Department of Social Work

  • Department of Social Work Students and Faculty attend Alabama Arise’s Legislative Day

    As part of this year’s Social Work Month celebration, four BSW students and Dr. Laurel Hitchcock went to Alabama Arise’s Legislative Day on March 19th in Montgomery, AL to learn more about how to advocate for policy change with elected officials.

    As part of this year’s Social Work Month celebration, four BSW students and Dr. Laurel Hitchcock went to Alabama Arise’s Legislative Day on March 19th in Montgomery, AL to learn more about how to advocate for policy change with elected officials.

    [widgetkit id="42" name="SOCIAL WORK - Legislative Day 2019"]

    Read more...
  • UAB celebrates accreditation of innovative Master of Social Work program

    The UAB Department of Social Work has received accreditation for its innovative Master of Social Work program.

    Read more...
  • BSW mentor program launches

    The first mentor group includes four students paired with four mentors.

    With the help of Grace Dugger, our Social Work Alumni Society President, we launched our Bachelor of Social Work mentor program.

    Our first cohort includes four mentees and four mentors! Three of the students and two of the mentors were able to come to the first meeting. We had a great time meeting each other while sharing a meal.

    We are very excited to have mentor program and offer our students an opportunity to learn and grow beyond classroom setting.

    Read more...
  • Spreading hope of a future is the catalyst for one UAB graduate student’s success

    One university changing the world: Caroline Richey receives scholarship in honor of serving others.

    Read more...
  • Christmas gifts for AIDS Alabama child

    The Student Social Work Organization sponsored a 10-year-old girl who loves Disney princesses.

    This year the Student Social Work Organization sponsored a 10-year-old girl who loves Disney princesses for Christmas through AIDS Alabama. She asked for nail kits, Disney lip gloss kit, Auburn twin bedding, a Visa gift card, and hair products (headbands, bows, and more). SSWO and faculty were able to collect everything she asked for and much more!

    The department thank everyone who participated for their support in making this girl's holiday bright and filled with joy and blessing.

    Read more...
  • Common threads: The value of interdisciplinary partnerships

    Our university enables faculty to make connections across various disciplines, schools, and centers, and being a part of the College of Arts and Sciences provides my colleagues and me with a broad platform to support this kind of effective interdisciplinary work.

    Our university enables faculty to make connections across various disciplines, schools, and centers, and being a part of the College of Arts and Sciences provides my colleagues and me with a broad platform to support this kind of effective interdisciplinary work. Even in the short time I've been at UAB, I have developed three interdisciplinary courses that have service learning goals and ongoing research endeavors.

    By working with willing faculty members from the Departments of History and Art and Art History, we developed a "Birmingham Neighborhood Studies" course that involves student examination of four specific Birmingham Neighborhoods from a historical perspective, a contemporary perspective, and an artistic perspective. In that course, students complete a project-based final portfolio. Their projects range from architectural histories of places to walking tours of women buried in Oak Hill cemetery.

    This year, in a joint effort between the Departments of Social Work and Criminal Justice, we have enhanced an existing "Community-Based Corrections" course—making it interdisciplinary and including both team-based learning and service learning elements. Students in the course participate in re-entry simulations in which they experience what it is like to be a person returning to the community after a period of incarceration. The U.S. Attorney’s office developed this curriculum and the Department of Social Work has taken a lead role in bringing the simulations to our campus. Last year, we received a Quality Enhancement Plan grant to continue the simulations and to conduct research around their effectiveness. Students also work with women incarcerated at Tutwiler Prison and Birmingham Work Release to produce holiday greeting videos for their families, as well as with Jefferson County Veterans Court to recruit veteran volunteers to support court efforts.

    Last year, I developed a study abroad course that examines women’s rights and health in Kenya. This year, the social work course will be team-taught with Dr. Tina Kempin-Reuter, director of the UAB Institute for Human Rights, and will involve international service learning in which students create health-based lesson plans and assemble reusable feminine hygiene supplies that they deliver in rural Kenya. Since last year’s successful trip with 12 students, we have written a grant to support the continuation of the women’s hygiene project and the addition of a micro-business sewing initiative. All of these efforts will be evaluated through community partners in Kenya.

