The School of Social Work at Portland State University is committed to equity and inclusion in all of its academic, research, training, professional development, and community program offerings to students, faculty, staff, field instructors, campus partners, and community members.
Bringing equity and inclusion to the School’s activities is an ongoing process that requires continued vigilance, intentional focus, and continuous improvement.
Learn more about what the School of Social Work and its various academic and research groups are doing to foster equity and inclusion at all levels of its work.
Highlights of What We’re Doing
Students of Color Collective "Expectations for Portland State University’s School of Social Work"
In May 2017, the School of Social Work received a document entitled "Expectations for Portland State University’s School of Social Work" that was developed by the School of Social Work Students of Color Collective (SOCC).
Responses from the dean, the faculty and staff, and faculty and staff of color followed shortly thereafter. At the end of the 2016-17 school year, the dean provided an "Update on Students of Color Caucus Actions in the School of Social Work."
Racial equity assessment
In the summer of 2016, a group of 14 employees and students from across the School of Social Work conducted a racial equity assessment of the SSW. This group created a report that documents insights and provides a preliminary action plan for moving forward.
Hiring committee trainings with Global Diversity & Inclusion
To address issues related to bias in search committee work, the Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion delivered a training to School of Social Work faculty and staff in late 2016 and early 2017.
EPIC Lending Library
The Equity, Partnership & Inclusion Council manages a lending library for students, staff, faculty, and community members. Visit ASRC #620V to check out a book!
Equity, Partnership & Inclusion Council (EPIC)
The Equity, Partnership & Inclusion Council (EPIC) is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community members who spearhead the School of Social Work's commitment to social justice, equity, inclusion, cultural responsiveness, and community partnerships. The Equity, Partnership & Inclusion Council provides leadership in regard to the following:
- Promote and support the ongoing recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff of color and other underrepresented groups in the SSW
- Recommend culturally-relevant curriculum that is responsive to community needs, helping graduates be more effective, culturally-responsive, and socially-just
- Build and sustain reciprocal, collaborative, and mutually-beneficial partnerships between the SSW and communities
- Connect with and mobilize other stakeholders within the school, University, community, and systems around issues related to social justice, diversity, and equity
- Provide training and technical assistance for faculty, staff, field instructors, students, and other relevant stakeholders around issues related to social justice, diversity, and equity, including skills-based training, organizational development, etc.
- Develop and support systems of accountability for social justice, equity, and inclusion work within and beyond the SSW
- Inform and coordinate with school-wide strategic planning efforts
If you are a student, graduate, or community member who is interested in joining the Equity, Partnership & Inclusion Council, please email Marina Barcelo, Student Inclusion Coordinator, at email@example.com.
EPIC organized a variety of opportunities for SSW faculty and staff to explore equity and inclusion, including:
- Considerations for Working with Queer and Trans Students, presented by PSU’s Queer Resource Center
- Interrupting Racial Microaggressions, presented by Resolutions Northwest
- White Fragility, presented by Assistant Director of Field Education Eddie May
- Culturally Inclusive Pedagogy, presented by PSU’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion
The Field Team distributed a letter to students in response to the SOCC's Expectations for PSU's School of Social Work.
The Field Team regularly provides Equity and Social Justice field instructor trainings, including:
- Supervising Across Racial Difference (Portland)
- Power and Privilege in Supervision: What your student needs you to know (Portland)
- Recognizing and Addressing Bias (Portland)
- Cultural Formulations: Ethical Implications in Supervision (Portland, Salem, Eugene Bend, Ashland)
- Supporting Integration of Macro Practice and Social Justice in Supervision (Portland)
In recognition of the many voices which are and have been excluded in curriculum, members of the Bachelors of Social Work program have committed to an ongoing critical review of our texts and materials with a focus on decolonizing, decentering, critiquing, and challenging dominant perspectives. We are committed to centering in our curriculum the voices of people who experience racism, classism, sexism, heterocentrism, ableism, nativism, islamophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of oppression. With a particular focus on addressing racial inequities, we commit to a minimum of at least half of texts and materials from non-dominant perspectives in all of our offered courses.
The BSW faculty held two retreats—one focused on racial equity in fall 2016 and one focused on culturally inclusive pedagogy and curriculum in spring 2017. BSW faculty will have another retreat in fall 2017 to finalize plans for a systematic curriculum review designed to align the BSW curriculum with the curriculum statement ratified by BSW Program Committee.
The Master of Social Work program is committed to the ongoing goal of advancing a culture of equity and inclusion within the entire school community, and extending into all of its activities including teaching, research, service, and administration.
In the 2016-17 academic year, the program...
- Offered admissions trainings on implicit bias.
- Revised core syllabi to center content of nondominant voices. New courses being developed are expected to include significant content from nondominant voices.
- Disaggregated 2016 and 2017 exit survey by students who identify as people of color in order to get more clarity about the perspectives of students of color.
- Added an expectation of “demonstrated commitment to racial equity and critical/anti oppression/social justice frameworks” in adjunct faculty hiring description.
