I began this journey in the Fall of 2009 (but really, it began long before that even).
Now I am submitting my letter of application for an Assistant Professor position.
I am so glad that my leap of faith back then and there has lead me to where I am in the here and now.
Here is my first draft of the letter:
October 8, 2012
Dear Dr. Weaver:
I am writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor, Tenure Track in the School of Social Work. I am a doctoral student at UCLA working on a dissertation proposal under the direction of Dr. Stuart Kirk. I am currently assembling the proposal in preparation for defense by December. I expect to complete all work for the Ph.D. by June of 2012. I believe that my teaching experience combined with my course work and research background make me a strong candidate for the position outlined in your notice.
As my curriculum vitae shows, I have had excellent opportunities to teach a variety of social work courses, including Social Work in the Schools, Child Welfare, Women’s Issues in Social Work, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Empowerment and Recovery in Mental Health and the Advanced Practice series for the Children, Youth, Women and Families concentration. Among the most satisfying experiences for me as a teacher has been working as a field instructor for undergraduate and graduate students, earning several awards.
My work in the schools has provided me with the inspiration as well as a kind of laboratory for my dissertation research. My project, Families, Stories, Love & Resilience: The Relationship between Family Communication and Post-Traumatic Resilience, examines the association between the nature of family communication about traumatic memories – as a form of narrative exposure therapy – and variability of PTSD development among low income urban families. I hypothesize that families that engage in open communication about traumatic events and memories are more likely to exhibit posttraumatic resilience than families who tend to engage in avoidant coping. The purpose of this study is to lay the foundation for a social marketing campaign as mental health intervention among low-income urban families with chronic exposure to multiple traumatic events, an underserved and vulnerable population. Ultimately, I am interested in bridging the divide between research and practice in my own practice, research and teaching.
In my career as a profession social worker and in the health and human services field in general, I have worked at all levels of practice – micro, meso and macro – primarily with diverse children, youth, women and families. This clinical experience informs my teaching practices. I am able to integrate the current literature with numerous case examples and experiences, which I believe bring theories and concepts to life, making them easier to understand and remember. I am interested in employment at CSULA based on my satisfying teaching experience here since 2001. One of the strengths of CSULA is the diversity of the student body. My impression is that the best students from the surrounding urban neighborhoods come to CSULA. It is also my impression that strong students who are interested in an affordable quality education are also drawn to CSULA. This mix translates into rigorous and rich classroom discussions. I am also a product of the surrounding urban neighborhoods and most of my career has been working with the same. It is truly an honor to prepare the best and the brightest students from my old neighborhoods to give back to the same neighborhoods and contribute to their progress and well being.
Alejandra Acuña, LCSW, PhD Candidate