Faculty Council Meeting

Faculty Recruitment Meeting

MSW Program Committee Meeting

Program Coordinators Meeting


Marcia taylorCongratulations to doctoral student Marcia Taylor, who was selected to receive a Harriet Hampton Faucette Award from Women and Gender Studies! The Faucette award is designed to assist Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Certificate students with research and professional development. Proposed research must be consistent with the mission of Women’s and Gender Studies to reconceptualize knowledge, create new knowledge, and/or reinterpret existing knowledge through the lens of gender and the prism of diversity. 

Ms. Taylor received this award in support of her participation in the National Women’s Studies Association conference, something she attended because she is part of their Women of Color Leadership Project. At the conference Ms. Taylor was able to network with scholars in her field and participate in a professional development program.

Ms. Taylor’s research project is titled Revisiting Intersectionality: A Framework for Addressing Health Disparities among African American Women. The primary goal of this research is to explore theoretical frameworks that may provide an appropriate foundation for engaging African American women in community-based participatory research, around issues of health and wellness. An additional goal is to explore best practices for conducting culturally based and culturally focused intervention research with African American women.


osa classroomAs America’s 65-and-older population continues to grow (i.e., 13 percent of the total population and growing at a rate of 15.1 percent every five years as of the 2010 census), the Arnold School of Public Health’s Office for the Study of Aging (OSA) is working to help promote healthy aging. Situated in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, the Office works with professional and family caregivers, community organizations and policy makers in South Carolina and nationwide on various grants, contracts and collaborative partnerships in the areas of education, technical assistance and evaluation services.

Education for current and future caregivers is one of OSA’s specialties. For example, they have trained 21,000 South Carolinians with their Dementia Dialogues program and recently began a national rollout of the program. One of their most recent educational experiences was in the classroom. The fields of public health and social work have always shared common ground, and this connection was evidenced yet again when social work’s Nicole Cavanagh invited Macie Smith, OSA’s Program Development and Training Manager, into her classroom this fall.      

Cavanagh, an instructor and the bachelor’s degree field coordinator for the College of Social Work, asked Smith to train the students in her Advanced Intervention with Older Adults course with the Dementia Dialogues program. The initiative was part of an effort by the College to invest in quality leaders in the field of aging. The students from this class are also completing field experiences in aging organizations (e.g., Aging Resource Centers, Physicians' Offices, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes).

“Our Master of Social Work students are preparing to become specialists in the field of social work gerontology,” says Cavanagh. “This class enables them to learn about ‘real world’ interventions that can be used not only in their internships now but also in their professional practices after they graduate.”

Inside the classroom, Smith guided the students through the Dementia Dialogues training materials and person-centered approaches to care, and Cavanagh led discussions on theoretical and clinical aspects of the program. One of the students, Bonnie Bonomo, was able to offer her practical insights as the Chief of Operations for Leeza’s Care Connection (founded by TV news journalist and Season 7 Celebrity Apprentice Winner Leeza Gibbon and funded by Gibbons’ Memory Foundation), which uplifts, empowers and connects caregivers to resources and others on a similar journey. 

“The Dementia Dialogues provided students with a client-focused perspective to the aging process and the unique behaviors manifested as the client experiences changes associated with cognitive decline,” says Cavanagh. “It allows students to provide empathy, knowledge and feedback to families working toward understanding what is and will be going on with their loved ones.”  

“What I enjoyed most about the experience were the stories Macie Smith told to help us better understand the concepts she was trying to get across to us,” says Dana Daniel, one of the training participants who works part-time as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and is now completing her field experience with OSA’s S.C. Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Program. “As a CNA, I work first-hand with persons with dementia on numerous occasions, and this course has helped me better understand how to relate to and communicate with them and their family members.”

The collaboration also aligns perfectly with OSA’s role in implementing the recommendations for improving S.C.’s long-term care system and preparing the state for rapid growth in the aging population. “Two of the goals of the Long-term Care Workforce Development Consortium are to (1) increase the number of professionals specializing in long-term care and (2) ensure that all health care professionals have foundational competencies in long-term care services,” says Smith. “One of the ways we are working toward these goals is by working with universities to develop specialized long-term services and supports tracks and certifications within the health professions programs; this recent collaboration is an important step in that direction.”


Browne Teri amllThe ultimate goal of this project is to improve the care and well-being of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease as they transition through stages of chronic kidney disease to kidney failure. This project will comprehensively re-design kidney disease care in a new intervention called ‘Patient-Centered Kidney Transitions Care.’ Teri Browne, PhD, University of South Carolina College of Social Work Associate Professor and past University of South Carolina Office of Research Rising Star awardee is a Co-Investigator on the research team (PI Ebony Boulware, Duke University) and will oversee the adaptation and refinement of the psychosocial and navigation interventions that will be implemented within the Geisinger Health System across Pennsylvania. She will lead the training of the Kidney Transitions Specialists, focusing on the behavioral, psychosocial and navigation interventions and will oversee their activities throughout the study. To learn more about this project, click here.

Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes11.09.2015

Congratulations to Dr. Kirk Foster! He is the recipient of the 2016 Society for Social Work and Research Book Award for his book entitled, “Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes.” Award recipients are recognized by the Society for outstanding scholarly contributions that advance social work knowledge, and will be presented at the Awards Presentation during the 2016 SSWR Annual Conference in Washington, DC. For more about Dr. Foster’s book, read here.

For more about Dr. Foster’s book, read here


v molisa allA contingent from the College of Social Work recently visited Vietnam with a noble purpose: to share information about social work education. Dean Anna Scheyett, Dr. Aidyn Iachini, Dr. Huong Nguyen, and Dr. Melissa Reitmeier spent time in Hanoi and Ninh Binh, presenting at conferences and meeting with government and university officials.

The CoSW delegation presented at two conferences while abroad: one on the topic of vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and another on school social work. The latter was co-hosted by the UofSC CoSW and Hanoi National University of Education.

The group met with officials from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to discuss ways to improve social work education in Vietnam, chiefly by emphasizing field work. “Social work is in its pioneer stage” in Vietnam, explains Dr. Reitmeier, and social work programs there are especially interested in building their capacity for field education. “Field education is a challenge for them,” notes Dean Scheyett, because they don’t have a current model or previous generation to work from. Social work programs in Vietnam are rare, so the CoSW’s commitment to helping create social work programs at Vietnamese universities will have a huge impact.Hanoi National University of Education, the country’s flagship university for training K-12 school teachers, is working with our CoSW to develop BSW curricula in school social work, a brand new concept in Vietnam. The CoSW is also working to develop a PhD program with Vietnam National University; it will be the first social work PhD program in the country.

Though the CoSW has had a relationship with Vietnam, this was the first time that others from the University of South Carolina were actively involved, says Dr. Nguyen. Also visiting Vietnam were Dr. P. Allen Miller, Vice Provost and Director of International Affairs; Dr. Robert Cox, Director of the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies; Dr. Rich Harrill, Acting Director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management; and Dr. Michael Walsh of the School of Medicine. This large interdisciplinary group is hoping to offer new opportunities for research and cultural exchange for UofSC students and faculty. While in Vietnam, UofSC faculty and administrators “were talking about potentially applying for funding for projects like teaching English to teachers, providing services to people with disabilities, building eco-tourism, conducting comparative studies in political science” and more, says Dr. Nguyen.