    The common thread through all of these courses are that they all involve social work principles that advance human rights as well as social, economic, and environmental justice. And they are all led by female faculty and directors from across the College.

    As service learning is considered a high-impact learning tool, these courses are expected to strengthen student learning and engagement in multiple ways outside of the course content. And just as women are leading the efforts to craft these high-impact courses, women are benefitting from them as participants—as student and as community collaborators.

    Read more...
  • A servant's heart: Social Work alumna Jeanne Welch gives back to UAB

    Jeanne Welch never really saw herself as college material. But a desire to help others, and an interest in mental health technology, helped her find her way to UAB.

    Jeanne Welch never really saw herself as college material.

    Growing up in an Air Force family, she moved a lot growing up. While she learned to be outgoing and adaptable, she never expected to go to college. But a desire to help others, and an interest in mental health technology, helped her find her way to UAB.

    WORK FIRST, THEN SCHOOL

    After graduating from high school, Welch first pursued a general studies degree and completed a year of coursework at a community college. Then she completed some additional mental health training, always with the drive to serve those in need. ”I was interested in helping people achieve their life goals,” she says.

    She was hired as a houseparent with what was then UAB's transitional home for individuals leaving state mental hospitals, a job she says was a good fit.” I was working in my area of interest and my area of education,” she says. ”But I still wasn't thinking about college.”

    But a conversation with a work acquaintance changed her thinking and helped her connect the dots. ”She was a Bachelor of Social Work student at UAB, and she pointed out to me that what I was already doing in my job was social work,” Welch says. ”So I decided to learn more about the program and see if I could strengthen my education and training.”

    A CRITICAL CONVERSATION

    Welch made an appointment with Dr. Norman Eggleston, then-chair of the Department of Social Work, and his advice proved to be transformative.

    ”Originally my idea was a two-year degree,” Welch says, ”but Dr. Eggleston convinced me that a four-year degree would give me more independence and flexibility.”

    Welch had a firm timeline in mind: She had to graduate in the spring of 1980 while still working fulltime. But with the help of Dr. Eggleston and Welch's faculty advisor Dr. Gail Wykle, she was able to find a way. ”I mapped out the whole plan based on what classes were taught in the daytime or at night,” she says.

    With a plan in place and a deadline looming, Welch jumped into her classes with energy and enthusiasm. ”Being able to stop by and meet with faculty after classes was so helpful,” Welch says. ”The investment they made in me was significant and meaningful; they would ask me how things were going, and they wanted to know not just in my classes, but in my job, too.”

    "Knowing that you know how to help someone and how to provide services to them is so rewarding."

    NEXT STEPS

    With Dr. Eggleston's encouragement, Welch once again expanded her educational expectations and decided to apply for graduate school. ”I thought I was done at the four-year degree, but Dr. Eggleston started planting seeds that I could and should continue my education and training,” she says. ”I still have the recommendation letters from Dr. Eggleston, Tom Kemp, and Gail Wykle. They could see the potential in me, even when I didn't see it in myself.”

    With the department fully behind her, Welch applied and was accepted to the graduate social work program at Virginia Commonwealth University. ”It was a one-year advanced-standing program,” she says. ”Most students had to have good grades and work experience. But when I graduated with my BSW, I couldn't [walk at commencement] because I had less than 24 hours to get to graduate school!”

    A MEANINGFUL CAREER

    After graduating in June 1981, Welch started her first job as a social worker. After a year working with developmentally disabled adults, she landed at one of Virginia's Community Services Boards, which provides community mental health therapy to outpatients. ”That was the beginning of a 15-year career with the Service Boards,” Welch says. ”As a licensed clinical social worker, I gained both clinical and administrative experience as we counseled patients dealing with depression, sexual abuse, relationship problems, and more.”

    She admits that while her role was often emotionally and psychologically challenging, she was able to stave off burnout by relying on her training and focusing on the positive outcomes. ”Knowing that you know how to help someone and how to provide services to them is so rewarding,” she says. ”And seeing them progress as a result of your help is so gratifying and satisfying. You know you're making a difference.

