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Welcome from the Director of the School of Social Work

March 2017


Greetings from a very busy School of Social Work!

As is always the case in March, the School of Social Work at St. Ambrose is hopping! Students are finishing their program evaluation projects at their field agencies, working on capstone projects, studying for the licensing exam, volunteering for National Alcohol Screening Day, calculating and preparing their SPSS projects, all while juggling the rest of their lives. At this time of year, faculty and staff always marvel at the strength and resilience of our students. We are so proud to be associated with them.

An additional factor this year is the current political climate. Our charge as social workers is to engage with policy as an ethical mandate in order to serve the most vulnerable members of society. Clearly, there is much need to be aware and vocal about proposed bills at every level these days. Policy and political engagement IS social work practice at which an empowerment social worker should be adept. With that in mind, I'm sharing with you an excerpt from a letter that I sent to students after the presidential election in November.

Faculty and staff had a variety of reactions to the news of the election. We processed our feelings and renewed our call to support the mission of the SAU School of Social Work:

To Enrich Lives and Advocate a Just Society

We acknowledged that our call as social workers remains rooted in the core values of the social work profession. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession's history, are the foundation of social work's unique purpose and perspective:

social justice
dignity and worth of the person
importance of human relationships

These core values remain the same no matter what policies are implemented and we have an obligation to uphold them as social workers.

The message is one that seeks to center us as social workers. An engaged citizenry has emerged from the current political context, and social workers are there all around, advocating for all of us.

Please be a part of the change.

Most sincerely,
Katherine Van Blair, PhD, MSW Director of the School of Social Work

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