By Myles Goldman
The School of Health Science and Nursing offers a bachelor’s degree in social work, a minor in social work and an advanced certificate program in forensic social work. Professor Pamela Brodlieb is the newly appointed director of the program, and is ready to share her experience with students.
Brodlieb worked for 13 years as the director of field education for the social work program, before beginning her position as director of the social work program at the start of the fall semester. This semester, Brodlieb is teaching two classes, SWK I, “Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare” and a master’s seminar, SWK 702-02 “Field in- struction II” in addition to her administrative responsibilities in overseeing the program.
Brodlieb emphasizes the breadth of the field of social work. “On Long Island, we see a lot of substance abuse, but social work is also helping people over the course of a life-span,” she said. There are multiple fields social workers can work in, including, but not limited to substance misuse clinics, mental health agencies, hospitals, child welfare agencies, and other youth-serving organizations.
Before earning her master’s degree in social work at the University of Albany, Brodlieb had a career in college student a airs. She acted as the assistant dean of students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “I was responsible for the entire orientation program for the university, served as a judicial hearing officer and was the assistant director of women student services,” Brodlieb said.
The social work senior class has just seven students. “The classes are small but the students have a lot of attention from the faculty,” she said. Students benefit from hands-on attention, working one on one with their professors.
Brodlieb described the role of a social worker in a school system. “We have a five-year old in kindergarten who is acting out, and the teacher says that we need to send this kid out. In sending that student out to the principal’s office, it’s the social worker that is educated in training to find out what else is happening that is causing this disruptive behavior,” she said. Social workers like to identify the root cause of a behavior. They are going to ask, ‘did the kid sleep in a bed the night before,’ or ‘did they come to school with or without breakfast?’
Adam Silverstein is a sophomore social work major. “My biggest passion in life is helping other people, so, social work seemed like a good choice,” he said. Silverstein runs the “Be the Change” club, whose mission is to spread kindness around campus.
Tyrese Bailey, sophomore social work major, also shares a passion in helping people. “I just like helping people through their problems and making someone’s life a little better,” he said. Bailey’s plans after graduation are to work with children who come from a tough family background.
One event this semester for social work students to attend is LEAD Day (Legislative Education Advocacy Day) on March 21, 2o18. LEAD Day is sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers in Albany. At the event, the students will be advocating the Social Work Investment Initiative, and protest conversion therapy.