NMHU Macro Social Work

It’s wonderful to find that Highlands is offering such a useful and needed graduate degree right here in the state capitol. I know there is a need for this kind of education considering all the state agencies, and nonprofits in the area. I didn’t finish Highlands with the highest regard due to issues with administration, but this move begins to make me proud and hopeful as an alum. I only wish this happened earlier and that I knew of it earlier so I could help share the news.

Way to go Highlands in addressing both student and community need!

Highlands Offers New Graduate Social Work Program in Santa Fe


Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University’s new graduate social work program in Santa Fe will prepare its graduates to design and manage programs in social services, mental health and health.

Applications are being accepted for the first graduate social work program in Santa Fe: a community leadership concentration designed to better serve the community.

“In sampling our Santa Fe undergraduate social work students as well as Santa Fe social workers, we learned that they are hungry for an opportunity to advance their education so they can contribute as community program developers, political and community organizers, and policy creators and analysts,” said Andrew Israel, interim dean of the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Highlands.

Israel said there are acute social needs in the Santa Fe area related to poverty and substance abuse that make the demand very high for this kind of work.

He said the concentration in community leadership gives social workers a chance to be a voice for positive change.

“The community leadership concentration aims to prepare its graduates to become community advocates, create and manage health and human service programs, write grants and much more,” Israel said. “This community leadership concentration reflects an age-old calling social workers have for social justice issues, which includes evaluating social service and mental health needs at a community level and designing responsive programs.”

The graduate social work program will be offered at the Highlands Santa Fe Center in the Santa Fe Higher Education Center at 1950 Siringo Road.

“Our undergraduate social work students in Santa Fe want to spearhead social advocacy and have expressed very strong interest in this graduate program, advocating for it themselves,” said Thomasinia Ortiz-Gallegos, Highlands Santa Fe Center director. “Applications and inquiries are already coming in.”

There are 20 slots in the program for its first year, which begins fall semester 2016. The application deadline is July 29, with applications available online at www.nmhu.edu/socialwork/ Early registration for fall 2016 begins April 4.

Israel said the needs assessment survey designed by Highlands Santa Fe social work professor Rob Deacon identified a strong desire for a graduate program that would help meet community needs. The average age of people participating in the survey was 36.

“This means we have experienced community professionals who want to increase their employment potential by getting a master’s degree,” Israel said. “We want to meet the educational needs of these mature students who want to advance their careers and ability to earn more.”

Israel said one goal of the new program is to made it as convenient as possible for these working students to complete their graduate social work studies without leaving Santa Fe. Classes will be offered in the late afternoon and evenings, with traditional classroom instruction as well as online courses.

He said another advantage of the new graduate social work program is that Santa Fe area students with bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, psychology, sociology and other disciplines can be admitted.

Ortiz-Gallegos said the Highlands Santa Fe Center staff is dedicated to its students.

“We are extremely committed to guiding our student in their academic journey so they fulfill their educational aspirations. The majority of our students work full time and are highly focused learners juggling multiple responsibilities. We are here to help however we can,” Ortiz-Gallegos said.


The Equity Kids

Have you seen this image before? Many presenters at events hosted by the foundation where I work have used several variations to help describe what equity versus equality might look like. Some are pixilated, some are done themselves, some are stick figures, and some detailed like the one below.


Wearing my communications hat, I am often asked who created these images and/or if I will forward them to participants at our events. Being the recovering academic that I am, I have already scoured the net looking for attribution and for better quality versions long before people ask, but to no avail. I find the images, but they always lead to twitter or pinterest and have no attribution.

Early on I came across a version that included a third panel. The first time I saw it I had to take a second look, and let it sink in. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? Who put the fence there in the first place, and why doesn’t anyone look at the structural upstream barriers that are put in place by our society? If we would start making some real systems change maybe our talk of accommodations to overcome these barriers wouldn’t be needed in the first place.


Well yesterday I was noodling/doodling around online at the ‪#‎NMKidsCount‬ conference, prompted by the usual two panel equality/equity image that came up in a presentation or two. I think I may have found the source of my favorite version of this illustration. And if that weren’t enough, it came along with a great bonus of a 4th blank box!

The Center for Story-based Strategy and the Interaction Institute for Social Change teamed up to do some Imaginaction work that they are calling #The4thBox. I think it’s a great exercise to just look at the image and consider each scenario and what each element in the image might represent, and how we might rewrite the story.


The thing is that the team who created these panels have also made available a great paper-doll image/kit that you and your group can use to work through your own rewriting process. Be sure to download and use their image/kit in your work “to spark conversations. Use it to discuss the importance of not just telling a different version of the same story, but of actually changing the story (by challenging assumptions).”

What other story could be revealed in this setting?

What other “psychic break” could you make up?

What other underlying assumption here could you challenge?

Who built that wall in the first place and/or who took it away?

If you or anyone you know uses this kit be sure to have them share here, tag their new stories with the #‎The4thBox‬ hashtag, and share New Mexico specific stories with the ‪#‎The4thBoxNM‬ hashtag. I would love to see what people come up with, and the team that developed the kit would like to see the new stories too.

While you are there, be sure to check out the Center for Story-based Strategy’s other great materials. I am enjoying diving into their great theory, strategy, case studies, values, and principles. As I make my foray into Medium to see what it can do and if it’s right for the foundation, I may pull out some pieces from the Center for Story-based Strategy’s site that stand out. Stay tuned.

Remember, share ideas here or by using #The4thBox or #The4thBoxNM

Anger Management

When a large corporation lies to you, steals your money, stonewalls, lies some more, and burns up hours upon hours of your time, the FTC can be a great anger management tool.

Theories of Development Playlist

Khan Academy’s Theories of Development Playlist

“Explore the ideas surrounding the concept of Self-Identity. Who are we? How do we develop our morals and patterns of learning? What influences our behaviors in social situations? Discover the importance of different phases of our life in our transformation into adulthood and old age.”


Theories of Personality Playlist

Theories of Personality Playlist from the Khan Academy 

“Ever wonder how our personalities came to be? Learn about the major theories of personality founded by famous psychologists throughout history. Whether you side with the biologists or behaviorists, or lie somewhere in the middle with the humanists, there’s something to be learned about our personality from each of these theories.”


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