School of Social Work celebrates 30th year

<p>Many folks may not know it, but the ASU School of Social Work Tucson Component has been addressing Arizona’s high demand for professional social workers for three decades from a base in Tucson.</p><separator></separator><p>Most residents of southern Arizona are surprised when they hear that ASU enrolls more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students – and confers 70 to 80 degrees annually – in the shadow of the city’s hometown university.</p><separator></separator><p>More than 100 of the program’s nearly 1,000 alumni who live or work in Tucson and Arizona’s borderlands joined community members, faculty and students at a celebratory reception Oct. 17 at the Hilton Tucson East to commemorate this anniversary. The invitation-only event included a proclamation by Tucson’s mayor, Robert Walkup, naming the week of Oct. 15-19 in honor of ASU’s presence in Tucson, and it also featured the Arizona Board of Regents’ president, Fred Boice, the National Association of Social Workers Arizona Chapter’s president, Patricia Dorgan, and other university and public officials.</p><separator></separator><p>Social work graduates spanning 30 years – and representing human and social service organizations such as United Way, CODAC Behavioral Health Services, University Medical Center and the Pascua Yaqui Reservation – were on hand to mark the occasion.</p><separator></separator><p>The Tucson Component is an extension of the ASU School of Social Work at the Downtown Phoenix campus, in the College of Public Programs, yet its history and evolution are Tucson-esque. The program emerged from grassroots collaborations among dedicated faculty, determined students, supportive community partners and partnerships with the regional higher education community.</p><separator></separator><p>Ann W. Nichols, coordinator of the Tucson Component and a professor of social work, was the lone faculty member teaching classes in Tucson in the late 1970s. Her efforts, a supportive dean and a federal manpower training grant were the impetus for the launch of a master’s degree in social work program that formed the basis for the Tucson Component.</p><separator></separator><p>“Through the years, our Tucson program has provided the region with dedicated professional social workers and the community, in turn, has nurtured this ASU effort,” says Debra Friedman, dean of the ASU College of Public Programs. “The University of Arizona and Pima Community</p><separator></separator><p>College also have to be commended for their ongoing support of this vital undertaking for work force and community development.”</p><separator></separator><p>Child welfare training, gerontology, cultural competencies, indigenous social services and spirituality in social work are a few of the specialty areas that have emerged among the six faculty members and helped characterize the academic core. The permanent faculty and academic professionals, in addition to Nichols, include Craig LeCroy, Ann E. MacEachron, Juan J. Paz Jr., Josefina Ahumada and Teri Knutson Kennedy.</p><separator></separator><p>The program, located in the Tortolita Building on North Commerce Park Loop, and its Child Welfare Training Unit in southern Tucson, continue to thrive with support from the surrounding community and its graduates. More than 250 professionals across southern Arizona either play host to field placements for social work students or serve the school as adjunct faculty.</p><separator></separator><p>“When our School of Social Work earned the 2006 National Excellence Award from the American Public Human Services Association, I knew that a significant portion of our success was due to the accomplishments of the Tucson Component faculty and staff,” notes Mary Rogers Gillmore, director of the ASU School of Social Work.</p>