2022 CSWE Election Candidate Statements

2022 CSWE Election Candidate Statements

CSWE Board of Directors

Graduate Program Represenative

Dianna Cooper-Bolinskey, Campbellsville University (KY)
Laura Curran, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (NJ)


Undergraduate Program Representative

Christa Gilliam, Coppin State University (MD)
Dawn McCarty, University of Houston-Downtown (TX)

Treasurer

Jose Coll, Portland State University (OR)
Michael Robinson, University of Georgia (GA)


National Nominating Committee

Practice Representative

Erica Sandoval, Latinx in Social Work Inc (NY)
Cole Watts, Stages of Recovery, Inc. (TX)

 


Nominees for Board of Directors

Graduate Program Representative

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Dianna Cooper-Bolinskey, Campbellsville University (KY)

I seek a Board position because I envision quality social work education and want to actively work to maintain it. I embrace the integration of micro, macro, and clinical social work and want to promote education that prepares students to serve clients well, and for licensure. I believe in the collaboration between CSWE, NASW, and ASWB, and I want to facilitate this partnership. My qualifications include NASW - NCNLI and ethical reviews; CSWE - CMPD, the regulatory curricular guide, and site visitor; and ASWB - the practice analysis, passing score committee, item writer, and exam committee. I enjoy analytic critical conversations and organizational work.

 

Laura Curran, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (NJ)

It is a great honor to be nominated to CSWE’s Board of Directors. I am an associate professor and senior associate dean of academic affairs at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. I am running as a graduate program representative for the Board of Directors because of my deep commitment to and passion for social work education. Through my service, my goal is to support the success of social work students and faculty so that we can best advance social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. My experiences as an MSW director, senior associate dean of academic affairs, a CSWE site visitor, and a member of CSWE’s Council on Leadership Development provide me with extensive preparation for this role.

I bring a deep understanding of social work education, significant experience in program innovation, and strong leadership skills. My vision for CSWE and social work education includes diversifying the academy and building genuinely inclusive and equitable environments for students and faculty; not only recalibrating but also reimagining social work education in a postpandemic world; centering student success and employing antiracist, trauma-informed, and inclusive approaches to education; addressing rising educational costs and student debt; helping students to prepare for emergent, technologically rich forms of social work practice; engaging in interdisciplinary education, research, and practice while maintaining our strong and unique professional identity; taking stock of and educating students about the profession’s historical complicity with racism and inequitable systems of power; balancing our social justice ideals with our commitment to academic freedom; and mobilizing social work and social work education to actively defend and nurture multiracial democracy. As a member of the Board, I will work with CSWE to address the major challenges of the moment as we set a path for a strong future. Thank you for considering my vision!  

Undergraduate Program Representative

Christa Gilliam, Coppin State University (MD)

I am honored to be considered for the BSW representative position on the Board of Directors. I currently serve as the Social Work Department chair at Coppin State University where I teach undergraduate social work courses and lead the BSW program. My interest in serving on the Board of Directors is grounded in my experience as a practitioner turned academic. I have had the opportunity to teach on both the undergraduate and graduate levels and serve as a field director. Prior to coming to the academy, I enjoyed a career as a child welfare social worker. It is these experiences that have prepared me to serve on the BOD as an advocate for students, faculty, and the future of social work education. My first exposure to CSWE was as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, where I had the opportunity to present on a panel with my professors. Presenting with my professors solidified my desire to become a social work educator contributing to the future of the social work profession. As the BSW program representative I will utilize my leadership experience to increase opportunities and access for undergraduate students, especially those in under-resourced programs.

As a member of CSWE, I serve on the Women’s Council and the Committee on Environmental Justice (CEJ). On both committees I support the goals of social work education as an advocate for BSW education. If elected I would collaborate with colleagues to build best practices that serve the interests of students and faculty in accredited programs. My vision for social work education is to continue setting the highest standards for practice, expand the knowledge base, and create opportunities for inclusivity and accountability. I envision a future forward CSWE that ensures a competent social work workforce prepared to address the challenges in society.

 

Dawn McCarty, University of Houston-Downtown (TX)

Why: I am running for the Board of Directors as an opportunity to serve the profession and to grow in knowledge and skill. In gratitude for my 22 years as a social work educator, I am ready to share what I have learned, and to collaborate with colleagues to move our profession forward. Social work and social workers have never been more relevant.

Skills: I am an accomplished teacher in that my significant community service and meaningful scholarship with the unauthorized community in Houston creates a powerful synergy in the classroom that inspires and motivates our students. I am also a skilled administrator and program leader focused on equity and inclusion, growing at a record level our BSW program in the heart of a pandemic—a time when social work could not be more important.

Vision: My vision for social work education is for every student to be trained in an environment where the values of the social work profession are actively modeled in the classroom. In the program I lead, we teach, mentor, and shape our learning environment in solidarity with our students, working hard to model equality and empowerment in everything we do. These intentional efforts to marry our explicit content with our implicit environment creates a culture of equity and care for each other. As examples: We are a fully open-access program so that every student has the same access to learning materials for each course taught in our curriculum, students are taught by a faculty that represents their diversity, and we provide a trauma informed educational environment that enriches and supports students during challenging times. We claim success when students take these value-based experiences while in our program and apply them to the people and communities they serve as new social work professionals. 

