Lab simulates social work scenarios

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Social work program Coordinator Lisa Black along with Dr. Taniko King-Jordan, bachelor of social work program director at OLLU, teach social welfare as a social institution that includes a simulation session March 28 in Chance, students learn the philosophy and ethics of social work. Photo by J. Del Valle

Joint demonstration with OLLU introduces new simulation center in Chance.

By Ashley Bailey

Social work program coordinators from this college and Our Lady of the Lake University conducted an educational demonstration for their students March 28 in a new simulation lab and theater in Chance Academic Center.

The lab and theater were installed this semester in rooms 319 and 321 for social work and criminal justice students to bring classwork to life through role-playing scenarios.

The scenarios range from recognizing signs of neglect, abuse or drug use to interrogation and mediation practices.

“Students will observe through a subjective lens and make an assessment based off the person’s objective answers and create a plan for progress,” said Dr. Taniko King-Jordan of Our Lady of the Lake.

The demonstration took place during SOCW 2362, Social Welfare as a Social Institution, a night class taught by social work program coordinator Lisa Black.

King-Jordan and Sara Rodriguez, liberal arts sophomore at this college, simulated a scenario in Room 319, the theater, where Rodriguez was a client with a history of self-harm and King-Jordan was the social worker assessing the situation.

The theater is designed with a tiny camera and microphone hidden in the corner. The lab has a projector that allows students to watch everything without disturbing the simulation.

About 30 chatty students from this campus and Our Lady of the Lake sat in a darkened Room 321, the simulation lab, waiting for Black to start the simulation, which was projected on a white pull-down screen.

“OK, we’re ready,” Black said. “Make sure you are taking notes.”

Seconds later, King-Jordan and Rodriguez appeared on screen, walking into a home-like setting.

Rodriguez sat on a maroon love seat while King-Jordan sat in an adjacent plush blue chair.

“How are you doing today?” King-Jordan said. “Tell me a little bit about how college is going for you.”

“It’s going OK,” Rodriguez said. “But I’m failing almost all of my classes.”

“Which classes are you doing well in?” King-Jordan said. 

“Reading and writing,” Rodriguez said. 

Black explained before the demonstration that people think social workers need to talk a lot, but they really want the client to do the talking.

King-Jordan then transitioned into an emotional assessment and asked Rodriguez to rate her current emotional state from 1-10.

“I guess a 5,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez had been clutching her left arm during the entire session.

King-Jordan picked up on Rodriguez’s verbal clues and body language and asked if she had been cutting herself again.

“The scars on your arm look new,” King-Jordan said. “Did anything change since the last time you self-harmed?”  

As a progressive solution for a problem such as self-harm, the social worker’s job is to make sure their client follows a plan of action.

“We aren’t buddies,” Black said. “We are social workers. Our job is to make sure the client receives insight, help them develop coping abilities and to help them on that road to get better. Social work is an insertion model. You get in there and you get out.”

King-Jordan is a friend of Black, who invited King-Jordan to assist in the simulation.

Criminal justice program Coordinator Oscar Ruiz helped test the center before Black’s class to ensure the cameras and audio worked correctly. 

“At this point we are just doing finishing touches,” Ruiz said.

“By the fall semester, more courses will be assigned to the simulation center.”

Those courses include CRIJ 1301, Intro to Criminal Justice and CRIJ 2328, Police Systems and Practices.

The departments were able to combine the two rooms into a simulation center through a grant.

Earlier last month, Student Advocacy Center administrator Elizabeth Rodriguez conducted a private tour of the simulation center.

“Having the simulation center here at a two-year college opens unique possibilities for students,” Rodriguez said.

For more information, call 210-486-1003 to speak to a student advocate. 


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