These collaborations will benefit CoSW students directly. MSW students can look forward to international field placements in Vietnam starting as early as summer 2016. Students will stay in Vietnam for the entire summer and rotate through placements at a center for autistic children, a Buddhist temple, and a mental health hospital. This international experience will offer a unique understanding of social work as a field, but as Dr. Reitmeier notes, it also indicates “a real commitment to becoming culturally competent practitioners.”

This recent trip was Dr. Iachini’s first time in Vietnam, and she claims “it was a life-changing experience” that will certainly influence her teaching. Dr. Iachini credits her colleague Dr. Nguyen for the success of the trip. Dr. Nguyen “is transforming social work in Vietnam,” says Dr. Iachini. “Her ability to mobilize and connect people is amazing.”

By building strong connections within the CoSW, UofSC is getting in on the ground floor of an emergent field in Vietnam. Claims Dr. Nguyen, “This is a historic moment for social work in Vietnam—they are starting out, and we are trying to collaborate and be as helpful as we can.”

Blackmon KarenGrowing up in a small, rural town of North Carolina, Karen Blackmon was accustomed to seeing people help each other. Her parents were both interested in being kind to other people and, although they didn’t have the means to give money, they gave to their community in other ways. In the present day, Ms. Blackmon gives back to the community not only with her time and efforts, but also with her generous support of the College of Social Work.

Ms. Blackmon has lived in Columbia for over 30 years. She attended Western Carolina University and majored in psychology and minored in social work. However, she has always worked in business and is now a business development manager in the relocation department at Russel & Jeffcoat Real Estate.

Ms. Blackmon and her husband, Scott Blackmon, have been involved with the University of South Carolina for many years. Mr. Blackmon is an alumnus of the Darla Moore School of Business and served as a bridge that connected Ms. Blackmon with USC, which led her to the College of Social Work.

Ms. Blackmon met Dean Scheyett shortly after she became the Dean of the College of Social Work, and soon after was asked to help the college with its development committee. Ms. Blackmon said she wasn’t completely aware of the impact the College had on the community until she attended a student luncheon this past spring.

“I was so impressed with every one of these individuals,” Ms. Blackmon said. “It really spoke volumes about what the College of Social Work is about and how dedicated these students are to what they are doing.”
She sees social work as a way to give back to the state and a great way to make a human connection to everything that goes on. “Social work is so human and so personal, but I believe that the turning point for me was those students. They were fascinating, intelligent, caring and articulate and had a vision that I never had dreamed of when I was that age, so it is very motivating,” Ms. Blackmon said.

She believes she and her husband’s decision to donate to the College of Social Work can also be credited to the Dean’s and the faculty’s and staff’s ability to engage people and communicate the immediate impact that their work has on the community.

Ms. Blackmon hopes to continue to support the College of Social Work through donations and help more people outside of the university understand how outstanding the impact the College of Social Work truly is.

Foster K05-04-2015

Dr. Kirk Foster is proud to serve as the first Faculty Director for the new Graduate Civic Scholars Program (GCSP) at UofSC. The CoSW is well-represented in this new program. In addition to Dr. Foster serving as Faculty Director, two CoSW students were selected for the first cohort: Natalie Milom and Mary Ann Priester.

As CoSW faculty, Dr. Foster regularly teaches a course in community engagement, and his involvement with the GCSP is in many ways an extension of that. The overall purpose of the highly competitive program is to “develop the capacity of graduate students for public engagement and civic scholarship,” says Dr. Foster. He claims that the GCSP definitely fills a need, because UofSC “didn’t have a formal mechanism” for putting students in conversation with their communities, and the overwhelming number of applications proves that graduate students at UofSC are hungry for community engagement opportunities.

The program hopes to show graduate students how they can turn their research into a public good that can have a real, discernible impact. The program emphasizes the three areas of any well-rounded scholar: teaching, research, and service. Dr. Foster notes that in addition to helping students take their work into the public sphere, the program also offers opportunities to explore various career paths and build interdisciplinary relationships.

The GCSP is modeled on the Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy located within the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. The Graduate School here has put their stamp on the program by providing more opportunities for in-person learning and collaboration. Following a two-week intensive in May, the scholars will take the summer to think through and develop their projects. Starting in August, they will meet together for monthly seminars led by Dr. Foster. He hopes that these seminars spark ongoing conversations and lead to the development of interdisciplinary teams.

Dr. Foster explains that the program “was a natural fit” for him. Dr. Jessica Elfenbein, Senior Associate Dean of the Graduate School, agrees: “With his rich experience and interest in community based research, Dr. Kirk Foster is a natural choice to serve as the first faculty director of the GCSP.”

Dr. Foster’s civic-mindedness is deeply ingrained. Dr. Foster’s father was a volunteer firefighter, and his mother was an invaluable community asset, participating in church activities and the band boosters while also running the community bank. Dr. Foster says he was taught that “we have an obligation to play a role” in our community, and he has taken that message to heart in both his teaching and research. It is Dr. Foster’s hope that the GCSP starts a tradition of creating more civically engaged scholars and practitioners at UofSC and beyond.


The College of Social Work is constantly updating this page with resources to support families and children after the flooding disaster. If you have additional resources you would like to share, please send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • The American Red Cross is offering a national webinar:
    Disaster Mental Health Fundamentals webinar
    Tuesday, November 10th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. ET.
    This course is required for all new Disaster Mental Health volunteers and is only open to mental health professionals who meet the DMH eligibility criteria. Current DMH volunteers who would like a refresher are eligible to retake the training via webinar. Register here for the webinar.
    Participants must register by November 9th. For more information, please read the DMHF course fact sheet, and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.
  • Responding to Natural Disasters: Helping Children and Families: Information for School Crisis Teams
    Written by the National Association of School Psychologists, this covers a lot of ground for parents and teachers.
  • Childhood Trauma Reactions: A Guide for Teachers from Preschool to Year 12
    This is an excellent resource on trauma, developed in Australia (so the emergency numbers won’t work!), including developmental stages of children and typical responses to traumatic stress, as well as how to manage traumatic stress in the school setting. Very well put together.
  • Psychological First Aid Manual (Handouts)
    This is a whole series of handouts for parents, teachers and caregivers that are developmentally organized. The many of the same handouts are available on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network site (listed next), with individual PDFs for each. 
    • Connecting with Others
    • When Terrible Things Happen
    • When Terrible Things Happen (for students—this is a great one pager for students, late grade school on up)
    • Parent Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers after Disasters
    • Parent Tips for Helping Preschool Age Children after Disasters
    • Parent Tips for School Age Children after Disasters
    • Parent Tips for Adolescents after Disasters
    • Tips for Adults after Disasters
    • Tips for Relaxation
    • Alcohol, Medication and Drug Use after Disaster


The University of South Carolina College of Social Work is one of ten social work schools across the country selected for the Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) program awarded by the Council on Social Work Education, NASW Foundation and National Association of Social Workers. This 5-year program expands the preparation of BSW & MSW social work students in health care, so they are positioned to be an integral part of the health care delivery team. The focus of this project is on attracting and educating BSW and MSW students, and providing them with excellent field instruction, course work, and leadership opportunities in healthcare social work. Dr. Teri Browne, CoSW associate professor and UofSC Co-Director for Interprofessional Education for the Health Sciences will direct this program along with Director of Field Education Dr. Melissa Reitmeier.


