COSW Committee Meeting

COSW Committee Meeting

Field Learning Contracts Due to Field Liaisons

Field Learning Contracts Due to Field Liaisons

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.

“Since the emergence of social work as a profession, social workers have addressed environmental concerns,” explains Powers. Historically, social workers first concentrated their efforts on the people living and working in awful environmental circumstances, as well as those people who had few to no community resources (e.g., community sanitation, parks). Over the years, the social work field has shifted more toward the “social, economic, and political environments” and away from addressing issues related to the physical environment.

Powers believes it is necessary for social workers to once again address all of these environments. By exploring the physical environment, social workers will gain an understanding of the ways ecological issues can negatively impact the lives of people, and how people impact their environment. As she explains in her presentation, “human and environmental well-being are inextricably linked, continually reinforcing and reshaping each other as time goes on.”     

Meredith Powers’ current focus with the Green Initiative at the COSW is to green the curriculum by “getting this information into the hands of social work instructors, including field instructors (who are themselves social work practitioners) and getting them thinking about the connections of social and ecological justice and how it can be addressed in any social work context.” Powers has created a course flyer for field instructors. She believes, “It is important to infuse ecological consciousness into any social work setting, and into what social workers are already doing, not just relegate it to a specialty field.”

For more information about the Green Initiative at the COSW, contact Meredith Powers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

HamiltonGym250The College of Social Work will move into the former Naval ROTC Armory gymnasium, which will be completely overhauled to include a second level.  A new lobby will be constructed with an entrance facing the Osborne Administration Building.  With a sleek, modern look that predominantly features glass, the lobby will be a bright gathering place for students, faculty, and staff.

The space will include a computer lab, five classrooms, four conference rooms, and offices for faculty, staff, and graduate assistants.  One highlight of the plan is the student lounge, which will allow graduate and undergraduate social work students to study and socialize together.  Director of Development Caryn Little also hopes that alumni feel welcome in the space, citing the importance of mentoring for a thriving program.  Little notes that having the College in one central location will provide the “opportunity for our faculty and staff to be in one place and really create that synergistic environment.”  That kind of sharing and rapport is essential to social work, a field that is “really about teamwork,” says Little.  Dean Anna Scheyett also notes that having offices and classrooms under one roof “will allow faculty to have those spontaneous ‘water cooler’ conversations that often result in new ideas and collaborations.”

Though the new College of Social Work will bear no resemblance to a gym, a number of architectural elements are incorporated into the renovation plans.  The arch of the gym ceiling will be kept in some offices, and most of the original wood floor will be preserved and refinished for the new lobby.

Progress on the Hamilton College renovation can be followed on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  To inquire about naming opportunities or to contribute to the College’s future growth, please contact Caryn Little or visit the Giving website.  An official groundbreaking ceremony is planned for next spring.

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.

As a member of the school board, Dr. Lize will have the ability to help strengthen the education and services provided to families and children. He believes that his background as a researcher puts him in a good position for evaluating and selecting options. He said, “As a trustee, I will apply my expertise in evaluation research, consulting on evidence-based programs, and strategic planning to guide the school’s administration in adopting cost-effective services.” He believes that together, the board and the school staff and administration can “incorporate practices that have a solid research base.”

John de la Howe School was originally founded in 1797 as a farm school for local poor and orphaned children and is the oldest institution in South Carolina. It is located along the Heritage Corridor on Lake Thurmond in McCormick County, South Carolina. The school is now a multi-purpose child caring agency, providing for the behavioral, educational, and social needs of the at-risk children in its care. Dr. Lize emphasizes the importance of the school to the families of South Carolina. “The school is a landmark resource to the state to ensure that kids in a high risk home or school environment have a chance to realize their potential and graduate with a diploma.  That outcome means a world of difference for the youth and the state.  Having a high school diploma opens the doors not just to employment, but higher education, which in turn leads to landing a better paying job.”

Dr. Lize is optimistic that there is a lot that can be done to help improve the school. He said, “I am grateful to be appointed to the school's board.  It will be a challenge, but I like to study problems to solve them.  It is an honor to do so for the citizens of South Carolina.”

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.

Banner InteriorPageFreedmanTaking on a more administrative role as the Coordinator of the BSW and Social Work Minor Programs, Dr. Freedman looks forward to delivering quality products for students enrolled at the University. As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Freedman’s focus is on clinical practice, with an emphasis in behavioral health, addictions, and mental health.

Banner InteriorPageMoonDr. Moon is working as the new Director of the MSW Korea-based Program. Fluent in Korean and English, Dr. Moon is working to develop both sides of the Korea-based program in the U.S. and in Seoul, Korea. Through multicultural and international efforts, Dr. Moon hopes to develop a research center that creates a worldwide network for social work.

Banner InteriorPageOwenDr. Owens is an Assistant Professor for the SmartHOME™ Initiative. In this capacity, Dr. Owens will be working alongside Dr. Sue Levkoff and Dr. Jenay Beer as they advance technologies that aid in allowing elderly individuals to remain independent at home. He will work with students from the College of Social Work and the College of Engineering to develop software that help individuals make informed decisions about their health.

