Institute on Justice

PURPOSE 

The purpose of this institute is to advance a greater awareness of the deleterious impact of social injustice, particularly poverty, and to disseminate empirically-based policy and programmatic recommendations intended to promote greater social justice.

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Sharon C. Lyter, LCSW, PhD
lyter@kutztown.edu

Report: Ongoing, Departmental Social Justice Initiatives 

The INSTITUTE ON JUSTICE of the Department of Social Work, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, has a history of addressing social justice inequities. For example, in the last 14 years, the Institute has used various avenues to serve that include: community activities and presentations, research and publications, related coursework, and field practicum experiences for students.  

In the current climate in the United States of America—in which over 200,000 citizens have died as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and in which efforts to end a 400-year history of systematic inequality appear to have momentum, authenticity, and majority support—we in the Department of Social Work commit ourselves as citizens, educators, staff, and students to seize the opportunity to follow the dream of the profession of social work, that is, to promote equal rights and social justice.   

In early June, the faculty began to talk in earnest about both the pandemic and the protests, the impact on students, and the very real opportunities for igniting social justice goals. Dr. Svistova proposed that the department agree to a common statement, and Dr. Vafeas and others created a Call to Dialogue and Action that was shared with all Department of Social Work students, faculty, and staff.  

In response, one of the first initiatives established was the Racism, Bias, and Discrimination Training Advocacy Committee, chaired by Dr. Edward Hanna. Dr. Hanna was inclusive, inviting all the aforementioned students, staff, and faculty to participate. Since early June, that group has met weekly. Most sessions include a mix of BSW students, MSW students, DSW students, faculty, the department chair, staff, invited experts, and invited guests from various campus services. With the help of the committee, Dr. Hanna has already crafted a proposal in the form of a state-level resolution to promote and institutionalize training on "Racism, Discrimination, and Forms of Bias" for Pennsylvania state employees.  

  • Racism, Bias, and Discrimination Training Advocacy Committee - OCTOBER 2020 - UPDATE from Dr. Hanna

    This Committee continues to meet weekly (Mondays, 1-2pm) and continues to expand the numbers of important allies across the state. We received drafts of sister legislative bills for the PA House and Senate from Representative Rozzi’s and Senator Schwank’s offices. As they are using our Committee as the consultants for their bills, we received and provided feedback to ensure the intent of the Proposal is appropriately represented. Both Senator Schwank and Representative Rozzi accepted our suggestions and revised the bills. The bills, if not already introduced, will be so any day now. The Committee is now focusing on advocacy strategies and on the content and process of the training in consultation with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

  • Community Activities and Presentations

    Dr. Edward Hanna is the chair of the Department of Social Work Committee on Racism, Bias, and Discrimination Training Advocacy Committee.

    Dr. Juliana Svistova is a member of the Board of Directors, Friends Inc. Community Services, 
    Kutztown, PA

    Dr. John Vafeas is a member of the Board of Directors of SAM, Inc.

    Dr. George Kovarie, AY 2016-17. President, Board of Directors of TASC, Inc., Berks County, PA. 

    Stoeffler, S.W. & Rigaud, J. (2019, November) A Critical Dialogue:  Exploring the Relationship between Seminal Works and Poverty Alleviation in the United States, Southwestern Social Science Association 99th Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2019, May). Defining and evaluating impact within community collaborations for empowerment. 30th Annual Network for Social Work Management Conference, Chicago, IL. 

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2019, April). Understanding empowerment in collaborations for social inclusion and social justice. The Institute for Social Inclusion Annual Conference, Shippensburg University. 

    Stoeffler, S.W., LaBarre, H.A. (2018, September). Social work student articulation of personal experiences with discrimination. National Association of Social Workers– PA State Conference, Pocono Manor, PA. 

    LaBarre, H., Svistova, J., Weaver, R., & Diaz, S. (2018, March). Hungry for more: Understanding the impact of food insecurity on college students. Commission on Human Diversity Conference, Kutztown, PA.

