Interprofessional Scholars Poster Showcase

Advocating for Immigrant Youth DACA & the BRIDGE Act

Advanced Standing Orientation

A Community of Connection


Andrews CThe College of Social Work (CoSW) is pleased to announce that Dr. Christina Andrews' project entitled “Addiction Treatment Medicaid Health Home” recently received funding for a distinguished Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (called a "K01"), funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The purpose of the K01 award is to provide support and “protected time” (three, four, or five years) for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence. For the next five years, Dr. Andrews will assess the impact of health homes on enrollment of eligible Medicaid beneficiaries who need addiction treatment, as well as the use and costs of addiction treatment and acute care for addiction-related conditions.

The Co-PIs for the project are John Brooks and Dr. Janice Probst, both from UofSC Health Services Policy and Management.

The UofSC has been awarded a total of seven K01 awards, and the CoSW has received two of these prestigious awards. Dr. Nikki Wooten also currently has a K01 award for a project entitled “Behavioral Health Care in Army Warrior Transition Units.”


More and more social workers, nurses, counselors, clergy, teachers and other community partners will encounter military members in their professional and personal lives.

The College of Social Work and Continuing Education and Conferences have partnered to present Military Matters, a self-paced online certificate program for anyone working with military personnel, family members and/or veterans. This 10 course program teaches military culture, health and mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, substance issues, and special populations. Taught by CoSW faculty Dr. Nancy Brown, participants may register for the certificate or choose individual courses. For additional information or to register for Military Matters, please 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.

IMG 299002.28.2015

On February 25, the College of Social Work and the I. Dequincy Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice welcomed the community to a night of listening, laughter and even tears. The Spigner House was full of interested attendees, colleagues, and family and friends of Patrick Patterson, President of Global Partners for Fathers and Family Consulting, LLC and South Carolina native.

Patterson, who has his dual Masters in Social Work and Public Health from the University of South Carolina, delivered a heartfelt presentation called “5 Habits of Good Fathers that Build Strong Families.”

He unapologetically revealed the most influential moments and people in his life while providing the audience with stories, tips and motivation to build a strong foundation for their families, children, and futures.

As a man who understands the influence of having a father present in his life and not having a father present in his life, Patterson has made it his mission for the past 20 years to work with fathers to strengthen their families.

“I work with fathers not to help them, but in hopes to help their children,” Patterson said. “I hope my work is a reflection of the people who influenced me in my life.”

Not only does he aim to help fathers create a better life for their sons and daughters, he has also recently taken local initiatives to help boys become respectful men who may one day become role-model fathers for their children.

Last year, Patterson, his brother and about 10 other people including Dean Scheyett, hosted a Conference for Black Men and Boys in South Carolina. With a goal of just 200 attendees, they exceeded that goal by achieving 600 attendees.

“This year, by popular demand, we are doing it again,” Patterson said. “The legacy lives on.”

They will be hosting their second annual Conference for Black Men and Boys on September 10 at the Double Tree Hotel in Columbia, SC.

Before the conference on April 30, there will be a Fatherhood Awards Breakfast where they hope to raise $10,000 to award as scholarships to boys at the conference.

They will honor five men at the breakfast: Tom Keith, President of Sisters of Charity of South Carolina; Archie Lattimore, Marcus Lattimore’s father; Dr. David Swinton, 13th President of Benedict College; James Patterson Jr., Patterson’s brother; and Frank Martin, USC men’s basketball coach.

The I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice seeks to continue the mission of Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman by promoting social justice through interdisciplinary education, consultation, and research at the community, state, national, and international levels. To that end, the Newman Institute serves as a resource and advocates for underserved populations in South Carolina.  For 10 years, the Newman Lecture has brought together social work practitioners, researchers, academics and community members for a grassroots dialogue.  

Dean Anna Scheyett closed the discussion by honoring Patterson’s strength and ability to use his life experience to help others better their lives.

“The word that kept coming to mind was ‘miracle’,” Dean Scheyett said. “The miracle of laughter, the miracle of forgiving, family, and love. Thank you for sharing the miracle of calling.”



