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School of Social Work Hosts Fall Celebration to Honor Numerous Achievements

Fall Celebration

(Photo: Mary Frances Early, UGA’s first African American graduate, thanked Dean Daniels for highlighting Donald L. Hollowell’s role in the civil rights movement and for moving forward with the School’s newest distinguished professorship, the Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies, which was filled this year by Obie Clayton, Jr.)

Posted Oct. 6, 2011
Reported by Emily Williams

Over 100 faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends joined Dean Maurice C. Daniels at the Taylor-Grady House Sept. 9 for the School’s Fall Celebration to welcome new faculty and staff and to recognize numerous accomplishments from the past year.

Among the signature achievements of the year were the School’s completion of a self-study and a site visit for reaccreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the sole accrediting body of schools of social work in the country; and a new partnership with the College of Public Health to offer a joint degree program combining the master of social work and master of public health degrees. The School also welcomed three new faculty members, including the inaugural Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies and two new staff members at the celebration.

Provost Jere Morehead, who spoke at the event, said he was impressed after his meeting with the CSWE site visit team, noting there were no concerns with the School’s accredited programs. But, he said, the site visit team suggested an improved facility for the School.  Morehead lauded other milestones of the School’s highly successful year including the approval of the MSW/M.P.H. dual degree program by the University Council and the appointment of the Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professor.  He congratulated the dean, faculty, students and other estates of the School.

Associate Professor Brian Bride highlighted the fact that the School was one of the first to go through new accreditation standards set by the CSWE.

“It’s an even more remarkable achievement that we had no concerns coming out of this process given that we were really feeling our way through it,” Bride said. “A large part of our success really had to do with Dean Daniels leadership, vision and persistence in ushering us through that process.”

Dean Daniels recognized Associate Dean Jerome Schiele for his leadership in the reaccreditation self-study process; and, Daniels and Schiele honored Associate Professor Donna Leigh Bliss, Associate Professor Brian Bride, Associate Professor Schnavia Hatcher, Professor Thomas P. Holland, Parham Professor June Gary Hopps, former Field Education Director Bernice Liddie-Hamilton and Professor Betsy Vonk for their leadership in the self-study process and assembling the self-study document.

Mary Frances Early, UGA’s first African American graduate, thanked Dean Daniels for highlighting Donald L. Hollowell’s role in the civil rights movement and for moving forward with the School’s newest distinguished professorship, the Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies, which was filled this year by Obie Clayton, Jr.

Faculty, staff and friends of the School surprised Daniels with a Champaign toast.

“Good things don’t happen overnight,” Hopps said. “It comes from outstanding leadership, good vision and good foresight; someone with a steady hand to guide us through. Dean Daniels had to carefully move us through many stages. He did it with grace.”

Board of Visitors member Freeman Walker echoed Morehead’s observations regarding a new building and vowed to assist in sending a message to UGA administrators that a new facility is crucial to the continued success of the School.

“Dean Daniels has a world class faculty, this is a world class school of social work and we need a world class building,” Walker said.

Phil Williams, dean of the College of Public Health, expressed his enthusiasm in forging a new partnership with the School of Social Work.

“ [The partnership] is going to lead to us being able to do many more things together not only in terms of the educational side, but I think it’s going to lead to a number of research opportunities, so we are very excited about it,” he said.

Dean Daniels recognized Associate Professor Trisha Reeves, the School of Social Work’s chief liaison with the College of Public Health in developing the dual degree program.

Dean Daniels welcomed new assistant professors Y. Joon Choi, who earned her Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University and Jennifer Elkins, who received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. He also welcomed new staff members, Emily Williams, communications director and Harold Waters, alumni development director.