Faculty Spotlight: Professor Bronwyn Cross-Denny

Prof. Bronwyn Cross-Denny published a textbook titled “Integrated Social Work Practice: Bridging Micro, Mezzo, and Macro Level Practice.” The textbook focuses on the holistic approach to social work when it comes to considering the individual, their family, and their peers.

 Cross-Denny has taught in the Social Work department at Sacred Heart University, where she was the founding director of the Master’s of Social Work program along with colleague Prof. Maura Rhodes. Cross-Denny has since transitioned into the Health Sciences department, as she has decided to focus more on global work. 

 “As a practitioner, I have that practical sense. Teaching what I practice is really helpful because I have both perspectives,” said Cross-Denny.

 Cross-Denny has been practicing social work for years, and while teaching at Fordham University, she realized it was a passion of hers, which resulted in her going to get her PhD. 

 “There was a combination of both practicing and teaching because you’re constantly learning and bringing real-world examples into the classroom to help students and instructors to teach,” said Cross-Denny. 

 Rhodes co-wrote a chapter on field placements in Cross-Denny’s textbook with the help of two other colleagues.

 “So much of the work social workers do is interdisciplinary. It only makes sense to include those voices and those perspectives in social work education. In this way, students will be better prepared to practice in an interprofessional world both in their internships and after graduation,” said Rhodes. 

 The chapter Rhodes co-wrote describes how to incorporate social work concepts into the internships students have.

“The approach of this text is a shift in how social workers have been educated traditionally. This text focuses on a holistic view of the client system, looking at all levels of practice (micro, mezzo and macro) to do both an assessment and an intervention plan at each level. In order to work toward social justice, interventions at each of these levels is imperative,” said Rhodes. 

 Alumna Victoria Cone took Human Diversity and Social Justice with Cross-Denny during her first semester of graduate school at Sacred Heart. Cone also worked with Cross-Denny throughout an independent study elective, where they then worked on  Cross-Denny’s textbook.

 “Professor Cross-Denny’s Human Diversity and Social Justice course taught me the importance of being attuned to diversity within my practice as well as in my daily life,” said Cone.

 Cross-Denny believes that when writing a book, it is important to get a variety of perspectives and experiences to share. 

 Health Sciences Department Chair Christina Gunther co-wrote three chapters in the textbook. The chapters were based on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; social and sustainable development; and global health.

 “I think it is such an important text because in all fields we need a more holistic approach to services and care. So, we really need this collective action to develop services that meet different levels of needs, especially community-based needs,” said Gunther.

 Gunther believes the textbook can be instrumental in assisting social work programs in teaching future social work professionals.

 From reading this textbook, Cross-Denny hopes readers understand how a society impacts the individual, as well as how the individual impacts society.

 “The contributors contributed some good ideas to the layout of the book. I really, really liked working with my colleagues. That was really fulfilling,” said Cross-Denny.

Photo: Sacred Heart University

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