School of Social Work posts displayed by tag

Jody Olsen Chosen to Lead Peace Corps

The White House announced Jan. 3 that President Trump will nominate Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW), senior faculty advisor of the Center for Global Education Initiatives, and senior lecturer at the Graduate School, to be director of the Peace Corps. A letter on the White House web page noted that Olsen was deputy and acting director of the Peace Corps from 2001 to 2009.

Olsen began her work at the agency as a volunteer in Tunisia and later became country director in the West African nation of Togo, the regional director for North Africa, the Near East, Asia, and the Pacific, and agency chief of staff.

Between tours of duty with the Peace Corps, Olsen was senior vice president of the Academy of Educational Development (AED), a large nonprofit focused on education and economic development in the United States and 150 countries around the world.

In 2015, UMB named Olsen a Champion of Excellence, honoring her global impact. “Jody Olsen is a tireless champion for developing the campus infrastructure and faculty and student competencies to ensure that we can effectively and safely deliver great global education,” said Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, UMSSW dean. “She is a terrific communicator, relentlessly optimistic and affirming, and exceptionally knowledgeable about all things international.”

A presidential appointment to director of the Peace Corps must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Alex LikowskiCommunity Service, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 5, 20180 comments
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Watch an Outdoor Screening of Documentary ’13th’ on Oct. 13

Students and community members are invited to watch the immensely important documentary, 13th, on Friday, Oct. 13. Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.

The movie will be shown on the green space at the corner of West Baltimore and North Poppleton streets at 7 p.m. The film will be projected with the support of student groups at the School of Social Work, and Shorty’s Bootleg BBQ. Shorty’s also will be providing food. Donations are strongly suggested.

Pack chairs, blankets, and picnic snacks for the viewing.

Contact Maureen Walker at with questions or concerns.

Maureen Walker Bulletin Board, Education, For B'more, University LifeOctober 12, 20171 comment
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Intimate Partner Violence IPE Course

Learning Opportunity: Interprofessional Responses to Intimate Partner Violence

The UMB Community Collaborative on Intimate Partner Violence is sponsoring the one-credit elective course “Interprofessional Responses to Intimate Partner Violence: What We All Need to Know.”

About the Course

This course is comprised of seven consecutive sessions and will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. beginning on Sept. 20 and ending on Nov. 1. Course instructors will include faculty and staff from the schools of social work, law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and nursing.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant societal problem, which has persisted despite efforts to eradicate it using numerous intervention strategies. In this course, the student will be introduced to key concepts, processes, measurements, and related theories across diverse practice settings (i.e. dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work) to be able to effectively address IPV in practice.

We will cover Issues related to those who experience and witness IPV as well as those who perpetrate IPV, including social and cultural factors (e.g., race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status) associated with IPV, including theory practice on intersectionality. The student will explore various strategies established for ending IPV and clinical, policy, and social change interventions from an interprofessional perspective.

Course activities will be designed to help the student think critically and apply understanding of theories from the individual to macro levels of intervention and change across practice settings in social work, law, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and medicine.

Weekly Class Topics

  • Class 1: Definitions, Prevalence and Impact of IPV
  • Class 2: History and Theories of IPV
  • Class 3: Practice: Social Work and Law (Screening for IPV, IPV Programs [crisis, clinical, advocacy], Civil and Criminal Legal Options, Child Welfare Advocates and Victim Advocates, and Safety vs. Autonomy)
  • Class 4: Practice: Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy (How Is IPV Visible in My Practice?, Screening and Brief Interventions in Health Settings, Intimate Partner Sexual Violence, and Reproductive Coercion)
  • Class 5: Policy (Local, State, and Federal Law and Policies, Limitations of Current Practice, Promising Practices, and Reporting Requirements)
  • Class 6: Special Populations/Considerations (Minority, Immigrant, LGTB, HIV, Disabled, and Male Victims, Intersection of IPV and Human Trafficking, and Adolescent Relationship Abuse)
  • Class 7: Where are we now? Where do we need to go? (Best Practices, Intersectionality, Social Justice, and Social Change)


To enroll, contact your school’s registration office. For additional information on the topics covered in this course, contact Lisa Fedina at

Lisa Fedina Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, UMB NewsJune 12, 20170 comments
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Sanctuary School Petition

Student group representatives at the School of Social Work have spearheaded a petition to declare UMB a sanctuary school and provide certain protections to our undocumented peers.

