School of Social Policy & Practice
Founded as one of the nation's earliest schools of social work in the United States, the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) has trained social work professionals for over 110 years. In the 21st century, its scope expanded to include public policy and nonprofit leadership as natural extensions of applied social research. Today, SP2 offers masters programs in social work, public policy, and nonprofit leadership; doctoral programs in social welfare and clinical social work, and a wide range of certificate programs and specializations. The school is home to several research centers, including the Center for Carceral Communities, the Center for Guaranteed Income Research, the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the Center for Social Impact Strategy, the Center for Social Mobility and Prosperity, the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research, and the Ortner Center on Violence and Abuse. Faculty and graduate work is rooted in social justice, community care, and advancing equity-based policies worldwide.
PublicationCulture’s Role in Community Revitalization in Philadelphia(2003-03-01) Stern, Mark J; Stern, Mark JSIAP grew out of the belief that a better understanding of how the arts fit into urban social processes could provide a stronger foundation for policy making beyond a narrow focus on economic development. Its research to date can inform urban policy and community development strategies in several ways: highlight upcoming trends beyond “urban crisis”; measure the impacts of cultural engagement on urban neighborhoods; and document the mechanisms through which cultural sector works in urban communities. Thus the arts and culture are not marginal but rather are at the center of the new urban reality—characterized by a mix of decline and revitalization. Looking forward, SIAP wants to document how cultural engagement—along with other forms of community involvement—fit into an evolving “new civil society.” PublicationFalling Far from the Tree: Transitions to Adulthood and the Social History of Twentieth-Century America(2005-12-01) Stanger-Ross, Jordan; Stern, Mark J; Stern, Mark JEmploying the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series of the University of Minnesota, we chronicle the changing timing and duration of transitions to adulthood in the twentieth century. Successive generations of young Americans reinvented the transition to adulthood to accommodate shifts in the economy and the American state. The patterned choices of young people delineate three eras of social history in the twentieth century: the era of reciprocity (1900–1950), the era of dependence (1950–70s), and the era of autonomy (1970s-2000). We also explain why African Americans differed from the general trend; they developed distinctive transitions to adulthood in response to persistent inequality. PublicationThe Role of Social Anxiety in Volunteering(2007-09-01) Handy, Femida; Cnaan, Ram A; Handy, Femida; Cnaan, Ram AThe volunteer management literature suggests that the most effective means of recruitment is personal asking. However, agencies that apply this method do not report the expected success in volunteer recruitment. Often they face the volunteer recruitment fallacy: those people assumed to be interested in volunteering do not necessarily volunteer. Based on the literature of shyness or social anxiety and on empirical observations, this article suggests that social anxiety often deters volunteering by new recruits. We hypothesize that people with greater levels of social anxiety will be less likely to volunteer. Furthermore, we hypothesize that people with high social anxiety will prefer to give monetary support to worthy causes rather than volunteer their time, and if they do choose to volunteer, they will do so alongside friends. Our hypotheses are supported based on the findings from a large-scale nonrandom sample in North America. We suggest how to avoid the volunteer recruitment fallacy by creating a personal environment in which high-social-anxiety recruits feel safe and accepted. By removing the fear of being negatively judged by strangers as they enter the agency and creating a more personal approach, new recruits may have a higher probability of becoming long-term and consistent volunteers. PublicationCultural Ecology, Neighborhood Vitality, and Social Wellbeing—A Philadelphia Project(2013-12-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C; Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CFrom 2011 to 2013, SIAP with Reinvestment Fund undertook new research that featured development of multidimensional indexes of social wellbeing for the city of Philadelphia. This report presents the results of that collaboration. Chapter 1 documents construction of a neighborhood-based social wellbeing index for the city. Chapter 2 uses the social wellbeing index to analyze patterns of advantage and disadvantage in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Chapter 3 draws on SIAP's historical data to examine changes in Philadelphia's cultural ecology between 1997 and 2012. The summary highlights how the policy tool helps conceptualize and measure culture as a dimension of social wellbeing as well as a contributor to equitable communities. PublicationHurricane Katrina and New Orleans: What Might a Sociological Embeddedness Perspective Offer Disaster Research and Planning?