A Foundation of Strengths. A Vision of Justice. A Mission of Change.

RISE Mission

To empower BSW, MSW and PhD students of color (racially-ethnically) to excel personally, academically, and professionally in order to foster successful degree.

Committee Members

Dr. Sydney Spears, sspears@ku.edu

Jennie Marsh, jmarsh1@ku.edu

Kelly Jones, kellyjones@ku.edu

Vicki Mignot, vmignot@ku.edu

Kortney Carr, k_carr@ku.edu

Nik Schuetz, nschuetz@ku.edu

Sarah Jen, srjen@ku.edu

Laurie Hart, laurie.hart@ku.edu


All events are open to KU School of Social Welfare BSW, MSW, and PhD students of color (racially-ethnically).

Welcome Lunch at Field Education orientation - All BSW/MSW/PhD students of color are welcome
August 10, 2018
Noon to 1 p.m.
Regnier Hall 151, Edwards campus

Welcome at the BSW Orientation (for new BSW students)
August 17, 2018
Following the New BSW Student Orientation from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crossroads Room Kansas Union

RISE Fall Mastery Retreat Presents - Developing Mind-Body Toughness in Tough Times: Strategies and Paths of Highly Resilient Students & Professionals of Color
Facilitator: Sydney Spears, Ph.D., LCSW, LSCSW
Friday, October 5, 2018
1:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m.
The University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park - BEST Building room 220

A critical step towards building and maintaining resilience is to go deep within ourselves and strengthen our ability to be grounded and focused. In this retreat you will have the opportunity to truly rest, reflect and fully reclaim your authentic mindset, body-stance and emotional-stance for greater professional and personal resiliency and positive intention. We will reflect upon the journeys of a few remarkable people of color who have used their adversity, struggles and gifts in the name of social justice and to advance the social environment for the great good. As potential role models, we will also learn how these individuals claimed their destiny, redefined their priorities, and continuously moved forward despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We will explore how to integrate some of these vital lessons in your academic and professional life. Join us for this enlightening and compassionate retreat “experience.” These 3 hours will be well worth your time.

Highlights of this retreat will include:

  • Building your mindset, body-stance, & emotional stance for success
  • Applying mindfulness-based stress-reduction and Self-care techniques
  • Navigating microaggressions
  • Navigating practicum and coursework
  • Learning powerful strategies of resilient students & professionals
  • Visioning for your professional social work intention & future -NOW!

NOTE: If you are currently in practicum, you may be able to apply 3 attendance hours of this retreat towards your field placement hours with your field instructor’s consent. You can share this email with your field supervisor if needed.

Pictures from the retreat



SW 555 Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice: Cultural Competence

In fall 2018, each section of SW 555 held a social justice art collective and displayed the works of art on both the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. Students in the four sections of the course contribute to the collective which acts as the last assignment of the semester. Students select an issue which has a personal or professional significance to them, research the topic, and create an art piece (broadly defined) which represents their learning of the issue.

One student, Jareth Del Real, wrote a song about social justice and performed for the class. The lyrics are below. 


By Jareth Del Real


And I push it to my limit and I fight and I fall,

I get up once again, revaluate my strategy

cause in the past I've learned from my mistakes,

And I've made it this far,

so I might as well just


Embrace, adversity

And face reality with a

Fierce passion to change the world

It's more than just social work


I got a vision and it all starts with me

A higher calling cuz life ain't about me no,

The secret to living is giving not getting

So give your service, give your passion, do you're very best


You're very best

And advocate for social change

And tolerance


My very best

Is what it takes to


And to be the change


People of Color Support Online - www.7cups.com/home/poc

Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion - www.raceforward.org

Colorlines - www.colorlines.com


Social Welfare Events