Thursday, October 6, 2016

Professor Highlight 003: Don Schweitzer

Professor Highlight 003
Don Schweitzer, PhD, LMSW, BSW 
How is Dr. Schweitzer changing the world?
Social Work.

He is a professor of Social Work on our Undergraduate campus who has been dedicated to providing students with opportunities to apply their coursework to real world challenges. He's passionate about analyzing social structures and helping students figure out how to use them for good.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your coursework?
In the classroom, I provide assignments and readings that connect students to real world challenges where they have to develop real world solutions. Examples include:

  • A policy class designed around working with a local Anti-Poverty Workgroup to develop policy recommendations to improve issues such as affordable housing, access to affordable childcare, and food stamps. Students worked collaboratively with the Workgroup throughout the semester to develop legislative priorities for the Workgroup.
  • One of my favorite class discussions is on the power analysis. Although power is often used to harm vulnerable people, when power is understood it can be harnessed to improve the lives of the vulnerable. The power analysis helps us understand how to assess it and develop a plan of action to change it.
  • I incorporate texts such as Jonathan Kozol’s Amazing Grace. These type of texts provide us a window into a world, often in our own backyard, where people are hurting, struggling, and, often times, voiceless and disempowered.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your other duties as a faculty member?
By working collaboratively with my colleagues. I think it is critical for us to work across professional lines. Listening to others’ ideas, learning from other disciplines, and finding common ground is something that not only makes the world a better a place, it makes me better at what I do.

How do you integrate making the world a better place into your personal life?
Getting involved in my community. Whether that’s volunteering as a board member for a local non-profit or volunteering my expertise to community members, helping them conduct community needs assessments. I have a set of skills to offer and I enjoy using them to make my community a better place.

Contact Admissions to learn how you can apply for free or schedule a visit with Pacific; a University that has professors who are passionate about change.

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