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SAGE/CSWE Commission on Research Faculty Award
for Innovation in Research Instruction

Raymond Sanchez Mayers, PhD, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Innovation: Using a Virtual Agency to Give Students Hands-On Experience With Research

Dr. Raymond Sanchez Mayers (PhD, Brandeis University) is associate professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies and the Center for Race and Ethnicity.  He is also director of Latino/a Initiatives for Service, Training, and Assessment at the School of Social Work, the goal of which is to increase the number of Hispanic professional social workers in New Jersey and nationally.  In addition, Dr. Sanchez Mayers is currently treasurer of the Association of Latina and Latino Social Work Educators, an organization that works to provide scholarships to Hispanic students and support and networking opportunities for Hispanic social work faculty members. Dr. Sanchez Mayers is the lead teacher for Methods of Social Work Research I and II at Rutgers and, in that capacity, developed a virtual human service agency with data that students can use for program evaluation and other projects.

Honorable Mention

The selection committee received a number of high-quality applications and nominations for the award this year and wanted to give special acknowledgment to two of those applicants.

Kristin Bolton, PhD, MSW, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Innovation: Development and Implementation of an Interdisciplinary Research Methods Course in Human Services

Dr. Kristin Bolton is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Currently, she is the interim MSW coordinator and primarily teaches research methods to social work graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Bolton’s innovation included leading the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary research methods course that provides undergraduate students majoring in social work, nursing, recreation therapy, and exercise science with an opportunity to learn research in an interprofesisonal setting. Students develop an understanding of the role of research in their respective fields, gain insight into the importance of interprofessional research and practice, conduct research through interprofessional groups, and critically reflect on the knowledge and experiences gained.

Mary Secret, PhD, MSSA, Virginia Commonwealth University
Innovation: Using an Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Research Methods 

Four social science research methods instructors, an instructional designer, and a research librarian formed a faculty learning community to collaborate in delivering an online interdisciplinary social science research methods course for graduate students in sociology, education, social work, and public administration. The course was designed to facilitate cross-discipline connections, student engagement, and digital fluency. Four components distinguished the course: an interdisciplinary approach, openly networked connected learning format, structured blogging component, and information literacy component.