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2017, November). The changing times: A social work call to action. Sixth Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment, Kutztown, PA.

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2017, November). Theoretical perspectives and models of community empowerment. 67th Annual Convention of the North American Christians in Social Work, Charlotte, NC.

    Goldsman, D., & Stoeffler, S.W. (2017, November). Community assessment of racial equality efforts in Bucks County, PA. Sixth Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment, Kutztown, PA.

    Hanna, E. & Newcomer, C. (2017, October). Creating a food recovery program for hungry citizens: A demonstration project. Annual conference of the National Association of Case Management, Omaha, NE. 

    Vafeas, J.G. (2017, October). Developing the NACM practice guidelines and Code of Ethics review and comments. National Association of Case Management Annual Conference, Omaha, NE.

    Seip, T. (2017, September). How can I run for office? NASW-PA Statewide Conference, Pocono Manor, PA. Stoeffler, S.W., Department of Social Work, June 1-3, 2017.  The Significance of Political Ideology in Perceptions of Poverty, Social Welfare Policy, and Social Justice Among Social Work Faculty. Policy Conference 2.0, St. Louis, MO.

    Stoeffler, S.W., Department of Social Work, April 7, 2017. Using Targeted Universalism to Increase Service Access for Marginalized Populations. The Institute for Social Inclusion Annual Conference, Shippensburg, PA.

    Stoeffler, S.W., Department of Social Work, March 3, 2017. Pursuing Social Justice Through Community Empowerment. The Commission on Human Diversity's 7th Annual Conference, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.

    Herbert, R. & Stoeffler, S.W. Department of Social Work, March 3, 2017. Racism in Education and Poverty. The Commission on Human Diversity's 7th Annual Conference, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.

    Pyles, L., Svistova, J. & Ahn, S. Department of Social Work, January 2017. Participation in Disaster Recovery in Rural Communities: Comparison of the Haiti Earthquake and U.S. Hurrican Katrina. SSWR, New Orleans, LA.

    Svistova, J., Department of Social Work, January 2017. Broken Bodies, Souls, and Ecology: Policy and Practice Gaps of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Recovery. SSWR, New Orleans, LA.

    Lee, Ahyoung, Department of Social Work, November 19, 2016. Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)'s 45th Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

    LaBarre, Heather, Department of Social Work, November 11, 2016. Removing the Training Wheels. Kutztown University Department of Social Work 7th Annual Social Work in the Global Environment Conference, Kutztown, PA.

    Maynard and Svistova, Juliana, Department of Social Work, November 6, 2016. Using Team-based learning to model constructive collaborations in diverse social work courses. Council on Social Work Education, Atlanta, GA.

    Svistova, Juliana and Pyles, Department of Social Work,  November 6, 2016. Building Environmental Justice Competencies through the Implicit and explicit social work curricula. Council on Social Work Education, Atlanta, GA. 

    Sharma, Y. & Noyori-Corbett, C., Department of Social Work. November 5, 2016. Practice Implications for Safe Method of HIV/AIDS Disclosure to a Partner. CSWE Conference, Atlanta, PA.

    Felix, Genesis and Svistova, Juliana, Department of Social Work, November 4, 2016. Faculty-student presentation. Preparedness of senior BSW students to serve Hispanic/Latino community: An exploratory study. Council on Social Work Education, Atlanta, GA.

    Seip, Timothy, Department of Social Work, October 8, 2016. Legislative Advocacy: Leading Change at the Local, State, and Federal Levels.  National Association of Social Workers - PA State Conference, King of Prussia, PA.

    Boyer, Tate & Sharma, Yasoda, Department of Social Work, October 7, 2016. Critical Analysis of Housing First Approach. National Association of Social Workers - PA State Conference, King of Prussia, PA. 

