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.
PublicationThe Role of Social Anxiety in Volunteering(2007-09-01) 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. PublicationVolunteering for Human Service Provisions: Lessons from Italy and the U.S.A.(1997) Ascoli, Ugo; Cnaan, Ram AThe increased reliance on volunteers in all industrialized democracies has been parallelled by growing fiscal crises in most states, widespread criticism of welfare, and increased demand for social services. While volunteer work is presumed to be an alternative to public services, its feasibility is not yet clear. We suggest that a cross-national comparison of two significantly different countries would provide more information about volunteerism as a partial substitute for public services. We compared the United States where volunteerism is a widespread tradition and Italy where there has been a "rediscovery" of volunteerism since the 1980s. Differences between the two countries in the practice of volunteerism are examined from several perspectives. They include the relationships between volunteers and the statutory sector, the professionalization of volunteer activity, the role of citizen participation in a capitalistic society, and the Lockean principle of limited government. Finally, we conclude that while there are many differences in welfare provision between the United States and Italy, they do have a common element: increased reliance on volunteers for every aspect of day-to-day life; however, this reliance is mostly ideologically-based and may prove unfounded and costly. PublicationNonprofit Watchdogs: Do They Serve the Average Donor?(2010-06-02) Cnaan, Ram A; Jones, Kathleen; Dickin, Allison; Salomon, MicheleNonprofit watchdog organizations—organizations devoted to rating the accountability and transparency of nonprofits—claim to serve donors who are selecting which nonprofits to support. However, using three waves of the Harris Interactive Donor Pulse, we found that the overwhelming majority of donors (77.6 percent) do not consult these online intermediaries when making donations. Those who do are likely to fall into one of two groups: donors who give large sums of money or donors who are engaged in advocacy. We conclude with conceptual and practical implications. PublicationTowards a Practice-based Model for Community Practice: Linking Theory and Practice(2012-03-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Boehm, AmnonCareful examination of the literature of community practice shows that existing community practice models do not ad- equately respond to the unique and changing needs of vari- ous communities. This article provides an alternative model that challenges the existing models. Based on extensive content analysis of the literature and practice knowledge, this alterna- tive model offers sufficient flexibility to adapt to any particular community. The model is also participatory, process-oriented, and reflective. Herein we first review existing models, provide criteria for assessing their applicability, then introduce the new model, and subsequently discuss its applicability and merit. PublicationFinancial Inclusion: Lessons From Rural South India(2012-01-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Moodithaya, M. S; Handy, FemidaFinancial inclusion/exclusion has recently been emphasised as an important policy option aimed at alleviating poverty, minimising social exclusion and enhancing economic growth. In this article, we review the growing interest in financial exclusion and inclusion, define them and demonstrate their existence in developing and developed countries. Our empirical focus is on whether financial inclusion has been successfully implemented in four sites in rural South India where banks claimed that financial inclusion is complete. Although many rural people in South India are financially included, the concept of financial inclusion is more complex than usually portrayed. Our findings show that social and personal deprivation contributes to financial exclusion and should be viewed as key barriers to financial inclusion. We also suggest that financial inclusion is not a monolithic phenomenon and should be studied in a multi-layered fashion, ranging from having a bank account to making full use of modern financial instruments. PublicationDoes Social Work Education Have an Impact on Social Policy Preferences? A Three-Cohort Study(2005-01-01) Weiss, Idit; Gal, John; Cnaan, Ram AThis article examines the impact of social work education on the social policy preferences of social work students through a panel study of three cohorts of students at three universities in two countries - the United States and Israel. The findings of the study indicate that though the initial policy preferences of the students at the beginning of their studies at the three universities differed, by the end of their studies, the students' preferences were similar and supportive of the welfare state model. PublicationEntrepreneurship in the Public Sector: The Horns of a Dilemma(1995) Perlmutter, Felice D; Cnaan, Ram AWhat are local public administrators expected to do in an era of tax-based decline, diminishing state and federal support, and intensified public demand for more and better services? Felice Perlmutter and Ram Cnaan argue that a policy of fundraising and development is one solution to this dilemma. The authors acknowledge that private support for public services is not a new idea or practice; however, an institutionalized policy of capital campaign and donation seeking from private sources on an ongoing basis to fund traditional public services is the essence of this new policy. Perlmutter and Cnaan provide us with a case study of the Department of Recreation in the city of Philadelphia which, through the proactive leadership of a new commissioner, took on the mission of establishing a development unit and annual fund campaign. The authors describe the background of the new policy, its formulation, and implementation. This policy, however, is not without its risks, and Perlmutter and Cnaan detail some of these risks as a precaution for those wishing to hastily adopt the new policy. PublicationReview of Hillel Schmid, Neighborhood Self-Management: Experiments in Civil Society(2003-01-01) Cnaan, Ram AIn this volume, Professor Hillel Schmid of the Hebrew University describes and analyzes an attempt to establish neighborhood-based mechanisms that will serve as representatives and service coordinators to local residents. The experiment took place in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Israel is too often given negative press in the media where three monotheistic religions see home and heritage. Yet, it is important to remember that it is also a place where some 600-700,000 people work, live, and consume municipal services. Chapter 5 describes Jerusalem in such a perspective and would be of interest to many readers, even those who are not concerned with community practice and civil society issues. In the early 1990s, the city integrated two groups that served the residents interests: community centers and neighborhood self-management into a joint body called "community council." PublicationReview of Peter J. Wosh, Covenant House: Journey of a Faith-based Charity(2005-01-01) Cnaan, Ram AIn Covenant House: Journey of a Faith-Based Charity, Peter Wosh provides us with a modern historical review of one of the most famous, and infamous, faith-based social service agencies. Covenant House is the creation of Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan friar who witnessed the growth of youth runaways in New York and established a network of local as well as national and international semifranchised agencies to help them. The case study of Covenant House contains almost everything for which a nonprofit scholar can ask: the formation of a successful nonprofit organization (NPO), an analysis of growth, charismatic leadership, expansion, crisis and demise of the founder, rebirth, and recovery. Of the many cases I have read throughout the years, this one is by far the most extensive and carefully crafted. PublicationCharitable Choice and Faith-Based Welfare: A Call for Social Work(2002-07-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Boddie, Stephanie CThe Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 contains a little known section referred to as "Charitable Choice." This section encourages states to involve community and faith-based organizations in providing federally funded welfare services. Most social workers are unfamiliar with this part of the legislation and its far-reaching implications for society as a whole and for the social work profession as it opens the door for mixing religion and publicly supported social services provision. This article reviews how Charitable Choice has shifted the way government engages faith-based organizations in social services delivery. A review of the public discourse and research findings regarding the relevance and implementation of Charitable Choice is also presented. Implications for social work are discussed, and a call for social involvement is made.