, the seven students and faculty members that went met weekly to discuss the issues that the population is facing, the community they are going to be visiting, culture sensitivity, what they will see and what to expect. The meetings prepared the group for the trip and helped them build relationships amongst each other and learn about the community that they would be visiting.

Once there, the students got a chance to visit a hospital, among other places, where they realized that there was an immense need for social workers and counseling for family members.

“The counselors are only there to aid patients, so anyone else in the region that needs counseling or someone to talk doesn’t have much of a choice. There was no other person available for them,” said Miranda.

“As a social worker, having the opportunity to do these trips confirms the importance of working with the community. I see how you can sit behind a desk, write policies and advocate all you want, but unless you go to these communities and see and talk to these people, see what they need, what they're going through and actually have that one-on-one rapport, I don’t think you’re going to be as passionate as you could be,” said Smith. “You have to be with the people; commune with them, eat with them, talk to them to really get a full understanding to all the aspects of them. It makes you more driven and helps you advocate for their needs and what they really want.”

Certificate in Mindfulness and Therapeutic Practice

In February, another cohort received their post-master’s certificates in Mindfulness and Therapeutic Practice. Ten participants were taught by Dr. Jennifer Williams and Dr. Ed Tucker on how to expand their own mindfulness practice and incorporate it into their therapeutic work with clients. Many clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of mindfulness in reducing all kinds of suffering, including depression, anxiety and addiction. This limited-enrollment and highly interactive four-day program is the only one of its kind in the state of Florida. Special guest practitioners enriched the participants’ experience. Lauren Ziegler guided them through trauma-informed yoga sessions and Dunja Pacirski presented on cultivating self-compassion and loving-kindness. The next program will be offered in June.

More Information

Here are some excerpts of what participants had to say about the program on their anonymous evaluation forms:

“The whole program was insightful, meaningful, and left me with a greater sense of peacefulness. I would now be able to connect more fully with my clients.”

“I found the entire training relevant and beneficial to me, both personally and professionally … Ed and Jennifer were absolutely fantastic and Dunja and Lauren were also fantastic!”

“The presenters were highly effective in demonstrating how to implement techniques.”

“I am very thankful for being able to participate in this program. It was put together in a very well-structured and harmonious manner. The presenters were able to provide the information in an impressive and sensitive manner.”

Upcoming Information Sessions
June 9
Palm Beach
June 11
June 21
Fort Myers
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Barry University School of Social Work
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