Message from the Deans
The 2006–07 academic year has been a busy one, filled with many activities and challenges. We have come to you often this year with updates and we have sought your wisdom and advice on an array of subjects. Now we step back for a moment to honor our 80 graduates and to pay tribute to a retiring colleague. Below are some of their stories.
—Marcia Martin, Ph.D. ’82, and Raymond Albert, Co-Deans
Burland Prize Goes to Lisa Reedich MSS ‘07
Each year, the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work honors a member of our graduating class with the Patricia Burland Award for Excellence in Preparation for Clinical Social Work Practice and Leadership. Pat Burland, M.S.S. ’56, was a member of our clinical faculty in the 1960s and through her own professional practice, her supervision and mentoring of countless students and seasoned professionals alike, and her tireless advocacy on behalf of clinical social work, earned a reputation for excellence that is unsurpassed within the clinical social work community.
Candidates for the Burland award must submit a case assessment that demonstrates a strong capacity to integrate theory and practice, to understand the complexity of client dynamics, to formulate a biopsychosocial assessment and to recognize the critical importance of relationships. This year’s recipient, Lisa Reedich, M.S.S. ’07, won for her paper titled “Using a Self-Psychology Approach to Understand and Support a Child with Learning Disabilities.” In this paper, Reedich explores the application of self psychology, as developed by Heinz Kohut, to her work with a 10-year-old boy who was experiencing social isolation and significant language delay. She adopted a very contextual approach that examined the child’s history and current presenting problems from the perspective of his family as well as school personnel. The work itself took place at a private school that works explicitly with children with learning differences.
This award provides us with the opportunity to simultaneously celebrate Pat Burland’s extraordinary legacy to clinical social and Lisa Reedich’s emerging talent and enormous promise.
Two Students Honored with McPherson Awards
In 1997, the McPherson Fund for Excellence was established to honor President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson’s many years of service to the Bryn Mawr community. The McPherson awards were designed to inspire outstanding faculty, staff members, graduate students, and undergraduates through recognition of excellence and service, either within or beyond the boundaries of Bryn Mawr College. McPherson felt strongly that one of the most important tasks for any member of a community was “practicing the kind of responsibility to each other and to the group as a whole that we need more of in this world.” In its initial 10 years, the McPherson Awards have become one of the highest and most cherished honors Bryn Mawr bestows.
This year, the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research honored two students with McPherson Awards: Page Buck, M.S.S. ’04, and current doctoral candidate, and Sarah Hollister, M.S.S. ’07, M.L.S.P ’07. Buck was nominated for her work with our first group of 12 students placed at several agencies in Norristown through our new enhanced field placement project. She not only served as their field liaison, but also developed and facilitated a series of seminars that introduced students to the Borough of Norristown itself and provided them with a conceptual framework for community practice.
Hollister was lauded for her work as the student representative to the Curriculum Committee. She not only worked with the committee on establishing the process and timeline for CSWE reaccreditation work but also facilitated many meetings that brought together students and school administrators to dialogue around key student concerns, especially focusing on field instruction and the scheduling of classes for part-time students. To Hollister’s enormous credit, these discussions occurred in a way that has led to very real changes.
Jeffrey Applegate Retires
Jeffrey Applegate arrived at Bryn Mawr as an assistant professor in 1985, having just received his Ph.D. from Boston College’s School of Social Work. Prior to undertaking doctoral studies, Applegate worked for almost two decades as a clinician, field instructor, and training supervisor in the Boston area. It was that rich practice experience combined with an enormous facility with theory that marked his incredible success within the classroom. He has left an indelible mark on the clinical social work and human behavior classes at the master’s level and the behavioral and clinical theory classes within our doctoral program.
Applegate also stands out as a superb scholar. In addition to numerous journal articles, he has written two books: The Facilitating Partnership: A Winnicottian Approach for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals (with Jennifer Bonovitz, Ph.D. ’80) and, most recently, Neurobiology for Clinical Social Work: Theory and Practice (with Janet Shapiro). What so distinguishes Applegate’s scholarship is not only his elegance as a writer but also his ability to make conceptually sophisticated material accessible without sacrificing its complexity.
Since Applegate’s arrival in 1985, the School has been at crossroads too numerous to identify. What stands out is Applegate’s ability to address each challenge with calm, wisdom, and respect, always bringing dignity and perspective to the decision-making process. In an environment where individuals’ passions can collide to create obstacles to dialogue, Applegate always found ways to make sense of it all. Whether at a faculty meeting or in the classroom, he was inclusive in his responses while remaining focused on the critical issues. In all contexts, he listened, respected what was being said, and responded with incisiveness and clarity as well as a sense of humor.
Jeffrey Applegate is the premier clinician-teacher-scholar and he has assumed all those roles with excellence and with humility. He always has checked his ego at the door, but then, of course, that is exactly what a person with real confidence and a strong sense of self would do.
Applegate will continue his clinical practice in the Philadelphia area and he and his wife, Joan, will spend more time at their second home in Arizona. It is with genuineness and caring that we say to him, “Job well done!”
L. Diane Bernard (Ph.D. ’67) Awards
The L. Diane Bernard Research Stipend, honoring Dr. Bernard’s work as a social work educator, as a professor, dean, and winner of the Council on Social Work Education’s Presidential Award, as well as her commitment to serving LGBT populations, was awarded to Thomas Duffin, M.L.S.P. ’03, and Ph.D. candidate; Sabina Neem, M.S.S./ M.L.S.P. ’07; and Carly Schulman, M.S.S. ’07. The stipend provides funding for research in the area of sexual and gender development, or in especially engaging work in women’s studies.
Duffin’s project explores the discordance between sexual identity and sexual behavior, while Neem examines the phenomenon of transgender and gender-variant persons within the detention and prison systems, and Schulman’s focuses on eating disorders within the LGBT population.
Sabina Neem Speaks at Convocation
Sabina Neem, M.S.S./M.L.S.P. ’07, was nominated by her student colleagues to speak at Convocation on May 19, 2007. With passion and thoughtfulness, Neem, named a Mayden Scholar for her commitment to work with urban disadvantaged populations, warned, challenged, and exhorted her classmates as they continue their individual journeys as social workers. With opportunity and privilege come responsibility, risk and expectation. To read the full text of her remarks, please visit the School’s website.