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About the School of Social Work

The School of Social Work offers bachelor of science (B.S.S.W.) in social work and master of social work (M.S.W.) degrees. An undergraduate minor in gerontology is also open to all SU students.

Students learn from coursework in five professional foundation areas: social welfare policy and services, human behavior in the social environment, research, social work practice and field practicum.

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*(Program funding for 2010-2011 dependent upon NYS budget)

Gerontology Education Workshop Attendees

“Eyewitness to History: First-Hand Accounts of Sages of the Profession” Features Dr. Alejandro Garcia

Professor of social work, Dr. Alejandro Garcia, was invited to contribute to the special edition of the publication Advances in Social Work. Entitled “Eyewitness to History: First-Hand Accounts of Sages of the Profession,” this special issue details the heritage of the social work profession and its educational initiatives as seen through the eyes of those who have actually lived and contributed to that heritage. The editorial board felt that the best way to document some of these critical events would be to invite a group of nationally recognized scholars to provide first-person, eyewitness accounts of their observations and direct involvement with the events as they unfolded.

Joshua Berman

Recent Graduate Interns with the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI)

Joshua Berman named 2014 Nathan J. Stark Intern for Non-Profit Development

Josh Berman, a recent graduate of the Bachelor's of Science in Social Work program at Falk College's School of Social Work, has been accepted as the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) 2014 Nathan J. Stark Intern for Non-Profit Development. Josh will be working with the NASI this summer learning how non-profit organizations work, from the board of directors and staff to how they raise funds and achieve their goals. While attending Syracuse University he has spent significant time serving youth populations through internships with Toomey Residential & Community Services and Elmcrest Children’s Center – Casey’s Place. Josh carries a deep commitment to non-profit administration, and while completing a policy minor he developed a passion for income inequality reform and social assistance programs. In the fall, Josh will continue to pursue these interests through the administrative Masters of Social Work program at the University of Pittsburgh. He is excited to join the National Academy of Social Insurance for the summer, and hopes to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively impact people and communities through the work of non-profit organizations.

  • Learn more about the NASI internship programs

  • Gerontology Education Workshop Attendees

    Aging Studies Institute Hosts Gerontology Education Workshop

    The Aging Studies Institute at Syracuse University hosted a Gerontology Education Workshop June 1-5. The workshop included 33.5 contact hours of substantive presentations on a variety of topics related to public policy and aging, preparation for and execution of two group assignments, and professional networking. SU faculty from Falk, Maxwell, and the Law School were on the program along with a keynote address by a colleague from Boston University. According to ASI Center director, Janet Wilmoth, 15 faculty members from other universities from across the U.S., five SU graduate students, one visiting scholar and Falk College Dean, Diane Murphy, attended the event. The event was sponsored by ASI’s Center for Aging and Policy Studies, which has core support from NIA Grant # 1P30AG034464.

    Phi Alpha Honor Society Ceremony

    Social work students inducted into Phi Alpha Honor Society

    On April 14, the School of Social Work held its Phi Alpha Honor Society, Zeta Gamma Chapter, induction ceremony at Maxwell Auditorium. Nineteen undergraduate and 17 graduate social work students joined Phi Alpha this academic year. Professor of practice, Tracey Marchese, was the keynote speaker. Awards were presented by Bette Brown Thoreck, director, Baccalaureate social work program. The concept of a National Social Work Honor Society came from a group of undergraduates at Michigan State University. In November, 1960, a National honor Society Committee was formed and in 1961 the society came into being. The Syracuse University Zeta Gamma Chapter was founded in 1996 as part of the School of Social work’s 40th Year Anniversary Celebration. The charge and purposes of the Phi Alpha Honor Society are:

    1. To recognize and encourage scholastic achievement among the students who are majoring in social work.
    2. To improve and further the goals and objectives of social work by encouraging objectivity and awareness of current developments and practices in the various fields of social work.
    3. To improve and further the goals and objectives of social work by stimulating research in preparation for a career in social work.