    Stoeffler, S.W., Department of Social Work, October 7, 2016. Poverty, Ideology, and Pursuing Social Justice. National Association of Social Workers - PA State Conference, King of Prussia, PA.

    Stoeffler, S. 
    8/17/2016. Community Empowerment. 

    Conahan, J. 8/4/2016. Mentoring: A conceptual Model of Leadership and Social Justice Development. London, England. 

    Seip, T.
     06/24/2016. Legislative Advocacy: Leading Change and Transforming Lives at the Local, State, and Federal Levels. Washington, D.C.

    Stoeffler, S. 6/10/2016. Social Work Faculty and Poverty: Attributions, Policy Preferences, and Why They're Important

    Stoeffler, S. 8/17/2016. Community Empowerment.

    Weller, M.R. 3/17/16. Ethical Considerations for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors. State College, PA.

    Vafeas, J. 11/11/2015. The Geopolitics of Middle East, Mediterranean, Europe and the Refugee Crisis. Kutztown University.

    Corbett, C &  Sharma, Y. 10/18/2015. Transnational Human Trafficking and HIV in South Asia: Challenges for Social Workers. Denver, CO. 

    Stoeffler, S. 10/15/2015. Using the Advocacy Spectrum to Address the Needs of Families. University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

    Kim, Y.M. 10/1/2015. Integrating Bidimensional Acculturation Theory To Populations with disability. Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education: Denver, CO.

    Svistova, J.S. 10/1/2015. Teaching about Modern-day Slavery: Braking through the Misconceptions. Denver, CO.

    Stoeffler, S. 9/21/2015. Are we listening: Incorporating the perspectives of persons served living in poverty. New Orleans, LA.

    Weller, M. R. 9/21/2015. Sexual freedom & expressions for people with disabilities. New Orleans, LA.

    Seip, T. 10/14/2011. Policy Advocacy, Lancaster, PA.

    Abbott, A.A., & Lyter, S.C. (March 20, 2010). Shaping commitment to social justice through constructive criticism in classroom and field. Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD) Annual Conference, Atlanta. 

    Lyter, S.C., & Smith, S.H. (October, 2008). Empowerment, culture, hierarchy: Challenges to cultural competency. Annual Conference of the National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter. Valley Forge. 

    Smith, S. H., & Lyter, S.C. (March, 2008). Empowerment, culture, hierarchy: Challenges to teaching cultural competency in undergraduate education. Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD), Annual Conference, Destin, Florida.  

    Abbott, A. A., & Lyter, S.C. (October, 2007). Home visits in a violent world:  Agency, supervisor and worker strategies. Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, San Francisco.  

    Smith, S.H., Lyter, S.C., & Spelman, D. (February, 2007). Promoting leadership, empowerment, and collaboration in culturally competent field education. Council on Social Work Education, Leadership Seminars, Phoenix, Arizona.  

    Lyter, S.C., & Smith, S.H. (May, 2005). Teaching and learning about diversity: Influences of geography and dominance. National Association of Social Workers, New Jersey Chapter. Annual Conference. Atlantic City, NJ.  

    Smith, S.H., & Lyter, S.C. (February, 2005). Cultivating cultural competence: Challenges and opportunities in social work education. Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, New York, New York.   

  • Research and Publications

    Stoeffler, S.W. & Joseph, R. (2020). Poverty and Social Justice: The Building Stones of Social Work Identity, Journal of Poverty, 24:4, 284-299, DOI: 10.1080/10875549.2019.1695700

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2019). Social Work and Poverty: A Critical Examination of Intersection Theories. Social Development Issues, Volume 41, Number 2, August 2019, pp. 21-32(12): DOI: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/icsd;jsessionid=dqtjsgpjtq5d6.x-ic-live-0

    Stoeffler, S.W. (2018). Community empowerment. In R. A. Cnaan and C. Milofsky (Eds.) Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations in the 21st Century.

