Jessica Ritter

Jessica Ritter

Associate Professor, Social Work

503-352-2742

jritter@pacificu.edu

UC Box: A165

Office: Marsh 232

Education

PhD in Social Work, University of Texas, Austin, TX in 2006

Master of Social Work with a concentration in Administration and Planning, University of Texas, Austin, TX in 1997.

Bachelor of Social Work, University of Texas, Austin, TX in 1994.

Office Hours

Areas of Research & Specialization

As a social worker, I have been dedicated to children’s rights in the U.S. and around the world. I study social work because it is a profession committed to social justice and helping those in our country who are marginalized. Social workers help individuals function better within their environment but also work on changing the environment so it works better for individuals and families. This is one of the defining features of the social work profession.

Why I study social work

When I was an undergrad, I was floundering and could not decide what my major should be. I knew I wanted to do something where I had the opportunity to be helpful to others, and where I could help improve society, but I did not have a vision of what career would best suit me. Because I was very interested in politics, I did an internship with a local legislator. Little did I know that this would be a huge turning point in my life. One day this legislator explained to me that before he became a politician, he was a social worker and community organizer. He shared his experiences with me and told me some amazing stories. That day, I knew I wanted to be a social worker and to work in the field of child abuse and neglect. It was very exciting for me to learn that social work is political; that there are social workers who are advocates who work for social change in the political arena. As a social worker, I have been dedicated to children’s rights in the U.S. and around the world.

I study social work because it is a profession committed to social justice and helping those in our country who are marginalized. A social work education provides students with the values, knowledge and skills to intervene with individuals and families in need. But social work students also study and learn to address social problems on a larger scale -- problems such as poverty and homelessness; violence in our families and communities; the millions of Americans who are without health insurance; discrimination; child abuse, neglect and exploitation; human rights violations; inequalities in our public schools; and lack of mental health services. Social workers help individuals function better within their environment but also work on changing the environment so it works better for individuals and families. This is one of the defining features of the social work profession.

What I would tell a student considering a major in Social Work

Some say Social Work is a science, and some say it is an art. I would argue that it is both. However, it is not for everyone! There are many misconceptions about social work, so take an introductory social work class and talk to social workers in the field. Do some volunteer work where social workers are employed. Get to know yourself very well to assess whether you have the skills and personality needed to be an effective and competent social worker. Are you compassionate and nonjudgmental? Do you get upset by social injustice? Are you an effective communicator? A good listener? Do you have good problem solving skills? Do you believe that all individuals have dignity and worth? Do you have high ethical standards? Do you have an appreciation for cultural diversity?

One of the most exciting features of Social Work is that we get to work with a wide variety of client populations in a vast array of settings. We work in schools, domestic violence shelters, adoption agencies, courts and prisons, hospitals, treatment centers, in government agencies, for profit, non-profit and faith-based organizations, counseling centers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, international relief organizations, and in the military. We are community organizers, counselors and therapists, caseworkers, activists, researchers, academics, and human service administrators. We also work in the political arena as lobbyists and legislative aides. And the best part is that you can work with one client population for a number of years and then decide to switch to another population for an exciting new challenge. Have I hooked you yet?

Published Works

BOOKS/BOOK CHAPTERS

Ritter, J. A. (2013). Social work policy practice: Changing our community, our nation, and the world. Boston: Pearson.

Ritter, J. A., Just, M.M., & DiNitto, D.M. (2011). Providing social services: Help for children, older Americans, and individuals with mental and substance use disorders. In D. M. DiNitto, Social Welfare: Politics and Public Policy, 7th edition (pp. 364-414). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Ritter, J. A., Vakalahi, H., & Kiernan-Stern, M. (2009). 101 Careers in Social Work. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Peer Reviewed Journal Publications

Ritter, J. A. (In Press). Policy Class as Practice Class: Increasing the Political  Efficacy of Millennial Students. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work.

Ritter, J. A. (2008). A national study predicting social workers’ levels of political participation: The role of resources, psychological engagement, and recruitment networks. Social Work, 53(4), 347-357.

Ritter, J. A. (2007). Evaluating the political participation of licensed social workers in the new millennium. The Policy Practice Journal, 6(4), 61-78.

Ferguson, M., Ritter, J., DiNitto, D. M., Kim, J., & Schwab, A. J. (2005). Mentoring as a strategy for welfare reform. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 12 (2/3), 165-183.

RECENT POPULAR PUBLICATIONS

Ritter, Jessica (2011, June 24). Federal spending with regard to children’s welfare, buck stops here. The Oregonian. Retrieved from

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/06/with_regard_to_childrens_welfa.html

(reprinted on Common Dreams website: https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/25-4)

Seibert, R. & Ritter, J. (2011, April 8). Tuition equity is good for Oregon’s youth---and economy. The Oregonian. Retrieved from

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/04/tuition_equity_is_good_for_ore.html

Ritter, Jessica (2010, December 21). DREAM’s on the rise now, and nothing can kill it. The Oregonian. Retrieved from 

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/12/dreams_on_the_rise_now_and_not.html

(reprinted on Common Dreams website: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/22-8)

Ritter, Jessica (2010, April 7). Making a difference in the lives of Oregon’s children. The Oregonian. Retrieved from  http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/04/making_a_difference_in_the_liv.html

Ritter, Jessica (2009, August 18). Send social workers to school. The Oregonian. Retrieved from

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/08/send_social_workers_to_school.html

 

Select Presentations

March 17, 2012       Comparing Two Pedagogical Approaches in a Macro Social Work Course.