    ”You have to know which challenges are worth investing in and which ones to leave alone,” she adds. ”You have to know what you can control. You can focus on what's tough, or you can decide to go into that room with that person and offer the best you have, knowing that this will pass. And it always did.”

    Welch, who just recently retired, spent the last 11 years of her career as a clinical social worker at the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia. ”Being raised in an Air Force family, I knew the sacrifices that the veterans and their families had made. That was something I brought to the table. Veterans like being treated by people who can relate to them—they like that feeling of kinship. I felt like my life had come full circle.”

    MAKE A PLANNED GIFT

    Jeanne Welch and Jay Rule endowed their scholarship by way of a planned gift—a very flexible and popular choice for donors. There are many ways to make a planned gift, including legacy gifts (wills, trusts, real estate, and more); gifts that generate income (charitable gift annuities); stock transfers; and other options. To learn more about how you can contribute from your estate, contact:


    Kimberley S. Coppock, J.D.

    Director of Development
    Office of Planned Giving
    kcoppock@uab.edu
    (205) 975-5970

    STILL HELPING OTHERS

    Welch found herself thinking of UAB and Dr. Eggleston when she and her husband Jay Rule, a mechanical engineer, were preparing a will several years ago. ”We were thinking a lot about what has impacted our lives the most, and how to give back. And I immediately thought of UAB.”

    Welch says that her connection to Dr. Eggleston went beyond his academic and professional advice. ”He was the only person I knew in Birmingham who was from Virginia, like I was,” she says. ”And as I learned a little about his life history—how he was raised in foster care and how social workers had such a positive impact on him—it motivated me to continue my social work training.

    ”Dr. Eggleston told me I could achieve anything I put my mind to,” she continues. ”I didn't enroll at UAB with that in my mind, but that gave me that confidence. So when Jay and I were ready to make a gift—and I couldn't do any of this without Jay—I had the opportunity to finish funding the scholarship that had already been established in Dr. Eggleston's name.”

    Welch says in hindsight, she can see how events worked in her favor. “If I hadn't met the social work student, I would've never considered a social work degree,” she says. ”If I hadn't met Dr. Eggleston, I wouldn't have pursued my undergraduate and graduate degrees. And if not for those conversations, I wouldn't be in a position to give back today. I also received some financial assistance when I was a student. I want to do what I can to help today's students discover their own untapped, unrealized potential.”

    Read more...
  • Health and Hygiene Drive

    The Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) hosted a health and hygiene supplies drive.

    The Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) hosted a health and hygiene supplies drive for a non-profit organization run by our own MSW (former BSW) student, Caroline Richey.

    SSWO collected bars of soap, toothpastes, toothbrushes, rolled gauze, Neosporin, deodorants, medical tapes, and more for DominicanKids.

    Read more...
  • Homecoming 2018

    The Student Social Work Organization participated in the 2018 Homecoming Parade.

    Go Blazers! The Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) participated in the 2018 Homecoming Parade. Thank you, Joshua, Rebecca, Carly, Ms. Melton, and other SSWO members for being part of this exciting event!

    [widgetkit id="37" name="SOCIAL WORK Homecoming 2018"]

    Read more...
  • Laurel Hitchcock receives Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Service Learning

    The 2018 Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Service Learning goes to Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work.

    The 2018 Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Service Learning goes to Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work.

    Dr. Hitchcock deservedly receives this award for:

    • She has worked to incorporate service learning activities for the online and face to face courses in her area to enrich the experience of her social work students.
    • She organizes activities within the service learning opportunities to help her students reach out to the community and to help her students experience authentic social work challenges as part of their studies.
    • She also works to assist other faculty in her department to have the same activities and online resources to be successful in their sections as well.
    • She has collaborated with people across campus to gather the most effective resources for her students.

    Read more...
  • Students collect baby items

    SSWO was able to collect a car-seat, a stroller, diapers, wipes, clothes, and other baby goods.

