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SSW Social Innovation Fund

Funded Project List:

Spring 2024

Project: Multi-media Knowledge Translation Hub

Team Lead: Moses Okumu

The project involves creating a multi-media knowledge translation hub aimed at increasing the accessibility and application of research findings among mobile youth populations in Uganda. The hub will leverage multimedia tools to produce engaging and culturally relevant knowledge translation products such as infographics, animated videos, audio summaries, and music videos. This initiative aims to enhance the School curriculum with global and practical applications of research, fostering global citizenship education, and increasing the School’s visibility. The accessible translation of research through the Hub aims to enhances our reputation as a leader in applying research to social challenges, attracting more students, partnerships, and funding opportunities.

Project: Interdisciplinary Training for Social Work and Law Students

Team: Flora Cohen & Lauren R. Aronson

This project aims to establish an interdisciplinary training program for social work and law students to address the complex needs of the immigrant population in Champaign County. The training will cover best practices in working with interpreters, understanding the psychosocial and legal aspects of immigration, and collaborating with expert witnesses. The program seeks to enhance collaborative programs supporting immigrants by increasing the expertise of students in advocacy and integrated care.

Project: AI-Enhanced Training for Social Work Students

Team: Kari Buttera, Lindsey Trout, and the MSW Field Team

The project focuses on integrating AI and large language models to enhance the training and skill development of social work students. The initiative will collect data on best practices from field education sites, focusing on the CSWE competencies, particularly on anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The project will use data analytics to assist students in skill development during field placements. The project also aims to develop a user interface to allow students and field instructors to interact with AI models to standardize and improve the quality of skill development across educational sites.

Fall 2023

Project: Developing a Centralized Database and AI-Assisted Analysis for the Community Learning Lab

Team: Tony Hillen and Katie Shumway

The team will develop a database to enhance data collection to support CLL’s educational, research, and engagement capabilities. This initiative will introduce a sophisticated technology integration to streamline data collection and reduce errors, enabling quick, informed decisions. The project also includes an AI-assisted analysis of a decade’s worth of community projects to identify trends and needs, ensuring the database’s relevance to community partners. Funding will facilitate the development of a database prototype and content analysis. This initiative will significantly benefit faculty and students by providing accessible, detailed community partner data, thereby strengthening community ties and enhancing the visibility and impact of the CLL. Increased database use, collaborative feedback, and perceptions of CLL’s profile will evaluate the project’s success.

Project: Enhancing Research Visibility and Student Engagement through the Creation of Collaborative Research Labs/Teams at the School of Social Work

Team: Rachel Garthe, Janet Liechty, Carol Wilson-Smith, Kate Wegmann, Chi-Fang Wu

This initiative aims to create and promote research labs/teams to enhance the School’s research visibility, student engagement, and collaborative culture. Activities include consulting services for faculty to design research labs/teams, developing webpages for these labs, organizing events to showcase the labs/teams, and marketing materials to promote the labs further. With three existing research labs, this initiative seeks to bolster training, research, and engagement missions within the School, improving connections within the campus and community. The proposal targets four key impact areas: increasing research visibility, student recruitment, creating a BSW-to-graduate program pipeline, and fostering a community of intellectual inquiry. Success will be evaluated through student learning contracts, retention numbers, website traffic, and faculty and student satisfaction surveys.

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