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.


The College of Social Work (CoSW) is pleased to announce that Dr. Christina Andrews' project entitled “Addiction Treatment Medicaid Health Home” recently received funding for a distinguished Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (called a "K01"), funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The purpose of the K01 award is to provide support and “protected time” (three, four, or five years) for an intensive, supervised career development experience in the biomedical, behavioral, or clinical sciences leading to research independence. For the next five years, Dr. Andrews will assess the impact of health homes on enrollment of eligible Medicaid beneficiaries who need addiction treatment, as well as the use and costs of addiction treatment and acute care for addiction-related conditions.

The Co-PIs for the project are John Brooks and Dr. Janice Probst, both from UofSC Health Services Policy and Management.

The UofSC has been awarded a total of seven K01 awards, and the CoSW has received two of these prestigious awards. Dr. Nikki Wooten also currently has a K01 award for a project entitled “Behavioral Health Care in Army Warrior Transition Units.”


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.


Field education is a signature component of social work education. The CoSW Field Education Office works diligently to prepare students for their work in agencies and other field settings, emphasizing professional skills such as interviewing, professional presentation of self, and outreach to potential agencies or employers. The Office recently created videos to help students with interviews for field placements. The videos cover everything from making initial contact with a field agency, interview preparedness, and dress code, to appropriate self-disclosure and answering behavioral questions. Videos are available for view below:

Calling a Prospective Field Organization (3.5 minutes) – staring Allison Crossley, David Firman, Steven Nicolson and Leanna Portera
MSW Intern Interview (8 minutes) – staring Allison Crossley as the MSW student and Jennifer Bosio-McArdle as the Intern Coordinator


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!


interprofessiona practice experienceSeveral MSW students participated in the 2015 Interprofessional Practice Experience held at the Speech and Hearing Research Center in December.The Experience involved students from several clinical disciplines assessing stroke patients with aphasia – a language disorder – and creating therapeutic interventions. Participating disciplines included Nursing, Physical Therapy, Pharmacy, Social Work and the Communication Sciences & Disorders Speech Pathology program. This approach gave students hands-on experience in both patient assessment and interdisciplinary collaboration.

To learn more about the 2015 Interprofessional Practice Experience, click 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.



SERG logoThe Student Empowerment Resource Group (SERG) is a support network of College of Social Work faculty and staff who seek to develop programs and services that will provide basic crisis prevention and financial management assistance for students in need.  Our goal is to ensure the academic, professional, and social success of our students. We spent the fall semester gathering resources we thought would be helpful and creating an online portal through the Student Login on the CoSW home page. To view, click on Student Login, provide your USC network user name and password. Look for SERG to the far left, in the 2nd row of tabs and click. Please explore and let us know what else you need here.

On Monday, February 1, 2016, we held our first “Keepin’ It Real” open forum to find out what students needed to be successful in our program and to introduce the SERG portal and resources. Pizza and soda were provided to help fuel discussion. Led by Ms. Sudie Nallo, group members included Ms. Felissa Carter-Moore, Ms. Deborah Duvall, Ms. Rushondra James, Dr. Monique Mitchell, Ms. Mosetta Ragin, and Ms. Frances Spann. Dean Anna Scheyett welcomed the students and encouraged them to share openly and honestly about what they need. She emphasized that this was a safe space and all personal experiences would be considered confidential. Many students openly shared their challenges, ideas, and needs for success and we are very grateful for their  insights and contributions. A special thank you to our MSW students for “keepin’ it real!”. Ideas and suggestions will go back to the full group for discussion and implementation where possible.

Stay tuned for the next “Keepin’ It Real” open forum on Monday, February 29, 2016, 12:00-1:00 p.m. in Hamilton 227. We’ll bring back the plans!

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 have the option of attending one, or both of these events, if they so choose.


