Social Media & Nonprofit Human Service Organizations

imgresIf any of you have followed this blog for a number of years you may recall that I completed my dissertation on this topic. You can read those posts here and here. That study was really focused on human service organizations in the Richmond, Virginia metro area and I had a good response rate. Now I am looking to get more of a national sample to along with looking at some of those similar organizations in RVA in a follow up study that has been approved by the IRB at CSUSM. If you are/work in a nonprofit human service organization and are involved in the use of social media, I invite you to take this survey. I will report out some of the results here, which of course will be anonymous. I am hoping for some good participation once again so feel free to pass along my link and thank you in advance.


Special Issue Journal of Nonprofit Education & Leadership

imgresHello everyone,

Just a really quick post to talk about the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership. This peer reviewed journal focuses on the latest knowledge related to nonprofit education and leadership to help develop theory and practice. Last year at the ARNOVA Conference I gave a presentation on my work around digital literacies and was asked by the journal editor if I would be interested in guest editing a special issue on the topic of technology (broadly speaking) in nonprofit education. I was absolutely interested and I am now excited to share the call for papers is going out. See below:
A special issue of the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership planned for the fall of 2017 that will explore the changing role of digital media and technology in nonprofit education. The main question this issue seeks to answer is how are scholars and educators using digital media to train and prepare the next generation of nonprofit professionals? We are interested in a broad array of articles; for example, articles that examine the use of online, hybrid, or distance education methods. We are also interested in articles that have evaluated those formats and seek to provide new strategies for the changing landscape of higher education. We are interested in ways that educators are incorporating innovative techniques in their courses to ethically and effectively impact nonprofit education.

Please review the Author Guidelines below. Manuscript submissions can be performed online at

Submissions should take place on or before March 28th, 2017 to help facilitate a timely peer review and publication process.

The link below should also open a PDF copy of the Special Call along with some Author Guidelines. Feel free to contact me with any questions as well.


Please distribute this Call among your networks and share with any colleagues who are working in this area. I am hoping for a good response🙂

To be certain that we or I am open to many different types of manuscripts, I hope people understand that there are many different disciplines involved in educating nonprofit professionals. Human services like social work, public administration, nonprofit studies, business, and others often have some sort of involvement in the nonprofit sector or provide some education to students who will likely end up working in a nonprofit. If you are teaching a course or conducting research in relation to technology and preparing students for nonprofit work, please consider submitting a manuscript.


Jimmy A. Young, PhD, MSW, MPA

My Philosophy of Teaching… I think?!?

Media LiteracyIt’s a new semester and new academic year. I can’t believe this is now my second semester at CSUSM and that I have effectively been teaching for over 5 years. I like to think I have learned a lot about teaching, learning, and education in that time but I think the more I have learned the more I understand how much i DON’T know or just when I think I have an assignment figured out, something changes requiring me to adapt and change with it. Some of my friends think that as a professor I spend most of my time sitting around doing nothing. HA! Little do they know about the hours of planning and adjusting assignments and policies to ensure that I am meeting certain learning outcomes. I get it, that sometimes it seems like things I do (or educators in general) don’t make sense. In reality, you have to remember the big picture and understand that much of learning is a process and that things do build upon each other.

To that end I have been thinking about my own philosophy of teaching. I actually wrote a blog post about this as a doc student many years ago if you are interested you can read it here. Essentially, my philosophy of teaching tends to be student-centered. I realize that students bring a lot of knowledge and experience into the classroom. The challenge I have is getting students to recognize that they have something to bring and they can make such a meaningful contribution to our learning if they share. Along with knowledge and skills the students bring, I have realized they also bring anxiety or trepidation about sharing and being shut down. I understand that students need to feel comfortable (something that the University of Chicago just negated so to speak) before they can share. I try to empathize with students and let them know that my classroom is a safe space and I try to make it so that they can share. But I realize that the message does not always come through. I hope to keep on trying to communicate this as I move forward.