    After thieves stole baby items and other personal items from a new mother, the Student Social Work Organization (SSWO) hosted a successful baby goods drive. The Department of Human Resources client lost all of the baby supplies that she had purchased. SSWO was able to collect a car-seat, a stroller, diapers, wipes, clothes, and other baby goods. It was very encouraging to see so many items collected on such short notice and seeing the impact first hand!

    Read more...
  • Social Work students fundraise for Youth Towers

    Youth Towers organization connects young homeless persons to the resources they so desperately need.

    One of the Social Work foundation courses, SW 222: Social Work Values, allows students to become familiar with working in the field of social work while being as imaginative as they wish. This freedom opened up many doors for students Haylee Frazer, Khawlah Abdein, Claudia Watring, and Lynn Bass. These students decided to organize a fundraiser for Youth Towers where they were fulfilling their service learning hours. Youth Towers organization connects young homeless persons to the resources they so desperately need. Alice Westery is Youth Towers' executive director.

    The fundraiser was put on in the Roots and Revelry parlor. Haylee, Khawlah, Claudia, and Lynn made many phone calls and sent emails to companies asking for sponsorships and donations. They had meetings that lasted hours organizing the event, and spent many hours contacting each other with ideas and updates. As they were doing so, they found each other’s strength: Lynn is more adept in correspondence; Claudia is a professional with proposals and documents; Khawlah contributes engagement and creativity; and Haylee is a strategist in organizing the group relations and the oversight of the event's many parts. These students learned the importance of team work, without which they would not have been nearly as successful.

    The event featured a services booth, which donated services to those who purchased raffle tickets. These services were donated by local entrepreneurs who have businesses in photography, massage, ballroom dancing, art, and cooking. On the terrace attendees could find gospel, rap, spoken word, transgender poetry, grilling, and testimonials from clients who struggled with homelessness before they found Youth Towers.

    Haylee, Khawlah, Claudia, and Lynn are extremely grateful for this experience and proud of the $2,500+ they raised in the process. These students, as a group, went into this project uncertain but optimistic of the change they could make. They kept working toward their goal, and it was a fun and entertaining event which was put on to relieve homelessness.

    Read more...
  • Dione Moultrie King appointed to diversity council

    Dr. Dione Moultrie King was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity.

    Dr. Dione Moultrie King of the UAB Department of Social Work was recently appointed to a three-year term on the Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This council promotes expanding the knowledge base for educators, students, and alumni through education and research about members of historically and emerging underrepresented groups.

    Dr. King is honored to serve the profession and work collaboratively with this council in the challenging times that lie ahead. Dr. King asserts “it is critical that social work educators demonstrate our commitment to social justice, service, dignity, and competence ensuring social work professionals understand these are truly the core values of our profession.”

    Read more...
  • Study abroad in Kenya

    A group of social work students who went to Kenya this spring break for study abroad presented their experiences at UAB's Spring EXPO.

    A group of social work students who went to Kenya this spring break for study abroad presented their experiences at the UAB Undergraduate Spring EXPO on April 13, 2018. Abbie Mescher, Victoria Brake, Gabbie Manly, and Summer Gardner (Social Work undergraduate students) prepared posters and shared what they did with children and local communities.

    A few days later there was a reception celebrating their study abroad experiences in Kenya at the Somalian International House. More posters were presented there to share about their experiences conducting service learning abroad.

    [widgetkit id="32" name="SOCIAL WORK - Kenya 2018"]

    Read more...
  • Social Work Student presents at UAB Spring Expo

    Caroline Wood, a social work honors student, presented a poster on her research project titled "Prevalence and Predictors of Antiretoviral Medication Non-Adherence among HIV/HCV Co-infected Patients in Clinical Care."

    Caroline Wood, a social work honors student, presented a poster on her research project titled "Prevalence and Predictors of Antiretoviral Medication Non-Adherence among HIV/HCV Co-infected Patients in Clinical Care" at UAB's Undergraduate Spring EXPO on April 13, 2018. She presented the findings with Chia-Ying Chiu, an undergraduate student in the Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, and Dr. Omar Sims.

