10/11/2012 03:16 PM
BATON ROUGE – LSU Associate Professor of Social Work Elaine M. Maccio and students
in the “Social Work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People” course
are working with Capital City Alliance, or CCA, to collect data on discrimination
against LGBT people in housing, employment and public accommodation.
CCA is a local nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for LGBT people and allies in the greater Baton Rouge area through education, advocacy, communication and community building.
In this course, social work students are training to better serve clients while gathering
personal stories about discrimination for the service-learning project with CCA.
“By working with the population, students get to know the population,” Maccio said.
“Students will benefit from talking with people who have experienced discrimination
first-hand, and by collecting data students will be making a difference in the community.”
This study is the fourth service-learning collaboration between CCA and the School
of Social Work, each of which has focused on researching the opportunities and challenges
the LGBT population faces in Baton Rouge. Past projects have included quality of life
surveys in 2007 and 2011, and a survey of private and public businesses’ domestic
partner benefits and LGBT non-discrimination policies in 2009. CCA Education and Advocacy
Committee Chair Matthew Patterson said that the quantitative data provided by these
surveys was invaluable, but that the organization now needs to make the “abstract
concept of ‘discrimination’ more concrete.”
“In order to help illustrate the fact that anti-LGBT discrimination is still a big
problem, we wanted to have stories, not numbers, to help people make that personal
connection,” Patterson said. “We hope that this project will show in a personal way
the nature of what anti-LGBT discrimination looks like in Baton Rouge today.”
Social work graduate students are equally excited to get an opportunity for hands-on
experience working with diverse populations.
“I want to learn the best practice measures when working with this community,” said
Crystal Markins of Baton Rouge, one of the advanced-year MSW students enrolled in
the course. “The most rewarding aspect of this course will be the final results and
how they can be implemented for the betterment of the LGBT community.”
Classmate Ashley Scott, a second-year MSW student also from Baton Rouge, chose to
take this course because of the one-on-one experience service-learning courses give
“I was excited to take a service-learning course that would give me direct exposure
to a diverse community rather than a lecture-style course,” Scott said. “At the end
of this course, I will have a tangible product to look back on that I can only hope
will make a positive impact on Baton Rouge. It is extremely fulfilling to be implementing
change in a community as a student, and I am excited about helping give a voice to
the LGBT population in Baton Rouge.”
For more information on CCA or to get involved with this service learning project,
Maccio was assisted in developing her students’ work with CCA through LSU’s Center
for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership, or CCELL. CCELL promotes community
engagement by serving as a clearinghouse for service-learning pedagogy and community
partnerships; promotes learning by informing and helping to coordinate planning, research,
pedagogy, and assessment associated with service-learning and other innovative student
learning initiatives; and develops student leadership skills by facilitating service-learning
and related student initiatives. For more information on CCELL, visit www.lsu.edu/ccell.
The School of Social Work is one of six schools realigned to form the new LSU College
of Human Sciences & Education, joining the School of Education, the School of Human
Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School
of Library and Information Science and the University Laboratory School.
For more information about the LSU School of Social Work, visit www.socialwork.lsu.edu.
For more information about the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education, visit www.lsu.edu/chse.
Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012