CarterMoore FIn recognition of her contributions to campus life, Felissa Carter-Moore, Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Operations at the College of Social Work, has been selected to the inaugural USC Emerging Leaders Program for the 2015-2016 year.

The USC Emerging Leaders Program is designed to strengthen institutional readiness by developing people for leadership positions.

“I am looking forward to assessing my current leadership skills and learning strategies to develop those skills that will help me do my job better,” Carter-Moore said. “I am also looking forward to networking with other administrators from other departments where we can share experiences.”

As the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administrative Operations, Carter-Moore has oversight responsibility for administrative operations of the College related to fiscal activities, human resources, tuition and fees, budget development and planning, procurement, foundation funds and scholarship accounts, grants and contracts management.

Prior to joining the College of Social Work, Carter-Moore served as finance manager for Health Sciences South Carolina and business manager for the College of Pharmacy. She is a member of the South Carolina Women in Higher Education and the Government Finance Officers Association of South Carolina.


Dr. Monique Mitchell has been invited to represent The Center for Child and Family Studies, as well as, The College of Social Work, at the Child Welfare League of America Conference. She will be co-presenting with panels at two workshops during the conference. The two panels that Dr. Mitchell will be apart of, at the conference, are seen as influential, based on the information that they will share.

During the first workshop, Dr. Mitchell will be co-presenting with the Director of Standards for Practice Excellence. They will be sharing information about the Humanistic Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare Research, as well as the HBCWR checklist that will possibly be used by child welfare state agencies nationwide. The second workshop will highlight the meaningfulness and application of research into practice, in regards to child welfare. Dr. Mitchell will be co-presenting with the Program Officer of the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Director of Family Services in Delaware, and the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families during this workshop.

Dr. Mitchell has also been in correspondence with the President of the Child Welfare League of America. They have been discussing ways to develop new child welfare curriculum and materials. The Child Welfare League of America would also like to publish the information that Dr. Mitchell will be co-presenting at the conference. Once again, congratulations to Dr. Mitchell and for all of her achievements with the Center for Child and Family Studies!


flood vol2Individually and collectively, members of the College of Social Work community have been responding to the overwhelming disaster relief needs in the Midlands. As a whole, the College is leading a food and supply drive, and is helping our own students, faculty, and staff who have had losses as a result of the storm. In addition, individual students, staff, and faculty have been volunteering at a range of locations, helping to unload water, deliver food, clean up flood debris, and provide support in any way they can. As examples, we have had volunteers at the A. C. Flora shelter, Rosewood Baptist Church, Temple of Faith Bible Way Church, Harvest Hope, USC Russell House, St. Lawrence Place, Seven Oaks Leisure center, Able SC, Aiken County Sheriff’s Department, God’s Storehouse, Operation BBQ, Intimidators, and Crossroads Baptist Church.

flood vol1

The College student associations are also working together with faculty and staff to develop longer-range support plans for our community.

Keep South Carolina in your thoughts. It has been a tragic time, but our College and our community are #SCStrong!

flood vol3


TED videoThis year Dean Scheyett was invited to speak at Columbia’s annual TEDx event. Each year, several speakers are nominated, interviewed, and selected to speak for 18 minutes or less on a subject of which they are very knowledgeable, usually related to their profession. Dr. Scheyett spoke on the importance of social workers and how they can be seen as super heros.

The purpose of Dr. Scheyett’s presentation was to break the stereotypes of social workers. She emphasized that social workers are to make change happen, promote community and social well-being, as well as, see and understand the inter-connection between people, families, communities, laws, and policies. Most commonly, social workers help people overcome challenges they may experience in their lives.

During the event, Dean Scheyett received positive feedback from the attendees. Other people throughout the social work field have requested to use information from Dr. Scheyett’s speech. Be sure to view Dr. Scheyett’s presentation. Considering that her TED talk has been on YouTube for only a couple of weeks, she has gotten several thousands of people to view her speech and respond positively!


Piccini NicoleThe College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina announced today that senior BSW candidate Nicole Piccini was selected to receive the inaugural Johnson Scholarship.

The Johnson Scholarship was created to honor recently retired Dr. Miriam Johnson. As Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, Dr. Miriam made countless contributions to the College of Social Work and the BSW program. The Johnson Scholarship awards $250.00 each semester to a student in the BSW Upper Division Program that has well defined professional goals.

“What impressed the Selection Committee (three representatives from the Undergraduate Committee and I) the most about Ms. Piccini’s scholarship application was that her goals were specific and included a well thought-out time frame for when they could be completed including obtaining a graduate degree and obtaining practice experience,” said Dr. Daniel Freedman, BSW Program Coordinator and a representative of the Undergraduate Committee.

Piccini goals are to become a pediatric oncology social worker and develop social policies. She has maintained a GPA of 4.0 in the BSW Upper Division Program and has made the President’s list of Undergraduate students.

“When I found out I won the award I was very surprised but excited as well!” Piccini said. “I knew the scholarship would be competitive and I was competing against a lot of wonderful people in my cohort. It was relief winning, as well, because I am paying out-of-state tuition, which is very expensive. So any little bit of money off my tuition helps a great deal.”

Piccini gives back to the community by volunteering at Harvest Hope and for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) One Walk. She has also served on her sorority’s Philanthropy Committee.

More information on the Johnson Scholarship and other scholarships at the College of Social Work can be found at


With five-year funding ($475,000) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers from the University of South Carolina have launched the South Carolina Healthy Brain Research Network.  The project is led by principal investigator Daniela Friedman (Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior) with Sara Wilcox (Department of Exercise Science) and Sue Levkoff (College of Social Work) serving as co-investigators. Rebecca Hunter (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) will consult on the grant. A project of the Arnold School of Public Health’s Prevention Research Center, this network is one of five hosted by leading institutions across the United States. The networks are sponsored by CDC’s Healthy Aging Program in support of the Healthy Brain Initiative. Click here to read more.


Alumnus TJ Rumler, MSW, was selected as one of the “Greenville Business Magazine’s Best and Brightest 35 and under” for his outstanding service in the community. Along with him, another alumna was highlighted in the same article. Lillian Sanders, LMSW, 2009 graduate of CoSW program.

Presented by Furman University, Greenville Magazine’s Best and Brightest 2015 recognizes the county’s leaders who are 35 and under. The 38 people who were selected come from a wide range of business areas and are selected for their commitment to serve and give back to the community.

“When I found out I was selected I felt honored and humbled,” Rumler said. “Accolades aren't always important to me, but this one meant a lot. Being from Greenville, it felt really good to be recognized for the work I do in our community.”

Rumler works as a Mental Health Specialist at Tanglewood Middle School to assist students who have academic and behavioral needs. He also works as a Residence Counselor at the Marshall I. Pickens Hospital in the Greenville Health System to support young patients with emotional disorders.

Rumler has worked as a case manager with Project Care and as a house manager at the Emergency Shelter to find housing for homeless individuals. He also worked with veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs and is a US Army veteran himself. He volunteers with the Greenville Junior Chamber and other community organizations.

“For almost every person I serve I can look at their situation and say, ‘this could have been me,’”Rumler said. “Often times I have actually been in their shoes myself. I just try to be the type of social worker I would have wanted when I was at my lowest.”

