About This Blog
Who am I?
I am a young nonprofit professional living in Washington, DC. As the title of this site implies, I completed my graduate studies at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. My academic background is higher education and social work with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and civic engagement. Additionally, I have worked in postsecondary, nonprofit, and government settings. I support progressive policies and programs that enhance the social, political, and economic well-being of disadvantaged communities. I also believe that all students should receive a liberal education that prepares them to become civicly engaged in work, life, and society.
Why did I create this site?
In graduate school, I realized there was a need for macro-practice social workers to discuss issues pertinent to their own needs. Social work was founded on the principles of cause (settlement house movement) and casework (direct practice with individuals and families). However, the current direction of the social work profession leans heavily towards clinical casework. The general public thinks of social workers as mental health professionals or child welfare specialists. As a result, macro-practice social workers have to be "entrepreneurial" with their career options since there are not many (licensed) mentors who work under macro practice. The lack of awareness of and support for macro practice (management, community organization, and social policy/evaluation) is another concern that I address throughout my site. This site serves as a resource for individuals who are supportive of macro-level issues.
Remember, with knowledge comes power: macro-practice social workers help individuals and families by working on policies and practices that bring about large-scale change at the community and policy levels. We also help empower communities to recognize their potential for effecting change. I like this quote by Mohandas Gandhi, which identifies my purpose in life: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
What is the overview of this site?
Michigan Girl's Cafe focuses on current events, research and policy topics, and career/graduate school admissions advice around higher education and social work. It includes career pages on higher education and student affairs, the nonprofit sector, and federal government. The page on job positions and titles is a helpful guide for recent graduates to deeply think about their career options. Finally, there is a useful links and resources page that includes recommended links for macro-practice social workers, student affairs educators, researchers, and nonprofit professionals.
What can you do with a degree in social work or higher education?
Social work provides a social justice-based framework for understanding human behavior, identifying community needs and assets, developing social policies and programs, and empowering communities and disenfranchised groups. I selected higher education as my specialty practice because I want to develop interventions and policies that enhance student retention and civic engagement among disadvantaged students. Social workers who work with college students (or advocate on behalf of college students through counseling, research, administration, and/or policy) are a small but growing group. You will find us in admissions, educational outreach, student affairs, campus mental health, and educational nonprofits. This site has links and resources (including the common job titles and work settings) that will aid recent graduates and early career professionals in their job search.
What is macro social work?
Macro social work focuses on changing larger social systems (communities and organizations). It involves three broadly defined areas: management, community organization, and social policy/evaluation. Spectrum of practice includes outreach and recruitment, planning and program development, project management, community organizing, political and social advocacy, program evaluation, dialogue facilitation, grant-writing and fundraising, and internal organizational change. Macro social workers plan, implement, manage and evaluate social welfare policies and programs in public and non-profit settings. Graduates seek careers in children, youth and family services; geriatric social work; health care and health prevention; community revitalization and development; higher education; local, state and federal government; research and evaluation; organizational development; and international social work.
What is academic and student affairs?
Academic and student affairs focus on enhancing student growth and development in teaching-learning environments at the collegiate level. Professionals who work in academic and student affairs provide services, programs, and resources that help students learn and grow outside of the classroom. Spectrum of practice includes admissions and enrollment services; academic and career advising; alumni relations and fundraising; diversity and inclusion; community service and co-curricular programs; health and wellness; residence and campus life; and athletics and recreation. Other possible areas on the academic side include curriculum and faculty development, marketing and communications, academic governance and organizational change, institutional research, and public policy. Higher education professionals are educated to enhance student learning, guide academic and career decisions, mentor students, promote leadership skills, and counsel students through crises. Graduates seek positions in colleges and universities, government agencies, professional associations, and research and consulting firms.
If you have any questions about this site, please contact me at michigangirlcafe [at] gmail [dot] com.