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More than 140 students honored with informal virtual graduation celebration

Faculty, staff, parents and other loved ones celebrated the accomplishments of the School's MSW and Ph.D. graduates in a virtual ceremony on May 9. A commemorative video with well wishes from faculty, staff and students was presented during the online celebration. The School hopes to award these degrees formally during a commencement ceremony later in 2020, after restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted.


What's new
Four earn doctoral degrees at SSW in 2020
The new graduates are Erum Agha, Joseph Frey, Sarah Rabiner and Joy Stewart.

LB Klein receives "Outstanding Doctoral Student 2020" award
Fourth year doctoral candidate praised as an especially promising new scholar.

Graduate School recognizes student accomplishments
Nine students were honored for receiving both university and external awards.

Join us on June 16 to celebrate GiveUNC!
This is a special opportunity to support our doctoral program and its students. Throughout the day, you'll learn more about the stories and accomplishments of our Ph.D. students and alumni. Look for more details soon!
SSW, UNC, and Robeson County partners honored
A project, led by a partnership of residents in Robeson County and faculty and students at UNC-Chapel Hill, received the Office of the Provost Public Service Award for Engaged Scholarship.

Albritton selected for prestigious management training program
The training program within the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education focuses on forward-thinking leadership.

FCRP shifts child welfare workforce training to online
The agency helped to create virtual training options for about 1,000 DSS employees across the state — all within the span of two weeks.

School helps launch virtual services for oral medicine 
The services ensure that patients with complex oral problems have access to a doctor and a social worker who can provide a holistic approach to care.

School to host virtual summer information sessions
These sessions give interested MSW applicants a chance to meet faculty, staff and students and to learn more about our curriculum, field education program, and more!

Faculty and student recognition
Assistant professor Lisa de Saxe Zerden and Brianna Lombardi, Ph.D. '18, are guests editors for an upcoming special issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Social Work in Health Care. The issue, which is accepting submissions until Oct. 15, will focus on "Social Work Practice in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges and Innovations."

Ph.D. student Annie Francis, clinical assistant professor Sharon Holmes Thomas, research professor Kirsten Kainz, and associate professor Amy Blank Wilson recently authored the article, "Holistic admissions and racial diversity: A systematic review with implications for social work doctoral education." The article has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Social Work Education.

Professor Kim Strom delivered virtual lectures and workshops last month to nearly 50 students enrolled in the module “Social justice and inclusion” at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty for Social Work in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  Strom, who has served as a visiting professor at the school for several years, taught two courses: “Social justice and advocacy,” and “Ethical dilemmas in social work - an international perspective.” Due to the global pandemic, Strom was unable to travel this year to deliver the workshops in person. She also currently serves as the director of the Office of Ethics Education and Policy Management at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Clinical assistant professor Theresa Palmer is among the faculty leading webinars and other trainings this summer on technology-based clinical supervision. In addition to teaching a session through the School's Behavioral Health Springboard, Palmer presented a virtual session as part of the N.C. Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers annual Clinical Supervision Certificate Training.
Why giving matters
Daniel Gibbs, Ph.D. student

"As a former practicing attorney who advocated for the best interests of children, I often saw that the decisions to investigate maltreatment, remove children, and provide services to disadvantaged families were informed by personal and institutional biases rather than by the best available practice evidence. As a result, families in poverty were regularly targeted, while the system that was supposed to assist them lacked the capacity to respond effectively to the most severe cases of trauma, violence, and mental illness. By developing my research skills, I hope to further the field’s understanding about how such decisions are made and to establish evidence for innovative practices that might improve their accuracy and fairness."
In the news
Clinical associate professor Sarah Verbiest was interviewed by WBTV in Charlotte for the online article, "Rethinking relationships in isolation: Support for new parents." Verbiest also serves as director of the UNC Jordan Institute for Families.

Associate professor Paul Lanier was featured in the EducationNC online news article, "Home visiting without home visiting: Programs adapt and support families - but with limited reach."

The School of Social Work was mentioned in the Innovate Carolina article, "New grad certificate preps students to innovate for public good."

Recent alumni update
Sydney Batch, MSW/JD '06, was recently interviewed by NC Policy Watch on COVID-19 relief efforts and the need to expand Medicaid. Rep. Batch is an elected member of the North Carolina House of Representatives District 37. She also serves as a family law attorney and child welfare advocate in Wake County.

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