Social work – professor shares insights on the field
- 1145 Views
- May 19, 2021
- Graduate Students Undergraduate Students
Social work contributes to the lives of so many in our communities. Yet, individuals doing this invaluable work are often behind the scenes. They are unsung heroes who focus on helping others rather than seeking the limelight.
So when a social worker is recognized for their service, it’s a big deal. It is also a testament to a job so well done that others celebrate these accomplishments in a public way.
Recognition of valuable contributions
As the recipient of this year’s prestigious Louis H. Swartz Memorial Award, Erin Carman—an assistant professor in Daemen’s Social Work and Sociology Department—fits the bill as a standout, example-setting professional in her field.
She is “very passionate about her work, especially her contributions to police reform,” according to her nomination form. What’s more, Carman incorporates her experiences into her courses. This benefits the next generation of social workers along the way. Her courses include Oppression, Power, and Change; Juvenile Justice; and Child and Family Policy and Services.
She also offers students an independent study option with the Buffalo Police Advisory Board. It is a unique opportunity for hands-on experience in a profession they aspire to join.
As former co-chair of that board, Carman led policy research, community engagement, and advocated for reforms to policing. This included the establishment of a new and independent police oversight structure. Eventually, this could lead to use-of-force policy reform and mental health diversion programs to address issues that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities.
We sat down with Carman recently, to learn more about her diverse experiences in the field and inspiration that keeps her going.
Insights on the field
What are some reasons you chose to pursue social work?
I grew up in a political family of art educators, so I was exposed to thinking about humanity and social justice. I saw social work as one path toward contributing to systems change in areas I felt most passionate about.
What are some of the most rewarding parts of being a social worker?
Working in collaboration with others, most of my work involves building relationships with colleagues to plan and act to contribute to a collective vision of change.
Why is social work so essential, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic has made existing disparities even more visible. Social work improves our society. It examines ways individuals, groups, and communities are harmed. It also looks at ways we can change our societal systems to improve lives.
What current trends have you seen in the field?
The field is revisiting how we—as both social workers and members of society—contribute to race-based oppression and work to address it.
Between the past year of pandemic-related issues, political change, and police brutality and protests, the field is examining itself and its contributions to change in this arena.
Social work at Daemen University
What are some of the key benefits Daemen’s social work program offers its students?
Our program has faculty who are, as we call ourselves, “practitioner-scholars.” In addition to our teaching, and to strengthen our teaching, we continue to practice in communities. This allows us to apply our learning as teachers. It also allows to us bring our experience to the classroom and connect students to our community work and relationships.
What advice do you have for students considering a degree in social work?
Social work allows you to contribute to social change through working with individuals, groups, and systems. Speak with faculty members in our department about the range of contributions social workers can make!
Learn more about Daemen’s social work programs today.
- Experiential learning gives Daemen students real-world advantages
- Physical therapy institute benefits aspiring health care professionals
- Top 3 Reasons to Attend a College Open House
- Nursing Open House and Transfer Information Session to be held at Daemen
- Daemen Professor Personifies U.S. Constitution for TEDxBuffalo
Daemen University is a private, nonsectarian, co-educational, comprehensive university in Amherst, New York. It’s an inclusive, small-town college atmosphere with convenient access to the cultural amenities of metropolitan Buffalo. Daemen prepares its students for professional, intellectual and civic leadership. Our core curriculum is innovative and provides a competency-based foundation for students.
About Daemen University