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Boston College School of Social Work
Center for Social Innovation



Why Social Work?


The end of a calendar year can be a good time to reflect on where we are in our lives, and where we would like to go. Recently, members of the BCSSW Macro Social Work Student Group gathered to do just this, in a new workshop convened by Professors Tiziana Dearing and Margaret Lombe entitled “Remembering Your Why.”

3 Questions for a Leader


The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, made newswhen he started his own, novel variety of market called Daily Table, his solution to better serve the poor and to reduce food waste.

A not-for-profit retail store, Daily Table’s mission is to “help communities make great choices around food by making it easy for them to choose tasty, healthy, convenient, and truly affordable meals and groceries” in a “respectful manner that honors our customer, engendering dignity.” Daily Table is able to do this in its first location, in the Dorchester section of Boston, by providing both ready-to-eat meals priced to compete with fast food shops, and grocery items at prices well below average.

This November, Rauch visited BC Social Work to share his expertise with students as the latest featured guest in the school’s Leadership Speakers Luncheon Series

Social Enterprise in Action


This fall, Professor Seymour Friedland is engaging students in real life consulting opportunities with three pioneering social enterprises. Instead of using fictional programs and creating fictional business plans, the class was divided into three groups to support current organization. With these organizations, each group is creating an applied business plans. The goal is to give students a chance to see the interworking of a social enterprise while helping it to move forward a social and business savvy way.

City Awake Collaboration


The Center for Social Innovation and City Awake collaborated on bringing Professor Michael Omi to BCSSW on November 9th. City Awake works to "unite and empower the Boston community" through its second annual City Awake Festival for Social Impact. Through collaborations with organizations and institutions City Awake provides over 50 programs for social impact over 10 days. CSI was excited to be part of this collaboration and invite the community in for a conversation on Racial Formation and the Future of Racial Theory with Michael Omi. 

Michael Omi Visit to BC


On November 9, from 5-6:30 p.m. in McGuinn Auditorium, the prominent sociologist Michael Omi will speak at BCSSW on the third edition of his groundbreaking and classic book Racial Formation in the United States. First published in 1986, but substantially revised and re-released this year, the book provides a transformative venue for discussing the social construction and politics of race. During this event, Omi will discuss what’s “new” in the new edition, consider contemporary events through the lens of racial formation theory, and reflect on future trends in racial theory. All within the Boston College community are encouraged to attend.

‘Intrapreneurship’ in Social Innovation


Most of the current literature on social innovation is focused on an entrepreneurial path to effecting change – in short, building new organizations to solve social problems. But schools of social work focus much of their work on assisting existing organizations. For this reason, many in the field have either dismissed, or ignored, opportunities to participate in projects related to social innovation.

Professor Tiziana Dearing In Demand as Pope Francis Expert


As the former president of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston, Associate Professor Tiziana Dearing has a profound knowledge of the inner workings and missions of the Church. This role, in addition to other executive positions such as founder and CEO of the anti-poverty start-up Boston Rising, has also helped to shape her exceptional understanding of poverty in America.

It’s no surprise, then, that Dearing was a much sought after voice in the media during Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States. Over the course of about a week’s time, Dearing appeared on national television news and radio, the nation’s major newspapers, and across various online outlets. Dearing offered her unique perspective as a female Catholic leader speaking expertly on the Pope’s messages and work, particularly with regards to poverty, inequality, and Catholic Social Teaching. Here’s a recap of a few of those many appearances.

Power of Place


Innovation flourishes in spaces where the mind is encouraged to run and jump and play, where collaborators become catalysts, and where serious research breaks new ground. At BC Social Work all that is happening, and more—in three stimulating environments.

Throughout the course of this magazine, you’ve heard from innovators who inhabit new arenas in social work, finding novel ways, as Dean Godenzi wrote, “to effect change at tables and in spaces across the globe.” At BC Social Work, our points of entry may differ—we are social workers, neuroscientists, public health scholars, social entrepreneurs, sociologists, managers, clinicians and executives, practitioners and researchers—but our motivation is the same: to build a more just world.

Chile Innovation Team
How Do You Innovate at a Prison?