(2008-11-01) Iversen, Roberta R; Iversen, Roberta R; Armstrong, Annie LaurieThe Hurricane Katrina and NewOrleans situation was commonly called a "natural disaster" - an anomalous "event" that disrupted lives, spaces, and organizations. Research and planning attention then focused on particular aspects of the event and on restoring order. In contrast, sociologists and similar-thinking scholars have increasingly viewed disaster situations from multiple locations and histories, often using systems theory. Here, reanalysis of empirical material from ethnographic research in New Orleans pre- and post-Katrina suggests that a sociological embeddedness perspective illustrates the dynamic seamlessness of past, present, and future economic contexts and social actions. The perspective's constitutive concepts of weak, strong, and differentiated ties highlight the role of local knowledge, intermediary-led workforce networks, and sustained participatory planning in creating a robust economic environment. Toward this end, disaster research, planning, and theory building could incorporate network tie assessments into social vulnerability protocols, compare embeddedness with other perspectives, and learn from related international experiences. PublicationAssessment and Social Construction: Conflict or Co-Creation?(2005-04-29) Iversen, Roberta R; Iversen, Roberta R; Gergen, Kenneth J; Fairbanks, Robert PAssessment procedures in social work emerged within the historical context of modernist empiricism. They are lodged in assumptions of objectivity, measurement accuracy, value neutrality and scientific expertise. Within the context of postmodern constructionism, the grounds for traditional assessment are thrown into question. While such critique may seem to threaten the assessment tradition, such a conclusion is unwarranted. Rather, one may locate within the assessment tradition and constructionist writings converging lines of thought. Through the collaborative extension of two assessment exemplars — the genogram and the ecomap — we suggest new and more promising potentials for assessment practices in social work. PublicationPsychosocial and Re-Incarceration Risks Among Older Adults in Mental Health Courts(2014-08-01) Engstrom, Malitta; Engstrom, Malitta; Jang, EunyoungObjective Older adults are increasingly involved in the criminal justice system, yet there is limited research regarding their needs and experiences. This study examined differences in psychosocial experiences and reincarceration between older and younger adults with psychiatric disorders involved in the criminal justice system. Methods Participants (N = 80) were recruited from two mental health courts in the midwestern United States. Bivariate analyses examined age-related differences in psychosocial experiences and reincarceration between younger and older participants. Results Older adults, on average, experienced more treatment adherence and fewer probation violations than younger adults during the 6-month follow-up; however, they experienced comparable risk for reincarceration. Older adults' substance use, service use, housing instability, and program retention were similar to their younger counterparts. Conclusion Despite older mental health court participants' treatment adherence and reduced probation violations, they are at risk for incarceration, substance use, and housing instability. PublicationCrane Arts: Financing Artistsâ Workspaces(2007-08-01) The Reinvestment Fund; Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP)
This brief tells the story of Crane Arts, the conversion of Crane Plumbing Companyâ s 1905 factory and warehouse in Philadelphia's Old Kensington, to affordable artist studio and gallery space. In spring 2004 two artists and a developer--Crane Arts LLCâ purchased the property and began the challenge of rehabilitation of a century-old factory in a former manufacturing district. Along the way, they heard about TRFâ s lending activities, including commercial real estate in urban neighborhoods. The Crane Arts project was a perfect fit for TRF, which views the arts as critical to the health of a community and invests in projects that have the potential to catalyze revitalization in Philadelphia neighborhoods. The success of Crane Arts has encouraged TRF to finance other artist centers in Philadelphia.
PublicationShelters Lead Nowhere(1993-12-19) Culhane, Dennis P; Culhane, Dennis PThe city should take state and Federal financing that goes to the shelters and use it to keep people out of them. Publication“Natural” Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study—Report Summary(2013-02-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan C; Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis summary of the full research report--"Natural" Cultural Districts: A Three-City Study (February 2013)--presents the rationale for the study as well as findings and implications for policy and research. Policy issues noted are: differential ecology of "natural" cultural districts; economic inequality and location advantage; and trends in the development and management of cultural space. Research questions noted are: change in neighborhood cultural ecology over time; new models of cultural production; displacement vs community revitalization; and reconnecting the arts with culture.