He credits his variety of experience to the MSW program of the University of South Carolina and is thankful to the program for helping guide him through his career.

“The MSW program gave me a foundation of practical knowledge and experience to ground my existing empathy and passion for serving others,” Rumler said. “Completing the program with so many extraordinary individuals from my cohort also provided me with a vast array of perspectives and ideas--and those definitely helped shape me.”

The community members chosen to represent “Greenville Business Magazine’s Best and Brightest 35 and under” come from a variety of business backgrounds. However, Rumler hopes to see more social workers chosen in the future.

“There are so many amazing people in our field, and unfortunately most are never recognized for their hard work and sacrifices,” Rumler said. “If you know of someone deserving, please take the time to nominate them next year so our profession continues to shine!”

More information about TJ Rumler and” Greenville Business Magazine’s Best and Brightest 35 and under” can be found here.



In recognition of March being National Kidney Month, a College of Social Work alumna/field educator and student, volunteered their time with the National Kidney Foundation of the Carolinas. The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in America that is committed to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for millions of people throughout the country.

Amanda Bonner, MSW ’10, and first-year MSW student, Laura Seebald, answered calls during the kidney information phone bank on WIS 10’s three evening newscasts on March 11th. Laura’s field placement is with the National Kidney Foundation of the Carolinas and Amanda is a nephrology social worker. Many of the questions that they answered were related to diet, explaining the different states and symptoms of chronic kidney disease, whom to contact about getting a kidney transplant, when to see a nephrologist, and how to become a donor.

As a nephrology social worker, Amanda suggests students to have a genuine interest in the medical field, if they are interested in nephrology as a career. She also emphasized the importance of communication. Students interested in this particular career path must be able to document well and communicate effectively. Working as a nephrology social worker requires commitment and flexibility among other traits. Overall, it is the social worker’s responsibility to successfully manage other aspects of the kidney patient’s life, so that the patient will have less to worry about. Please visit the National Kidney Foundation’s website for more information on nephrology and support opportunities!


World Congress Group PhotoThe College of Social Work,the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of Research at the University of South Carolina were co- sponsors for this international congress along with the Clifford Beers Foundation. On Thursday morning, September 10th, Dean Anna Scheyett provided welcoming remarks along with Dr. Mary Anne Fitzpatrick, and Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti.

The meeting emphasized innovations that promote mental health and wellbeing for all individuals in the key areas of:

  • Integrated Health
  • Positive Psychology
  • School Mental Health
  • Social and Technological Innovation
  • Underserved Populations
  • Wellbeing

The College of Social Work was well represented with poster presentations by four doctoral students: Tori Charles, Andy Flaherty, Kyunghee Ma, and Aliza Petiwala as well as presentations by Social Work faculty, staff and doctoral students:

Huong Nguyen, Aidyn Iachini, Mellissa Reitmeier, and Anna Scheyett, “Developing school mental health services in Vietnam.”

Teri Browne, Aidyn Iachini, Kristen Seay, Mary Ann Priester (doctoral student), Stephanie Clone (staff), & Dana DeHart, “Enhancing substance use treatment services in the rural South: Recommendations from clients and stakeholders.”

Tori Charles, Caroline Pantridge (staff), Dana DeHart, Aidyn Iachini, Stephanie Clone (staff), Teri Browne, & Kristen Seay, “ Examining the role of peer support services in a substance abuse treatment setting: A ground-level view of evidence-based practice.”

Andy Flaherty, Aidyn Iachini, Ronald Pitner, Morgan, F. (school district partners), & Rhodes, K (school district partner) , “Exploring the principal perspective on unmet teacher and student needs: Implications for school mental health.”

Aliza Petiwala, Aidyn Iachini, & Dana DeHart, “Using the Life History Calendar (LHC) as a tool to assess for adverse childhood experiences.

Mary Ann Priester & Nikki Wooten, “The association of adverse childhood experiences and tobacco use.”

Kyunghee Ma, “Acculturation stress & coping strategies among international students from East Asia.”

Trang Nguyen, “Using psychodrama to improve decision making of psychiatric patients.”

Carman Fowler (psychology student) and Nikki Wooten, “Are community service program correlates of crime rates in South Carolina?”

Interprofessional collaborators included:

Teri Browne, (social work), Aidyn Iachini, (social work), Sara Goldsby, (social work alumna), Beverly Baliko, (nursing), Betsy Blake, (pharmacy) & Chris Goodman, (medicine), “Training interprofessional students to promote mental health and wellbeing.”

Beverly Baliko (nursing), Rebecca Payne (medicine), Teri Browne (social work), Shilpa Srinivasan (medicine), Suzanne Hardeman (medicine), David Murday (public health), & Mary Boyd, (nursing), “SBIRT in health professional training: Confidence in treating substance use disorders among an interdisciplinary cohort.”

Robert Hock (social work), Melissa George (psychology), Ryan Carlson (education), Gerda Kumpiene (doctoral student in special education), Mark Weist (psychology), & Mitch Yell (education), “Perceptions of facilitators and barriers to family-school partnerships among parents of high-school youth with emotional and behavioral disorders.”

Naomi Ekas (TX), Kathleen Franke (Psychology), & Robert Hock (social work), “Rethinking autism spectrum disorders (ASD): A positive approach to families of children with ASD.”

Aidyn Iachini & Sandra Rogelberg (educational psychology doctoral student), “Aspire: A motivational interviewing intervention for high school students at-risk of dropout.”

Kurt Michael (NC), Melissa George (psychology), John Paul Jameson (NC), Abby Albright Bode (graduate student – psychology), Aidyn Iachini (social work), Mark Weist (psychology), Whitney van Sant (NC), & Chris Minard (NC), “Preliminary outcomes of a multi-site, school-based modular intervention for adolescents experiencing mood difficulties.”

Nikki R. Wooten, Karen Leon Negreiros (social work student), Larrell Wilkinson (AL), Edith Williams (ASPH-IPEHD), Saundra Glover (ASPH-HSPM), Matthew Herring (UofLimerick), & Shawn D. Youngstedt (AZ), “Gender differences in psychological health during Army basic combat training.”

Institute for Families in Society:

Patricia Motes, Crystal McWhirter (doctoral student – Psychology), Kathy Mayfield-Smith & Ana Lopez-DeFede, “Integrating behavioral health into pediatric care: A South Carolina demonstration project.”

SudieNallo photos3-10-2015

In recognition of Black History Month, Guilford College hosted a symposium entitled, All Black Everything. The symposium focused on celebrating black culture. Various topics were discussed in relation to black culture, such as the economy and education.

The College of Social Work’s very own, Professor Sudie Nallo, was invited to be the keynote speaker. Dr. Nallo addressed the issue of economic sustainability in black America. She also discussed the role of education in black communities.

Considering that employment is an important issue within black communities, it was mentioned during the conference, that black people have difficulty gaining employment that pays more than the minimum wage. Dr. Nallo stated that 20.5% of people in the black community make up the underemployment rate. Professor Nallo added that education is a factor in contributing to the solution, in respect to addressing the underemployment rate.