The petition urges the UMB administration to take concrete steps to protect its students, faculty, and staff from mass deportation by responding to the demands therein. Similar policies are being reviewed at many different universities nationwide.

Add your name to the petition on the School of Social Work’s Facebook page.

Bethan McGarry Collaboration, Education, People, University LifeMarch 3, 20170 comments
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Nalini Negi

Three Named SSWR Fellows

Three members of the School of Social Work faculty have been named Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) fellows.


  • Melissa Bellin, MSW, PhD, associate professor
  • Charlotte Bright, MSW, PhD, associate professor
  • Nalini Negi, MSW, PhD, associate professor

SSWR fellows are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable, and just society.

The SSWR fellowship has been established by the society to honor and to recognize current SSWR members for their individual accomplishments, leadership, and contribution to SSWR as a scientific society. It is anticipated that SSWR fellows will serve as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in social work research and will continue to actively advance the mission of SSWR.

Matt Conn Education, On the Move, People, UMB NewsJanuary 18, 20170 comments
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Michael Reisch

Reisch Named Fellow of American Academy for Social Work and Social Welfare

The American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) has selected 15 fellows, including the SSW’s Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social Justice Michael Reisch, for their exemplary accomplishments as scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in high-impact work that advances social good. They were inducted during public ceremonies at the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), Conference, Jan. 13, 2017, in New Orleans, La.

“The fellows of the academy are all strong leaders in integrating scientific methods and social work practice and policy and an enormous resource for the field. I am delighted that 15 more fellows will be inducted as this will significantly strengthen the range and impact of our work to address the grand challenges facing our society.” said AASWSW President Richard Barth, PhD, MSW, dean of the University of Maryland, School of Social Work.

Election into the AASWSW is through a process common to many scholarly academies involving confidential nomination by current fellows and election by a super-majority of fellows. The establishment of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare in 2009 represented an effort by the leading national social work organizations to strengthen the field’s capacity for rigorous analysis that can guide effective human services policies, programs, and practices, is intended to encourage and recognize outstanding research, scholarship, and practice that contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and just future.

The academy aims to influence social policy by serving as a front-line source of information for the social work profession as well as congress and other governmental and nongovernment entities. It promotes the examination of social policy and the application of research to test alternative policies, programs, and practices for their impact on society.

Matt Conn People, UMB NewsJanuary 18, 20170 comments
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CPA’s Fanning Named Employee of Month

The roles were reversed on Nov. 17 at an Employee of the Month event, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, was loving it.

“Who’s flashing?” he asked as photos were being taken. “Me, sorry,” Alex Likowski, director of media relations, said apologetically before a room of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) staff.

“No, keep doing it,” Perman responded with a smile, “because that’s what she does to me.”

Patricia Fanning

Fanning receives award from Dr. Perman

“She” is Patricia Fanning, who as senior media relations specialist in CPA does a lot more than take Perman’s picture at events. UMB’s November Employee of the Month “is the hardest and longest working, most dedicated, and most caring employee any of us in CPA knows,” Likowski said in his nomination.

He spoke of the yeoman effort Fanning made in placing a series of stories involving the Renaissance Academy (RA) and student Khalil Bridges. RA sits in one of the city’s poorest, most violent neighborhoods. Before June, the headlines it earned were roundly tragic. Three of Renaissance’s students were killed during the last year — one of them stabbed in biology class. But RA also is a Promise Heights school, which means members of the School of Social Work (SSW) are in the school every day, lifting graduation rates and spirits.

Fanning’s years of work behind the scenes paid off last summer. The Sun ran “Renaissance Academy High grieves after three killings, still sees hope for future” and then a follow-up story about the aspirations of RA graduates. The Washington Post followed with “Coming of age in a city coming apart,” which also referenced Promise Heights and the SSW. Still not finished, Fanning helped SSW colleagues write letters to the editor that appeared in The Sun and The Post, continuing the momentum.

Then, on June 23, The Post ran “Soar Khalil Soar.” The story, about how Bridges graduated from RA last spring against heartbreaking odds, touched heartstrings and purse strings. Within a week, donations to a college fund set up for Khalil outstripped the $30,000 goal.

Fanning, who worked for The Sun for 23 years before coming to UMB in 2009, said she surmounted various obstacles in placing the RA stories.

“I remember coaxing Khalil, who just days before had turned 18, to speak to a TV crew awaiting an interview. That required impromptu media training, with encouragement from the SSW’s Community Schools coordinator, on a rowhouse stoop across the street from his school. Separately, I persuaded Khalil to retool his letter to Baltimore City Public Schools officials as a letter to the editor, which I placed in The Sun to raise his and UMB’s public profile.”

