Jason Dauenhauer '96 has always felt drawn to working with older adults. As associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work, he says there are a number of opportunities available to social work majors and graduate students in an aging society.
"There's definitely a need for more social work providers not just for older adults but for the families who provide a majority of the care for aging family members," he says. "If we don't have families taking care of families, who does that fall upon? There's just not enough people out there to provide that so I think social work has a key role in making sure individuals and families have the support they need to continue providing the needed care for older adults."
Dauenhauer credits a strong relationship with grandparents as the impetus behind his career focus. "I just always felt drawn to working with older adults and hearing their stories and wisdom and seeing them as people - not just individuals with all kinds of chronic illnesses."
After graduating from Brockport, Dauenhauer went on to earn his masters at the University of Michigan and his doctorate at the University of Rochester. He taught his first class at Brockport in 1999 before becoming a full-time faculty member in 2004. He coordinates the aging studies minor and also serves as the co-director of the Greater Rochester Collaborative MSW Program, a unique partnership between The College at Brockport and Nazareth College.
Overall, there are about 220 Brockport students majoring in social work with another 150 enrolled in the MSW program. Each undergraduate must complete a required 440 hours of field work, while graduate students complete up to 900 hours. They are placed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, youth and family services, Adult Protective Services and other government and not-for-profit agencies.
"The most gratifying part is being able to connect students to social work education opportunities," says Dauenhauer. "For me, particularly, I'm very passionate about working with older adults and trying to engage students who most often don't think about a career with older adults and their families as being anything they've considered."
The Brockport Department of Social Work was established in 1971 and is part of the School of Education and Human Services. Its accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education means graduates of the program are considered "advanced-standing" students, and they can complete the MSW program in just one full year. MSW students can also complete an advanced certificate in gerontological social work.
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