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

Mary Ann Priester01.21.2015

Doctoral student Mary Ann Priester was selected by the Office of the Vice President of Research as one of 13 USC Breakthrough Graduate Scholars. This award is given to USC’s most promising graduate students who demonstrate phenomenal commitment to research and scholarly activity. Mary Ann’s research focuses on Adverse Childhood Experiences, and though she is only in her third year of the program she has been incredibly productive. To date she has three journal articles in print, three chapters or articles in press, three manuscripts under review, a SPARC grant from the university, and thirteen presentations at national and international conferences.


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.


SWTJF16 covJulia Grimm, LMSW, adjunct faculty in the College of Social Work, is featured in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of Social Work Today because of her passion for social work. In “10 Dedicated & Deserving Social Workers,” Grimm describes her work as a Child and Family Therapist at the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center in Charleston as humbling, stating “…being one-on-one with a child who has experienced something horrible, but creating a space where they feel comfortable enough to share those details with you.” She credits her parents for her passion through their examples of kindness and compassion. Grimm shares this passion with our MSW students in her Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families and Small Groups class. To read this article in Social Work Today, click here.


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.


Have you ever wondered your daily life at age 75? This is a question that Dr. Jenay Beer often ponders in her work as an engineering psychologist. Beer’s unique field, intersecting science, engineering and social work, was the topic of a recent talk at TEDx Peachtree in Atlanta. Though our population is aging and living longer, most designers do not consider older adults when conceptualizing new technology. In “What Assistive Robots Can Do for Our Retirement,” Beer discusses the importance of technology designed for everyone. With examples including the Personal Robot 2, which can clean the house and deliver medication, and the tele-prescience robot, described as Skype on wheels, Beer explains that Human Robot Interaction (HRI) does not replace seeing someone in person, but can be much more personal than a telephone call. To hear Dr. Beer's Ted talk, click here.


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.

Pitner R 350x35011.30.2015

Dr. Ronald Pitner believes that cultural awareness is necessary for social workers, but prefers the term “culturally responsive” to the more common “culturally competent.” “Competent,” he explains, implies that there’s an end in sight, or a level to reach, and then cultural learning ends. In fact, when engaging with culture, “you’re always on, responding to something.”

Pitner teaches SOWK 714, a new course he has co-designed for MSW students. The course builds from the content of SOWK 333: Social Work with Diverse and Oppressed Populations, a required undergraduate course which Pitner created with Dr. Susan Parlier. Pitner undertook research to determine whether learning about diversity was more effective via a dedicated course or spread across the curriculum. “We found that one single course on diversity and social justice increased MSW-level social work students’ level of cultural responsiveness significantly more than curricular infusion of such content.”

“Diversity is something that we see and that we perceive,” he explains. Too often, we stop at “seeing” and miss the crucial work of analyzing how our identities influence our perceptions of others and ourselves. “Seeing” diversity entails acknowledging the seemingly obvious, visible markers of identity, like race or gender. Approaching diversity in this way is what Pitner calls the “cookbook model,” in which there’s a section on each “type.” “You look up the recipe for ‘Native American,’ and then you’re supposed to be knowledgeable—and by extension, culturally competent,” he says. But “the power of diversity is really in how you perceive,” he insists. “Your perception of what it means to be African-American or female influences what you see,” so to attend only to “seeing” diversity means to do so poorly.

As an instructor, Pitner remains vigilant about not settling into a comfort zone of merely “seeing.” While it would be easier for both himself and his students, it doesn’t challenge any perceptions or biases. SOWK 714 “is focused on what you see, but also these perceptions and biases you may have about difference and about your own identities.”

diversity inclusionDiversity and inclusion can be tricky topics, so Pitner begins each semester by establishing ground rules for class discussion. He has a short list prepared and invites students to add as many additional ground rules for discussion as they feel are necessary. He revisits these ground rules throughout the semester, just to check-in to see if students are abiding by the rules they have agreed upon or if additional ones need to be added.