The conference’s exploration of black culture proved to be very insightful. Overall, people connected to the symposium shared common thoughts along with Dr. Nallo’s speech. Professor Nallo’s remarks brought awareness to issues that impact the black community as a whole in America, as well as the students at Guilford.


panoramic view

After much anticipation, the College of Social Work is installed in its new home in Hamilton College. A dedication ceremony on Friday, the 11th of September, 2015, featured guest speakers, garnet and black balloons, and a palpable excitement. The audience was comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as representatives from the Board of Visitors and the Board of Trustees.

hamilton celebration 2

The College of Social Work was previously scattered across campus at multiple facilities, so the move to Hamilton College represents an opportunity to build a stronger identity and community. Built in the 1940s to accommodate naval training, Hamilton College required $17.5 million of renovations.

hamilton celebration 3

Dean Anna Scheyett opened the ceremony by welcoming the assembled crowd to the “sleek and beautiful educational space” that will enable the CoSW to become united as “one roof and one scholarly community.” Dean Scheyett’s remarks were followed by USC President Harris Pastides, who emphasized the importance of social work to the university and beyond, citing the CoSW’s local and international partnerships. He praised the CoSW’s outstanding scholarship and expressed hope that moving into the new space will result in even more dynamic work via improved morale and increased opportunities for interaction. He ended his speech by exhorting members of the College to keep Hamilton’s doors open, maintaining and expanding our relationships with other disciplines and community partners.

hamilton celebration 1

The dedication ceremony also featured the Honorable John von Lehe and alumna Carla Damron. Von Lehe, who is a member of the Board of Trustees, spoke of his mother, Agenora Adams von Lehe, a school superintendent and social worker who dedicated her life to child welfare. He recently established the Agenora Adams von Lehe Endowed Fellowship Fund, and he thanked attendees for allowing him the opportunity to honor and remember her. Damron, who is the current Executive Director of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as well as a novelist, echoed Dean Scheyett’s earlier comments about the importance of social work and advocacy, and she argued that moving into Hamilton College is a “powerful message” to all CoSW students that their chosen path is a special one and that they are incredibly deserving of this beautiful space.

After the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, guests moved into the Hamilton atrium for a reception. The atrium lobby is a welcoming space that features the original hardwood floors from the former Hamilton gymnasium. Just inside the door is a mural that depicts the history of the building and of the CoSW. Student-led tours highlighted the computer labs, the faculty/staff and student lounges, and the courtyard. One unique feature in the building is an observation suite attached to one of the classrooms. The suite is equipped with cameras and two-way mirrors, which allow students opportunities to practice client-provider interactions, watch their performances, and receive feedback.

Though September 11 may seem an odd choice for such a celebratory occasion, Dean Scheyett suggested that on that day in 2001, we learned “that the world needs healing, justice, and peace.” Those three things are precisely what social work is about, “and that’s what we dedicate our building to today,” announced Scheyett.

Congratulations to Sue LeAnne Biggs, Jan Nabors, Jasmine Elrod, Nathan Lee Tate, TJ Rumler, and Brad Peterson for winning the 2014 Influencing State Policy contest. The University of South Carolina (Greenville) students have been asked to present at the 2015 Policy 2.0 Conference upon receiving their award. Under the direction of Dr. Lynn Bosma, the students will be creating a poster board, entitled, Reforming Health Education in South Carolina: Advancing the Healthy Youth Amendment through Partnerships, Public Awareness and Legislative Discourse, to present their findings.

The students entered the contest by the way of advocating on the issues addressing the Comprehensive Health Education Act and the passing of the Healthy Youth Amendment H. 3435. They collaborated with the reproductive health advocacy group, Tell Them, to support H. 3435. The students also advocated within their local school districts to ask for updated curriculum and follow the current law, as it pertains to reproductive health and health education.

The conference will host several social work educators and students from across the country to share their work in policy and policy practice, as well as, develop strategies for maximizing social work’s participation in local, state, and national affairs. The conference is scheduled for May 28-30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. If you are interested in seeing our students present, please register using the following  link.


By Morgan Smith

After 46 years of offices and classrooms spread out all across campus, disconnecting students and professors by several blocks, the College of Social Work finally has its own building to call home.

hamilton entrance

Hamilton College, originally built as a naval training base in 1942, now accommodates the College of Social Work in its Pendleton Wing.

The building underwent a $17.5 million renovation that brings Hamilton College up to speed with some of the university’s more modern architecture. The building is fully equipped with state of the art technology, conference rooms, offices, numerous classrooms and a computer lab.  

With all of the College of Social Work’s resources and amenities in the same building, students and professors now have a single place to learn, gather and build relationships.

Allison James, a junior social work major, said she has already seen the benefits of having all of her professors and advisors in the same building as her classes.

hamilton lobby

“It’s so much more convenient,” James said. “My freshman year the old building was in Desaussure, my classes were all over the place and my advisor was in a different building. It’s so much easier to have them all right there.”

James said that she and her professors already have a much better relationship because she can stop to see them, ask questions and even just say hello.

Not only has the new building made student life easier and shown immediate benefits between student and faculty; advisors and professors are now closer to their colleagues, which makes it easier to collaborate on curriculum and research.

According to Dean Anna Scheyett, the third floor of the Pendleton Wing connects directly to the Department of Psychology, which aids them in research and social work development.

“It turns out that a number of our collaborators from psychology are just through the Pickens street connector,” Dean Scheyett said. “We didn’t even know that was going to happen.”

Students, faculty and staff all have their fair share of excitement for the building and its amenities. Whether that is the easier connection between people in the college, the educational opportunities that arise from the technological features or the restored architecture of the building, people appear to be satisfied with the move to Hamilton College.

The College of Social Work’s dedication ceremony is on Friday, September 11 at 10:30 a.m. President Harris Pastides, Board of Trustees member John von Lehe, and alumna Carla Damron, executive director of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, will speak at the ceremony, followed by student-led tours and light refreshments.


John C von Lehe“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” –Kalu Kalu

There is much to be said about leaving a legacy, living a life that serves and empowers others. There is a want and a need to preserve those legacies - some do it in song or poetry, some build monuments or plant trees as reminders and some create scholarships or foundations to help others build and nurture their own legacies.

John C. von Lehe, Jr., BS ’65, Law ’68, is one such person. John recently endowed a fund, the Agenora Adams von Lehe Endowed Fellowship Fund, in memory of his mother, Agenora Adams von Lehe. Born Agenora Peterkin Adams in 1902, Mrs. von Lehe was reared on her maternal grandfather Peterkin’ plantation, Lang Syne, located near Fort Motte, S.C. in Calhoun County.; She graduated from Chicora College, a Presbyterian women’s school, located in Columbia, and became a teacher in the Calhoun County schools where she was elected and served as County Superintendent of Education. She married John C. von Lehe in 1942. When his job as a Southern Rail Road telegrapher caused his transfer to St. George in Dorchester County, she became the Agenora Adams von LeheDirector of the Dorchester County Welfare Department, a forerunner of the S.C. Department of Social Services, a position she served in for 25 years. She died in 1995 and is buried in St. Mathews Parish Church graveyard at Fort Motte. She was a devoted champion of the underprivileged and disenfranchised in both her chosen career as a social worker and in her personal life. The fellowship in her honor will support upper division BSW and MSW students who have a goal of pursuing a career in child welfare.

John C. von Lehe, Jr. taught as an adjunct in the business school for eight years during which time he took accounting courses - was elected to Beta Alpha Psi, the national honorary accounting fraternity, and became a CPA. He was elected to the USC board in 1998 and is currently serving as vice chair. John is a partner with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, where he practices in taxation, estate planning and appellate law.