But doing what’s in her job description isn’t the only thing that makes Fanning stand out to her colleagues. It’s things like at 6:30 p.m. Friday, most of her co-workers long gone, getting ready to transport food that had been refrigerated after a University event earlier in the day to an extended family living nearby. What’s more, it’s her having helped three children in that family enroll in A Bridge to Academic Excellence, a tutoring program based at the School of Pharmacy (SOP). And it’s doing outreach for her Howard County neighbors as well as the West Baltimore neighbors she works with at UMB.

As Laura Kozak, MA, associate vice president in CPA, pointed out at the Employee of the Month ceremony, Fanning works with icepacks on her jaw right after dental surgery and staves off Lyme disease to finish assignments related to SSW and the School of Nursing (her previous beats) and to current duties of UMB community engagement, SOP, and the School of Dentistry.

So sure enough, after the Renaissance Academy series of stories had abated and the TV crews had left, Fanning went a step further. “I have continued to keep up with Khalil,” she says. “I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and made a scrapbook for his mom. Later I found one of my son’s childhood friends in Khalil’s chosen field who is now serving as a mentor.”

As Perman said at the ceremony, where Fanning received a plaque and $250 in her next paycheck, “Your colleagues nominated you because they see that when you do something, you’re all in. It means a lot to them and it means a lot to me because when you do something all in, you’re projecting how wonderful this institution is. You’ve done that over and over again.”

What does the award mean to Fanning?

“It’s a validation of the teamwork and relationships required to accomplish either personal or institutional goals,” she says. “The 2016 Promise Heights coverage actually began in 2014 with The Sun’s ‘Collateral Damage’ series that involved my connecting former colleagues at the paper with people at SSW and with West Baltimore residents whom I had come to know through Project Heights.”

And she’s not done contributing, be it at UMB or in Howard County, where she chairs outreach for her church, helps the homeless, assists Habitat for Humanity-related projects, and volunteers with the Parks Department at GreenFest.

She says it’s her way of saying thanks.

“Years ago after a horrific car accident, my life was spared by first responders and trauma surgeons. I’ve felt compelled to make good use of that gift ever since.”

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeDecember 2, 20161 comment
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School of Medicine

Kate Wasserman Wins ZERO TO THREE Fellowship

Baltimore resident Kate Wasserman, MSW, has been selected for a prestigious 18-month ZERO TO THREE Fellowship.

Founded in 1981, the ZERO TO THREE Fellowship Program brings together multidisciplinary, cross-sector leaders who work across the country and around the world to positively impact the lives of infants and young children through research, practice, advocacy, and policy.

“Kate has an impressive background in mental health treatment for young children and brings a unique perspective to the team,” said Matthew Melmed, ZERO TO THREE executive director. “She will help us transform and advance programs, systems and policies that help give all children a strong start in life.”

Wasserman is lead clinician at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s Center for Infant Study and HealthySteps Site Director. She provides outpatient mental health treatment for young children, infancy through age 6, and their families with emotional and behavioral concerns due to maternal-infant attachment issues, intimate partner violence and other family traumas, and postpartum depression. With HealthySteps, she provides infant mental health services within the Family Medicine program.

Wasserman is also lead trainer for the Race to the Top and Project LAUNCH workforce developmental programs, training primary care providers, mental health consultants, and home visitors on a range of infant mental health competencies, including trauma, early childhood development, attachment, parent-child interaction, and other topics within the field of early childhood mental health. She is also a National Trainer of the Fussy Baby Network.

Wasserman has a master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she focused on maternal and child mental health, and is a licensed mental health provider within the state of Maryland. She previously served as the family support counselor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane Clinic. During her time at Hopkins, Wasserman founded the clinic’s Working Group on Intimate Partner Violence, an interdisciplinary team of staff, residents, and medical students working to promote and improve training around intimate partner violence within the clinic. Additionally, she is a member of the Governor’s Family Violence Council as well as the Mayor’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Committee.

Wasserman is joined by 14 other fellows. This extraordinary group represents 12 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Australia, and Turkey. The fellows reflect the broad diversity of the infant-family field and demonstrate a diversity of fields including infant and early childhood development, infant mental health, early care, education and human services, child maltreatment, psychology, and more.


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit, or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.