Early on in the semester, Pitner facilitates a reflective exercise that prepares students for the material that follows. Students jot down a list of their own multiple identity categories (gender, sex, race, etc.) and are then faced with the difficult task of thinking about the status connotations of those categories. Pitner provides the following example: “If you label yourself as being female, then what are your perceptions of how society privileges or oppresses you on the basis of that identity?” This can be particularly challenging for students who have never considered their own privileged or oppressed statuses before. A female student may feel very empowered generally, Pitner explains, but when challenged to contend with a female peer who feels oppressed, she must step back and think critically about how dominant ways of thinking may still color the lens she’s looking through.

This class exercise later expands into a paper analyzing students’ own multiple identities, how those identities intersect, and how they perceive that society privileges or oppresses those different identities. This kind of deeply personal work is a key component of studying diversity and inclusion because, as Pitner explains that in order for social workers to “truly meet the client where they are,” they must first examine critically how their own perceptions, biases, and cultural worldviews shape where they think the client “should be.” Pausing to think and reflect this way is true cultural responsivity, and it’s something that all social workers should strive for.

Students can learn about diversity and social justice in Pitner’s classroom, but the class only sets the stage for an ongoing learning process. Pitner hopes that his students become more aware of how their multiple identities intersect and shape their views of diversity, because “being culturally responsive as a social worker is learning how your own worldview might influence how you see and perceive the client.” The course is “about critical awareness, but when students leave, I tell them, it’s a process that’s never-ending,” says Pitner. Valuing diversity is more than a course learning outcome—for social workers, it’s a lifelong journey toward critical consciousness.


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.

SSWR logo11.30.2015

The College of Social Work will be well-represented at this year’s Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) conference. In an overwhelming display of the dynamic research produced by the CoSW, a group of 25 of our faculty, staff, and graduate students will be presenting research at the 20th annual conference in Washington, D.C. this January.

The number of CoSW presentations accepted by SSWR is truly something special. As Dr. Patricia Sharpe notes, “the SSWR conference is a major national forum” and “the high level of participation from USC is evidence of the CoSW's continued growth in research excellence and national recognition.” Professor Kristina Webber agrees that our participation is significant, saying that it “is a testament to our college’s strong and growing focus on community-engaged research, and it signals a growing recognition among our peers that the CoSW is engaged in outstanding research in our state, across the country, and around the world.” Dr. Kirk Foster also points out that “not only is the number of faculty presentations higher than in the past, but our PhD students also have a more significant presence at SSWR.”

It is an honor for CoSW graduate students to be selected for this conference. Faculty have worked closely with doctoral students, “allowing them an excellent opportunity to share our research with an international audience and network” with social work researchers from around the world, says Dr. Teri Browne. Foster believes that the conference is an important step for graduate students—faculty support of graduate student research will prepare them for research-intensive positions in the future.

2016coverphoto23 715x300Presentations will cover the wide variety of specializations and research interests that is possible in the CoSW. Dr. Christina Andrews will show the effects of Medicaid expansions on prevention and community-based outreach services. Dr. Huong Nguyen will present a poster that previews her forthcoming paper in the Journal of Sex Research on the taboo issue of extramarital sex among men in Vietnam. Dr. Robert Hock will be presenting with disability researchers from five other universities, and Dr. Joi Dykes Anderson will share research about how childhood trauma effects the development of negative trauma-related cognitions—such as feeling incompetent, self-blaming, and feeling unsafe in the world—which are associated with the development of PTSD. These are but a few examples of the exciting and innovative research being produced out of the CoSW that will be on display at SSWR.

Some CoSW researchers will be presenting more than once. A team consisting of Dr. Teri Browne, Stephanie Clone, Dr. Dana DeHart, Dr. Aidyn Iachini, Caroline Pantridge, and Dr. Kristen Seay will be giving six presentations on the state-funded Recovery Program Transformation and Innovation (RPTIF) project that provides technical assistance to substance use agencies across South Carolina. The RPTIF project is a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that works to improve substance abuse treatment and recovery. DeHart is excited about her team’s participation and believes that their presentations “will contribute to an unprecedented showing” for the CoSW at the conference.