Banner InteriorPageSeay2As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Seay is dedicated to improving the lives of families affected by parental substance use. With a passion to help parents achieve what is best for their children, Dr. Seay will equip her students with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve families’ situations and lives.

Banner InteriorPageSharpeDr. Sharpe is a Professor with a particular focus on health disparities among the underserved population. Using research to guide policy and practice, Dr. Sharpe looks forward to molding her students into community researchers and practitioners, where they will use their skills to create healthier community environments.

Banner InteriorPageWrightDr. Wright is working at the Columbia and Charleston campuses of the College of Social Work as a Clinical Assistant Professor. Using a community-based approach, Dr. Wright plans to bridge research and practice for a lasting difference within the community. Her focus covers a variety of areas, including trauma and the individual, and relational and organizational factors that contribute to client satisfaction.

While each of these faculty members brings a different area of focus to the College, they all share a common vision to advance future social workers through applied learning. It is through their students and the applied learning tactics, that the College of Social Work promises to help improve resources for community wellness, and provide outlets and services for those facing challenges. We welcome these faculty to the College and look forward to watching them grow with their students and the community.

FellowshipOpportunityIconThe second of two deadlines for the College of Social Work fellowship is coming up. The deadline for Spring 2015 fellowships will be Friday, October 17, 2014 at 5 pm.

Interested students should read through the fellowship descriptions and apply on the COSW’s website. Please note that receiving a fellowship may impact your total financial aid package, including loans. Students that receive a fellowship for the Fall 2014 semester will not be eligible to apply for Spring 2015 fellowships.

For more information, please email Caryn Little, Director of Development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

COSW Fellowships Information and Application

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.

Sara Goldsby, who is earning a dual degree in social work and public health, presented a poster in collaboration with Dr. Chris Goodman from USC’s School of Medicine. The poster presentation focused on the Healthy Columbia Campaign and the presenters’ efforts to align student service learning opportunities with community engagement programs.

Also in attendance was Dr. Aidyn Iachini, an assistant professor at the College. The conference is cohosted by the University of Pittsburgh, the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, and the Council of Social Work Education.

USC’s transdisciplinary presentations during this conference indicate the dedication of the College and the University to interprofessional education.

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.

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,

"It was absolutely tremendous," Fram says. "There's a lot of awards that you can get
professionally, but there is nothing that could mean more to me than an honor from my
students saying that I've done something that's made a difference to them." (@UofSC)

While Fram states that her first love is teaching, she also enjoys research. With a diverse background in early childhood education and child development, feminist theory, and child and family social work, Fram uses a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to examine structural causes of inequality, and to develop new practices aimed at enhancing child and family well-being.

"I care really deeply about kids," she says. "That's what brought me to the profession. Learning
more about what will help kids, preparing students to work with kids, these are all really
important things to me. My job is enormously fun. It's an incredible privilege to have a job
where you're paid to think and to teach." (@UofSC)

Click here to read the full article and get to know Dr. Fram.

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.”

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.”

Funding from the Sisters of Charity will enable the researchers to translate IAP findings and disseminate them to providers, funders, policymakers, and community members. The grant will ultimately help immigrant-serving organizations to improve the coordination of services and increase the potential for partnership—all with an eye on closing the gaps in the safety net for low-income immigrants.

The College of Social Work is one of the first programs to receive a grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina through its new Immigrant Families Initiative. Launched in 2014, the Immigrant Families Initiative is dedicated to enhancing individual and family well-being. As part of its launch, the Foundation awarded six Immigrant Families Initiative grants, totaling $112,041, to nonprofit organizations addressing the root causes of poverty in South Carolina’s immigrant or foreign-born populations. This initiative addresses a growing need: South Carolina ranks second in the nation in immigrant growth.

Grace SisCharityAward“The IAP findings are really exciting from a theoretical perspective, but they also have an important relevance to the daily work of immigrant-serving organizations in South Carolina,” Grace noted. “We are really honored to be recognized by the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s innovative Immigrant Families Initiative and we are looking forward to strengthening ties with community partners around the state.”

Find more information about the Immigrant Access Project.

StLawrencePlace Gerald-0208Gerald Davis Jr. has received the 2014 Outstanding Service Professional Award for his work at St. Lawrence Place, a transitional housing program for homeless families. USC’s Leadership and Service Center sponsors this award to honor a staff member of a local non-profit agency for their work with USC students, faculty, and staff.

Davis has worked closely with the Office of Student Engagement and Service Learning and various USC initiatives including “Let’s Talk Science,” “Communities in Harmony,” “Access to Higher Education,” and “Project Vida.” He has worked with these groups for the past two years providing extracurricular activities and education to the children of St. Lawrence Place.

Honored for his professional work with USC, Davis has also been closely involved with USC through the College of Social Work as a student. He has just graduated with his BSW, and he is starting the advanced standing MSW program this summer.

“This award means the world to me,” Davis said. “It spotlights the many hours of service I have dedicated to giving back to the community because someone helped me get to where I am today. I have always worked to give our youth experiences they might not have had the chance to be part of in the arts and science arena.”

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