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 Dean's Scholarship & Research

 

Twenty years of youth work scholarship (1999-2019): A review of findings
Dr. Dana Fusco
 
Overview
 
Before entering academia, I worked in a variety of settings as a youth worker. I never would have imagined that I would spend the next twenty years of my career teaching, researching, writing and lecturing about youth work. Over the twenty-year period from 1999-2019, I have published 16 peer reviewed journal articles, written 7 book chapters, edited 3 academic books and produced a video documentary. I served as the Howland Endowed Chair at the University of Minnesota in 2012 and was a visiting Professor at the University of Tampere in Finland in 2018. I have been invited by Ministries of Youth Affairs to deliver keynotes in England, Ireland, Canada, and Finland, and the 3rd Commonwealth conference on youth work in 2019 and have presented two to three times a year at various professional conferences. More, I have met hundreds of amazing youth and youth workers around the globe who continue to inspire me with their stories and confirm in me the conviction that youth work is a vital space for promoting youth agency.
 
Throughout my research, regardless of the level of analysis or specific topic, have been questions around equity: for whom does this benefit? Why this? Why now? Those questions have been aimed at youthwork practice, youth work as a profession and trends of professionalization, and the youth work field more broadly.
 
In short, I have come to recognize that throughout my scholarship I have held to a vision where young people’s passions, concerns, interests and struggles are not passed over as a developmental phase but are harnessed towards the creation of a more richly diverse and inclusive set of democratic institutions and settings in which young people can express and act upon those passions with purpose and agency. Youth work, for me, still holds that promise.
  •   . . . In the spirit of those to whom social equality has become a necessity for further social development, so we are impatient to use the dynamic power residing in the mass of men, and demand that the educator free that power. ~ Jane Addams
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Micro Level: Youth Work Practice
 
My initial studies in youth work were focused on youth work practice and what makes these spaces vibrant growth opportunities for young people. I attempted to get inside the black box of youth work to understand the characteristics of quality practice. I have observed youth programs, interviewed and surveyed young people and staff, studied youth work internationally for a comparative perspective, and read everything I could find on the topic, including literature from education more broadly, informal education, and other helping professions. Below I attempt to cull the key findings learned about youth work as a practice with implications for the professional development of youth workers.
 
  • Fusco, D. (2003). When School Is Not Enough: A video documentary on the role of afterschool programs in New York City. New York: Afterschool Productions.
  • Fusco, D. (Fall 2007). Developmentally-responsive relationships during after school. Journal of Youth Development, 2(2), online.
  • Fusco, D. (2008). School vs. afterschool: A study of equity in supporting children’s development. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 22, 391-403.
  • Fusco, D. (2010). In support of quality youth work practice in the United States. A Journal of Youth Work, 6, 4-10.
  • Fusco, D. (2012a). Use of self in the context of youth work. Child & Youth Services, 33, 33-45.
  • Fusco, D. (2012b). Advancing youth work: Current trends, critical questions. NY: Routledge.
  • Fusco, D., Lawrence, A., Matloff-Nieves, S., & Ramos, E. (2013). The Accordion Effect: Is quality in afterschool getting the squeeze? Journal of Youth Development, 8, 4-14. Reprinted in Youth Today.
  • Fusco, D. (2014). The social architecture of youth work practice. In B. Belton (Ed.), ‘Cadjan-Kiduhu’ global perspectives on youth work (pp. 47-60). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  • Fusco, D. & Heathfield, M. (2015). Modeling democracy: Is youth “participation” enough? Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 7, 12-31.
  • Fusco, D. (2018). Some conceptions of youth and youthwork in the United States. In P. Alldred, F. Cullen, K. Edwards, & D. Fusco (Eds.), Handbook of youth work practice (pp. 44-58). Sage.
  • Fusco, D. (2018). Keynote. Illuminating professional: whose knowledge matters? 3rd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work, 6-8 November 2018, Malta.

