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VSLC GRA Paula Gerstenblatt Selected for International Award

Written by Leslie Blair

Paula Gerstenblatt and Miki Tesch in the School of Social Work Ph.D. Program have been awarded the 2012 Social Work Education Research Student Award sponsored by Social Work Education: The International Journal. Each will receive $12,800 to support their dissertation research.

Both Gerstenblatt and Tesh have devoted their doctoral dissertation work to advancing social work education theory, practice and research. Associate Professor of Social Work and African & African Diaspora Studies Dorie J. Gilbert chairs both students’ dissertations.

Gerstenblatt is currently a GRA in DDCE’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center where she is working with VSLC staff to develop best practices for community-university partnerships and will transition an annual project to an academic service learning course that she will teach in spring 2013 as a joint venture with the School of Social Work.

Dr. Kara Hallmark, Muhsana Ali, and Paula GerstenblattPaula Gerstenblatt (far right) recently participated in an Academic Service-Learning panel discussion where she talked about the Mart Community Project, a community revitalization project in a small Central Texas community. Also shown Dr. Kara Hallmark (far left) and Muhsana Ali.

Gerstenblatt’s dissertation is grounded in the analysis of pedagogical methods applied in academic service learning courses and the impact of interdisciplinary community-university partnerships on students and communities. She is addressing a gap in the service learning research on student growth and transformation, impact of service learning on the community, and the lack of articulated interdisciplinary models of service learning, particularly one that originates in social work. Her goal is to expand the discourse on best practices for forging community-university engagement through social work education.

Read more about Gerstenblatt and Tesh’s work on the Social Work website.