    ASI hosted event attendees

    ASI hosts "Changing Face of Aging in New York State"

    The Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute (ASI) hosted, "The Changing Face of Aging in New York State: Education & Networking Opportunities for Students and Practitioners" on April 10. The event included a keynote presentation by Greg Olsen, executive deputy director, New York State Office for the Aging entitled, "New York State of the State in Aging." A panel presentation followed, including panelists Maria Brown, assistant research professor, Aging Studies Institute, Cynthia Stevenson, Caregiver Services, Onondaga County Adult & Long Term Care Services, Gwendalyn Minton, Syracuse VA Medical Center, Amanda Norton, quality improvement consultant, and Chari Mayer, Constituent Services, Representative Dan Maffei, NY-24.

    (photos courtesy of Prof. Alejandro Garcia, School of Social Work).

    A collection of Social Work related images relating to veterans, children and elderly

    March is National Professional Social Work Month

    The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the School of Social Work in the Falk College at SU, began its annual commemoration of National Professional Social Work Month on March 1. The NASW designated March as National Social Work Month in the 1960s to provide recognition and voice for social workers who represent one of the largest professions in the country. SU’s School of Social Work has been recognized nationally for community organization and activism, clinical training in family systems, gerontology, and concentrations in health and occupational social work. SU’s School of Social Work has educated generations of social workers for more than 50 years, offering a bachelor of science in social work and a master of social work. In 2013, it announced the offering of the nation’s first dual master’s degree program in social work and marriage and family therapy.

    As part of National Professional Social Work Month, SU social work students and faculty attended Lobby Day on March 4 in Albany, a collaborative project of NASW and the New York Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. The legislative issue was “Loan Forgiveness.” Later this month, members of the NASW New York State Central Division will sponsor lunch for social work students, which includes a meal of soup and bread to remind students of the profession's history in advocating for the poor.

    Group of Students posing for Mirken NYC Trip

    Mirken gift expands New York City social work immersion program

    For many years, generous support from Mr. Alan B. Mirken has made possible a three-day New York City educational immersion program for students in the Falk College’s School of Social Work. This recent gift from Mr. Mirken will expand programming this year—and in future years—in the annual “Roots of American Social Work” program.

    This unique and innovative three-day educational opportunity brings students face-to-face with sites of significance to the history of social work, giving them a close-up view of contemporary practice. This social welfare history tour to such sites as the NY Tenement Museum helps students to learn how U.S. social welfare developed. The tour includes visits to Mount Sinai Hospital, the Goddard Community Center (which began as one of the first Settlement Houses in NYC), and the Ellis Island Museum, among other opportunities.

    This year’s program will take place April 2-4.

    Keith Alford Portrait

    Alford Featured Columnist on Cultural Diversity

    The Daily Inspiration feature in The Syracuse Post-Standard and its online companion,, presents the expertise of community thought leaders on topics of interest locally for personal reflection and enrichment. In addition to his faculty role in the Falk College’s School of Social Work, Dr. Keith Alford is a member of the InterFaith Works Board of Directors and was the featured author of the Daily Inspiration column for a week in February 2014. The inspirations are connected to Prof. Alford’s research focus, which includes cultural diversity, mental health service delivery, contemporary rites of passage programming, and loss/grief reactions.

    Dean Diane Murphy, William Core, Janet Wilmoth

    "Social Support and Service Provision to Older Adults: Marjorie Cantor’s Legacy to Gerontology” hosted by Aging Studies Institute

    The Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute—the collaborative initiative of the Falk College and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs—held a conference on “Social Support and Service Provision to Older Adults: Marjorie Cantor’s Legacy to Gerontology” in New York City in January. The event recognized the pioneering scholarship of the late Professor Marjorie Cantor that advanced understanding of the lifestyles of older persons, the importance of caregiver support systems, and needs of elders across class and culture.

