Derr Publishes on Social Services and Immigrants

March 14, 2014

Social Work Professor Amelia Seraphia Derr published "How Do Social Service Providers View Recent Immigrants," with Casey Clevenger, Wendy Cadge, and Sara Curran, in the Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies (Taylor and Francis Online, 2014).

The authors explore how social services providers in two small, geographically distinct cities—Portland, Maine, and Olympia, Washington—understand the importance of welcoming and incorporating new immigrants in their cities.

“Social service providers are often the first points of contact for immigrants,” Derr said. “We add their perspectives to the broader scholarly conversation about how cities help immigrants adapt to new places.”

In their groundbreaking research, the authors found that, in both communities, providers bring a sense of moral responsibility to help immigrants, with an emphasis on the economic and cultural resources immigrants bring to cities. Derr notes that better understanding of how these providers view recent immigrants may inform the kinds of services they provide and the ways they attempt to integrate recent immigrants into their communities.

“Our study points to the importance of research that includes the voices of service providers and others to show how immigration is reshaping localities,” Derr said.

Derr joined the College of Arts and Sciences faculty 2013. She teaches integrated social work practice, qualitative and quantitative research methods, social work history, social work with immigrants and refugees, and international social work.

The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 41 undergraduate major degrees, 36 minors, and 6 master's degrees.