Center Sponsors Major Conference on Practice-Research Partnerships

The Center for the Study of Social Work Practice convened practitioners, administrators and researchers on March 3, 1993 for a one-day conference. The conference examined practice knowledge and explored approaches to strengthening practitioner-researcher partnerships. Participants examined paths that practitioners and researchers might take to address the complex, challenging and rapidly changing problems social workers confront.

Supported by gifts from the Virginia and Leonard Marx Foundation, the Beatman Foundation, and David S. Lindau, the conference was held at the Kellogg Conference Center at Columbia University There were 175 attendees from 18 states. A subcommittee of the Center's Development Council planned the conference and included Ms. Pauline B. Falk, Dr. Bruce Grellong, Dr. Helen Rehr, Ms. Doris L. Rosenberg and cochairs Dr. Peg Hess and Dr. Edward J. Mullen.

Keynote speaker Dr. Donald Schˆn identified the process of professional reflection-in-action. Describing practitioners as "generators of knowledge," Dr. Schˆn reported on his ongoing study of eight successful social work programs in Jerusalem which illustrated that "practitioners' reflective inquiry was central to project effectiveness." Synopses of speaker presentations begin on page 3.

After participants discussed Dr. SchˆnÌs presentation, Ms. Susan Lukas reflected on a clinical example from her practice. Her presentation provided an opportunity to explore the role of the reflective process in identifying practice knowledge and building knowledge in practice. Dr. Irwin Epstein discussed three practice-based research strategies for promoting practitioner reflectiveness individually, organizationally and professionally Dr. Epstein applied each strategy to the clinical case Ms. Lukas presented.

Following intense discussion and interaction generated by morning presentations, Dr. Claudia Coulton discussed her experience in linking research to local community policy, planning and action initiatives. Dr. Brenda McGowan and Dr. Schˆn commented on Dr. Coulton's presentation. Four concurrent workshops examined issues related to generating practice-relevant knowledge through practitioner-researcher partnerships. Synopses of workshop papers are presented on pages 5-7.

At the end of the day, attendees reconvened for an update by Dr. Betsy Vourlekis on the Implementation Committee of the NIMH Task Force on Social Work Research.

(l. to r.) Dr. Edward J. Mullen, Center Director; Frances L. Beatman, Development Council member; David S. Lindau, Development Council Chair; Dr. Alan B. Siskind, Executive Vice President, JBFCS; Virginia W Marx, Development Council member; and Dean Ronald A. Feldman, CUSS\U