Published in the Fall 2008 issue of SSA Magazine

-Carl Vogel

Even recent alumni glancing through the list of available classes at SSA this fall might not recognize many of the titles. However, they probably won't be surprised to see so many new courses introduced since they were at the School. During its long history, SSA has consistently pushed to advance academic teaching in its curriculum.

"The one constant at SSA is that students in the classroom and in their field placements are working with cutting-edge theory and practice," says Karen Teigiser, the deputy dean for curriculum and a senior lecturer at SSA. "We strive to ensure students are getting both that foundation knowledge they need to succeed as well as the latest research, theories, and issues for working in today's world, be it for clinical work or administrative endeavors."

In the last year or so, SSA has added two new courses dealing with working with older adults and another two in group work. The School has also unveiled two new programs of study: Violence Prevention, and Poverty and Inequality, bringing the total up to seven. The school-based program of study is changing as well, integrating the traditional school social work approach with community school issues for all its students. "We've continued to expand and generate innovations in our programs of study, which we think offer a lot to students," Teigiser says. "The programs offer an opportunity to take a set of required courses, seminars, and field placements around a particular issue, allowing masters students to delve deeply into the topic."

For several years now, SSA has rotated a selection of diversity courses that students can choose from; new courses among the 18 available this year include "Social Meaning of Race" and "Spirituality and Social Work Practice." "Our faculty is richly diverse and has experience in and conducted research about so many aspects of social work," Teigiser says. "We're very fortunate to be able to bring that passion and expertise to the students who attend SSA."