School of Social Work

If you want to spark change in individuals, families, communities, and organizations, we'll give you the skills to be an effective advocate and facilitate goals for your clients.

The School of Social Work at St. Ambrose University offers a BSW Dual Degree, an MSW, and the only MSW-MBA program in Iowa. Click below to learn more!

BSW Dual Degree

Master of Social Work

MSW-MBA Fact Sheet (pdf)

Join Us For These October Events

Oct. 5 – Baked Into the Cake: Race and Policy in the U.S.

Oct. 26 – Black Lives Matter: A Social Work Ethic

Ambrose Advantages

  • Focus on Empowerment, Social Justice, and Advocacy
  • Skills to Work With Individuals, Families, Communities & Organizations
  • 400+ Agencies For Field Placement

Photo of a MSW student in class

Professor Kristi Law

Photo of MSW student in class

The Empowerment Method

Focusing on achieving goals and changing systems

In the past 20 years, we've educated more than 500 students in the Empowerment Method who are now actively helping individuals, families, communities, and society.

Learn More About Our School of Social Work

Empowerment Focus & Specialization

The empowerment method focuses on achieving goals and changing systems by using available strengths, resilience, and resources. By focusing on competence rather than deficits in individual or social functioning, the empowerment model supports resourcefulness and the development of skills to remove social barriers for individuals and communities.

SAU established the first Master of Social Work (MSW) program with an empowerment specialization in the U.S., and in the past 20 years, we've educated more than 500 students who are now actively helping individuals, families, communities, and society. 

We want our undergraduate students to have a similar impact, so we designed a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program that teaches generalist social work practice skills through an empowerment lens.

Visit the Empowerment page to learn more

Let our students tell you more about the Empowerment Method. Watch this video.


Katie Van Blair, PhD, Professor and Director of the SAU School of Social Work

Johny Augustine, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Jennifer Boedeker, MSW, Director of Field Education and Clinical Instructor
Jacquelyn Boyd, Administrative Assistant
Christie Kostichek, Administrative Assistant
Roxanne Freeman, Administrative Assistant
Kristi Law, PhD, Assoc. Professor, BSW Director
Pam Long, MS, Asst. Professor
Chris Martin, PhD, Asst. Professor
Hunhui Oh, PhD, Asst. Professor
John Thompson, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Michael O'Melia, MSW, Professor Emeritus

Adjunct Instructors
Anne M. McNelis, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services, Transitions Mental Health Services
Nicholas Swanson, LMSW, School Social Worker, Mississippi Bend AEA
Tesha Dobling, LMSW, Linn County Mental Health/Development Disability Central Point Coordination
Gary E. Weinstein, LCSW, CEO, Transitions Mental Health Services
Angela Moody, MSW, Retired CEO, Arrowhead Youth and Family Services
Kayla Behrens, LMSW, Case Management - Social Worker, Unity Point
Kirsten Hampton, MSW

Lupe Nache Vital mobile cutout image Lupe Nache Vital Cutout Image

Lupe Nache Vital

B.A. in Social Work and Spanish,Class of 2021

Social justice is tied to action, and our BSW students experience learning. Lupe will spend 400 hours on-site at community agencies and organizations, working with, and advocating for, clients. It is an experience that will elevate her confidence and amplify the impact she makes in the world.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info


Katherine Van Blair, PhD, Director and Professor

Master of Social Work
North Davenport Education Center
1950 E. 54th St.
Davenport, IA 52807

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.