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. We've also partnered with Psychology to offer a microcredential in Trauma-Informed Care. Click below to learn more!

BSW Dual Degree

Master of Social Work

Trauma-Informed Care Microcredential

Fall Ethics Social Work Conference

Lifestyle Medicine for Social Workers: Interventions for Self-care and for Client Empowerment
Oct. 14, 2022
via Webex

Social work professionals would benefit by including this knowledge in their frameworks for practice and for their own self-care. Client-centered and strength-based, LM offers an empowering approach for clients to make changes in their health and well-being. This workshop will explicate the principles of LM, and offer case examples. Tools and references for further study will be provided. Maximum 3.0 CEU credits available.

Register Online

Read complete details about the conference

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.


Kristi Law, PhD, Assoc. Professor and BSW Director; Director of SAU School of Social Work

Johny Augustine, PhD, Professor
Kyle Bennett, PhD, Asst. Professor
Jennifer Boedeker, MSW, Director of Field Education and Clinical Asst. Professor
Lisa Fortner, Online Program Coordinator 
Jennifer Green, Administrative Assistant
Kathryn Lally, Clinical Instructor
Chris Martin, PhD, Assoc. Professor and MSW Director
Andrew Repp, PhD, Asst. Professor

Professors Emeriti
Pamela Long, ACSW, LISW, LCSW, Professor Emerita
Michael Jerin, PhD, Professor Emeritus
Michael O'Melia, MSW, Professor Emeritus

Adjunct Instructors
Kayla Behrens, LMSW, Case Management-Social Worker, Unity Point
Tesha Dobling, LMSW, Linn County Mental Health/Development Disability Central Point Coordination
Chelsey Haley, LMSW, BSBA, Black Hawk Area Special Education District
Lauren Gil Hayes, LMSW, Director of Supportive Services, The Project of the Quad Cities
Breann Hirst, LMSW, Family Therapist, Youth Service Bureau
Anne M. McNelis, LCSW, Director of Clinical Services, Transitions Mental Health Services
Angela Moody, MSW, Retired CEO, Arrowhead Youth and Family Services
Melanie Rice, MSW, School Social Worker, Geneseo Community School District #228
Nicholas Swanson, LMSW, School Social Worker, Mississippi Bend AEA

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


Kristi Law, PhD, Director

Ambrose Hall 216
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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.