    Download a pdf of the poster

    Read more...
  • Stacy Moak recognized as a Faculty Fellow in Engaged Scholarship

    Dr. Stacy Moak was recognized as a Faculty Fellow in Engaged Scholarship on March 23, 2018.

    Dr. Stacy Moak was recognized as a Faculty Fellow in Engaged Scholarship on March 23, 2018. Dr. Moak's class "Women's Rights and Health in Kenya" helps students make connections between women's health and educational opportunities in a global context. This class was partnered with With My Own 2 Hands in Laguna Beach, California.

    Read more...
  • Social Work Month celebration with students and family

    The UAB Department of Social Work celebrated Social Work Month with students and their families. Grace Dugger, SW Alumni Society President, was the keynote speaker.

    The UAB Department of Social Work celebrated Social Work Month with students and their families on March 28, 2018, at the Hill Student Center Ballroom D. Ms. Grace Dugger, SW Alumni Society President, was the keynote speaker. We recognized Social Work Outstanding student, Eggleston Scholarship awardee, students who went to Kenya, graduating BSW and MSW students, adjunct faculty members, field supervisors, and service learning community partners. Twenty-six students were inducted into Phi Alpha Honors Society along with two honorary members, Dr. David Pollio and Ms. Lisa Higginbotham. HSC Ballroom was filled with about 150 students, family members, and friends.

    [widgetkit id="30" name="SOCIAL WORK - SW Month 2018"]

    Read more...
  • Lecture will explore West African masquerading traditions and hip-hop

    Author John Thabiti Willis will discuss masquerading traditions in the West African town of Otta.

    Read more...
  • BSW students attend the DC Fly-In

    BSW Students Caroline Wood and Melody Higgins, along with Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, attended the University of Alabama's School of Social Work DC Fly-In.

    BSW Students Caroline Wood and Melody Higgins, along with Dr. Laurel Hitchcock, attended the University of Alabama's School of Social Work DC Fly-In, a unique crash course in policy research, strategy, and advocacy. In addition to meeting with Congressional members, students learn from approximately 15 speakers, including experts from policy and advocacy agencies, and train intensively for the presentations they will make. There were 70 participants this year from the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and the Ohio State University. Wood and Higgins advocated for the following bills:

    • HR 1865: Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act
    • HR 2938: The Road to Recovery Act (opioid abuse)

    Says Higgins, "This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to watch the Senate vote to pass HR 1865. Not only is this bill dear to my heart, as I have worked with children who have been trafficked, but I am also impressed with the strides this bill to prosecute those who market victims of online sex trafficking." Along with being a senior social work student, Higgins is a volunteer Foster Care Development Education Coordinator at Blanket Fort Hope, a non-profit agency in Alabama that serves children who have been trafficked.

    “It was an honor to attend this event and to advocate for The Road to Recovery Bill along with other social work students on Capitol Hill”, says Wood. “Not only was the experience educational about how policy works, but I now feel confident in my abilities to advocate for policy change at federal level. I would absolutely recommend this for other social work students who may have the opportunity to attend the DC-Fly In.”

    [widgetkit id="26" name="SOCIAL WORK DC Fly-in 2018"]

    Read more...
  • Second Annual Social Work Career Day hosted on March 1st

    Department of Social Work and the Office of Career & Professional Development joined together to host the Second Annual Social Work Career Day at the Hill Student Center on March 1, 2018.

    Department of Social Work and the Office of Career & Professional Development joined together to host the Second Annual Social Work Career Day at the Hill Student Center on March 1, 2018. It was a very successful event where students learned about various employment and career opportunities that social work offers, to make connections, and to meet their potential field agencies and future employers.

    The event was kicked off by a talk by Ms. Mandy Andrews, Program Manager, from the Alabama Department of Human Resources about career opportunities in her department. Twenty-six agencies with 51 representatives and 91 students participated in and benefited from the event. Some students took advantage of the opportunity to complete job applications to agency representatives before the event was over.

    The agencies represented various areas of social work:

    [widgetkit id="25" name="SOCIAL WORK Career Day 2018"]

    Read more...