News Details

Collectivist: Inaugural Edition of SP2 Journal

Collectivist student leaders

Authored by: Jessica Bautista

Student Life, Alumni


Through powerful storytelling and the inspiring collaboration of students, faculty, staff, and alumni at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), Collectivist was born.

Collectivist, an SP2-centric journal comprised of stories surrounding social work and the social worker, case studies, and academic work, was produced and published for the first time in 2016 – but it won’t be the last.

Intended to express the collective consciousness and distinctive perspectives of SP2’s “dreamers and doers,” the first issue of Collectivist delves into a variety of subjects pertaining to social policy, social justice, race, and perception.

Behind the massive undertaking and the bulk of editing, design, layout, and mobilizing, are a team of five SP2 students-turned-editors – Ian Cairns, MSW ’16, Lauren Landers, MSW ’17, Chris Rhodes, Jr., NPL ’16, Ruth Shefner, MSW, MPH ’18, and Devon Ziminski, MSSP ’16.

“Being in a program like this, you get to meet a lot of people who are interested in a lot of amazing and fascinating things, who are looking for an opportunity to really make a difference at this School. I thought that it would be great to create that niche, to fill that opportunity to share and curate that experience for the students here,” said Rhodes.

“So, I sent out a call for people to help me with the project and I met up with [the other editors]… We made a call for submissions and really got to look at the wide array of interests and work being done here and were able to put together a cool show of that in this journal,” he said.

Without any journal publishing experience to rely on, the five were able to put the piece together within six months – a very intense, yet rewarding six months, according to Landers.

Having received more submissions than they anticipated, they recognized even more so a need for Collectivist and a distinctive way for their peers to share their experiences at SP2, on and off campus.

Collectivist features almost 20 articles that examine a wide array of topics, including “High Price of Cancer Drugs Impacting the Role of Oncology Social Workers”; “Economic Disparity in Xinjiang”; “Modernizing Social Security”; “Reimagining the Sanctuary Model: Trauma, Race, and Gender; and The Need for Inclusive Communities.”

“During our one to four years spent in masters or doctoral programs, we learn how to be leaders, advocates, educators, researches, clinicians, and much more. Our coursework covers broad topics that reflect troubling societal issues. Often, it is deeply personal. However, we rarely have opportunities to share our work with one another,” Landers noted in the journal. “Collectivist gives us that platform.”

Though three of the five founding editors recently graduated from SP2, Collectivist will continue on with the leadership of Shefner and Landers, who plan to expand and recruit additional editors and contributors as well as develop an online presence for future editions.