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A Decade in Retrospect at the College of Social Work

College of Social Work Atrium

It has been an important decade in the history of the University of Utah College of Social Work.  There were hundreds of notable changes, events, awards, and accomplishments that will shape the future of the College and the profession of social work.  With 2020 on the horizon, we look back at just a handful of the highlights.

BSW students collect food drive donations at a local grocery store

BSW students collected 1,882 pounds of food and $342 for the Utah Food Bank

2010

  • Reiko Hayashi was selected as a Fullbright Scholar and spent the 2010-2011 academic year teaching and researching at the University of Costa Rica School of Social Work
  • The College hosted a conference on the impact of military engagement on individuals, families, and communities
  • In one day, BSW students collected 1,882 pounds of food and $342 for the Utah Food Bank as part of a Bachelor of Social Work Student Association activity
  • Donors D’Arcy Dixon Pignanelli and Frank Pignanelli made a generous gift of property to the Katie L. Dixon Women & Girls Leadership Endowed Fund

2011

  • Marilyn Luptak and Dr. Fran Wilby were selected to serve consecutive 18-month terms as Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chairs while they conducted a three-year joint research project on the needs of community-dwelling older adults and their families
  • The Bachelor of Social Work Program celebrated its 10th anniversary
Spafford Chairs Fran Wilby and Marilyn Luptak with donor
Spafford Chairs Dr. Fran Wilby and Dr. Marilyn Luptak with donor Florence Smith Jacobsen
75th Anniversar Gala Dinner

The 75th anniversary Gala Dinner brought in more than $9,000 in scholarship

2012

  • The College of Social Work celebrated its 75th anniversary with a year of events, culminating in a gala dinner that brought in more than $9,000 in scholarship funds
  • Mary Beth Vogel-Ferguson began collecting 24 months of longitudinal data from 1,075 public benefit recipients, revealing a strong correlation between receiving cash assistance and a history of multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

2013

  • Marilyn Luptak moderated a panel on The New Expectations for Health Care during a White House Briefing in Washington, D.C.
  • The University of Utah awarded Dr. Joanne Yaffe the Linda K. Amos Award for Distinguished Service to Women
  • The Social Research Institute was awarded the Title IV-E Waiver evaluation contract
  • The Master of Social Work Program began offering distance education classes at the St. George University of Utah Graduate Center
  • Dixon Girls Forums, funded by the Katie L. Dixon Women & Girls Leadership Endowed Fund, delivered programming to girls in 15 Utah elementary, middle, and high schools
Marilyn Luptak moderates a panel at the White House

Dr. Marilyn Luptak moderated a panel during a White House Briefing

Case Management Certificate faculty and graduates
Two of the first Case Management Certificate Program graduates with program faculty Dr. Teresa Molina, Dr. Rosey Hunter, and Dr. Aster Tecle

2014

  • The first cohort of 27 Case Management Certificate Program students (representing 14 countries of origin) graduated
  • The Council on Social Work Education awarded Dr. Marilyn Luptak the Distinguished Recent Contributions to Social Work Education Award for her achievements in research and scholarship, pedagogy and curriculum development, and organizational leadership
  • A generous grant established the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Neighbors Helping Neighbors Scholars program
  • The Dixon Girls Forums set a new program record, reaching over 500 Dixon Girls Forum participants
  • Jane Dyer (College of Nursing) and Dr. Aster Tecle were selected to serve consecutive terms as Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chairs while they conducted a three-year joint research project on helping women with refugee backgrounds have healthier pregnancies

2015

  • The Bachelor of Social Work Program launched a new all-online option
  • The Social Research Institute hosted the three-day National Human Services Training Evaluation Symposium
  • The YWCA of Utah awarded Dr. Rosemarie Hunter the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions in the area of community service
  • MSW student Arielle (Spanvill) Ashford traveled to Washington D.C. to share her personal story of addiction, recovery, and advocacy during a special White House meeting
  • Dean Jannah Mather retired after 15 years at the College of Social Work
  • Hank Liese was named the new Dean of the College of Social Work
  • The College launched a new undergraduate certificate in social justice advocacy
NHSTE Symposium
Participants in the National Human Services Training Evaluation Symposium included national and international training evaluators

Dr. Rosey Hunter with family and colleagues at the YWCA of Utah Luncheon
Dr. Rosey Hunter was awarded the the Outstanding Achievement Award by the YWCA of Utah
The first Utah Criminal Justice Conference

The first annual interdisciplinary Utah Criminal Justice Conference

2016

  • The new Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration was launched, under the leadership of Dr. Caren Frost
  • The College hired its first postdoctoral fellows—Rachel Atchley, Adam Hanley, and Allyn Walker
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse – Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Program awarded Dr. Eric Garland $2.8 M for an R01 study—the College of Social Work’s first—to run a randomized controlled trial examining the efficacy of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement as a treatment of chronic pain and opioid misuse
  • The Utah Criminal Justice Center launched its annual interdisciplinary Utah Criminal Justice Conference

2017

  • The new Center on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development was launched, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Garland
  • Dean Hank Liese retired after 24 years at the College of Social Work
  • Martell Teasley was named the new dean of the College of Social Work, the first African American to serve in that role
  • The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute awarded Dr. Eric Garland and his research colleagues a $8.4 M grant for a multi-site randomized controlled trial (at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the University of Utah) comparing two treatment methods for opioid-treated chronic lower back pain
Dean Martell Teasley in the College of Social Work atrium
Dean Martell Teasley
Students and faculty in a conference room, meeting with Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, came to the U to talk with the student leadership of Recover at the U, as well as Dr. Jason Castillo and Dr. Eric Garland

2018

  • The Utah state legislature awarded Recover at the U $100,000 of ongoing funds to support students in recovery
  • The College rose 15 spots in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of graduate social work programs
  • MSW alumnus Raymond Uno received an honorary doctorate, the U’s highest honor, during the U’s Commencement Ceremony
  • Jim Carroll, acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, came to the U to talk with the student leadership of Recover at the U about their experiences and how they’re trying to help other students in recovery
  • MSW student Angela Mesenburg was awarded a Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship

2019

  • PhD candidate Sarah Reese was awarded the prestigious 2019 Society for Social Work and Research Doctoral Fellows Award
  • Eric Garland was appointed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) director to a national multidisciplinary working group for the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative, and was named the College’s Distinguished Endowed Chair in Research
  • MSW alumna Lana Dalton was presented with the 2019 Distinguished Young Alumni Award during the University of Utah’s annual Founders Day celebration
  • Meeyoung Min was hired as the new tenured Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair
  • S. Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz came to Utah to meet with Dr. Matt Davis and his colleagues in the University Neuropsychiatric Institute and Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA) about how they’re helping patients recover from opioid misuse
  • The College of Social Work launched a new online licensure exam prep course, provided free to MSW students
Eric Garland takling during and NIH HEAL Initiative Meeting

Dr. Eric Garland was appointd to the NIH HEAL Initiative working group

Spafford Chair Dr. Meeyoung Min
Belle S. Spafford Endowed Chair Dr. Meeyoung Min
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Last Updated: 1/2/20