Welcome from the director

Joanne Sobeck, Director, Center for Social Work Research. Detroit, MIHello!

Five years of hard work, a dedicated staff, and unyielding support from leadership has earned the Center for Social Work Research a strong reputation as a "go to" place for all things related to research and community engagement for the School of Social Work. On any given day the Center may be assisting with data collection, conducting focus groups, or organizing dialogue sessions for faculty and practitioners to create greater alignment across both groups. We assist faculty in many ways so they can be most effective in meeting their own research agendas and publishing their work. These everyday tasks are challenging when grant submission deadlines get closer, when reviews are needed by the end of the day and students line up at the door inquiring about research opportunities. Only with high performing staff can we meet our goals and be nimble enough to respond to new requests and opportunities. In the past five years we have reaped the benefits of hard work through an increase in publications, funding and collaborations. Strong inputs produce strong outputs!

Coordinating and strengthening the research activities of the School of Social Work is our main mission but we do not do this alone. Like many of our research endeavors, we support strong collaborative relationships with our colleagues in other WSU departments and universities. We have active collaborations with the Schools of Nursing, Medicine, and Education. Our faculty has the necessary expertise and skills to be in demand for research studies examining health disparities, aging, interpersonal violence, and child welfare among others. In a short span of five years, Social Work has made its mark within the University, heightening our role and contribution to social science research in Detroit and beyond.

As Director my role in creating and maintaining a research culture also extends into the community. I am proud that our School puts the WSU urban mission into practice like no other unit on campus. We leverage our resources to promote research and a culture of learning within social service agencies and public institutions. We build research capacity with partners and provide a fee-for-service business model to meet needs for evaluation, needs assessment, and other forms of research. It's clear that our collaborations have strengthened our research studies and increased our funding options. We look forward to our next five years and to joining with others as we seek to address tough social problems through research with an engaged community.

Best regards,


Joanne Sobeck, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Social Work Research