News from the UGA School of Social Work
November 2016

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Happy Thanksgiving!

The past month has been a tumultuous one. The recent election revealed to us a nation deeply divided and even more fractured than we suspected. Anger and protests are prevalent, and the ability to engage in meaningful dialogue without rage seems nearly gone. Times like this can seem overwhelming.

However, even though these are difficult times, I take great solace in our profession, and find myself feeling real gratitude to the field of social work and social workers. Now is the time for social workers to truly step forward. Our mission is to promote wellbeing and social justice. Our skills include the advocacy and policy tools needed to foster justice and protect vulnerable populations, as well as the interpersonal skills that nurture deep dialogue, mutual respect and understanding, and the profound healing that our country so urgently needs.

So as we approach Thanksgiving I am thinking about all the things related to social work, particularly the School of Social Work, that make me grateful and thankful. I am thankful for:

  • Amazing students who come to the School to dedicate their careers to promoting health, wellbeing, and justice in our communities and our world. Scroll down this page to learn more about some of our amazing students.
  • Dedicated instructors who work hard every day to facilitate students’ growth, insight, and skills through innovative programs like the Athens Wellbeing Project.
  • Brilliant researchers who are tackling the toughest and most relevant problems we face—poverty, trauma, disparities, racism, addiction—and are receiving national recognition, as did Assistant Professor Rebecca Matthew at this year’s Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting.
  • Alumni and practitioners who mentor our students and partner with us to work to improve our communities through innovate and creative service provision in agencies such as Shelly Hutchinson’s Social Empowerment Center.
  • Being part of a profession that can create a space, albeit sometimes a difficult one, for the challenging dialogues we need to have about race and class and gender and sexual orientation and sexual identity and ethnicity and religious beliefs and all their intersections.

In addition to all this, as a new dean, I am very grateful to each one of you for your welcome and support during my first semester. I am particularly thankful for the generous support that you have shown to our students, to help reduce their academic debt and ensure their basic needs are met. Should you wish to make an end-of-year contribution to help support our students, you can do so here.

I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a joyous new year. I look forward to all the partnerships and collaborations we’ll build together in 2017 to promote wellbeing and social justice.




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