This student-authored blog chronicles a BCSSW course, where, in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catόlica de Chile (PUC), students assessed mother-child attachment in Chile’s largest women’s prison.

Stephanie Berzin
Summer Travels with the Boston College Social Work Faculty


Stephanie Berzin led a unique course in conjunction with the Pontificia Universidad Catolica designed to get students engaged in a collaborative innovation project focused on a women’s prison in the capital city of Santiago. Follow the experience of four BCSSW MSW students on their blog The Chilean Context: Exploring and Analyzing Visitation and Mother-Child Attachment in a Santiago Female Prison.

The Social Innovation Collaborative in Santiago, Chile

JULY 2015

In partnership with 3 human service agencies in Santiago and Pontifica Universidad Católica of Chile, the CSI facilitated a two-week Social Innovation Collaborative. Throughout the collaborative, student teams from both universities partnered with the agencies to address specific issues previously identified by the agencies.

Photo of BC and PUC Universities
Chile Innovation Collaborative: Expanding Opportunities for Students

MAY 6, 2015

Last fall, the Center for Social Innovation at Boston College began a partnership with Pontifica Universidad Catόlica in Chile to engage in a collaborative innovation project involving faculty, students, and Chilean NGOs. This July, the collaboration will enter its final stage as a group of 12 BC students travel to Santiago, Chile. Continue Reading»

Panel at Innovation Symposium
Center Hosts First Annual Social Innovation Symposium

MAY 1, 2015

The Center for Social Innovation held its first annual Social Innovation Symposium, focusing on innovative strategies to address economic injustice. Through a combination of panel discussions, workshops, and bump & spark activities, the symposium highlighted the influence of the built environment, access to assets, and social capital on fostering economic justice. Continue Reading»

A Day to Innovate: 4th Annual Social Innovation Day

APRIL 10, 2015

During our Fourth Annual Social Innovation Day, students from the School of Social Work once again assumed the challenge of engineering new solutions to complex issues. To prepare, students came equipped with a substantial amount of research and understanding of social issues, which included human trafficking, food justice, and sexual assault. What resulted from the day is nothing short of solutions with potential for high impact and innovation. Continue Reading»

Also read about SI Day in The Chronicle»

BCSSW Students Innovate their Way into Finals of Clinton Global Initiative Competition

MARCH 26, 2015

This Spring, a trio of current BCSSW MSW students showed that they’re already innovating in unique ways, and flexing enough collective muscle to be recognized by two of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to social innovation: the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Hult Prize Foundation. Dana Loatman, Greg Cassoli and Stephanie Brueck, along with colleagues from the Lynch School of Education and the Carroll School of Management, were named regional finalists in the annual Hult Prize Foundation $1 Million Social Enterprise Competition. This was a prestigious commendation; out of 20,000 entrants worldwide, only 300 made the regionals. Continue Reading on the Innovate Blog»

Researching Magic: Exploring the Impact of Birthday Celebrations for Children in Homelessness

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

The new year has brought about a new work collaborative between the Center for Social Innovation (CSI) and Birthday Wishes, an organization dedicated to providing homeless children with the magic of a birthday party. The Center is excited about partnering with Birthday Wishes in this yearlong exploratory evaluation and to work towards demonstrating their impact and support their overall work. Continue Reading»

Exploratory Technology Grant Awarded: Expanding New Horizons for Social Work Practice

JANUARY 13, 2015

The Center for Social Innovation (CSI) at Boston College School of Social Work is excited to announce we have received funds to support the use of technology on our upcoming student trip to Santiago, Chile. This summer CSI Co-Director, Dr. Stephanie Berzin and Assistant Director, Humberto Camarena will lead a group of social work students to Chile to participate in a cross-cultural course experience. The Exploratory Technology Grant (ETG) has provided the funding to purchase cutting edge technological tools for participating students to utilize in their field work while in Chile. Continue Reading»

CSI Now on Twitter!

JANUARY 1, 2015

As the BC Center for Social Innovation continues to participate in exciting work around innovation to address social problems, we wanted to find a way to continuously share this information with all those interested and invested in this world. This has encouraged us to start our own Twitter! 

                                                Continue Reading»

Follow us @BC_Innovation.