Loyola University Chicago

Center for Immigrant & Refugee Accompaniment (CIRA)

School of Social Work

Grant Projects

Formative Experiences in Identity and Calling Among Social Work Students Participating in Migration Focused Immersion Courses

This study is funded by a grant from the Loyola University Hank Center for Catholic Intellectual Heritage.  The focus of the current study is on how students, as well as the Mexican NGO host agencies, fieldwork supervisors, and faculty are impacted by their participation in the bi-national immersion courses and field practicums. The research design includes primary data from focus groups and interviews, as well as secondary data from student written reflections. The research questions for the study are: 1) How has their awareness and viewpoint been influenced by their participation in the immersion/exchange program? 2) What perspectives, theories, and assumptions about migration were challenged or affirmed by the immersion/exchange experience? 3) Have the encounters with migrants given them new insights into what moves them? How and why?   4) Have the immersion/exchange experiences influenced their calling to or within the field of social work? And 5) How have these experiences shaped their identity as social workers formed in a Jesuit institution?

Project JUSTICIA: Jesuit University Service & Teaching International Collaboration on Immigrant Accompaniment.

JUSTICIA is an intra and inter institutional partnership for migration-focused education, research, and service that is supported by a Loyola University Plan 2020 grant.  The Loyola partners include the School of Social Work, the Center for the Human Rights of Children, the Anthropology Department, the Institute of Public Health, Department of Public Health Sciences and the Center for Community and Global Health, Stritch School of Medicine.  The inter-institutional partners are the Instituto Tecnol√≥gico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, ITESO, the Jesuit University of Guadalajara and the Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City. This initiative brings together scholars and practitioners from the United States, Mexico, and Central America, drawn primarily from Jesuit institutions, to better prepare health, law, social work, and human service professionals for practice with immigrants and their families in communities of origin, transit, destination, and return.  The project presents four main goals, which will be advanced and institutionalized over the next two years:

  • Enhance and expand transnational migration focused interprofessional/ multidisciplinary curricula through inter-departmental and inter-institutional collaboration.
  • Create a transnational space for U.S., Mexican, and Central American students, faculty, researchers, and practitioners to engage in a migration-focused interprofessional/multidisciplinary program of study, research, and dynamic dialogue.
  • Promote a transnational/regional perspective and practice networks for North and Central American legal, health, human service professionals and researchers to address migration in the region.
  • Develop migration-focused transnational professional development and continuing education opportunities for North and Central American legal, health, human service professionals and researchers to address migration in the region.