Social work research in this area includes workforce analyses and community capacity building in addressing violence, poverty, and mental illness. Rural immigrant populations and community development, disaster response, and organizational effectiveness are additional topics in this category.

Organizations and Communities

“I am committed to promoting social justice for disadvantaged communities. I do this by investigating how to improve neighborhood conditions, educating students about the impact of the social context, and encouraging social workers to work for neighborhood change.”
Megan Gilster

Social work has a long tradition of working with communities and organizations to improve the quality of life for individuals and families. To improve culturally competent practice and to benefit vulnerable populations, social change at the community and organizational levels is essential. The curriculum teaches students to apply clinical and leadership practice approaches to build strong communities, make organizations more humane, and improve social policy. Developing, implementing, and evaluating interventions with communities, organizations, and social welfare policy are focal points for our curriculum, faculty research, and outreach efforts.

Faculty Specializing in this Area

Stephen Cummings

Stephen Cummings, M.S.W., A.C.S.W., L.I.S.W.

Clinical Associate Professor,
Distance Education Administrator,
MSW Program Director
Megan Gilster

Megan E. Gilster, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
PhD Program Director
Kara Houser

Kara Houser, M.S.W., L.I.S.W.

Julia Kleinschmit

Julia Kleinschmit, M.S.W.

Clinical Professor
Sioux City Practicum and Program Administrator
Miriam Landsman, PhD: Middle aged white woman with brown hair in a pink shirt

Miriam Landsman, Ph.D.

Director, School of Social Work
Associate Professor
Executive Director, National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice
Co-Director, Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation
Billie Marchik

Billie Marchik, M.S.W.

Clinical Assistant Professor
Des Moines Practicum Administrator
Yolanda Spears

Yolanda D. Spears, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.

Clinical Associate Professor
Coordinator, Certificate in Critical Cultural Competence