PROGRAM GIVES UNDERGRADUATES A HEAD START ON M.S.W. DEGREE
This past spring, a group of 17 students learned to battle racism together. In several gatherings at Sims Hall, they ate, talked, shared personal stories and perspectives, and worked to break down the barriers of racial tension.
Linda Littlejohn ’80, G’82 is a firm believer in the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Advanced Standing Program she helps administer. After earning a bachelor’s degree in social work at SU, Littlejohn, assistant dean for admissions and student services at the School of Social Work, entered the program and completed an M.S.W. degree in nine months. She then went to work for the federal government, as assistant planning director for an area agency on aging in Ohio. “My experience demonstrates it’s not that bad to continue your education directly from undergraduate work,” she says. “I did it, and I don’t think I’m any worse for the wear.”
Advanced standing students need only complete 36 of the 60 credit hours normally required for the school’s graduate degree program. “We advance 24 credit hours to students who completed a baccalaureate social work program from a school or college accredited by the Council on Social Work Education,” Littlejohn says. “In essence these students, in their senior year, completed the course content required in the first year of the M.S.W. program. The advanced standing program becomes an extension of the undergraduate program, allowing students to receive both a bachelor’s degree in social work and an M.S.W. in five years.”
While real-world experience is important in the job market, she says there are advantages to an extra year of school. “Some decide to work for a year or two, but many of our students continue directly with their graduate education, mostly because of the salary differential between a bachelor’s degree in social work and an M.S.W.,” she says. “Many like to have their academic careers behind them when they move forward into the marketplace.”
The school’s required internships, or field placements, give students the necessary experience. Regular-program M.S.W. students must work nearly 900 hours in these placements, but advanced standing students benefit from completing undergraduate social work degrees. “During their senior year, students complete 450 hours in field placements,” Littlejohn says. “They need only to complete 450 more hours for the M.S.W. They still get the practical experience. They work in the real world and relate what they’ve experienced in the social service agencies to classroom theory.”
M.S.W. courses run the gamut from fundamentals of social work practice to applied research methods in the field. Advanced standing students need to be better prepared for research, Littlejohn says, because they begin the graduate program with an advanced research course while regular-program M.S.W. students take a foundation-level course. “Before advanced standing students start the program, they need to have command of what we call generalist social work practice, with training in several areas,” she says. “During their senior year, they’ve already worked with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Our regular-program students must be brought up to speed with courses in generalist social work, but our advanced standing students already have that training.”
PROFESSOR WANTS TO INSTILL IN STUDENTS A LOVE FOR ALL MUSIC
Setnor School of Music professor Paul Brantley can’t remember a time without music. His father, a jazz musician and bandleader, and his mother, a singer and dancer, instilled a great love of music and art in Brantley and his siblings from an early age. While Brantley concentrated his talents on composition and the cello, he also learned to play a countless variety of instruments.
Today, in addition to working as a composer, cellist, and conductor with some of the world’s most prominent musicians, he shares his skills with students to help them understand the importance of the music he has loved his entire life. “Real musicians don’t really choose to be musicians—the music chooses them,” he says. “It’s like falling in a roaring river. If you’re lucky, you’re born to be a swimmer, but then you make the choice and commitment to become an expert at navigating those waters. Many students are just walking along the bank when they come to study with me.”
Music professor Paul Brantley is recognized as a top-notch composer, cellist, and conductor.
One of Brantley’s career highlights came last fall, when he played cello with an ensemble to benefit music television network VH-1’s Save The Music campaign, which aupports public school music-education programs. The concert was held at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Brantley performed with Roy “Future Man” Wooten, A member of the popular band Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, with whom Brantley is now a regular collaborator as a composer and cellist. Wooten also invited Brantley to participate in a multimedia concert, Evolution D’Amore, featuring lights, film, music, dancers, and singers. “It was a great honor,” Brantley says. “It strengthened my connection to his approach to music. He is so experimental, but so honest and expressive. I’d like to think that is what I do as a composer.”
Brantley plans to bring Wooten’s vision to campus this fall and fill Goldstein Auditorium with lights and screens that will capture the vision at the heart of their work. The two plan to collaborate with student performers, such as dancers and the Syracuse University Orchestra, which Brantley conducts.
Besides conducting the SU Orchestra, Brantley coaches chamber musicians and teaches conducting. Through his teaching he hopes to help students see the many kinds of music and break down their preconceived notions of where each starts and stops. “I want to show them that there are no real borders,” he says. “Just honest music.”
DANIELLE K. JOHNSON
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