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Introduction: Let's Talk About Big IDEAS

September 20, 2023
Guest: Philip Osteen

Philip Osteen, dean of the University of Utah College of Social Work and host of the Big IDEAS in Social Work podcast, introduces the framework through which this podcast will explore cutting-edge research, evidence-based practice, culturally responsive community engagement, and much more.


Philip Osteen: Welcome to Big Ideas in Social Work, a new podcast series at the University of Utah College of Social Work.

Photo of Philip OsteenI am your host, Philip Osteen, dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Utah. Our new podcast focuses on big ideas or I D E A S: inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and sustainability. In this framework, “inclusion” prioritizes developing and/or expanding opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. “Diversity” hinges on meaningfully involving people from a range of different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, and of different abilities, ages, gender identities, and sexual orientations. For us, “equity” means ensuring equal and just treatment, affording everyone opportunities for success. “Accessibility” addresses enacting strategies and strengthening infrastructure that increases students' abilities to accomplish their academic goals, financial support, program delivery options, and solutions that address the continuum of human ability and experience. And finally, “sustainability” requires planning for our collective futures by advocating for policies and practice supporting social, economic, and environmental resources and justice.

These are not simply aspirational goals for us; they are inspirational goals, and they are attainable. We are using this podcast to engage in big ideas in social work by bringing together local, state, and national voices, representing diverse perspectives to explore the challenges and opportunities of contemporary social work practice, education, and advocacy.

As you take this journey with us, I encourage you to consider these questions. Are we, as a society, making choices that increase justice and support the welfare of others? Do our policies create and expand opportunities for freedom and independence, or serve to limit and remove those opportunities? And most importantly, what role does social work have in addressing these questions? Looking forward, we commit to the hard work needed to achieve big ideas, and we invite you to join us.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with comments, ideas, and suggestions, and you can reach us at our website, Thank you for joining us in big ideas and social work.

This podcast is a production of the University of Utah College of Social Work. Our co-executive producer is Jennifer Nozawa, manager of marketing and communications. Join us next time for a conversation on big ideas and social work with Dr. Valu Vakalahi, president and CEO of the Council on Social Work Education, and an alum of the University of Utah, as we discuss the future of social work education.

Now, I encourage you to go out and follow your own big ideas in social work.

Last Updated: 11/2/23