Treasurer

Jose Coll, Portland State University (OR)

I am honored to be nominated to serve as treasurer of the CSWE Board of Directors. I bring to this position a commitment to social work education that is led by my commitment to equity. My dedication to social work education is reflected in my experience as an educator and social work administrator for the past 15 years at undergraduate and graduate programs representing large research comprehensive as well teaching intensive private and public institutions. Along with my current role as dean of the School of Social Work, I have served as interim dean for the College of Education the past year aligning the college’s budget to their strategic plan while investing in our commitment to social equity in teacher education. At the local and state level, I serve as chair of the Board of Immigration Counseling Services, Board member of HereTogether, and Board member of Oregon Latinx Leadership Network. My work fully aligns with the vision and mission of CSWE and our communities. If elected to treasurer, I will conduct my duties to ensure that all voices from across our educational communities are represented while serving our members ethically.

 

Michael Robinson, University of Georgia (GA)

I am running for Treasurer because I am uniquely qualified with 16 years of service to CSWE, previous employment history, and a degree in Finance. Prior to academia, I was an Assistant Vice-President in a bank where I worked with companies looking to secure funding. This position required me to analyze financial statements and investigate any irregularities in order to make sound lending decisions. In my 10 years in banking, I helped numerous businesses obtain funding and never made a questionable lending decision. 

I started my service to CSWE in 2006 as a reviewer for APM. Later, I was appointed to the Council on Racial Ethnic and Cultural Diversity and served as Chair from 2014-2016. I reorganized CRECD and was instrumental in developing the CRECD Award. From 2016-2021, I served as chair of the Social and Economic Justice Track. During my tenure, I proposed a revision of the track charge to include environmental justice, the track name is now titled: Social Economic and Environmental Justice.  

Because of my history of leadership in CSWE, I was appointed to the Commission of Diversity and Social and Economic Justice and currently serve as Chair and non-voting board member. The Commission consists of leadership from four Councils and six Affiliate Groups.  The CDSEJ currently oversees selection of the Carl A. Scott Memorial Lecturer and Book Scholarship, and the Community Partnership Award.  During my tenure, the CDSEJ in conjunction with several tribal social work educators developed a Land Acknowledgement Statement for First Nations. One of my most significant contributions was instituting a co-chair system which allows new members to share in leadership responsibilities, while training to lead. I currently serve as co-chair of the curriculum subcommittee of the Anti-Racist Task Force. My overarching reason for service to the profession is to enact social change and train future leaders.


Nominees for National Nominating Committee

Practice Representative

Erica Sandoval, Latinx in Social Work Inc.  (NY)

I’m confident that I would contribute a unique voice to CSWE’s National Nominating Committee given my experience in and passion for building therapeutic relationships with clients and helping organizations change cultural and systemic barriers that exclude marginalized groups. There are few Latinx voices on the committee, and I know that I would add value as a Latina, an immigrant, a practicing social worker, and a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader. As the National Association of Social Workers New York City chapter’s president, I founded our “BOLD” talks, which stands for Building, Organizing, and Leading with Diversity. It’s a framework for social workers to have frank conversations about identity and systemic oppression, a skill that will prove invaluable as the nominating committee evaluates candidates holistically and strives for an equitable board.

I’m particularly passionate about CSWE because I believe that it can propel the social work educational field as a whole to be much more welcoming to social workers of color. We need to redefine a quality social work education as one that de-centers whiteness and consistently uplifts voices of color. CSWE should strengthen accreditation standards so that schools ensure students read texts written by authors of color and study the experiences and expertise of communities of color. One of my primary goals in publishing Latinx in Social Work – an anthology of personal essays written by Latinx social workers – last year was to bring the book to social work schools’ curricula. Latinx social work students can finally see themselves reflected in a seminal text, and students of other backgrounds can see another perspective of why there’s an urgent need for culturally specific and humble care.

 

Cole Watts, Stages of Recovery, Inc. (TX)

First, allow me to say "THANK YOU" for electing me to serve the NNC over the last 3 years. In my first-ever candidate statement, I said, "I have long admired CSWE" and "the impact of nominating the right people for leadership positions is proven by the great job our leaders have done shaping the direction of CSWE." At the time, all I could do was dream of working with such an esteemed organization as this. Now, I feel like Dorothy who was able to peek behind the curtain and see Oz (with higher ethical standards!).

Since beginning Stages of Recovery with my business partner in 2007, I have lived by the motto "social worker first," while personally orchestrating the expansion of the company into two new cities and helping thousands of individuals treat their chronic substance use. As a true practice representative, most of my experience with social work education has not been as a professional in the classroom. While I have guest lectured many times, most of my professional contribution to social work education has been collaborating with Texas Tech University and the other local colleges to create service-learning projects for their classes at our organization.

I am (still) a branch chair with NASW and serve on the city's Community Development and Services Board, along with other nonprofit boards. I have also received a Top 20 Under 40 in Business award, received multiple fellowships and grants for research, and given hundreds of presentations.

I believe that CSWE must continue to be responsive to members and cultural climates with an emphasis on diversity, ethics, and interprofessional collaboration. I hope to contribute to not only keeping CSWE as the foremost authority on social work education but also to grow to be the authority on all education in the U.S. and beyond.