“Social Work Gives Back” Day

Social Work students, faculty, advisory board, and friends kicked off Social Work Month on Saturday, March 1st, with a “Social Work Gives Back” Service Day.  Social Work students were joined by the NAU Kappa Alpha Fraternity and Chi Omega Sorority to paint three classrooms at Summit High School, FUSD’s alternative 9-12 program.  With 49 volunteers, the work was accomplished quickly and was a lot fun!  Thanks to everyone who was able to participate!






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Sociology is International

Kooros Mahmoudi is our department’s world traveler.  He just spent the last 2 months or so in Thailand at Burapha University, working with several of their faculty on demographic techniques and research design seminars.  No matter how many differences, there are always constants in this world, and the study of Sociology (and other disciplines!) is one of those constants.

In appreciation for his time at BU, Dean Patchnaee of the School of Business Management and Organization presented Kooros with a gift.  Here are a couple of pictures from the ceremony.







Where would you like to travel?

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Congratulations to our Faculty!

Earlier this week three of our faculty were honored by the university for their many years of service!  Douglas Degher and Warren Lucas both celebrated their 40th year teaching, and Richard Fernandez marked his 35th year teaching at NAU.

Janine Schipper and Michelle Harris were also just promoted to full professors.

Thank you to all of our faculty, and to all of our students for helping to keep our department active and engaged!

harris small 2     janine small    Warren Small

Michelle Harris             Janine Schipper            Warren Lucas

dougsmall       Fernandez

Douglas Degher                                              Richard Fernandez

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Sociology in this Technological Age

Some of our students wonder what one does with a Sociology degree.  One of the best ways to find out is to learn about other Sociologists.  One such person was Clifford Nass, who passed away last weekend.  He was a professor at Stanford, and his research into how people interact with technology is very relevant to how we all live our lives today.  He and his team were some of the first researchers in the ’90s to discover that while computers are machines, most people interact with them in very human ways.  We get upset or angry when the technology we’re surrounded by doesn’t do what we want it to do.  We feel flattered and good when a computer tells us we did a good job.  In one study, he had people use a computer with a prominent green frame.  Subjects were given either a matching green armband or a blue armband.  The study found that those who wore the matching green armband were more likely to feel favorably toward the green-banded computer than those who wore the blue.  He explored many of these themes in his 2010 book, The Man Who Lied to His Laptop.  

Most recently, his work focused on multi-tasking – specifically how we are now surrounded by technology that is constantly competing for our attention: Facebook messages, twitter feeds, 24 hour news channels, texts, phones, tablets, notebooks, etc.  As an University professor, he was perfectly placed to see how students had changed over the years, moving from only face-to-face interactions to communicating with each other through their devices – sometimes even when in the same room or just down the hall from each other.  His work was featured in a Frontline documentary in 2009.  

For further details – and to find out exactly what he did discover about multi-tasking (his working theory going into the study was that heavy multi-taskers would display exceptional skills at organizing data, switching between tasks and/or focusing on pertinent information, etc.  His findings were very interesting on all those points.), here are two good articles:

LA Times: Clifford Nass
New York Time: Clifford Nass

What do you think you would end up doing with a Sociology degree?

Have a great weekend!

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Great News!

Have you heard the good news for our Social Work Program?  Turns out, among the many things our faculty do behind the scenes is look for extra funding.  One of the things they’ve been working on is a $5 million contract with the Arizona Department of Economic Security.  This is exciting not just for our faculty, but even more for our students – the contract will cover tuition and fees for a limited number of students who agree to work for Child Protective Services upon graduation.  How exciting is that?  Not only will these students not have to worry about tuition and fees, they’ll have a guaranteed job upon graduation!

You can read more about it here.

Congratulations to the Social Work Program!


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Are You a Feminist?

Earlier today, ABCNews posted this article: Gavin McInnes: “Feminism Has Made Women Less Happy.” His basic belief is that the majority of women would be happier if they stayed at home being domestic and raising families rather than working and trying to have a career.  He believes that women who choose a career over having a family are unhappy and most likely simply trying to follow modern societal norms dictated by feminism rather than following their more natural inclinations toward domesticity and child-rearing.

What do you think?  Do you believe that feminism is a positive or negative force in our society?  Do you think that women are forced into having careers or do they truly enjoy working?  Do you think that women have to “pretend to be men” in order to be successful in the workforce, or are characteristics genderless?

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What did you do last week?

Assessment Seal SWLast week, the Social Work Program was awarded the Seal of Assessment Excellence!

That may not sound all that exciting, but it is!  It means that the Social Work Program was recognized by the University for a lot of hard work by the faculty.  Faculty don’t just teach classes, though that is a large part of their job.  In programs like ours, the entire Social Work faculty, led by the Program Coordinator (Natalie Cawood), does a lot of work outside of the classroom to make the whole program work smoothly for our students.  Part of that means coming up with an assessment plan for each class and the program as a whole.

Each year, the BSW program seems to get bigger and better.  This is just another example of how well the program is doing!

Congratulations to the Social Work Program!

We hope everyone else had an excellent week, too!

SW Award

Mary Damskey, Sara Aleman and Natalie Cawood accepting the award.

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