    The event featured a full-day agenda of aging-related topics and speakers with expertise in those areas, including faculty from the Falk College and Maxwell School and other invited experts. Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services William Corr was the featured speaker. During his address titled “A New Day for Older Americans: Addressing the Needs of Our Aging Population,” he discussed the promise of the Affordable Care Act to meet longstanding needs for our aging population, particularly caregiving and health care disparities among minorities. While the ACA has received plenty of political feedback, Corr said the federal agencies particularly welcome input from scholars that can help expand the health policy community’s knowledge base.

    HRSA-funded field placements

    Unique Opportunity for Advanced Standing MSW students

    The SU School of Social Work is partnering with the Veterans Administration to support four HRSA-funded field placements annually for students committed to working with veterans and their families and participating in consortium program activities.

    Deborah Ducett

    Deborah Ducett named director of field education

    Deborah Ducett joined the Field Office in the School of Social Work in January as the new director of field education. She received her MSW and BSW from Syracuse University. Her clinical, administrative and academic career has included psychotherapy, case management administration, and teaching in the School of Social Work at the University of South Florida (USF), where she also oversaw student placements and served as advisor and liaison to students in their internship settings. She initiated the first part-time MSW program and a BSW program on the Sarasota-Manatee satellite campus of USF. An active member of NASW, she chaired the Manatee County Homeless Coalition and was the driving force behind the initiative to create a one-stop center for homeless adults and children in Manatee County. She has facilitated support groups for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and led a task force that created a buddy system partnership for people living with HIV and AIDS. In addition to her community activism, Deborah is also interested in healthcare literacy, evidence-based practice and patient-centered medical homes. She can be reached at x-5586 and at Her office is located at 300 Sims Hall.

    Social Work Students Explore Corrections System, Mental Health Policies, Services at 15th Annual Stone Legislative Policy Symposium

    Jails and prisons have become the nation’s largest psychiatric institutions, especially for low-income persons and persons of color. The National Sheriffs’ Association reports that in virtually every county across the country, county jails hold more people with severe psychiatric illness than any psychiatric facility in that county. More often than not, these facilities are under-equipped to address mental health and related substance abuse problems.

    The intersection of New York’s state and local corrections systems and mental health policies and services with respect to incarcerated persons who are seriously mentally ill was explored during the Syracuse University School of Social Work’s 15th Annual James L. Stone Legislative Policy Symposium on Monday, October 21. The event, co-sponsored by the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, was organized around the theme, “Criminalizing New York’s Severely Mental Ill: Where is Dorothea Dix When We Need Her?”

    New dual master’s degree program in social work, marriage & family therapy

    The Falk College now offers a dual master’s degree program in social work and marriage & family therapy. This interdisciplinary program allows students to complete the master’s degree in two distinct professions—the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Master of Arts (MA) in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT). The first dual MSW-MFT master’s degree program in the country, it combines the generalist practice orientation of the MSW foundation and the advanced theory, practice and skills content of the MSW curriculum with the intensive relational clinical training of the MFT degree. The dual MSW-MFT degree will allow students to seek licensure in social work and/or marriage and family therapy in any state in the country to assume a very competitive position for employment opportunities. For more information, contact the Falk College Office of Admissions at 443-5555 or

    Welcome to the School of Social Work

    Carrie Jefferson Smith
    Carrie Jefferson Smith, DSW, ACSW serves as the director of the School of Social Work

    Read a Message from the Chair

    Department News

    SWK Newsletter Spring 2013

    Read the latest issue of Field News!

    A publication to keep field instructors informed about events, deadlines and resources.

    View a PDF of the Newsletter >>


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    College Events

    Summer Campus Days

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    Dates: July 25, August 1, 8, 15

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    Coming Back Together

    Syracuse University's African American & Latino alumni reunion.

    Dates: September 18-21

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    Time Of Your Life
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    Family Weekend 2014

    Dates: October 31-Nov. 2

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