Being student-centered to me is about making students comfortable but also understanding that it can be challenging to wrestle with tough topics like racism and oppression or statistics. What I try to do is set students up to feel empowered to take on those challenges in a way that they know they can try, even if they fail or get a B-…But at least they can understand they are learning. For me it is about thinking critically and valuing the process of learning, respecting one’s peers, and keeping an open mind. I tend to use digital media in my classes because of my research interests but lately I question the use of those mediums as students appear to be overly distracted. I know that my teaching philosophy is going to change and it will continually change over the course of my career but I hope students will always know they can come to me if they have questions. That connection is important and feeling empowered is critically important to the learning process.

So for this new semester I do plan to try a couple of new things both using and not using technology. If I have any students reading this blog I hope they will understand that I may not have all the answers but at least I can help them find what they are looking for and to do so in a way that helps to transform the way they look at education and interacting with people. Best of luck to everyone with the new semester and if you have any good ideas, tips or tricks. Please consider sharing.


End of the Semester Reflections, Spring 2016

My students sometimes give me the roll-eyed look when I talk about our profession being one of self-reflection. I know it’s true and I am confident that you can find many programs across the country that also have some sort of reflection-based assignment in one of their courses. Self-reflection is critical to the learning process. There is even a great journal focused solely on this subject called Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping. Full disclosure, I have a recent publication in this journal🙂  To this end I thought I would reflect a bit on the second semester of my first year at Cal State San Marcos.

This semester has been full of working with students on their culminating experience, which is either a capstone project or Thesis. I had the opportunity to chair several projects and be part of others. These projects focused on veterans, homelessness, and social media in clinical social work practice. I’m sure the students might share a different perspective, but I enjoyed the opportunity to work with them. It was challenging at times and yes I am exhausted but that could be due to the fact that I haven’t read that much paper since my dissertation phase.  These projects turned out rather well and gave me a renewed sense to pursue some avenues of research I was becoming dis-interested in. For example, one group focused on developing an advocacy campaign around homelessness. See the trailer below. I was truly amazed at how well this project turned out and extremely pleased with the learning demonstrated by these, and all students.



Another example of some great student learning through reflection happened in my macro practice course. I employ a critical thinking presentation assignment and pretty much leave it open to the students to create a presentation that demonstrates their learning as it applies to one or more of the course learning objectives. These objectives are also tied to the learning competencies set forth by CSWE. Students did an amazing job this semester thinking critically and reflecting on their learning. I use twitter in this class and I had students create presentations that used some of the twitter assignment that they completed in class.  One particularly creative use of this was developing a word cloud of the course hashtag from the semester’s tweets and talking about how it related to their learning.

word cloud

If you are interested in creating word clouds you can use a number of different web-based platforms such as or applications like TweetRoot. I really like the word clouds because they also represent a form of data visualization where the larger words represent the number of times those words were used. It is reassuring to see my students tweeting messages, links, and other content related to community, awareness, and change. These are things that definitely make up Macro Social Work practice.

I can honestly say this semester has been fun and challenging. I thoroughly enjoy teaching students about macro social work and positive social change. I am looking forward to teaching research this summer and to my other class in the fall. But I’m wondering what you do to help students reflect, be mindful, and engage in otherwise formative learning activities?  Maybe you, as a student, have participated in a learning activity that was especially meaningful. I hope that you will leave a comment and let me know so I can think about using my class the next time🙂

Remember the Good in Social Media!

Anyone who knows me, my work, or frequents this blog will recognize that I enjoy social media. Well, most of the time anyways. There are days, weeks, and sometimes even months where I want to close all my many accounts and throw away my iPad or turn of my iPhone. Then something great happens. Something amazing goes viral or comes to me through those very social media channels that I sometimes loathe. November 13th, 2013 was actually one of those days. A day like most others where I opened up Twitter to get some of my daily news and discovered my feed was being overrun with the hashtag #SFBatkid. If you are a regular Twitter user than you know exactly what I’m talking about, how could you not, as that day Batkid was everything.



The Make A Wish Foundation of the Greater Bay worked with some amazing volunteers to make the wish of one 5-year old boy come true as San Francisco was turned into Gotham City for a day. This event TOOK OVER social media for the day and reminded me then, as it does now, to remember the good in social media. Often times I think social media gets a bad rap and yes there is some complete garbage online, but I like to look to the positive aspects of this participatory culture and be hopeful that these tools can change the world for good. Batkid is one example of just how that happens. Now, there is a documentary available on Netflix (at least that’s where I watched it) that chronicles this story. Check out the trailer below and then go watch the movie. You will not be dissapointed.