                             Presented with Dr. Don Schweitzer at the 29th Annual Baccalaureate Program

                             Director’s Conference, Portland, Oregon.

October 12, 2011    Exploring the Intersection between Social Work and Political Advocacy.

                             Invited Research Talk. Presented at the University of Gothenburg,

                             Gothenburg, Sweden.

March 19, 2009       Macro Class as a Grassroots Organization: Using an Experiential Group

                             Process Model to Effect Social Change. Presented to the 26th Annual  

                             Baccalaureate Program Director’s Conference, Phoenix, Arizona.

March 21, 2009       Author’s Roundtable for book, 101 Careers in Social Work at the 26th

                             Annual Baccalaureate Program Director’s Conference, Phoenix, Arizona.

July 20-24, 2008     Social work education in the U.S. & the UN Convention on the Rights of the

                             Child. Presented to the 34th Biannual Congress of the International Association of

                             Schools of Social Work, Durban, South Africa with Dr. Dennis Ritchie.

April 26, 2008         The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Do human rights include

                             children’s rights? Presented at Portland State University.

March 1, 2008         Advocacy 101: The importance of advocacy for the social work profession.

                             Presented to Legislative Advocacy Day at the University of Portland.

Evaluating the Political Participation of Social Workers: A Multi-State Study.

Presented to the 2006 Policy Conference, Washington, DC. June 18, 2006.

Evaluating the Political Participation of Social Workers: A Multi-State Study.

Presented to the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting, Chicago, Illinois. February 19, 2006.

Political Participation of Social Workers.

Presented to the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work for Empowerment Week. April 21, 2005.

Kinship Care: Intergenerational and Multicultural Practice.

Paper presented at the National Association of Social Work Texas Aging Symposium in Austin, Texas with Dr. Rowena Fong. April 5, 2003.

Graduate (and Beyond) Teaching.

Workshop presented to the 22nd Annual New Faculty Teaching/Orientation Seminar at the University of Texas at Austin with Dr. Diana DiNitto. August 19, 2002.

Community-based Welfare Reform in Texas: The State of the State.

Workshop presented to the NASW Texas 25th Annual Conference, Social Work Renaissance: A Silver Celebration, in Austin, Texas. Presented with Drs. Miguel Ferguson and Diana DiNitto. October 11, 2001

Mentoring TANF Recipients: Early Findings from a Welfare Innovations Project in Texas.

Presented to the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work with Drs. Miguel Ferguson and Diana DiNitto. October 5, 2001.

Mentoring TANF Recipients: Early Findings from a Welfare Innovations Project in Texas.

Workshop presented at the 41st annual National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. August 21, 2001.

Select Practicum

1998-2000: Management Analyst, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Austin, Texas.

1997-1998: Executive Director, Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center, Georgetown, Texas.

1994-1997: Child Protective Services Caseworker, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Austin, Texas.

1997: Child Welfare League of America MSSW Internship, Washington D.C.

1993-1994: Children’s Protective Services BSW Internship, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Austin, Texas.

Personal Affiliations

Board Member, Children First for Oregon

Advisor, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society

Advisor, Social Work Club at Pacific University

Advisory Board Member, Center for Peace and Spirituality, Pacific University

Member, National Association of Social Workers

Honor & Awards

Spring 2012: Faculty Achievement Award, Pacific University Oregon

Fall 2011: Fulbright scholar, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

May 2010: 2010 Junior Faculty Development Award, Pacific University.

March 2010: 2010 Helen Caitlin Memorial Award, awarded by the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

2009-10: Received Faculty Development award ($1,500.00) to compare two pedagogical approaches in Macro Social Work course.

2007-2008: Awarded Elise Elliott Grant funding to take three undergraduate students to New York City to attend Social Work Day at the United Nations.

2007-2008: Awarded Elise Elliott Grant funding to make presentation at international social work conference in Durban, South Africa with undergraduate student.

Summer 2004: Summer Fellow, National Center for Children and Families, Columbia University, Putting Children First Summer Fellowship, New York, N.Y.

2000-2001: Research Fellowship ($15,500 competitive award), awarded by The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School.

2001-2002: Continuing Bruton Fellowship, awarded by The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School.

2001-2002: Robert Carl Nesbitt Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship, awarded by The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School.

2002-2003: University Tuition Fellowship, awarded by The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School.

2003-2004: Marye Anne Fox Endowed Presidential Fellowship, awarded by The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School.