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 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.” PublicationCulture and Neighborhood Revitalization(2008-04-01) Stern, Mark JThis presentation was prepared for a convening of the Delaware Valley Grantmakers in Philadelphia in April 2008. The purpose of the talk was to draw on SIAP research--in particular, insights from the SIAP/Reinvestment Fund collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation--to shed light on the emerging role of philanthropy in culture-based neighborhood revitalization. PublicationMapping Arts-Based Social Inclusion: A Diversity of Ideas, Approaches, and Challenges(2011-01-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis summary matrix accompanies the full report, Arts-Based Social Inclusion: An Investigation of Existing Assets and Innovative Strategies to Engage Immigrant Communities in Philadelphia (September 2010). See Section 4, "Arts-based Social Inclusion--A Typology." PublicationCultural Participation and Communities: The Role of Individual and Neighborhood Effects(2000-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CA challenge facing cultural policy studies has been to define an intellectual framework for understanding the significance of the arts in American society. Not surprisingly, in a nation as wedded to individualism as the U.S., the bulk of work has looked at the individual as the unit of analysis. Whether economic impact, arts education, or youth development--the total impact of the arts is viewed as the sum of many individual impacts. This individual bias is out of step with trends in the social sciences. Sociologists have devoted increased attention to the role of context—communities and networks—in influencing social phenomena. Poverty researchers, like William Julius Wilson, examine the role of social and spatial isolation on the problems of the poor. Robert Putnam argues that social networks are the critical mechanism through which social capital is developed. Other scholars, including Robert Sampson and Felton Earls, suggest that “collective efficacy”—whereby neighborhoods are transformed through development of social networks—is the critical element in understanding child outcomes ranging from physical health to cognitive development. The study of public participation in the arts is a perfect example of the focus on individuals to the exclusion of the social context. Surveys of public participation in the arts (SPPA), commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts since 1982, reinforce the individualistic bias and lack ecological information that would enable analysis of neighborhood effects. This paper seeks to right this balance. Using an enhanced version of the 1997 SPPA provided by NEA, it links information on individual respondents to information about the zip code in which the person lived. Using four American metropolitan areas—Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco—the paper finds neighborhood effects as strong as individual level variables in influencing frequency of cultural participation in eight types of cultural activities—museums, opera, jazz, classical music, ballet, other dance, plays, and musicals or music theater. PublicationCultural Assets Agglomeration and Neighborhood Revitalization: An Empirical Investigation of Philadelphia, 1997 - 2006(2009-10-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis presentation reviews SIAP's research in Philadelphia over the previous decade, in particular, the development of empirical methods to examine the links between cultural engagement and neighborhood revitalization. The talk highlights data and methods used to construct a Cultural Asset Index for Philadelphia; key findings regarding social and community impacts of cultural assets agglomeration; and implications for research, policy, and planning. PublicationMeasuring the Outcomes of Creative Placemaking(2014-05-01) Stern, Mark JThis paper was delivered by Mark Stern at a transatlantic symposium on the arts and artists in urban resilience held in Baltimore in May 2014. With the topic of creative placemaking outcome measurement, Stern took a step back to talk about the "outcomes problems" of creative placemaking. The focus of the talk was on the problems of conceptualization and measurement of the ways that creative placemaking can influence a place and the people who live, work, and visit there. The presentation had five sections: 1) the controversy over outcomes of creative placemaking; 2) the potential contradictions in its conceptual foundation; 3) how economic impact and creative economy approaches have addressed the question of measurement; 4) SIAP's approach to space and place; and 5) implications for policy and grantmaking. PublicationForeign-Born Population of Philadelphia, Composition and Change, 2000-2007(2011-01-01) Stern, Mark J; Seifert, Susan CThis map series accompanies the full report, Arts-Based Social Inclusion: An Investigation of Existing Assets and Innovative Strategies to Engage Immigrant Communities in Philadelphia (September 2010). See Section 3, "The Changing Profile of Metropolitan Philadelphia's Immigrant Communities." PublicationCultureBlocks: Bringing Arts & Culture into the Urban Policy Mix(2013-10-01) Stern, Mark JThis presentation was prepared for the Grantmakers in the Arts 2013 conference on "The NEW Creative Community" held October 6th-9th in Philadelphia. The CultureBlocks panel discussion was organized by Moira Baylson, Deputy Cultural Officer of the Philadelphia Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy, with Mark Stern, University of Pennsylvania. Stern's talk focused on use of CultureBlocks--as a data tool, a research tool, and a policy tool--to integrate the arts and culture into urban policy-making. PublicationPhiladelphia-Camden Cultural Participation Benchmarking Project: Presentation of Neighborhood Survey Results(2005-06-01) Brown, Alan SThis presentation provides a summary of findings of a 2004 neighborhood survey of North Philadelphia and Camden, NJ conducted for the Benchmark Project. The slides summarize data on a range of activities, venues, and social context among adult residents of these predominantly low-income neighborhoods. Brown also outlines a framework for thinking about cultural participation based on "level of creative control." PublicationCulture and Urban Revitalization(2007-06-01) Stern, Mark JThis presentation references the SIAP/TRF Harvest Document (Jan 2007) to provide a critical review of literature on culture and urban revitalization. Posing the question--Does creativity have a pay-off for distressed cities?—the talk highlights shortcomings of arguments based solely on the arts as economic engine, including current theory on the creative economy and the creative class. Stern argues that a cultural cluster approach--which is really about economic sociology--leads to a focus on social impacts and an inclusive vision of culture-based revitalization.