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BPD Update Online, Spring 2001
IASWR Update

Joan Levy Zlotnik, Ph.D., ACSW
Executive Director, Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research

I am pleased to take this opportunity to provide the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD) with an update from the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR) and to particularly highlight recent activities and future plans that might be of particular interest to BPD. Since assuming the position of IASWR Executive Director, full-time, on September 1, 2000, I have worked closely with our Board of Directors and sponsoring organizations, including BPD, to chart a course of activities and initiatives which will help to advance the knowledge base of social work practice and to strengthen the role of social work within the national scientific and policy community. Efforts need to take place to provide technical assistance to faculty on garnering research resources, to address the opportunities and barriers to developing research careers within social work education programs, to maximize the use of social work research findings in practice, education and policy development; and to create opportunities for practitioners and researchers to create social work research agendas in specific practice areas.

In September 2000, IASWR Executive Director, Joan Levy Zlotnik, BPD President Mit Joyner and BPD Research Committee co-chairs Andrea Stewart and Murali Nair met with representatives from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to begin to discuss research resources within the National Institutes of Health that might be specifically applicable to BSW programs. Opportunities to explore include curriculum grants, conference grants, grants for pilot studies, links with interdisciplinary partners within the college or university, and a range of special opportunities that are particularly available for the development of minority researchers. IASWR met with the Research Committee in Destin in October 2000 and is planning on organizing a pre-conference session at the Denver BPD meeting which will examine the opportunities and challenges of building a research career for BSW faculty and will also provide technical assistance regarding accessing potential research resources.

Strategic Plan

As one important step in charting a course for the future, IASWR has recently completed the development of a three-year Strategic Plan which addresses research development, research to practice and research to policy. The plan can be accessed at www.iaswresearch.org. As we scope out our work plan for the future, we hope to include BPD members in implementation strategies and to target efforts that will benefit BSW programs, faculty and students. Some key Research Development strategies include expanding opportunities for research training; engaging BSW students in research efforts; encouraging earlier entry into social work research careers; special attention to supporting minority researchers; and planning sessions on funding resources and technical assistance at all sponsoring organizations' meetings. Key Research to Practice strategies include dissemination of findings from social work research in a style that is useful to practitioners and to strengthen the use of evidence-based practice in the social work curricula. In the area of Research to Policy, key strategies include strengthening the profession's involvement in key scientific advisory bodies and working closely with ANSWER to increase the impact of social work research on national policy issues.

IASWR Listserv - A Resource for Faculty and Students

A valuable resource to BPD members is the IASWR Listserv, which is now weekly. The listserv provides a broad array of information on research and training funding sources, conference announcements, new reports, and calls for papers. To subscribe, send an e-mail message (no text on subject line) to: LISTSERV@VM.SC.EDU, Type a one-line message as follows: Subscribe iaswrlst <your first name> <your last name>. If you are looking for past announcements you can now find them maintained under archives on the IASWR website. Since the Fall of 2000, the number of subscribers from 600 to 720.

IASWR also uses the listserv to gather information on emerging areas of research. Recent requests included calls for information on research on family-centered practice, faith based social work, and welfare reform. BPD members can find this to be a valuable way to promote their research findings, as we develop databases and bibliographies in specific areas.

IASWR looks forward to working with BPD to pursue efforts that might enhance the research curricula in undergraduate social work programs, develop a mentoring program, and to involve more BPD members in identifying and utilizing research funding. We have identified BSW faculty who have successfully competed for funding from NIH - and know it would be useful to develop case studies which address both the opportunities and challenges. It would also be good to get input from BSW faculty who participated in last Spring and summer's NIDA and NIAAA workshops on funding to find out what was useful and what other steps might need to be taken.

Next Steps

I look forward to continued involvement with the BPD and its Research committee. This may be a good time to revisit the recommendations from the 1995 Research and Undergraduate Social Work Education: A Report to the Profession that was developed by the BPD Task Force on Research. I welcome other ideas from BPD on efforts in which you would like to involve IASWR. IASWR appreciates the strong support provided to it by BPD, and looks forward to working collaboratively with you to achieve our shared missions.

For more information visit the IASWR website at www.iaswresearch.org or contact IASWR at (202) 336-8385 or iaswr@clark.net.

Please see the next page for an update on the National Center for Social Work Research Act!

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