Faculty Meeting

Labor Day

Program Coordinators Meeting

Faculty Council Meeting

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.



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.

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.




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.

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.


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.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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

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 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.


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

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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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


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).


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

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. 


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.

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.


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.”

Mer AusConfMeredith C.F. Powers, COSW PhD Candidate and Green Initiative Project Coordinator, is on a mission to prove that social workers and environmentalists can be one and the same. Recently, her passion inspired a trip to Melbourne, Australia, to present at the 2014 CSWE Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education, and Social Development. Meredith is pictured here with her former UNC professor Dee Gamble who publishes and presents on issues of sustainability and social work. Meredith's presentation, entitled “Making a Big Impact with a Small Footprint: Infusing Ecological Consciousness into the College of Social Work,” focused on the social and ecological injustices in the world, how social workers are already equipped to alleviate these problems, and how the College of Social Work at USC is responding to these environmental concerns.

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.

HamiltonIntnerior250The College of Social Work is currently spread out across seven buildings, but it will soon have one permanent home.  The historic Hamilton College is currently undergoing a major renovation, projected for completion by fall 2015.  The College of Social Work will take the wing facing Pendleton Street Garage.

Hamilton College was built in 1942 as a training space for the U.S. Navy and housed classrooms and the Armory.  Around the same time, a graduate program in social work was struggling to get off the ground and was eventually forced to fold due to the effects of World War II on enrollment.  Now the story of social work at USC has come full circle as the war effort that once seemed to spell the end of the program is providing its new home.


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.

Each year, the College of Social Work makes a promise to its students and the communities it serves to better the lives of those who thrive in South Carolina. This semester, the College is extending that commitment by welcoming six new faculty members who share the same promise to better the lives of those they serve. It is through our faculty members that learning begins, community efforts are initiated, and lives are changed for the better.

The College of Social Work welcomes Dr. Daniel Freedman as Clinical Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the BSW and Social Work Minor Programs; Dr. Sung Seek Moon as Associate Professor and Director of the MSW Korea-based Program; Dr. Shaun Owens as Assistant Professor for the SmartHOME™ Initiative; Dr. Kristen Seay as Assistant Professor; Dr. Patricia Sharpe as Professor; and Dr. Margriet Wright as Clinical Assistant Professor.


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!

ATBHCOSW’s Dr. Teri Browne and graduate student Sara Goldsby presented at All Together Better Health, the international interprofessional education conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in June 2014. Dr. Teri Browne presented a workshop entitled Boldly Going Where We’ve Gone Before: Social Work Leadership in Interprofessional Education, Practice & Policy Development with social work colleagues from across the country including Maureen Rubin, a COSW alumna, which focused on ways to involve social work students in interprofessional education. She also collaborated with fellow Gamecocks Dr. Beverly Baliko from the College of Nursing and Dr. Betsy Blake from the College of Pharmacy on a poster presentation that described their student-centered approach to improving interprofessional learning experiences for large groups of students.


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!

On July 22nd, Dr. Maryah Fram, associate professor at the College of Social Work, was featured in @UofSC’s article, “Professor says Teaching is a Privilege”.

The article highlights her love of teaching and the joy she receives from dynamic connections she has with students. According to Fram, the greatest honor she has received, even above professional accolades, was the honorary induction by the Phi Alpha National Honor Society for Social Work,


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.

Roth SisCharityAwardDr. Ben Roth and Dr. Breanne Grace have been awarded a grant through the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina to better understand and support the network of organizations serving immigrants throughout South Carolina. The project includes a series of state and regional networking meetings, and is part of a larger study called the Immigrant Access Project (IAP). According to Roth, “The goal of the IAP is to assess the capacity of existing providers to meet the needs of low-income immigrants in South Carolina, as well as the factors limiting more effective service delivery.”



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!

Lize S DeLHNewsGovernor Nikki Haley appointed Dr. Steven Lize to the John de la Howe School Board of Trustees. He joins Barbara Devinney and Tom Love of McCormick, Patricia Silva and Donna Wesby of Aiken, Felicia Preston of Columbia, and Dan Shonka of Central on the board.

Dr. Lize is a research assistant professor in the College of Social Work. He serves concurrently as a technical consultant to the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which works with states to implement a cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proven effective by research.  Dr. Lize also has experience working as a program evaluator for the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability where he assessed the state's programs for youth and adults in the criminal justice system.

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.

WonYoungChoi 250COSW alumnus Won Young Choi was appointed by the president of Korea to be the Senior Secretary to the President for Employment and Social Welfare. As such, he assists with presidential policy development on employment, labor, health, social welfare, gender equality, family, and food & drug safety. Having served as a Korean government officer for 30 consecutive years, he is now one of the most powerful policy makers in the country. He previously served as the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the second highest position in the ministry.

Won Young Choi graduated from the MSW program at USC’s Columbia campus in 1998, and he earned his doctorate degree in social welfare from Yonsei University in 2006.

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.

In a ground-breaking event, USC’s College of Social Work (COSW) recently co-sponsored a Vietnamese national conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. With a focus on social work and mental health care, the conference strengthened the exchange of ideas and best practices between the COSW and Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA; equivalent to the US Department of Health and Human Services) and multiple universities.

Vietname GroupSocial work is in its infancy in Vietnam, and MOLISA officials are interested in creating the infrastructure to support services to vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities, veterans, and people with mental health problems. In his keynote address, Vice Minister Doãn Mậu Diệp emphasized the need for schools of social work to develop courses in the field of mental health care. The College of Social Work signed memoranda of understanding with Hanoi National University of Education, the University of Labor and Social Affairs, and Vietnam National University. These MOUs will open up many opportunities for social work in Vietnam in general and schools of social work in particular. Professors and lecturers from USC will share experience and knowledge regarding social and mental health.

The conference was envisioned and organized by COSW faculty member Huong Nguyen, one of the first Vietnamese people to receive a doctorate in social work, in collaboration with the University of Labor and Social Affairs and with support from a grant from the USC Walker Institute. COSW faculty members Kirk Foster, Sue Levkoff, and Naomi Farber contributed significantly to the conference, and—as did Dr. Nguyen—each presented to an audience that included executive leaders from government ministries and agencies across Vietnam. COSW Dean Anna Scheyett also delivered a keynote entitled “Social Work and Mental Health: Roles and Competencies.”

Dr. Nguyen said, “It is exciting to be part of this critical time in Vietnam as they start to build the infrastructure for social work. The changes they are making can be implemented on a national scale, and they have the potential to have a significant, lasting impact.”

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.

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