Center for Teaching and Learning

Advances in Higher Education Research Seminar

This seminar series highlights original research in college-level learning and instruction. Multidisciplinary in scope, each seminar addresses the broad themes of our work as instructors, including the cognitive processes by which students learn, and the classroom context in which they do so.

All seminars are free and open to the public. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and opportunities for discussion.

Autumn quarter seminar

Justin Lerner

Justin Lerner, UW School of Social Work

“Social Workers Can’t Be Republicans”: Engaging Conservative Students in the Classroom

Tuesday, Oct. 20 (2:30-3:20) Online

Over the past 50 years, the United States has experienced the disappearance of a moderate politics replaced by a more divisive political ideology. As the country has become more polarized, universities, schools of social work, and professors have increasingly leaned left. In this era of extreme political polarization, social work educators have a responsibility to create a classroom environment in which conservative students can enhance the diversity of thought in schools of social work so that all students can be more skillful social workers while helping these students understand social work values derived from the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics. This workshop will explore how to create productive political conversations that encourage true dialogue rather than partisan soundbites.

Justin Lerner earned a PhD in social welfare at New York University Silver School of Social Work. His dissertation examined health care utilization among transgender people in the 2015 United States Trans Survey. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University, an MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and a BA in psychology from Washington University.

At University of Washington, Lerner teaches courses on social justice and equity as well as anti-oppressive clinical classes focused on working with individuals, families, and groups. He also works with the intergroup dialogue undergraduate program at the UW School of Social Work. He has co-authored several articles on social justice for transgender people and on creating a social justice agenda in the classroom. Additionally, Lerner works in a social justice group therapy practice that focuses on providing anti-oppressive counseling that creates healing and resilience.

His previous work in the community includes seven years as assistant director at the Goddard Residential College at New York University. He also worked as the LGBTQ outreach and engagement program director at the Jewish Community Center in Washington, D.C., was a therapist in the day program at So Others Might Eat (SOME), and served as a policy fellow for the State of Maryland.

Questions about the series?