Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Social Work Superheroes: Interview with John Vassello, MSW

[Episode 112] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about the parallels between social workers and superheroes. I spoke with John Vassello. John is the Associate Director of Field Education and Admissions in the Binghamton University Department of Social Work. He also serves as the Continuing Education Coordinator.

John and I talk about an innovative approach to marketing the University of Binghamton's social work program AND the buzz he creates at conferences and recruitment events, all with squishy little superhero stress dolls.

John connects the dots between superheroes (origin stories, secret identities, costumes, code of ethics, and more) and the life and times of social workers.

Although John is not the first to talk about the social worker as a superhero (see Dean Anna Scheyett's excellent 2015 TED Talk on Social Workers as Superheroes), he is the first to create an action figure that brings to life so many aspects of social work.

You can purchase a complete set of the Social Justice League superheroes, all proceeds funding Binghamton social work student scholarships, here: bit.ly/SocialJusticeLeague.

Download MP3 [27:12]


Hey there podcast listeners, Jonathan here. Today's episode... [Cataclysmic Molten Core (Sting)] Wait. Sorry. My secret podcaster decoder ring is glowing. I'm getting a message from command. It says, Must... read... intro... like... it... is... a... superhero movie. Holy cliches batman, are you really going to do it?

[cue: Amazing Plan - Silent Film Score]
Audio podcast, not a silent movie. Work with me people!!!

[cue: Dangerous]
In a world where social workers are vilified and most conference swag is as predictable as movie trailers, there is one metaphor that has risen like a phoenix from the flames: The social work Superhero. "Everybody at some point needs a superhero; someone who is not afraid to jump into the chaos and fight the good fight with us shoulder to shoulder" (Dean Anna Scheyett in her 2015 TED Talk). Like all superhero stories, this one begins with a kid and a dream and ends with a committee decision and a prototype that became an actual superhero. By day a squishy little stress ball, by night a... squishy little stress ball.
[fade out...]

Ok. I can’t do this anymore. Can we go back to the regular script?


So, today's episode is, no joke, about social work superheroes. It's about how John Vassello, Associate Director of Field Education and Admissions in the Binghamton University Department of Social Work, took his love of superheroes and convinced his bosses to make social work superhero action figures.  I talk with John about how that little seed of an idea went from being something that he and his buddies talked about during their MSW program to an entire marketing campaign – and something that really does ignite the passions and excitement of social work educators every time they go to the social work education conference. I first met John at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. I was really excited when I heard there were these little action figures and I wanted to know what the story was behind it. Well, I found the story to be really inspiring and I hope you do to. 

Thanks to Kevin MacLeod for the great background music, courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library:
Amazing Plan - Silent Film Dark by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100737
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Dangerous by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100414
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

and Jingle Punks' Cataclysmic Molten Core (Sting)

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And now, without further ado, episode 112 of the Social Work Podcast: Social work superheroes: Interview with John Vassello, MSW.

(forthcoming: let me know if you want to transcribe)

APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2017, October 24). #112 - Social work superheroes: Interview with John Vassello, MSW[Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkpodcast.com/2017/10/superheroes.html

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