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NSWM “A Walk in the Future: Social Work Considers a Futures Lens” Webinar

March 13, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am PDT

What might it mean for a social worker to be a futurist? This webinar invites participants to explore and apply a “futures lens” to contemporary macro social work practice. Sharing recent experiences as a macro social work leader working with the national think tank “The Institute for the Future,” Dr. Nissen brings futures thinking to the disruptive and dynamic practice ecosystem that we live and work in, and participants will leave with new tools and focal points to guide “future forward” practice.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn about and apply strategic foresight as a tool to invigorate, strengthen and intensify strategic planning efforts with special attention to issues of equity and social work ethical frameworks
  • Revise their intellectual software to consider how issues of climate change, artificial intelligence, and block chain advances are currently and will continue to impact the social, economic, political and scientific ecosystem in which we live and practice
  • Leave with a new set of “learning channels” to plug into futures scholarship/practice and be part of an emerging social work futures learning network

About the Presenter:

Dean and Professor Laura Burney Nissen has been a member of the PSU/School of Social Work community since 2000. She began her tenure at PSU in a leadership role with the national Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative Reclaiming Futures (still operating in the Regional Research Institute in the SSW). With a long-term commitment to innovative systems change (her research portfolio includes a focus creativity and innovation in macro level social work systems change), Laura has worked with futures practice and lenses throughout her career. She credits a futures lens with the extended and continuous success of the Reclaiming Futures initiative and its ability to energize and provide architecture to a complex and interdisciplinary juvenile justice reform effort extending beyond a decade beyond its original “demonstration” phase. She has brought futures thinking into the School of Social Work in the form of a first strategic plan at the school in its 55 year history. She is in the final stages of completing her training as a foresight practitioner with the Institute for the Future, and has spoken on futures thinking in social work and social change at the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. Laura remains active in the addictions policy arena as a member of the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Policy, and in addition to futures study is actively engaged in research on the intersection of the arts and social change. She is also a calligrapher/bookbinder and a lover of waterfalls.


March 13, 2019
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Lakeya Cherry