School of Social Work History
UNC Charlotte School of Social Work began as a Social Service Work concentration in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Arts & Sciences.
An interest in social work grew, leading to the establishment of a social work major (Bachelor of Social Work) in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work.
Dr. Jim Dudley was hired as the first Program Director for the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program. The BSW program started with 17 students and by the end of the year, enrollment doubled to 35 students. A group of 12 commitment professionals who supported the department and community formed the Social Work Advisory Community Advisory Board (CAB).
The BSW program became fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and was celebrated by a reception at the Nation’s Bank now known as Bank of America. More than 50 students were enrolled in the BSW Upper Division program, with five full-time faculty and a full-time secretary.
The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is established.
The MSW program graduated its first class with 22 students. The Department of Social Work with its BSW and MSW programs became a separate unit and joined the new College of Health and Human Services. The Department of Social Work began participating in the North Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative (CWEC). The program was established in 1999 to improve public child welfare services in North Carolina.
The MSW program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The MSW program admits the first group of Advanced Standing students. The Advanced Standing plan of study allowed for students with a BSW to obtain their MSW in one calendar year.
The U.S. News and World Report ranked UNC Charlotte’s MSW Program as 82nd in the country. The Department of Social Work was reaffirmed for Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation for eight years.
UNC Charlotte Department of Social Work was approved by the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees to be a School of Social Work.
A new part time, three year MSW program was announced. The new plan of study allowed students to take the same curriculum offered in the full time, two year MSW program, but over the course of three years.
The first cohort of the new three year MSW plan of study began classes in the summer. The School of Social Work and the Department of Special Education & Child Development announced the approval of a joint graduate certificate program in Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH). The Commission of Accreditation for Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) determined that the BSW and MSW programs reaffirmed accreditation for 8 years. The School of Social Work was awarded a $2 million federal grant to provide scholarships for graduate students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds who are preparing for careers in behavioral health care. The Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students award from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) allowed the School of Social Work to support its mission to meet demands for a diverse workforce. This scholarship funded graduate students from 2016-2020.
The U.S News and World Report ranked the MSW program as 58th nationally, jumping 24 spots since 2008. The School of Social Work received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand integrated care practices across the Charlotte region. The Charlotte Regional Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars (CRIBHS) program was launched through this grant funding awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The program funded graduate students interested in behavioral health from 2017-2021.
The 2018-2019 U.S. News and World Report ranked the MSW program in the top 25 percent of all graduate social work programs nationally. The MSW program is tied for 54th, improving four places from the previous year. The Race and Social Equity (RASE) Academy was established to foster the scholarship of practice and research focused on advancing racial and social parities within the community. The RASE Academy holds an annual forum to bring together thought leaders in the community representing a variety of perspectives on race and social equity issues.
The first cohort of the 3-Year MSW program graduated with 14 students. The 2019-2020 U.S. News and World Report ranked the MSW program as 51st, improving three places from the previous year and ranking in the top 20 percent of all graduate social work programs nationally.
In 2020, the School of Social Work consisted of 21 full time faculty, 18 part time faculty and 3 administrative staff members. The School of Social Work grew to consist of nearly 460 students in the BSW, MSW (1-Year Advanced Standing, 2-Year, and 3-Year) and Early Childhood Mental Health graduate certificate combined.
The School of Social Work received approval from CSWE for the 3-year MSW program to be a fully online program starting in May 2021. The BSW program was approved for growth from nearly 60 to 90 students starting the first year of Upper Division. Due to increased growth in the BSW and MSW program, the School of Social Work was able to hire additional faculty and staff to support students in the classroom and in the Practicum Office. Additionally, renewed funding was received for the Integrated Behavioral Health Program (HRSA BHWET Grant)! The focus of the grant for the next four years is on high need children, adolescents, and transitional aged youth. The School also welcomed Beth Wahler, PhD, MSW on September 1st, 2021 as Director of the School of Social Work.
The School of Social Work added an Advanced Standing Distance Education MSW plan of study for students with a BSW who prefer to do an online program. The School now offers two traditional program options (1-year Advanced Standing and 2-year) and two Distance Education program options (2-year Advanced Standing and 3-year). The BSW program maintained its growth of over 90 students in the cohort starting their first year of Upper Division. Due to this maintained growth, the School was able to make a temporary faculty position permanent. The Practicum Office now has partnerships with over 275 agencies.