Adjunct Spotlight: Alumna in Action
Linda Weiss wears many hats professionally, including adjunct professor, administrator, and School of Social Work Alumni Association Board President. She is involved in a multitude of undertakings -- both with the School of Social work and outside -- working extensively with crisis intervention management. Linda is currently a CQIR Coordinator with One Hope United and as an LCSW is in the process of opening a private practice in Champaign. Regarding her duties as CQIR Coordinator, Weiss says “basically I assist program staff in insuring compliance with funding sources and consult on ways to improve service delivery. It includes things like record reviews, trainings, reviews of program strengths and weaknesses, consultation with program managers, data gathering and reporting and facilitating quality improvement teams within the organization.” Weiss relishes the opportunities provided by her work, and does experience some amount of correlation between jobs. “They all draw on my professional experiences and all require being a motivator and leader as well as being able to see the big picture."
In her role as a crisis intervention specialist, Linda has 20 years of community mental health and child welfare experience. For seven years, she was the first and only director of the Regional Behavioral Health Network, and was key in the development and implementation of this behavioral health crisis services delivery system that covered seven counties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, Weiss utilized her advanced training in crisis management to provide crisis intervention services at the site of the World Trade Center. According to Weiss, the most rewarding factor in this work is “being able to make an immediate impact. Crisis is a key opportunity to make change.” Her interest lies primarily in the fact that crisis management provides her an avenue to directly influence those in need. “Knowing that utilizing my skills can help someone who is experiencing horrible and painful situations to cope just a little better. Hearing people say “thank you,” because you did/said this or that; that “it helped me so much.” This is what motivates me.”
In Weiss’ position as Alumni Board President, she again strives to make use of her ability to affect change on a direct and immediate level. Her job enables her to be an “Engager/motivator. I help to assist board members in actively participating and feeling appreciated and necessary. I (attempt to) facilitate the board's support of the School of Social Work.” In doing so, she also makes a concerted effort to create a feeling of productivity and worth by employing basic, fundamentally sound habits. “I try to lead by example. Be on time, involved, and active.”
As an adjunct professor at the School of Social Work for the past 12 years, Weiss hopes to impress upon her students “that self-awareness is a key component to social work practice. Who you are influences all you do. This includes opinions, attitudes, perceptions, preferences, skills and interests. I also try to stress the importance of thinking independently and critically, as well as understanding where your answers come from.” This critical approach to Social Work is one that has provided Weiss with a pertinent sense of her place inside the field.