AUSTIN, Texas – “Lights, camera, action” rang through the halls of The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work recently as faculty and staff were interviewed for a video segment that will be included in the curriculum for a national organizational model designed to build resiliency among practitioners and volunteers who work with child abuse victims.

The creation of an organizational resiliency curriculum is the culmination of the Resiliency Project, a federally funded study administered by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA), one of ten institutes in the school’s Center for Social Work Research. IDVSA Director Noël Busch-Armendariz, Ph.D., is the Principal Investigator for the project that was funded in 2009 with a $500K grant awarded to UT from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime. IDVSA Associate Director Karen Kalergis is the project director.

IDVSA assembled a collaboration of researchers, educators, practitioners and advocates to create, implement and evaluate the organizational model that offers strategies child abuse agencies could implement through policy, supervisory techniques and training.

The strategies are grounded in either research or practice wisdom. The work of several UT researchers is cited in the curriculum including that of Busch-Armendariz, School of Social Work researchers and faculty Holly Bell, Barbara Jones, Dnika Travis, and Vicki Packheiser, and Kristin Neff, associate professor, Department of Educational Psychology.

After filming at the School of Social Work, the video crew headed to Rosenberg, Texas, to interview two of the child abuse program managers who piloted the program.

The completed curriculum and the videos are expected to be available in 2013, and will be used for training in organizations across the country that serve abused children.


Seated from right, Dnika Travis, Ph.D., Senior Director; Corporate Practices Research, Catalyst, and Nicole Levy, a student in the School of Social Work master’s degree program, demonstrate a communications technique from the “Speak Up for a Change” model that is part of an organizational resiliency curriculum developed by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Video Action Director Robin Smith, Director of Photography Rodney Patterson, and Soundman Scott Anderson were at the school recently, filming one of five video segments for the curriculum. Photo: Caitlin Sulley