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SAGE/CSWE Award for Innovative Teaching in Social Work Education

Teaching Innovation: Embracing the stories of war: Using storytelling and immersive course design to deepen empathy for combat veterans

This course uses a pedagogical approach in which academic material is woven into an engaging narrative that includes immersive experiences through which students become part of the veterans’ stories. Using this Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Experience (M.O.L.I.E.), students experience the military cycle starting with recruitment and enlistment, boot camp, war, and returning home.


Tina-cropped2-150x150.jpgTina Blaschke-Thompson, LMSW, has been with the Michigan State University School of Social Work since 2006. Born to be a social worker, Tina’s passion is bringing attention to critical issues affecting underserved and vulnerable populations.  Through the Combat Veterans class, Tina’s hope is to inspire students to professionally serve these marginalized and misunderstood heroes.

Glenn-150x150.jpgGlenn Stutzky, LMSW, is a Clinical Instructor with the Michigan State University School of Social Work. He has long been interested in how humans behave and why. He has worked extensively with educators, law enforcement, and community members on these issues for over 20 years. He is now turning this experience towards understanding how to better equip those who serve Combat Veterans to effectively meet their unique needs. To embrace their stories, share their burdens, and heal the wounds of war.

Additional members of the instructional team includes Emily Brozovic, Keesa Johnson, and Chris Irvin with MSU IT Services. P5270015.jpg

Teaching Innovation: Using an Interview Project to Develop Students’ Skills in Working with Grief

In many helping situations, social work students wrestle with the complexity and varied scope of the problems their clients face, including struggles with loss, grief, and suffering. As novice practitioners, students have experiences with clients that often cause them to feel overwhelmed and discouraged as well as powerless to acknowledge and relieve client suffering. This teaching innovation helps students become more aware of and comfortable working with the pain of others (including their own) by exposing students to intimate learning experiences that would immerse them in this work. Students interview a self-selected family member, friend, or acquaintance who has experienced life-altering suffering. Students conduct three interviews with the same person, each focusing on different aspects of the suffering experience. Interviews are guided by scripted, open-ended questions allowing students to explore the depth and breadth of interviewees’ loss, grief, or suffering.


Rogers_Photo.jpgAnissa T. Rogers, PhD., LCSW, MA 
is Professor of Social Work at the University of Portland in Portland, Oregon. She serves as the Director of the Social Work Program and Co-Director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Minor. She teaches courses across the social work curriculum including courses on gerontology, human sexuality, gender and the body, death and dying, and international social work. Her research is mainly focused on mental health and other issues for LGBT older adults. Dr. Rogers is a licensed clinical social worker with an active private practice in animal assisted therapy with older adults and hospice patients. In addition, she has been involved in various community-based clinical and research projects with the older LGBT community in Portland and has written a textbook, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, which is in its fourth edition with Routledge Publishers.

Braband,-Barb_2016.jpgBarb Braband, RN, EdD, CNE is an Associate Professor at the University of Portland, School of Nursing. As a long-standing certified nurse educator in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, Dr. Braband's primary nursing specialties include public and population health, palliative care, caring, and peri-operative nursing. Dr. Braband is currently the Program Director of a new RN to BSN program at the University of Portland, School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon. Educational background includes a Bachelors' degree in Nursing, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD; a MA in agency counseling, a MSN degree in nursing education, and a doctoral degree in Healthcare Professions Education. Scholarship topics include topics in nursing education, caring, suffering and childhood grief.

Gaudino-(4).JPG Rebecca Gaudino, PhD, MDiv, MA, is passionate about practical theology and the ways that it invites students to practice lovingkindness for their clients and  themselves. She is a Lecturer in Theology at University of Portland in Oregon, where she teaches a class for nursing majors on suffering and death. Rebecca has her doctorate in 19th- and 20th-century British literature and a Master's of Divinity and is an ordained minister.