Kate Wasserman Global & Community Engagement, On the Move, People, UMB NewsNovember 30, 20160 comments
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Potbelly Fundraiser for Promise Heights

Come support Promise Heights by treating yourself to Potbelly’s! For every purchase made, Promise Heights will receive 25 percent of the donation.

The Promise Heights (PH) Initiative of UMB provides a multitude of services to the Upton/Druid Heights community of West Baltimore to assuage the impacts of socioeconomic inequality. Implemented through a place-based, comprehensive model, PH supplements the neighborhood’s strengths with child, family, and community-building programs facilitated by licensed social workers.

Our young people and families can greatly benefit from monetary donations to help purchase the following items:

  • Notebooks – $3 for 2
  • Backpacks – $12 per backpack
  • Youth Gloves and Scarves – $5 per item
  • Youth Winter Shoes – $25 per pair
  • Youth Winter Coats – $30 per coat
  • Diapers – $15 per pack

Nov. 14, 2016
4 to 7 p.m.

519 W. Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

We look forward to seeing you on Monday! If you can’t make it, please consider donating. If you have questions, please email Anna at

Anna Alikhani Bulletin Board, For B'more, People, UMB NewsNovember 10, 20160 comments
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Oral Care for the Underserved

The local school is more than just a place for educating kids. For many neighborhoods it is a de facto community center, providing social services, food and clothing, and basic health services for both students and families in need where there are no affordable alternatives in place.

At the Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School in West Baltimore, a successful partnership between the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) and School of Dentistry (SOD) has helped bridge the oral education and care gap in a community that has limited options when it comes to dentistry.

“Children have so many needs that dental care often gets swept under the rug,” said Clemencia Vargas, DDS, PhD, associate professor at SOD in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, “We didn’t see any signs of dental treatment on our first visit, and 40 percent of kids had active decay.”

Vargas’ career has included dental practice, research, and teaching in her native Colombia and the United States. Yet some of her greatest satisfaction and pride has come from organizing oral care outreach efforts for underserved schools, including a successful 10-year partnership with Wolfe Street Academy in East Baltimore. Samuel-Coleridge Taylor presented the types of challenges that Vargas has become familiar with in Baltimore City. In an effort to address oral health gaps, Vargas engaged in a collaboration with SSW through the Promise Heights initiative. This is a partnership between UMB and community-based nonprofits and faith-based organizations to improve the educational, social, health, and economic opportunities of children from birth to young adulthood.

In order to effectively implement this program, SSW employs an onsite facilitator at Samuel Coleridge Taylor – Angel Bettleyon, LSW – who serves as a mental health consultant at the DRU Judy Center located at the school, which serves families and children from birth to five years old. Given her first-hand experience working with the school community, Bettleyon is aware of how lack of dental care can have subtle effects on student behavior:

“If you have a terrible toothache, and if you can’t communicate that and nobody’s aware, then it will affect your performance.”

Over the first year, the Promise Heights initiative has made gradual progress in assisting parents to obtain oral care for their children, providing fluoridated toothpaste, toothbrushes, and cavity prevention kits to the students of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor elementary. In a community that’s often been ignored, building trust is an essential first step for families who may be wary of authority figures.

A major part of building trust is generating comfort between the student volunteers of SOD and children and parents. To this end, Promise Heights engaged in a “walking school bus” activity, in which SOD students dressed up in costumes, met with families and children, and walked with them to school. Bettleyon also helped to arrange two breakfasts – one in the spring and fall – between the dental volunteers and the students and parents at the school.

“Through these activities, the dental students are able to meet with the parents and chat with them in a different light, to see the parents as parents,” said Vargas.

In addition to engaging the community through activities like the walking school bus and the monthly breakfasts, SOD volunteers engaged in four screening events over the course of the year to provide oral health education and help parents settle into brushing routines with their kids. They distributed oral health starter kits to parents with children’s pajamas, a new book, a cavity prevention kit under a “Brush, Book, and Bed” initiative to help facilitate and support a consistent bedtime brushing routine.

“If parents are dealing with mental health issues, it impacts the way they respond to their children’s needs; and for others, it’s a lack of understanding or prioritizing other needs over a consistent routine,” said Bettleyon. “So many of these families were very thankful for the dental kits because it’s something they may not have been able to buy on their own, especially with their resources already being stretched so thin.”

Through the first year, the program has experienced progress: the number of signed consent forms has increased, and attendance has continued to rise at each of the educational events for parents held during the school year. As a result of this progress, Promise Heights received a second-year grant of $27,000 from the Thomas Wilson Sanitarium for Children of Baltimore City to continue provide education and screening services under the “No Cavities Here!” initiative.