- Had MSW Faculty members sit on the Latino Emotional Health Consortium.
- Rewrote the MSW mission statement.
In recognition of the many voices which are and have been excluded in curriculum, members of the Child, Youth and Family Studies program have committed to an ongoing critical review of texts and materials with a focus on decolonizing, decentering, critiquing, and challenging dominant perspectives. The program is committed to centering its curriculum in the voices of people who experience racism, classism, sexism, heterocentrism, ableism, nativism, islamophobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of oppression. With a particular focus on addressing racial inequities, the program commits to a minimum of at least half of texts and materials from non-dominant perspectives in all offered courses.
In the 2016-17 academic year, the program...
- Revised new student orientations to include seminar on pre-assigned readings for incoming students to ground themselves in critical perspectives and theories, and to have a sense of what’s to come in their major courses.
- Eliminated the application process and instead implemented opt-in admissions once students have fulfilled major requirements. We intend this change to remove historic barriers most disadvantaging students from marginal positionalities (first-generation students, students of color, and others) who have reported viewing the application process as elitist and unnecessarily exclusive.
- Created new courses in Activism for Social Change (CFS 489), Critical Histories in CYFS: Race/Class/Gender (CFS 310), and Ways of Knowing (CFS 493).
The Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Research addresses equity and inclusion in two of its eight program competencies. The two competencies most directly related to this work are:
Knowledge of the Profession: Demonstrate knowledge of the history and contemporary issues and trends in the Social Work profession and discipline. Understand how social work is relevant to public issues, including promotion of social justice and equity and advancement of effective practices and policies. Understand the role of social work values and ethics in research and knowledge.
Social Justice/Equity: Demonstrate the ability to promote social justice and equity through critically informed practice, research, teaching, policy, and/or social action. Demonstrate the ability to recognize and interrupt the expression or perpetuation of privilege, discrimination, inequality, and structural systems of oppression.
The program is committed to continuously review and evaluate the program performance including meeting the program competencies to promote social justice and equity.
In summer 2017 the Regional Research Institute (RRI) undertook an effort to examine its equity and inclusion practices both internally and in the external research projects it manages in the community. Internally the RRI is looking to expand outreach when hiring new staff and faculty, address pay equity and promotion opportunities for staff and faculty, and adopt PSU HR policies that can help extend recruitment efforts to garner a more diverse pool of job applicants. The RRI is also exploring ways to connect its work with the School’s MSW and PhD students. Externally the team is forming a work group whose members can help steer and advise the direction of its work relative to equity and inclusion issues, and is broadening participant recruitment efforts on its many research and evaluation projects.
The Center for Improvement of Children and Families is committed to work that promotes racial equity and inclusion in our programs and organizational culture. This commitment is reflected in ongoing work to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for team members from diverse backgrounds, and intentional recruitment of team members to assure that we bring diverse lenses to the research, training, and education we provide. We also seek opportunities to advance racial equity in child, youth, and family systems, working in partnership with specific racial and ethnic communities and coalitions of communities of color as well as Oregon tribes. Our research methods reflect a commitment to partnership and voice, and our training/consulting programs draw on significant input and expertise from communities of color, and tribes. The Culturally Responsive Leadership Program is a stipend program within the Child Welfare Education Program dedicated to supporting social work students from under-represented communities preparing for leadership roles in public and tribal child welfare.
Students of Color Collective (SOCC)
The SOCC is a peer-led student group for CFS, BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. students who identify as black, indigenous, mixed race, and/or people of color. It aims to create an inclusive community and network for students of color in the School of Social Work. The group meets once monthly to hold space and have dialogues around topics relating to experiences of people of color in academia, as well as racial disparities and social injustices. The SOCC also hold social gatherings outside of the school to build community and further support one another.
Students for Social Action (SSA)
The SSA is a student group for all students affiliated with the School of Social Work to work towards creating a sustainable space where students can connect to fight forces of oppression within and outside the School of Social Work in a manner that supports people who hold marginalized identities, including the Students of Color Caucus. The SSA holds meetings twice a month to work towards this goal. The SSA also maintains a calendar of events so that students can come together as a community around social action.
The Social Work Students Association (SWSA)
The SWSA is open to all students and alumni of Portland State University, with a focus on students exploring the field of social work. The association's goals are to gain experience in social work settings, engage in volunteer opportunities, provide career development opportunities, and create a space for community building. The SWSA is also a resource to learn more about the BSW program and the application process.
Student Inclusion Coordinator
Marina Barcelo, MSW, MA is responsible for ongoing student and faculty support by providing resource referrals, scholarship assistance, academic support, and programming dedicated to equity, inclusion, and social justice. With a specific focus on student populations who have been traditionally underrepresented or underserved in higher education, the Student Inclusion Coordinator works creatively and collaboratively with students to enhance their educational experience, provides guidance on processes related to grievances and issues of discrimination or harassment, and helps to maintain overall inclusiveness in the SSW.
Phone: (503) 725-5021
As our Student Inclusion Coordinator, Marina Barcelo is here to make sure students have resources and support at the SSW and around campus.