If you are interested in honoring someone’s legacy or starting your own legacy, you have the opportunity to become a part of the historic Carolina’s Promise campaign, which will raise at least $1 billion dollars to support students, research and programs at the University of South Carolina. We hope you will consider supporting the next generation of the College of Social Work students. For more information on supporting the College of Social Work, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Director of Development & Alumni Relations,  at 803.777.3902 or visit us online.

Samantha Favors08.20.2015

BSW student Samantha Favors was homeless for years until she found Palmetto Place Children's shelter. There, she actually had a clean bed and the basics need to finish high school. It was thanks to the shelter that today she is in her 3rd year studying to become a social worker. Read more from her interview with WLTX here and to learn about the shelter, click here.


KatrinaServing her Country

Congratulations to First Lieutenant Katrina Morgan.  On Sunday, February 8th, Lt. Morgan took command of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 2ND Battalion, 345TH Regiment, Combat Service/Combat Service Support, Training Support Battalion.  She enlisted into the US Army Reserves in February 2010.  After graduating Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, SC, Lt. Morgan received her commission from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the US Army Reserves on January 2011.  

A second year MSW student, Lt. Morgan balances Army life with school and home.  She is married to Jonathan Morgan (SSG, US Army), and has a two-year old son, Weston.  

The College of Social Work is very proud of our student service members and we are certainly proud of Lt. Morgan.




callout 08 southafricaBSW student, Allison Ryan has always been dedicated to helping others and getting out of her comfort zone.  Most recently, she decided to study abroad hoping to grow and learn from the experience. She chose to go to South Africa and stayed at Stellenbosch University, to gain knowledge about higher education in other countries and learn how children thrive in different environments. Read more here.

A new grant from the wounded warriors project will help health care providers in parts of our state learn to better diagnose and treat Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It was all made possible from the Wounded Warrior Project and with the leadership of Principal Investigator Dr. Nikki R. Wooten. To read more click here.


The College of Social Work is pleased to welcome three new faculty from unique backgrounds, spanning the fields of substance use and public health, from locations as distant as Oklahoma and Kenya: Bethany Bell, PhD, University of South Florida; Rhonda DiNovo, MSW, Ohio State University; and Patrice Penney, MSW, University of Illinois. Despite their differences, all three of them are linked by the desire to effect positive change, whether by strengthening communities or mentoring students.

Beathany BellBethany Bell
Bethany Bell comes to the CoSW by way of the College of Education, where she taught courses in statistics. Previously, she started a mobile immunization van program in Oklahoma and worked for AmeriCorps.

Dr. Bell’s current research on food access focuses on communities and bridges the fields of public health and social work. Bell is concerned with “how the context in which we live affects our health,” and thinks of herself more as a statistician than what people typically think of as a social worker. She brings to the CoSW knowledge of applied research methods and rich, interdisciplinary experiences.

Rhonda DiNovoRhonda DiNovo
Rhonda DiNovo’s wealth of experience benefits her students. She joins the faculty after serving as Director of UofSC’s Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Education. DiNovo has worked in substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment, and she finds that counseling and prevention education are just other forms of teaching. DiNovo is eager to translate those skills and experiences from her behavioral health career into the college classroom for her students.

DiNovo believes that the greatest reward as a professor is watching students graduate: “to know that I contributed to their love of learning and becoming a professional social worker, that’s incredibly rewarding.”

Patrice PenneyPatrice Penney
Patrice Penney has over thirty years of experience “in the trenches,” counseling children at risk and their families. She has worked with impoverished families in urban Chicago, refugees, immigrants, and African orphans and their caregivers.

Penney is the founder of the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa (ICARA), a non-profit that provides training for caregivers of vulnerable and orphaned children. She began developing this training after moving to Kenya in 2003 and realizing that caregivers there could benefit from more knowledge about the needs of children who have experienced trauma. ICARA has a presence in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Lesotho, with plans to expand to other countries soon.

pop up projectOur very own doctoral student Jennie Ann Cole co-leads a project in Charlotte, NC creating a space at an event(s) where homeless, formerly homeless and those who have never experienced homelessness can come together and share life stories on a Pop-­Up Front Porch. Sharing reveals similarities across class differences. This project connects people from diverse backgrounds by creating a space where shared experiences can be revealed and expressed. The potential differences between these groups are class and income. Read more here.


Patrick Patterson and LattimorePatrick Patterson graduated with a joint MSW/MPH degree in 2000, and now he has his very own successful consulting firm, Global Partners for Fathers and Families, which is sponsoring a conference August 29 in Columbia that aims to empower young men of color. Patterson notes that almost 70% of African-American children in South Carolina grow up without a father, which is almost double the national average. Additionally, little more than half of boys of color gradate high school. Patterson was determined to get to the root of the problem.

Patterson is a problem-solver. As a graduate student, Patterson says, “I came here with a pure heart to do the work, but USC gave me the skills and knowledge” to really make a difference. His internship with a fatherhood initiative also expanded his knowledge of the world—before coming to the university, he hadn’t explored much of the state, but by graduation he had visited every county in South Carolina. He says that having the opportunity to see the rest of the state affected him greatly, and he has since traveled to almost every state and a few countries.

Today, he is focused on his consulting firm, which offers grant writing trainings and technical assistance to public and private agencies on effective program management and evaluation. As president and founder of Global Partners for Fathers and Families, Patterson devotes his time and energy to many different agencies and organizations, but he hasn’t forgotten the graduate program that helped pave the way. Earlier this year, Patterson created the Patterson/Woods Endowed Fellowship Fund to support COSW students from underrepresented groups. Patterson’s chief mission is giving back to his community, whether by serving social work students, young men, or families.

The South Carolina Male Achievement conference aims “to look at solutions to move these men and boys forward,” says Patterson. The conference will encourage men to spend time with their kids and “really equip the youth with conflict management skills and leadership skills,” says Patterson. The event is co-sponsored by the CoSW, McDonald’s, Chick Fil-A Five Points, Brookland Baptist Church, The National Campaign for Black Male Achievement (New York), Connections to Success (St. Louis), Central Carolina Community Foundation, IBM, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, and Patterson’s own Global Partners for Fathers and Families. The conference boasts a wide variety of learning opportunities for men and boys of color, in addition to sessions tailored to single parents and moms. Attendees can choose from sessions on topics like leadership, fatherhood, money management, and effective writing. All participants will hear a keynote address from Marcus Lattimore, former Gamecock running back and local philanthropist, and the conference will end with a town hall-style conversation featuring Mayor Steve Benjamin and other local leaders.

Registration for the conference is open until August 28 on the website. There are also sponsorship opportunities available, including scholarships for young people who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Patterson values his time working for agencies but believes his shift to business owner is every bit as important. He says “my heart has led most of what I’ve done,” and he still has things he wants to accomplish. He wants to “take what I’ve learned and do what I’ve been called to do, which is connect families,” proving that social work can take many forms.

Congratulations to Professor Aidyn Iachini, who has been selected as one of 6 USC 2015 Breakthrough Stars.  This program, run by the Office of the Vice President for Research, recognizes junior faculty who have made considerable contributions to their field in terms of research and scholarly activity while at USC. Read more here.