In addition to presenting findings from the RPTIF project, Iachini is excited about leading a presentation on mother-child residential treatment programs and collaborating with Dr. Ronald Pitner to “share the findings of a districtwide needs assessment we conducted with principals from a local school district related to school mental health.” Webber and Foster will also present more than once; each will present two papers. Both of Webber’s presentations are related to adolescents’ school engagement. She will debut a questionnaire that can be used to measure school engagement and demonstrate its suitability for use with youth from various racial/ethnic groups, and in her second session she will explain two strategies for increasing school engagement among adolescents. One of Foster’s papers will discuss how people conceptualize and define their neighborhoods. Foster’s second paper examines the impact of distance to social capital generation sites (such as workplaces, places of worship, and civic organizations) on access to resources necessary for social and economic mobility.

The SSWR conference is not only for showcasing new research, but also for rewarding previous work. Foster and his co-authors will be honored with the 2016 SSWR Research Book Award for Chasing the American Dream (Oxford University Press).

The amount and excellence of CoSW research at the SSWR conference is an indicator of a successful and dynamic program. As Hock explains, SSWR “is the premier venue for the top social work researchers” and acceptance is highly competitive. The CoSW’s strong presence there “signifies the College's success at accelerating research productivity and establishing our leadership at the national level.”


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

CUL logo11.30.2015

Though the College of Social Work has many strong connections to the community, none are more historically significant than the relationship with the Columbia Urban League (CUL). According to James T. McLawhorn, President and CEO of the CUL, the National Urban League was founded in 1910 with a “social work methodology” for supporting African-Americans seeking opportunities during the Great Migration. Krystal Green, an alumna of the CoSW and Urban League program manager, believes that “the missions of the Urban League and the National Association of Social Workers are in sync,” as both organizations have missions focused on service to the community. Social work is embedded in the history of the Urban League, and likewise the local chapter has always had a robust relationship with the CoSW.

Graduate students in the CoSW have been enjoying field placements at the Columbia Urban League since the 1980s. Students placed at the CUL benefit from the expertise of McLawhorn, who Green describes as a “trailblazer” with “the spirit of a teacher.” According to McLawhorn, the CUL serves a variety of clients, including “over 500 youth in foster care and on Medicaid on a weekly basis,” and this provides an invaluable learning experience for interns, giving them the “opportunity to interact with clients who their profession is geared toward serving.” This early, hands-on experience is a key component of the graduate program that serves to better prepare our graduates for working in the field.

urban leagueGreen agrees that the MSW program at UofSC provided her with a solid foundation for her work with the CUL. “I have my license, and I believe that’s due to me going through the CoSW and them preparing me for that. I enjoyed my time, and I got to meet a lot of amazing people,” some of whom she is still in contact with as a field instructor. In short, the CoSW “still has a place in my heart.”

While in graduate school, Green’s field placement enabled her to work under the supervision of school social workers in Richland Districts 1 and 2. This experience has influenced her work with youth at the Urban League. She currently leads the “Level Up” program, a partnership with the Department of Social Services which serves youth by offering workshops on leadership, financial literacy, health and wellness, and career development—in essence, “all those essential skills they’re going to need as adults,” Green asserts.

Additionally, as a field instructor, Green gets to maintain her ties to the CoSW and share her experiences with graduate students. She supervises interns closely and asks about their coursework in order to facilitate connections between their learning in the classroom and the work they’re doing at the CUL. Progressing from MSW student to field instructor has been “an incredible journey” for her.

The best part of working at the CUL is giving and receiving “the gift of serving the community” every day, says Green, but sometimes these field placements turn into gainful employment. Of their current office staff, two have MSW degrees from UofSC and were first introduced to the CUL through their field placements.

When asked what he believes CoSW students can gain from a field placement with the CUL, McLawhorn did not hesitate: “The Urban League is first of all in the business of helping people, so if you have a passion for helping people to move to a better way of life, that’s fulfilling in itself. I don’t think there’s any more rewarding experience in life than to know you’ve made a positive impact in someone’s life.” For motivated social work students, there is surely no better incentive.



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


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.


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.


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.”


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.”

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

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  www.cosw.sc.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-fellowships


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.



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