Vargas credits the strong, steady leadership of the school for creating the type of environment that allowed “No Cavities Here!” to continue past its first year. For underserved schools, consistent leadership is often the difference between a successful intervention and a failed one, and Vargas credits Bettleyon, and Promise Heights in particular, for helping the program flourish.

“Angel Bettleyon is a fundamental piece. If we didn’t have her, we wouldn’t be able to work there,” Vargas said, “Promise Heights makes it easy, they have the connection with the community, they have the presence, and they are very pleased with the program. This program is succeeding because of how all of these have come together.”

Scott HeselABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB NewsAugust 12, 20160 comments
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Promise Heights Requests in Promise Heights

Two teachers, from Furman L. Templeton Academy in Promise Heights – a School of Social Work program in West Baltimore – have requested help for their classrooms from and are seeking contributions to make their classroom dreams come true.

Ms. Woods wants to bring math to life for her 4th graders by purchasing some manipulatives for her classroom. Donate to her classroom.

Mrs. Benton wants to buy some iPads with cases and headphones so students can practice their reading, math, and research skills. Donate to her classroom.

These are time-limited requests—if they do not reach their goals by Sept. 12, then they do not receive the materials. The Gates Foundation and other donors often kick in toward the end, if the project appears to be getting close. This is one small way to pitch in to help in West Baltimore.

Matt Conn ABAE, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAJuly 19, 20160 comments
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School of Social Work Flower Exhibit

HS/HSL Gallery Exhibit

The flower images in this exhibit were created by nine artists from UMB’s School of Social Work to celebrate the beauty of life.

According to Julie Gilliam, senior instructional technology specialist at the School of Social Work, “There is a misperception that social workers do not embrace technology. This is simply untrue, social workers adopt technology when it is accessible, efficient, empowering, and portable.”

The artists in this exhibit used technology to demonstrate their idea of blossoming. The artworks were predominately created with smartphones with some using visual textures produced by a mobile application.

The exhibit will be displayed in the HS/HSL Weise Gallery from May 16 through June 17, 2016.

Everly BrownBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, People, Technology, University LifeMay 17, 20160 comments
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Community Action Network

Food Tours Hosted by the Community Action Network

The Community Action Network is holding our annual food tours on April 26. The tours are an opportunity to explore southwest Baltimore, engage in community economic development, and get some free food!

We will meet at School of Social Work courtyard leaving promptly at the designated time. Come hungry! Food will be aplenty! There are 20 spots per food tour, which are first-come, first-served, so please be sure to sign up quickly. We will notify those who have made it into the food tour if the list becomes overbooked.

Join us on April 26 from 4 to 5:45 p.m. to sample food from restaurants in Hollins Market: Mi Ranchito, Primo Chicken, CUPs, and Eddies!


Please email CAN at, if you have any questions or concerns.

Alexandra KochanskiBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, University LifeApril 18, 20160 comments
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Spring Community Festival

2016 West Baltimore Community Festival

Join the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training and the Community Engagement Center for a Spring Community Festival!

Event Details

April 16, 2016, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
University of Maryland BioPark
801 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Festival Features

  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Legal advice for expungements
  • Mindfulness training
  • Health insurance information
  • Dental information and supplies
  • Fluoride treatments, and more

PLUS, for the Kids

Moonbounce, games, Taikwando, Zumba, hula hoop fun, balloon animals, and face painting!


Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. Please contact Ashlie Williams for more information on how you can help.

This event is sponsored by the USGA.

Ashlie WilliamsABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAApril 6, 20160 comments
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School of Social Work

Social Work Grads Exceed National Pass Rates on Licensing Exams

According to the latest results released by the Association for Social Work Boards, in 2014, 88% of UMB SSW‌ graduates taking the LGSW exam for the first time passed. The national average is 82%.

UMB SSW repeat takers passed 42% of the time, versus just 33% nationally, giving the School a combined pass rate of 78%. The national average is 71%. That’s 10% better then the national average.

83% of UMB SSW graduates taking the LCSW-C exam pass on their first attempt. The national average is 78%

Graduates repeating the LCSW-C exam pass 46% of the time compared to a national average of 38%. This gives the UMB SSW a combined pass rate for the LCSW-C exam of 73% compared to a 67% national pass average. That’s also 10% better then the national average.

Matt ConnCommunity Service, Education, People, Research, UMB NewsFebruary 23, 20160 comments
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