20150814 092018The College of Social Work continues to grow, and we finally have a building that can accommodate us. Previously, the CoSW was scattered across campus, separating classrooms from offices and students and faculty from each other. As social work is by necessity a collaborative field, the CoSW was ready for a place to call its own.

The CoSW can now call Hamilton College home. Hamilton was constructed in 1942 as a naval armory and training space and has most recently been used by the Department of Anthropology and the Center for Performance Experiment. The gleaming hardwoods of the armory’s gymnasium floor have been incorporated into the renovations as a reminder of the history of Hamilton. Dean Anna Scheyett finds it especially meaningful that officers training during World War II were “stepping on the same floors that now students going into military social work are stepping on,” noting that the renovation plans for Hamilton started taking shape approximately four years ago, right as the CoSW began exploring a new military social work specialization.20150814 092139

Though the upgrades respect the history of the building, Hamilton is otherwise entirely modern. After 17.5 million dollars in renovations, the historic building can now boast computer-equipped classrooms, conference rooms with teleconferencing capacities, faculty offices, and a computer lab.

20150814 092450Over 800 students, once accustomed to traipsing across campus for their classes and faculty office hours, will now have one place to learn and to mingle. A student lounge and a lobby offer spaces for catching up between classes, and students and faculty alike will enjoy a new deck surrounding a tree in the courtyard. The building will be further enhanced by the gift of Graham Arader, who arranged for the donation of Audubon prints, Redouté prints, and Chinese watercolors of flora and fauna to grace Hamilton’s walls. Beautiful design and artwork is important, says Scheyett, as a means of “feeding the spirit of the students and honoring their work.”

20150814 092950Moving into Hamilton College signifies the growing presence of the CoSW on campus and in the community. Scheyett notes that the CoSW’s move is thanks to “university support, increasing national recognition, and donor champions.” In addition to giving CoSW faculty, staff, and students a sense of being valued, the move to Hamilton also gives them a sense of identity. Being housed in one building allows “the ability to communicate and collaborate easily,” says Scheyett, and this will bring everyone together.

20150814 092544All CoSW faculty, staff, students, and alumni are welcome to celebrate the CoSW’s new home at a dedication ceremony on Friday, September 11, at 10:30 a.m. Speakers will include UofSC President Harris Pastides; Board of Trustees member John von Lehe, who has also endowed a scholarship in the CoSW; and alumna Carla Damron, current Executive Director of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. The dedication ceremony will be followed by light refreshments and student-led tours. Guests can RSVP to the dedication ceremony here. We hope to see you there!


You are invited to attend an evening of discussion and community, organized by CoSW and the I. DeQuincey Newman Institute. Click here to RSVP!

Newman invite


The University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work announced today that four students were selected to be the 2015-2016 Social Work HEALS scholars (Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars). The winners - Bri Hastie, Rosland Powell, Eric Clark and T. Brooke Beckwith - were awarded a combined $16,000 stipend to further their studies in social work.

Social Work HEALS, funded by the The New York Community Trust, aims to educate and train social workers from the B.S.W. to postdoctoral levels of social work to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the United States.

By developing the next generation of health care social work leaders and preparing them to lead efforts to address system-level changes, Social Work HEALS scholars will have heightened awareness of prevention and wellness and will learn how to address issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions.

USC is one of ten universities selected by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASFW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to receive $20,000 scholarships each year for five years.

USC was able to select 4 students (two baccalaureate and two master’s) to receive Social Work HEALS scholarships. Each recipient was selected for his or her commitment to the field of health social work.

“The four Social Work HEALS scholars selected were in good academic standing, interested in pursuing health social work as a career, committed to completing health-related coursework and professional development activities during their fellowship year and completing their field placement 2015-2016 in a health setting,” Dr. Teri Browne, co-director of USC’s Interprofessional Education for Health Sciences, said.

The four students will receive a $5,500 total. $4,000 of that amount will be applied to their yearly scholarship fund, while the other $1,500 will be given for travel support to attend the policy and education event in Washington, D.C. with the nation’s other Social Work HEALS scholars.



The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $925,787 three year grant titled, Training for Transitions: Preparedness for Behavioral Health Social Workers (TFT), to the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina. The grant is being used to expand the College's existing Field Education Program to recruit, place and train qualifying advanced level MSW students in field practicums who plan a behavior health career treating at‐risk children, adolescents, and transitional‐age youth.

07.09.20152015 hooding award winners

The College of Social Work recently honored three distinguished alumni and a national leader in behavioral health at our 2015 Master’s of Social Work hooding ceremony on May 8th.

The Alumni Award is presented by College faculty for outstanding work by a graduate that reflects the values and professionalism that we expect from our graduates at the highest level of practice. The Pioneer Award is given by the faculty for outstanding work on the state and national levels that reflects the values and professionalism of social work practice at its highest level.

Dean Anna Scheyett states “In the profession of social work, many people do amazing and inspiring work that is often behind-the-scenes and unknown to many. These awards are a chance to recognize the work of such social work leaders and alumni. The awards are important both to honor their work and to inspire the next generation of social workers—which makes presenting the awards at our hooding ceremony particularly meaningful.”

Meet this year’s recipients

Pioneer Award

Oh Yong Kweon, MSW ’03 is a Representative Senior Partner in the Law Office of Kweon & Choi. He is the Secretary General and Foundation of the Korean Alliance on Mental Illness (KAMI), the Director of the Christian Bioethics Research Institute at the Sung-San Bioethics Research Institute and a board member at Seoul National University. A graduate of the College’s Seoul-based MSW program, Mr. Kweon submitted and presented a KAMI report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September and advocates for the rights with those with mental illness on multiple fronts.

John Morris, MSW, has extensive experience in the management and executive leadership of clinical programs and systems of care for adults and youth with mental health and substance use conditions. In addition, he has been an educator and researcher and is a national expert on workforce development in behavioral health, having both consulted and published extensively in this area. He currently serves at the Executive Director of the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce, which aims to improve the mental health and addictions workforce.

Alumni Award

Jeremy Martin, MSW ’12, Jeremy Martin, MSW ’12, serves as the Vice President for Treatment and Intervention Services at LRADAC, one of the largest substance use disorder treatment facilities in South Carolina, and as an adjunct instructor for the College of Social Work at The University of South Carolina.  He is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and The University of South Carolina's Master of Social Work Program.  Additionally he has certificates in Drug and Addiction Studies from The University of South Carolina and Nonprofit Leadership from Francis Marion University.  Mr. Martin has extensive experience in program development, grant writing, and building collaborative partnerships across diverse community agencies.  Dedicated towards improving the lives of South Carolinians, he also serves as a member of the United Way of the Midlands’ Health Council, Mental Illness Recovery Center Incorporated’s Human Rights Council, Lexington County’s Community Resource Committee for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Pressley House.  Mr. Martin was raised in Rock Hill, SC and resides in Columbia with his partner.  

