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Jennifer Parga - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Jennifer Parga Jennifer Parga

Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work Field Education | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Emerging expert on identifying, integrating and harnessing technology opportunities to prepare students to improve their local communities.


JENNIFER PARGA joined as full-time regional field faculty in 2015 teaching Virtual Field Practicum, field seminar and serving as a point of contact for field liaisons assisting students in Southern California.

Prior to joining USC, Parga diligently supported first-generation college students via service learning opportunities in partnership with San Diego-based high schools, nonprofits and community-based organizations in the most diverse community in San Diego. She avidly worked with donors to create a supplemental scholarship program to bring financial support to program alumni through a $100,000 annual scholarship.

As a community organizer with an emphasis in consensus organizing, Parga was contracted to provide state-wide trainings in Georgia and lead local initiatives with the San Diego Foundation to create sustainable solutions through identifying mutual self-interest and capacity building. During that time, she spent several years on the Coordinating Council of Mid-City Community Advocacy Network during one of the most impactful placed-based funding initiatives implemented in partnership with the California Endowment.

From 2005 to 2015, she served on the board of directors for the National Association of Social Workers and served as San Diego-Region E regional director and California state secretary.

Parga is currently a member of Online Learning Consortium, NASW and Council on Social Work Education, and gives strategic support and consultation to the Trauma Informed Care Task Force of Greater Los Angeles.

Education (2)

San Diego State University: MSW 2007

San Diego State University: BSW 2004

Areas of Expertise (8)

Distance Education and Technology

Data and Technology for Social Good

Technology Integration in Education

Non-Profit Administration & Management

Board Development

Community Organizing & Development

Yoga and Meditation Intervention

Change Management & Strategic Planning

Industry Expertise (8)

Information Technology and Services

Training and Development

Program Development


Health and Wellness

Social Services

Information Services

Social Media

Accomplishments (1)

Grant Recipient (professional)


Diversity and Inclusion Through Testimony Grants– USC Shoah Foundation; Institute for Visual History and Education and USC Center for Excellence in Teaching

Affiliations (3)

  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Online Learning Consortium
  • Council on Social Work Education

Testimonials (2)

MSW Student, Evaluation | USC

Grateful to have a great role model in you who shows compassion towards the students

MSW Student, Evaluation | USC

Professor Parga is an excellent professor who allows students to debrief and talk about their experiences and is there for the students. She is always available and ensures that students get the best experience even as virtual students. She has made my experience at USC so much better. Thank you to professor Parga!!


Grand Challenges (1)

Harness Technology for Social Good

Great explanation on website: (copy and paste) http://grandchallengesforsocialwork.org/grand-challenges-initiative/12-challenges/harness-technology-for-social-good/ My particular interests is in catching the profession of social work up with the integration of technology to better serve our clients and communities. I also think it is important as faculty to educate future social workers about the impact of technology in the clinical and macro settings.

Conferences and Events (3)

Creating a Community of Inquiry in Online MSW Education Programs

Council on Social Work Education Conference  Denver, CO


Formal Collaborations Using Testimony in Blended Environments to Advance Social Justice

Social Work Distance Education Conference  San Antonio, TX


Strategies for Building Community Among Faculty on Virtual and Ground Campuses

Council on Social Work Education Conference  Orlando FL


Presentation Style


  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC

Research, Publications & Presentations (2)

Understanding the Remote Faculty Journey FY 2019-2020

IRB Approval

Remote Faculty: Exploring the Journey


Collaboration between Our Lady of the Lake University, Arizona State University, five remote faculty/administrators are interviewing others with IRB approval on their experience to becoming a remote faculty. One group are folks who chose to have remote positions and another group (post COVID) on how their remote transition has been.

Professional Experience & Partnerships (1)


Trauma Informed LA 

As an all-volunteer grassroots organization since 2014 TILAs mission is to foster resilient communities that promote healing and well-being through collaboration, education, and community engagement. Their vision is a trauma-informed Los Angeles. I work with TILA specifically on strategic planning, facilitate working retreats, implementing participatory decision making practices, and really just supporting their steering committee in any way that I can because they are amazing human beings!

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Courses (3)

589a Applied Learning in Field Education (Virtual Field Practicum)

This is our famous VFP (Virtual Field Practicum). A client simulation course where your receive instant feedback on your intervention implementation. Not only is the course structured to teach you evidence based interventions like Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy but you are practicing in real time from the convenience of your own home. This is truly one of my favorite courses to teach and it is amazing to see both folks who are brand new to social work and seasoned to have life changing moments in class!

