DSW Director and Curriculum Director to Present at 3rd International Forum in Social Work in Porto, Portugal

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Rutgers Doctorate in Social Work Director Jerry Floersch and DSW Curriculum Director Jeffrey Longhofer will be traveling to Porto, Portugal this October to present at the 3rd International Forum in Social Work,  Science and Innovation in Social Work: Challenges for the 21st Century, October 6 through October 9.

Organized by the Instituto Superior de Serviço Social do Porto (ISSP), ISCTE-IUL, and the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), the 3rd International Forum in Social Work’s primary goal is to define research strategies in Social Work within the framework of the artificial sciences.

  • To constitute Social Work as a scientific discipline, adopting an epistemology of practice as a driving source of research focused on overcoming problems and on social transformation;
  • To discuss the meaning of science and scientific research in the field of social work;
  • To create research protocols that favor the discovery of ways to intervene compatibly with the variety and specificity of human problems;
  • To build rigorous criteria of practices assessment, so that they may acquire a degree of structuring and formalization compatible with the operations of scientific validation.

Dr. Floersch’s and Dr. Longhofer’s talk abstracts are as follows:

Jeffrey Longhofer, PhD, LCSW
Social Work and Science
October 7th
Commentator: Maria Manuela Carvalho
Organizers of the 3rd International Forum of Social Work have argued that an interactional science of social work must be “concerned with the ends and the means,” suggesting a reformulation of an inherent dichotomy basic to positivist research: researcher (subject) and client (object) dualism. This paper will describe how a critical realist philosophy offers an ontologically and epistemologically rich framework for “the interactional context” of a science of social work. It is argued that the objects of social work practice (e.g., families, communities, and individuals) are doubly determined—humans build environments and the environments we build act back upon us—and this ontological claim requires concepts capable of modeling interactional complexity: open systems, emergence, stratified reality, and reflexivity.


Jerry Floersch, PhD, LCSW
Investigative Procedures in Social Work Education
October 8th
Commentator: Elsa Montenegro Marques
Social work requires a workforce capable of handling a “plurality of demands.” Moreover, social work is by nature “interactive and procedural” and its status as a profession creates educational demands that require theoretical and practical complexity. This presentation will link two fundamental ideas of social work—social context and the case study—for the purpose of delineating how practitioners should connect research, evidence, theory, values, and practice. Indeed, this paper will show how three enduring qualities of social work’s US history (i.e., person-in-environment, transdisciplinarity, and the case study), are essential aspects for how social work educational curricula might integrate its professional functions of research, theory, and practice.


The 3rd International Forum of Social Work Program:

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