Fall Break, No Classes or Field

COSW Program Coordinator Committee Meeting

COSW MSW Program Committee Meeting

COSW Tenure & Promotion Committee Meeting

Melissa Reitmeier, PhD

Director, Field Education

Making Change Happen

Dr. Melissa Reitmeier has always had a passion for empowering others and addressing social injustices. Her first job after college was at a psychiatric rehabilitation center, but she said that “being able to get my clients what they needed felt like an act of Congress.” In particular, she noted the difficulties of working with unhelpful administrators. “I thought if I’m going to be part of the change, then I need to advance my education.” Her drive to make change happen brought her years of experience as a practitioner advocating for mental health patients, both as a therapist and as an employee of a private public interest law firm.

As Field Director of Education, Dr. Reitmeier brings together her passion for helping vulnerable populations and her desire to contribute to social work education. She says that field education is crucial to translating what students learn in the classroom into applicable practices. Dr. Reitmeier works with community partners and field instructors to prepare social work students to engage, identify, and solve social problems. She’s particularly interested in finding innovative ways for social work students to engage with community issues so that both students and communities can benefit from the field education process.

Research Background

Trained as a dialectical behavior therapist and a social worker, Dr. Reitmeier uses various research methods and program evaluation to discover effective practices for social work education. Her work emphasizes building professional competencies of graduate level students so they become effective practitioners. She uses a range of research methods, including qualitative clustering methods as well as quantitative intervention research methods. Dr. Reitmeier’s research interests include social work education, nonprofit management, supervision, and rural poverty.

Research Projects (recent)


  • Dean’s Teaching Award. 2012-2013. Enhancing Social Work Field Education: Decision Cases for Field Instructor Training.

Selected Presentations

  • Reitmeier, M. C. Ability Awareness and Rights. Beyond Our Horizons: Workshop for Medical Social Workers, Nurses, and Counselors. Lexington, South Carolina. November 3, 2012
  • Reitmeier, M. C.; Wolfer, T. A. Identifying Learning Outcomes in a Social Work Case Method Course: Graduate Student Perspectives. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting. Chicago, Illinois USA February 16-19, 2006
  • Reitmeier, M. C. & Wolfer, T. A. Understanding Learning Outcomes in a Social Work Case Method Course: Graduate Student Perspectives. North American Case Research Association (NACRA) North Falmouth, Massachusetts USA. October 27-29, 2005
  • Miller-Cribbs, J. Farber, N. & Reitmeier, M.C. Kin Networks in the South: A Comparison of Low- Income, Rural African American and White Women. Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting New York, New York USA February 26- March 1st, 2005


Selected Publications

  • Reitmeier, M.C. (2010). Summated Scale Construction: Development of the Inventory of Professional Competencies. Dissertation. University of South Carolina.
  • Farber, N.; Miller-Cribbs, J. & Reitmeier, M.C. (December, 2005). Kin Networks in the South: A Comparison of Low- Income, Rural African American and White Women Rural Social Work Journal.
  • Reitmeier, M. C. & Wolfer, T. A. (2005) Larry Steele’s Group [decision case]. In T.A. Wolfer & T.L. Scales (Eds), Decision cases for advanced social work practice: Thinking like a social worker. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Thomson Learning.


Honors and Awards


    • 2007 Raymond Award, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.

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