OAPS Collaboration with School of Social Work Highlighted in USC News Web Site

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/24/10

The USC Libraries recently partnered with the USC School of Social Work to publish a collection of ten research papers by social work graduate students, as Karen Bowman reports for the USC News website. Representatives from the libraries and the school traveled to China's Fujian province in April to present the book to the Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS) Conference, held at Xiamen University. Then on May 7, the published student authors were recognized at the School of Social Work's Dean's Recognition Ceremony.

Here's Karen Bowman's article from the USC News Web site:

The USC School of Social Work has partnered with USC Libraries to publish the university’s inaugural collection of Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS) as part of a joint initiative to recognize excellence in academic writing and research and to preserve exemplary works for perpetual access.

“We’re proud to be a part of this wonderful project that raises the visibility of the quality work our students produce and provides long-term access to their research,” said Cherry Short, assistant dean of global and community initiatives at the School of Social Work, who presented the papers in April at the OAPS task force meeting in China.

The City University of Hong Kong (CityU) initiated the project in 2004 to help students acquire proper research and writing skills and instill in them academic honesty and respect for intellectual property, as well as provide an important global resource for academic information.

CityU selected USC as the first North American university to participate, in cooperation with respected academic institutions in Asia, and USC Libraries invited the School of Social Work to be the first USC academic unit to contribute student papers.

A review committee of USC faculty chose 10 papers written by social work graduate students for their superior research, writing and presentation, as well as creativity and thoughtfulness. Faculty members recommended papers based on their students’ exceptional ability to analyze and apply social work theories and their expertise in conceptualizing and pursuing their own evidence-based research.

The papers have been published in a book and will be preserved digitally by the USC Libraries to share with international researchers and students along with USC’s academic community and Outstanding Academic Papers by Students partners.

The selected students were presented a certificate and a copy of the book at the Dean’s Recognition Ceremony on May 7. Those honored included Amelia Abernathy, Deborah Bauman, Erin Dowler, Jennifer Gebauer, Lorene Gingerich, Sarah Jacobus, Carolina Rodriguez, Heather Stephens, Iman A. Turner and Krystal Wang.

Dowler’s paper focused on how to evaluate a new program utilizing a social worker to provide client support within the Immigrants’ Rights Project at Public Counsel. The project offers legal representation to low-income individuals seeking asylum and in cases involving compelling humanitarian or public policy issues. Dowler, the first social worker to collaborate with Immigrants’ Rights Project attorneys, found a dearth of data on proven social work methods in a legal setting, which she thinks makes this a unqiue program.

“This project has made a very positive impact on my education seeing how my research paper has translated into useful knowledge, which can help others in my field in the U.S. and internationally,” she said.

Gingerich’s paper examined cross-cultural skills building for the Program for Torture Victims clinical staff. The program is a nonprofit in Los Angeles whose mission is to alleviate the suffering and health consequences of state-sponsored torture by providing medical and social services to torture survivors and their families.

She found a growing need for Program for Torture Victims employees to improve their knowledge of cultures, traditions and beliefs, especially as global conflicts and wars escalate. By expanding training to include skills building and cultural adaptive interventions, staff members will be able to provide more client services.

“Having my paper published is something I thought only Ph.D. students achieve, so I am delighted. This has provided graduate students like me a means of sharing our work globally,” Gingerich said.

Marilyn Flynn, dean of the School of Social Work, believes there is significant value in sharing these papers with international scholars and the USC community.

“We think others can learn from this research and that it will enable them to better understand people with diverse experiences and different cultures,” she said. “Moreover, it’s a great opportunity for our students to receive recognition and for us to promote stellar examples of scholarly work to a worldwide audience that is representative of what USC has to offer.”

Dean Catherine Quinlan of USC Libraries intends to extend the program to other academic units across campus to develop an in-depth repository of exemplary works across multiple disciplines that will promote scholarly communications and serve as a teaching resource. 

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