I took so much away from the movie and it did remind me of that day back in 2013. I was fortunate enough to be teaching a class on the use of social media and I pretty much scrapped the lesson for that day so we could join in on social media. Students were amazed at the magnitude of the event and how many people got involved not only on social media but in person on the day of the event. It was something truly special. I actually liked that people joined in and created signs that read we love batkid or save us batkid. The end of the documentary shared a very important point. That although people may have thought it was fun to join in on this viral moment, the reality is that Batkid really did save us. He saved us by remembering what it’s like want to be a superhero, to let go and have fun, and to just be a kid. he saved us by helping the world to gather together in San Francisco and through social media. For one day everyone was a little nicer, more polite, friendly, and giving. This to me, is the power of social media. The power to bring people together, to rally around a cause, and to ultimately change the world.199zvq8v6wpdkjpg

#BPDTX16 Annual Conference for Baccalaureate Program Directors

The annual conference for the Baccalaureate Program Directors is taking place this week in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately I am not able to attend because I maxed out on my allotment of conferences for this academic year but I wanted to call your attention to the conference hashtag #BPDTX16 on Twitter because you can follow the conference and get some great updates from various social work educators, students, and practitioners who are in attendance.

 This conference is really geared towards social work education at the undergraduate level but still features some great research presentations and teaching workshops. One such workshop I was meant to be apart of was put on by Stephen Baldridge of Abilene Christian University and Laurel Hitchcock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The workshop was titled “Social Media Technology Basics for the Social Work Educator” and featured some great content related to using social media in social work education. Dr. Hitchcock wrote a great blog post about the presentation, which also included the presentation abstract. The three of us regularly use social media in our classes and have found it to be useful to students. Be sure to go check out that blog post and if you have questions, you can always leave me a comment or reply to me on Twitter.


-motivationI have to admit, sometimes I don’t love what I do and recently I have been thinking about how to change my perspective. I have looked at many different motivational quotes, ideas, etc. and I decided to post this image of the late Steve Jobs because I both disagree and agree with it at the same time. I think it’s easy to disagree with when you don’t love what you do and to agree when you do love what you do. The challenge is managing the in between and getting yourself back to loving what you do. It’s in that spirit that I am going to be pushing myself to do something different and to share that process here. It’s a process that I hope to be successful with but time will tell. The first of several goals I have is to update this blog regularly. I am going to start with once a month posts related to the topics I generally have written on in the past but also hope to integrate a few other things as I try to increase my level of writing activity. I have tried this once before, writing that I will update more regularly, only to fail! What is changing this time? I don’t really know, other than I want to love writing again. So I hope you, whomever you are, don’t mind as I start on this journey. If you feel so inclined. Please comment or share your own insights as well.




Student Documentary Movie Night 2-25-2016 with #MacroSW Chat

Dr. Laurel Hitchcock and I are once again partnering with #MacroSW to have a discussion about Income Inequality in America. We have used this innovative assignment and engaging documentary for a couple years now and even published some of our findings in Social Work Education: The International Journal. I hope you will join us this Thursday at 9pm Central, 6pm Pacific Time as we organize around the #MacroSW hashtag on Twitter to talk about this important issue. Also, please go and checkout the MacroSW blog for more information.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 9.51.40 AM

Live Twitter Chats in Social Work Education

imgresJust a quick update as the beginning of my semester kicks off this week. I can’t think of a better way to start than with news of my latest publication with Laurel Hitchcock about our Live Twitter Chat assignments we have been using for several years now. The article is free for the first 50 people who access this link but I know Laurel will also have some eprints available.

We have written on our blogs several posts about this assignment and you can see a collection of my own posts here (hopefully the link works).  This project has been lots of fun and I really enjoy seeing the students learn from this assignment. We will be partnering with #MacroSW chat once again this semester for our live chat so stay tuned for another blog post later in the semester.

2015 in review

The stats helper prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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