Cassandra L. McKay-Jackson

    Email Address: cmckay@uic.edu
    College: Social Work Department: Education
    Title: Associate Professor
    Office: 4204 Phone: 5-2280
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Social construction of race; Critical service learning; Positive risk-taking and youth activism; Social and emotional learning.

    I have a broad background in social work and education, and primarily teach in the school social work concentration at JACSW integrating an interdisciplinary perspective. The practice of school social work is located within an educational context; hence an interdisciplinary perspective is critical at the practice, research and curricular levels.

    My scholarship focuses on the use of critical service learning and youth activism that support the resilience, efficacy and engagement of learners who are marginalized due to race, ability, gender, or age, and further advances the national standards of social work practice with adolescents by promoting their empowerment. I have conducted research in school and out -of- school settings. I teach the practice sequence within the school social work concentration, and have utilized the classroom as a laboratory to explore how social work interns can implement critical service learning as an intervention within school settings. I also teach the research seminar within the school social work concentration which supports data collection, analysis and integration of evidence informed interventions in school social work practice.
    In addition, my interdisciplinary work promotes the collaborative work of pre-service teachers and school social workers in addressing how the social construction of race and class impact social emotional learning in urban school settings.
    Finally, I am the co-founder of the Training Institute for School Social Work Professionals, which provides training to current school social workers within the state of Illinois and beyond, and also explores the impact of training on the sustainable improvement of social work practice delivery in schools.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 8

    Qualifications of a Student:
    You should be eager to learn new skills, mature, flexible, hard working, committed (able to follow through and complete assigned tasks in a timely manner), have good writing skills (or be willing to improve them) and interested in pursuing a career in social work, psychology, education, or a related discipline. You’ll also need to have earned at least a 3.0 GPA in your last semester at UIC.

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    You should expect to become familiar with SPSS procedures (entering data, cleaning data, running simple analysis). Also you will search and summarize literature relevant to research projects, file materials, transcribe and code transcripts from project sessions, interviews, trainings etc. You may be able to facilitate focus groups as well, depending upon your assessed skill level with group facilitation. Overall, this experience will allow you to understand elements of behavioral research and perhaps help you to decide if you would like to pursue a career in social work as a practitioner, researcher, or even a policy maker.

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