Building stronger communities
Established in 2010, the Center for Rural Social Work Research and Development focuses on building strong communities through rural and urban connections and partnerships. It has received funding from many different organizations, including the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources and Services Administration.
The center provides undergraduate and graduate social work students with opportunities to gain valuable real-world experience while completing comprehensive research projects. The center also provides support to faculty members who are writing grants, conducting research, and developing intervention and evaluation strategies. Faculty members and students have won several awards as part of the research sponsored by the center.
As a social work student, you will work in interprofessional teams to plan and implement research projects, intervention strategies and program evaluation plans. You will learn from your professors and other professionals how to build strong partnerships in the community.
The Center for Rural Social Work Research and Development provides the support and resources necessary to plan and implement a variety of research studies and intervention strategies aimed at rural communities. Our faculty members and students are actively engaged in projects that address the real-world problems faced by rural populations.
A few recent research projects include:
- Impact Lufkin: Appreciative Inquiry and Community Revitalization Project
The center received funding from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation. The aim of the appreciative inquiry was to identify specific priorities to revitalize the community. More than 100 undergraduate and graduate students participated in the project, which included conversation cafés, focus groups, key informant interviews, interpretative drawings and art by residents under the age of 18, and Photo Voice. Social work students are currently interning with the newly established nonprofit agency Impact Lufkin Community Driven. The agency is working with the Center for Rural Social Work Research and Development to build a neighborhood center, address transportation needs, initiate beautification projects and implement a youth empowerment program.
Learn more about this project here or the Impact Lufkin Facebook page.
- Nacogdoches County Community Collaborative
The Nacogdoches County Community Collaborative project is sponsored by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. The project focuses on building a collaboration between residents, agencies, leaders, mental health service consumers and county residents. Faculty members and students in the School of Social Work and the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication participate in this interprofessional project. Five graduate students presented a poster on the project at the SFA Graduate Research 2019 Conference.
Learn more about this project on the Nacogdoches County Community Collaborative Facebook page.
- San Augustine Community Needs Assessment
The Center for Rural Social Work Research and Development conducted a comprehensive needs assessment in San Augustine County. Faculty members and students worked with the center’s project team to collect information. More than 52 students and faculty members participated in the study. The main outcome of the research is the establishment of a one-stop service center for children. The service center houses Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Court Appointed Special Advocates For Children, the Rainbow Room, and Texas Family and Protective Services.
For more information about this project, see the Summary Sheet and Final Report.
- Symposium – Voices of Strengths: Linking partners in HIV/AIDS treatment
The center hosted a symposium on HIV/AIDS that aimed to connect rural agencies providing services to patients who are HIV positive. The symposium brought more than 60 partners to the SFA campus to discuss strategies to build sustainable partnerships.
- International Outreach
Zamani High School in Swaziland is a rural school in a remote area in sub-Saharan Africa. The center is working on an initiative to empower students and teachers at the school. Graduate students collected funds to assist the Zamani teachers and students to meet basic needs. Realizing that there is more to meeting needs than collecting funds, the center works on developing empowerment programs. Graduate social work students worked with faculty members in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture to develop a youth empowerment program for the high school.