    Pyles, L. Svistova, J. & Ahn, S. (2017). Securitization, Racial Cleansing, and Disaster Capitalism: Neoliberal Disaster Governance in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Haiti. Critical Social Policy, 37(3), 1-22.

    Sharma, Y. & Pillai, V (2016). Dependency Ratio. In M. Odekon (Ed.), Encyclopedia of world poverty. (pp. 33-34). Encyclopedia of world poverty.

    Conahan, J. & and Kyere, E. (2015). Community Readiness: Can the Human Services Delivery System Meet the Needs of Human Trafficking Victims. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, 10 (3).

    Kim, Y. M. &  Pandya, V., Department of Social Work, July 2015. Education Equity. SAGE Publications, Encyclopedia of World Poverty, second edition.

    Pandya, V. &  Weller, M., Department of Social Work, July 2015. Street Children. SAGE Publications, Encyclopedia of World Poverty, second edition.  Gasker, J. & Fischer, A., Department of Social Work, 2014. In search of overlapping consensus:  Defining social justice for social work. The Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Volume 11.

    Wilson, D.L. ., Department of Social Work, June 12, 2015. The role of women in reconstructing and creating post conflict communities and societies. Global perspectives: Exploitation of Women and Children:  Global Perspectives--Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Lancaster, PA.

    Gasker, J. & Yu, J., Department of Social Work, 12/1/2014. Economic Justice and the 2003-2010 Recession:  Lessons Learned for Multi-Level Social Work Practice. Advances in Applied Sociology.

    John, M. A. &  Pandya, V., Department of social work, November 14, 2014, Human Needs in Developing World and Newly Emerging Institutional Response. 3rd Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA

    Stoeffler, S., Department of Social Work, November 14, 2014. Context Matters: A Critical Look at the Eradication of Extreme Poverty and Hunger. 3rd Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA

    Wilson, D.L. ., Department of Social Work, November 14, 2014. Unique needs of a post conflict society. Third Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. Kutztown, PA.

    Weller, M. R., Department of Social Work, November 14, 2014. Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women. Third Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment. Kutztown, PA.

    Stoeffler, S., Department of Social Work, November 4, 2014. Faculty Conceptualizations of Poverty. Widener University Doctoral Student Symposium, Chester, PA.

    Stoeffler, S., Department of Social Work, October 24, 2014. Faculty Conceptualizations of Poverty and Congruence with the NASW Code of Ethics. CSWE Annual Program Meeting, Tampa, FL. 

    Gasker, J., Department of Social Work, 2014. Becoming Culturally Sensitive to Economic Difference: Income as a Form of Diversity. National Association of Case Managers, Philadelphia, PA. 

    Gasker, J., Department of Social Work, 2014. In Pursuit of Social and Economic Justice: Two Critical Concepts from Microeconomics. National Association of Social Workers Annual Conference, Washington, DC.

    Conahan, J., (2011). Transformational Learning: Teaching strategies that promote advocacy in social justice and not-for-profit leadership. Journal of Teaching in Public Administration.

    Smith, S. H., & Lyter, S. C. (2009). Preparedness for culturally competent social work practice. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 4(3), 25-34. 

  • Related Courses

    SWK130 Poverty and Social Welfare
    SWK508 Maltreatment in the Family: Social Work Practice 
    SWK520 Community Social Needs Assessment 
    SWK524 Program Evaluation and Social Work

  • Agencies Hosting Interns
  • Department Service

    Wei, F. Department of Social Work Diversity Prize Chair (2017….). The Social Work Prize: Celebrating Diversity is a cash prize awarded each year to BSW and MSW students. 

    Lyter, S. Department of Social Work Diversity Prize Chair (2009 to 2016). The Social Work Prize: Celebrating Diversity is a cash prize awarded each year to BSW and MSW students. 

Please visit our site often. We will continue to post updates about the Department of Social Work initiatives and accomplishments, with the aim of sustainability. That is, postings will continue until the justice aims are attained and sustained.