Gender Expansive Network Demanding Equitable Rights (GENDER)
Gender Expansive Network Demanding Equitable Rights (GENDER) is a workgroup originating in 2022 inspired by the RAACE (Radical Alliance for Anti-Racism, Change, & Equity) taskforce as a response to a culture of inequity in the VCU School of Social Work toward transgender, gender expansive and sexual minority students, faculty and staff. The purpose of this group is to increase the capacity of the VCU School of Social Work to support transgender and gender expansive students, faculty and staff and contribute to a workforce that provides transgender and gender expansive care.
As a body, we aim to:
- Assess the School of Social Work’s capacity and effectiveness in supporting transgender and gender expansive students, faculty and staff.
- Develop an action plan, informed by the assessment, to strengthen the School of Social Work’s capacity to be a gender-affirming learning and working environment.
- Make recommendations about how to leverage and mobilize resources and expertise in the School of Social Work to move the action plan forward.
- Communicate to the broader School of Social Work about efforts underway to increase our capacity to be a gender-affirming learning and working environment.
- Work collaboratively with RAACE to further social justice goals.
- Nicole O-Pries, M.S.W., LCSW, associate professor in teaching
- Van Vox, M.S.W., program specialist, Marsha & Marian’s Neighbors
The School of Social Work's Radical Alliance for Anti-Racism, Change and Equity (RAACE) was formed in 2020 to address racial injustice – past and present – in social work. The group is engaged in an iterative process that is assessing various parts of the school and is developing recommendations for cultural and structural shifts with a focus on racial justice and healing. This body includes representation from staff, faculty, students, alumni and adjunct instructors.
The group’s work will be centered in the following principles:
- Decentralizing traditional structures of power and privilege
- Collective work and responsibility
- Trickle-up social justice
- Anti-racist practice
- Building community through an ethic of care
Curriculum Work Group
The VCU School of Social Work curriculum work group is composed of faculty, students and academic administrators in the School of Social Work. The work group is charged by the school programs committee to consider how the school prepares students to address racial equity and racial justice within the explicit curriculum across all programs, and provide recommendations for models to guide our efforts to better incorporate racial equity and justice into our curriculum. As such, the work group is composed of students and faculty representing the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs and is led by the associate dean for academic and student affairs.
- Examine existing models for structuring pedagogy around racial equity
- Make recommendations to program committees for global examinations of their curriculum
- Serve as a resource to the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. program committees as they evaluate their curriculum
- Provide recommendations for potential internal and external resources to support the curriculum evaluation process
Student Climate Work Group
The School of Social Work is committed to ensuring an environment in which all students can thrive. The school has annually evaluated the student climate for several years. During the 2020-2021 school year, the SSW initiated the Student Climate Work Group to evaluate and make recommendations regarding this process. The work group is composed of faculty, students and staff who work collaboratively to develop, assess and implement the school’s comprehensive strategy to ensure a student climate that is inclusive and equitable.