Carol Sisco, PhD, MSW ’79 is a respected clinician, consultant, educator and researcher in the field of addictions. She has published and lectured nationally on female addiction and issues facing children of alcohol and drug dependent parents. Her research on alcohol and drug abuse among women in welfare-to-work programs has been cited in over two hundred-fifty publications. The research findings and instruments have been incorporated in national and state welfare reform initiatives. Dr. Sisco has been recognized for her clinical work with children of alcoholics and addicts. She has trained healthcare professionals to work more effectively with this population. She is a licensed clinical social worker, a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and a National Certified Addiction Counselor. A magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, Sisco went on to obtain a MSW from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Dr. Sisco currently serves on the national board of Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and the Annapolis Maritime Museum, where she chairs the Education Advisory Committee. She is also chair of Reach Out Recovery, a non-profit dedicated to addiction education, prevention and recovery.

The University of South Carolina Science & Religion Initiative

A conference opportunity for students interested in science and religion is now available. Funding of up to $3,000 will be awarded to 2 students; selected students could potentially attend both conferences listed below.

Faraday Institute Summer Course No 10: Science or Religion: Do We Have to Choose? – The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge: July 5-10, 2015. The annual Faraday Summer Course is the highlight of our year and provides the opportunity to grapple with a wide range of issues in the science and religion debate. Lectures will be delivered by a team of international speakers including Prof Alister McGrath, Prof Simon Conway Morris, Dr Barbara Drossel, Dr Erin Joakim, Prof Peter Clarke, Revd Dr Ernest Lucas, Dr Jamie Aten, Dr Michael Burdett. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and group discussion as well as informal interaction with speakers. The following topics will be covered in the course:  historical and philosophical perspectives on science and religion; the relationship between religious belief and different scientific disciplines, including physics, evolutionary biology and neuroscience; and some of the ethical issues raised by science.

The Human Difference? - Is a human being little more than an animal, or little less than a god? Do human and non-human animals differ in degree or in kind? Humans often name themselves with Latin binomials—homo sapiens, economicus, scientificus, socialis, moralis, or liturgicus—are any or all of these terms compelling? Or are they adequate to capture the complexity of our self-understanding in a post-Darwinian world? By what kind of processes or events did species differences arise? Is it sufficient to say that, courtesy of our distinctive biology, we have come in part to escape our biology? How does the question of species change our understanding of religion—in humans and other animals? Is the term ‘person’ just a label for a human being, or is it, too, troubled by the Darwinian revolution? Is the human capacity for moral choice and a bent towards ‘evil’ distinctive to our species? The 2015 Conference “The Human Difference?” will bring experts together from anthropology, biology, philosophy, psychology, and theology, to present and debate the implications of recent research.

The deadline to apply is 5 pm on March 20, 2015.

Click here to fill out the application.


The University of South Carolina College of Social Work though the Office of Continuing Education & Conferences Presents

Military 101: Introduction to Military Issues For Social Workers and Community Partners Online
6 CEU Training
July 1 – August 31, 2015


Training for Transitions: Preparedness for Behavioral Health Social Workers

TFT provides a $10,000.00 stipend to students in their advanced year who make a commitment to complete a field practicum in a preapproved TFT site that serves school aged youth, adolescents, emerging adults and their families/caregiving systems at risk for mental illness, substance abuse and/or engaging in harmful, or potentially violent behaviors.


The University of South Carolina and the College of Social Work continues to mourn the loss of those killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17th. Three of the victims, Reverend and Senator Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Graham Hurd and Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons, MSW ’73 were alumni of the University. We extend our sympathies to the victims, their family and friends and the Charleston community; we also hold their impact and legacies close to our hearts.


USC’s College of Social Work is putting itself on the map—in Vietnam and India, specifically. The College of Social Work (COSW) already boasts a thriving MSW program in Korea, and now a series of exchanges has increased the College’s international presence and created new opportunities for faculty and students. Recently, the College hosted Dr. M.N. Parmar and Dr. Bhavna Mehta from the Maharaja Sayajirao (M.S.) University of Baroda in Gujrarat, India. Their visit was supported by a grant from the Provost’s Visiting Scholars program.

The M.S. University Faculty of Social Work is ranked third in all of India. Dr. Parmar explained that his visit to USC had 3 foci: research, extension, and academics. Dr. Mehta expressed hope for research collaborations and learning about social work intervention programs here, noting that “collaboration will pave a way for making social work learning global for students and faculty” at both universities. While at USC, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Parmar met with the Vice President of Research, College of Education faculty, the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies, the Study Abroad Office, and College of Social Work community partners. Each professor also gave lectures on their research to an audience of COSW faculty and students.


June is Aphasia Awareness Month and the College of Social Work (COSW) participated in events to increase awareness about aphasia and to provide students with an opportunity for interdisciplinary team experience. Dr. Teri Browne, Associate Professor and Co-Director for Inter-professional Education for the Health Sciences, and MSW students Briannea Hastie, Shannon Palm and Rosland Christen, participated in the first inter-professional practice event for Aphasia Awareness Month on June 9, 2015.


Dr. Dana DeHart, Assistant Dean for Research Support, was invited to attend the U.S. Department of Defense Victim Assistance Leadership Council meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, as a subject-matter expert. The Council was established on November 23, 2013 and membership includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense and service-level Family Advocacy Program senior personnel. The following day, Dr. DeHart provided an invited presentation entitled, “State of the industry: Victim service standards and implications for military staffing,” to the United States Secretary of Defense and the United States Marine Corps, Washington, DC. Dr. DeHart will provide ongoing consultation to both groups regarding victim services standards and staffing for the United States Military.


Wolfer square headshotThe Fulbright Specialist Program is given to qualified U.S. academics who have a doctorate or equivalent terminal degree in their field or professionals who have recognized professional standing and accomplishments. The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas, engaging in short-term collaborative projects at eligible institutions in over 140 countries worldwide.

October 24, 2014

The College of Social Work was honored to welcome the visiting scholars Dean and Professor M.N. Parmar and Professor Bhavna Mehta from MS University of Baroda in India.

Dean M.N. Parmar has been teaching for over 17 years and his areas of interests are personal management training for youth working with community people. Professor Bhavna Mehta has been teaching for over 24 years and her areas of interest include women’s studies, social justice and human rights health & development.


Congratulations to our 290 BSW and MSW students that recently celebrated their graduation! On Friday, May 8th, over 2,000 family members, friends, College faculty and staff gathered to honor the hard work of our BSW and MSW students in BSW cording and MSW hooding ceremonies.


The College of Social Work was honored with special guest, Rear Admiral Peter J. Delany, Ph.D., LCSW-C for a 2-day visit and presentation. Dr. Delany serves as the Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) announced the 10 social work programs or program collaboratives selected to participate in Social Work HEALS: Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars. University of South Carolina is amongst the chosen ones.

Dr. Teri Browne and Dr. Melissa Reitmeier will be directing the work and provide 5-years of fellowships for 2 Co

HRSA logoThe Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) awarded a three-year, $925,787 grant to the College of Social Work, Masters of Social Work Program. The grant will be used to expand the College’s existing field education program under the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professions, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Projects of Regional and National Significance. 


CoSW's Christina Andrews talks on Marketplace for NPR about how coverage for addiction treatment isn't enough. To read more click here.

Chou R250The College of Social Work’s associate professor Dr. Rita Jing-Ann Chou, who serves as the Director of the South Carolina Center for Gerontology, has been named a Fellow by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Additionally, PhD student Tori Charles has received an award for doctoral students from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW).

Fellowship represents a high honor within the GSA. Fellows must be nominated by their colleagues who are Fellows themselves, and considered by the GSA based on their contributions to the field.

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