Universities Gain Insight into Helping Their Community from an MSW Student Presentation at CUMU Conference

A classroom project lead to a conference presentation for a group of students in the Master of Social Work program. On Oct. 15,2012, seven MSW students presented From the Classroom into the Community: Transforming Traditional Learning into Teamwork to attendees at the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.


The MSW students collaborated with the Boone County, Kentucky school system on a project to improve the readiness of the students in the system for college and careers. The project was multifaceted, with different teams working on different issues they uncovered in their initial research. One team focused on communication – communication between the schools and the student and the parents, as well as communication between the schools in the district.

The MSW presentation demonstrated a successful university and community partnership by students, faculty, and community leaders. It described specific experiences of students in this learning format as well as the behind the scenes coordination of the partners.

The CUMU focuses on helping universities understand the power they hold to enhance the communities in which they are located.  The annual conference, such as the one held in Chattanooga, are a primary means allowing universities to share information and experiences. The topics vary but all centered on what it takes to create a successful city and what role a university must play in the process.

Dr. Holly Riffe, Professor of Social Work and Director of the MSW program

Dr. Holly Riffe,
Professor of Social Work and Director of the MSW program

The conference was held from Oct. 13 – 16, 2012 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The MSW team, led by Dr. Holly Riffe, were Jeremy Bilby, Patrick Brandes, Natasha Cowan, Hannah Hartig, Jennifer Kleier, Stephanie Krawec and Stefanie Theobald.

Three other NKU groups also had presentation, including a Roundtable discussion with two Master of Science in Nursing faculty discussing the Nurse Advocacy Center for the Underserved. Created by a graduate nursing student at NKU, Health from the Heart placed registered nurses in shelters for women and children.


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