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588, (698a, 698b) Integrative Learning for (Advanced) Social Work Practice

CYF (Children Youth and Family) students will enhance core practice skills underlying social work services to children, youth, and families within a complex system. AMHW (Adult Mental Health and Wellness) students will enhance core practice skills underlying social work services within health, mental health, and integrated care settings with the adult population. SCI (Social Change and Innovation) students will enhance core practice skills underlying social work services to organizations, and business and community settings. Students will engage in critical thinking, focused dialogue, exploration of theory, examination of practice, and policy analysis utilizing department specific field experiences. In addition, this course will provide a forum for learning and building practice skills through interaction, self-reflection, role-play, case discussion, and other experiential exercises designed to encourage students’ creativity. Students will also have the opportunity to engage in activities that enhance professional communication. Therefore, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity will be the primary skills to be developed.

589b, (699a, 699b) Applied (Advanced) Learning in Field Education

These courses serve as placeholders for your community based internship. My role in this course is to serve as your Field Liaison aka making sure you complete all your field assignments, are receiving the defined learning opportunities at your agency, track your hours, and support you and the agency during your placement.

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Research Articles & Publications (6)

Beyond the Online versus On- campus Debate: Leveraging Technology in a CoI Framework to Enhance Student and Faculty Presence in the MSW Classroom.

Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 39(4-5), 308-322

Parga, J. A., Bargar, K., Monte, S., Supranovich, R. A., & Brown, D. E.


While research typically utilizes Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) to evaluate online education programs (OEP) compared to on-campus programs (OCP), little attention is given to other qualitative elements which enhance student social presence or faculty teaching presence. The authors examine the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework and demonstrate how MSW programs with an OEP can incorporate elements to enhance student learning. Research and data included will attempt to move the discussion beyond the OEP versus OCP debate and include more pertinent ideas regarding the importance and impact of leveraging technology in MSW social work education.

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The Evolution of Building Community Among Faculty on Virtual and Ground Campuses.

Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education

George, S., Schwartz, S., Parga, J.


The use of internet technology in the delivery of social work education is a rapidly evolving phenomenon. As of 2016, over 80% of accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) programs around the United States offer some form of hybrid or online programming (Robbins, Coe Regan, Herbert Williams, Smyth, & Bogo, 2016). Faculty in some virtual education programs can live far from campus, teaching courses, hosting office hours, and attending faculty meetings through online platforms. In these types of education models, remote faculty often face unique challenges for facilitating connections with the ground campus and building community with colleagues.

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Cultivating Relationships with Agency Field Instructors: Collaboration in Online Education. The Transformation of Social Work Education Through Virtual Learning (265-282).

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Doyle, K., Parga, J., Wobbe-Veit, L. (R. Paul Maiden (Ed.)


Over the past few years, numerous highly ranked, Tier 1 universities across the United States have embraced the development of advanced online degrees, a niche of secondary education long held by a small group of private, for-profit universities. Rapid advances in online learning technology, increasingly sophisticated, and easy to use ‘learning management systems’ and ‘anytime, anywhere access’ has dramatically increase the demand of individuals, mostly full time employed, working professionals. This volume addresses the dramatic changes that are occurring in social work pedagogy as more schools develop online programs. Our chapter specifically highlights the work in our school to connect vital community partners to the Trojan Family.

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Spiraling Organizational Change: a Campus Conversion to Online Programming

The Field Educator (Fall 2018)

Ruth Supranovich, Ruth Cislowsk, Jennifer Parga

The article describes the transition of one social work program from campus based instruction to online and illustrates the Action Research Model of change. The authors also explore the impact of this change on internal and external stakeholders.

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Technology in social work education: Educators’ perspectives on the NASW Technology Standards for Social Work Education and Supervision.

University at Buffalo School of Social Work, State University of New York.

Hitchcock, L. I., Sage, M., & Smyth, N. J. (Eds.).


Forward: In 2017, a new publication, Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice, was issued to address the intersections of professional social work practice and technology. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), along with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), and the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) cosigned the Standards, developed by a committee of primarily social work practitioners. The CSWE clarified that the Standards are neither part of the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards competencies nor part of the accreditation process (CSWE, personal communication, June 30, 2017). The authors of the Standards also offered brief interpretations of each of the Standards and sub-standards. Hearing a call for more thorough guidance, the editors of this document reached out to social work educators and supervisors with specialized knowledge of teaching and supervising with technology and asked them to help us think about Standard 4, Social Work Education and Supervision. In the early Fall of 2017, 23 people responded to the editors’ request to contribute their best practice and research wisdom. We used technology to crowdsource (obtain input from a number of people online), which allowed us to co-create, co-edit, and gather rapid feedback on this document over the course of a month. The following pages include the original standards published by NASW, followed by interpretations developed by our full group of 26 social work academics and supervisors. It offers considerations for decision-making related to the benefits and risks of technology use in teaching and supervision, developed by those who have direct experience in these arenas.

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Technology Adoption in Social Work Education

Oxford Press

Jennifer Parga & Sara Schwartz


This annotated bibliography explores how social work education has adopted technology, considers the implications of these advances, and includes articles which compare outcomes for different delivery formats.

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