The University of St. Thomas

School of Social Work

Jessica Toft

Jessica Toft

Jessica E. Toft

Associate Professor

jetoft@stthomas.edu
Phone: (651) 962-5803

SCB 201
2115 Summit Ave,
St. Paul, MN 55105

Office Location: SCB 306

Courses taught in Fall 2014 at UST
DRSW 700-01
43362
Hist of SW & SW Education --- TBD

3 Credit Hours

This course provides a foundation for graduate social work and includes some texts that will be used across the curriculum. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the history, legacies, philosophy and values of the social work profession and social work education. This course provides students the opportunity to explore the historical development of the ethics, purposes, and sanctions characteristic of professional social work practice and education.

GRSW 500-05
42431
History /Phil of Social Work 1640-1905 R SCB 205

3 Credit Hours

This course provides a foundation for the graduate social work and includes some texts that will be used across the curriculum. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the history, legacies, philosophy and values of social welfare and social work. This course provides students the opportunity to explore the historical development of the ethics, purposes, and sanctions characteristic of professional social work practice.

GRSW 580-01
41387
Meth of Social Work Research 1335-1600 T SCB 205

3 Credit Hours

This course focuses on learning generalist social work research methods and skills. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts of research, allowing them to be both critical consumers and novice producers of research. Skills emphasized include critiquing and analyzing research literature, searching for relevant scholarly articles, writing literature reviews, developing research design, and understanding quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Discussed in the class are frameworks regarding evidence-based practice, diverse client systems, ethical research practice, and social justice.

GRSW 682-12
40979
Applied Research Seminar 1920-2145 R MCH 229

4 Credit Hours

Candidates for the MSW degree must satisfactorily conduct a clinical research project, present the findings, and complete a final written and bound report. The purpose of the clinical research project is to provide the student with an opportunity to independently conceptualize a research problem, formulate a research design, implement the research, analyze the data, address ethical and cultural considerations, and disseminate the findings. The project is a logical extension of required research courses (GRSW 580 and GRSW 681) and requires application, integration, and further development of previously acquired skills and knowledge. The research must be relevant to clinical social work practice. The project must demonstrate an original and clear contribution to the body of social work knowledge in the student's selected area of focus. It should demonstrate the student's ability to integrate social work theory with research findings.

Current role: Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of St. Thomas

Committees and Positions:

  • Faculty Senate, University of St. Thomas, 2009 – present
  • Aquinas Scholars Faculty Board, 2008 - present
  • University of St Thomas Institutional Review Board Committee, 2006 - present
  • School of Social Work: 
    • Research Curriculum Committee, 2005-present (Chair, 2006- present)
    • Policy Curriculum Committee, 2005-present
    • MSW Program Committee, 2005 – present
    • MSW Admissions Committee, 2005-2008, 2009 - present
    • Outcome Study, Graduate Director, 2009 – present
    • School of Social Work Assessment Committee, 2010 - present
    • Area of Emphasis on Aging, Steering Committee Member and Evaluation Consultant, 2009 - present
  • Research Instructor for the Licensing Exam Review Course, 2006 – present

Courses taught:

  • History and Philosophy of Social Work
  • Methods of Social Work Research
  • Applied Research Seminar
  • Social Policy and Program Development
  • Social Work Practice Research
  • Social Work Research: Designs and Statistical Applications (Undergraduate)

Current research interests:

I have four areas of scholarly interest that overlap, but also draw from separate bodies of knowledge. The first is an interest in the effects of political discourse and social policy on the social construction of low-income women and mothers. I will be published (December of 2010, Social Service Review) in this area and consider the uses of language as a major tool for political will to distribute the tangible and intangible benefits of citizenship. The second is the effects of welfare reform on low-income populations. I have helped evaluate the effects of MFIP in Hennepin County on the families of diverse groups and written and published regarding this. The third area of research is social welfare history with regards to women and race, about which I have been published in Social Service Review. The last and emerging interest is the research regarding the effects of MSW students’ attitudes and attributions for poverty on their preferred methods to address poverty.

Academic experience:

  • Ph.D. University of Minnesota 2005
  • M.S.W. School of Social Work, University of Iowa 1994
  • B.A.  Grinnell College 1989

Practice experience:

  • 2000-2004  Co-Investigator and Research Assistant. A Study of the Effects of the Minnesota Family Investment Program on Parents and Children in   Hennepin County, University of Minnesota, School of Social Work.
  • 2003-2004  Research Assistant. Hartford Foundation Study: Exploratory Study on Serving Older Persons with Disabilities through Independent Living Centers, University of Minnesota, School of Social Work.
  • 2004  Research Assistant.  Evaluation of the Battered Women’s Justice Project, University of Minnesota, School of Social Work.
  • 1994-1996  Public Policy Advocate. Child Abuse Prevention issues, Family & Children’s Service, Minneapolis, MN.
  • 1994 Research Assistant. National Resource Center on Family Based Practice, Iowa City, IA.
  • 1991-1994  Crisis Counselor and Trainer. Crisis Center, Iowa City, IA.
  • 1991-1992 Youth Counselor. Youth Homes, Iowa City, IA.
  • 1990-1991 Program Manager.  Group home for autistic adults, Alternatives for People with Autism, Brooklyn Park, MN.
  • 1989-1990 Living Skills Instructor.  Alternatives for People with Autism, Brooklyn Park, Mn

 Publications:

  • Toft, J., Hollister, C.D., & Martin, M. [in press]. The influence of paid work, racial-ethnicity, and immigrant status on health care coverage after welfare reform in Hennepin County. Submitted to Journal of Health and Social Policy.
  • Toft, J. & Hollister, D., & Martin, M. [in press]. Welfare reform impacts on Hmong families in Minnesota. AAPI Nexus: American Asian and Pacific Islanders.     
  • Hollister, C.D., Toft, J. & Martin, M. (2008). An exploratory study of the impacts of welfare reform on the well-being of children and families in the USA. Chapter 16 in Piotr Salustowicz (ed.), Social Policy and Social Work from and International Development Perspective. Munster, Germany: Lit Verlag: Verlag fur Wissenschaftliche Literatur.
  • Hollister, C.D., Martin, M., Toft, J., &Yeo, J. (2005). Obstacles to welfare-to-work transitions for Somali, Hmong, and Latino immigrants in the United States. Social Development Issues, 27(2), 57-69.
  • Toft, J. & Abrams, L. (2004). Progressive maternalists and the construction of low-income single mothers. Social Service Review, 78(3), 447-465.

Association Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Council on Social Work Education, 1997 – present 
  • Licensed Independent Social Worker,  1996 - present
  • Society for Social Work Research,  2002 - present
  • National Association of Social Workers, 1994 – present