Meso Level: Youth Work Profession

I spent the early part of my career researching youth work - the people and the practices within it. Throughout my research, I noticed how the conditions that seemed critical to youth engagement and success were slowly changing. Others noticed the change too. Simultaneously, there was a surge in attempts to professionalize youth work. Whether these endeavors were a response to the changing climate or merely symptomatic is hard to say. This palpable shift in the landscape led to a second theme of my research which has focused on the Youth Work Profession. If youth work practice can be described as the micro level; at the meso level include elements of the profession: its knowledge base, structure, and pathways as well as characteristics of the professionals: their occupational identity, the education of, and the career trajectory of the youth worker.

  • Fusco, D. (2003). A landscape study of youth workers in out-of-school time. Unpublished paper. New York: York College of the City University of New York, CUNY Workforce Development Initiative.
  • Fusco, D. & Espinet, I. (2010). Shared research dialogue: One college's model for professional development of youth practitioners. Afterschool Matters, Special Edition.
  • Fusco, D. (Ed.), (2012a). Advancing Youth Work: Current Trends, Critical Questions. New York: Routledge.
  • Fusco, D. (2012b). On becoming an academic profession (pp. 111-126). In D. Fusco (Ed.), Advancing Youth Work: Current Trends, Critical Questions. New York: Routledge.
  • Fusco, D. (2012c). Framing trends, posing questions (pp. 216-231). In D. Fusco (Ed.), Advancing Youth Work: Current Trends, Critical Questions. New York: Routledge.
  • Fusco, D. (2012d). Working in youth service organizations: The sphere of professional education. Howland symposium, May 3, 2012. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Extension.
  • Fusco, D. (2012e). Use of self in the context of youth work. Child & Youth Services, 33, 33-45.
  • Fusco, D., Aldridge, C., Griffin-Wiesner, J., Kelley Walsh, S., & Oines, E. (2012). Enacting ‘self’ in the context of youth work. Relational Practice, 25, 31-37.
  • Fusco, D. & Baizerman, M. (2013). Professionalization in youth work? Opening and deepening circles of inquiry. Child & Youth Services, 34, 89-99.
  • Fusco, D. (2013). Is youth work being courted by the appropriate suitor? Child & Youth Services, 34, 196-209.
  • Heathfield, M. & Fusco, D. (2016). Honoring and supporting youth work intellectuals. In K. Pozzoboni & B. Kirshner, The changing landscape of youth work: Theory and practice for an evolving field. Information Age Press. 

Macro Level: Youth Work Historical, cultural and political roots

When conducting research within a human and health service area, it is hard not to eventually be drawn into the macro level factors that impact that work. In the case of youth work, how youth are seen and defined socially and culturally, how we think about the needs of young people, how the realities of young people is itself a diverse and often inequitable landscape – all of which matter for the economic and political support and interest for education more broadly and youth work in particular. One also realizes that such perspectives are not stagnant and have shifted historically. I have spent the last few years understanding and reflecting on this historical landscape and considering how the past informs the future.

  • Fusco, D. (2016). History of youth work: transitions, illuminations and refractions. In Heathfield, M. & Fusco, D. (Eds.), Youth and inequality: Global actions in youth work (pp. 36-52). NY: Routledge.
  • Heathfield, M. & D. Fusco (2016). From hope to action: The future of youth work and other global actions in education. In Heathfield, M. & Fusco, D. (Eds.), Youth and inequality: Global actions in youth work (pp. 295-308). NY: Routledge.
  • Fusco, D. (2018). Some conceptions of youth and youthwork in the United States. In P. Alldred, F. Cullen, K. Edwards, & D. Fusco (Eds.), Handbook of youth work practice (pp. 44-58). Sage.
  • Fusco, D., Alldred, P., Edwards, K. & Cullen, F. (2018). Conclusion. In P. Alldred, F. Cullen, K. Edwards, & D. Fusco (Eds.), Handbook of youth work practice (pp. 623-628). Sage.
  • Fusco, D. & Baizerman, M. (2019). The future of US youth work. In Bright, G. and Pugh, C. (Eds.), Youth work: Global futures. Rotterdam: Sense.



 

 Office Information

 

Dana Fusco, Ph.D.

Interim Dean

School of Education

Queens College, CUNY
Powdermaker Hall, Room 100

65-30 Kissena Blvd.

Flushing, NY 11367

(718) 997-5220

 
 
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