Part-time Program Instructor Spotlight: Jenny Braunginn

Describe your current position in the field?

Field Faculty and Long-Term Lecturer for UW-Madison School of Social Social Work

  • I am Field Faculty for SW 800/801 “Social Work Practice in Child and Family Welfare: Public, Private and Educational Settings.”
  • I teach Social Work Practice in Schools, SW 861 (for students with an internship in school settings in the Part-Time Program).
  • For the UW-Madison School of Social Work I am chair of the Social Workers Confronting Racial Injustice conference (held in January).
  • I also am the Faculty Liaison for the Radical Social Work student group on the Madison Campus (both PTP and FTP students as well as BSW).

What challenges do you experience in your position? 

I think one of the biggest challenges is making sure that I am providing a learning environment that challenges everyone (including me!) to keep learning, keep applying our ethics and critical thinking to all we do and make sure that we are confronting and dealing with racial and social justice issues as social workers. It is hard work to keep learning more and balancing the various viewpoints we all bring, while the key is to really examine the impact we have on others (not just our intent). I hope I can help students grow and push themselves as professionals and see their strengths and skills that they have to share.

What is rewarding about the work you do?

I love teaching and supporting future social workers learning more about their chosen field and how to grow as social workers. I learn more each year from all of my students, not only about social work and their various settings in their internships, but especially about how to keep making a difference with all that we do and keep challenging ourselves to learn and grow to keep making that difference!

What do you think is the best aspect of the Part-Time Program? 

I really appreciate the variety of the students, both geographically as well as the experiences and personal backgrounds they bring. I think the PTP students themselves have a real richness to offer!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love gardening, being outdoors and enjoying the birds and wildlife, and kayaking. I also enjoy music (especially blues and jazz) and especially love being a grandma and spending time with our granddaughter when we can!

In your view, what are the biggest challenges facing the social work profession today? 

I believe that social work is in a very exciting time period where so many of us in this profession are taking up the professional calling and values to challenge social and racial injustice and be change makers. I see such a drive and spark in my students (and other social workers) to be real leaders in this arena, in every way we can impact. I know this a huge challenge, especially to keep up the passion and hard work.  But, it is also a time that we have allies and colleagues to work with us as a social work profession to really be leaders in society!

Any words of advice to pass on to aspiring social workers?

Keep remembering why you got into social work to begin with! This can be your “compass” as you go through the years. If you find yourself getting discouraged, frustrated, burnt-out (and similar feelings), remember why you took on this challenge as a career, profession and life. It can be hard, we can get tired, but it is a long-haul to make change and try to accompany people through difficult times in their life. But we are THE profession that have our core values of “service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence”. These core values give us our foundation of our unique purpose and perspective in society. Who else besides Social Workers like all of you can have such a compass!!

Degree, License, and Certifications: 

BSW, MSSW (both from UW Madison School of Social Work)
Licensed School Social Worker (Dept. of Public Instruction)
CISW (Independent Social Worker)
School Social Work Specialist (NASW)