Graduation Hindsight

Graduation brings a mixture of grief and excitement. Grief, due to the melancholy realization that the MSW journey has come to an end; being a student is wonderful in so many ways. And excitement, for the next step and for honoring all this hard work(!)

For my last blog, I’d like to share with anyone who may read, things I wished I had done differently and those that went just fine:

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I wish I would have…

      took the first year (and second, for that matter) internship search process waay slower. While I think any internship can be a learning experience, I wish I would have explored a wider range of options, especially since I’m one of those ambivalent community/clinical students

      been way more involved at GSSW!!! I tried to get involved in clubs/student orgs my second year but really wish I would have hit the ground running from the onset. Let’s just say your GSSW classmates accomplish some amaaazing things. 

      entered a race or some sort of sports league. intramural leagues are available through the Ritchie center but I never jumped on it. Keeping a regimented and sane exercise routine proved difficult to say the least.

      taken classes in different concentrations. I chose OLPP, which was fabulous. However, the one clinical class I took was very enriching and I wish I would have branched out more from the onset…there’s that ambivalence again!

I’m patting myself on the back for…

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       doing the Certificate for Social Work with Latinos/as. Not only did this program help me explore my own mixed race identity and what that means for my social work practice, I got to truly get to know 10 amazing people. Developing relationships aside, the type of teaching within the certificate really allowed me to be vulnerable, take risks, and grow as a result. 

figuring out my work-school-social-home life balance. Having work-study and a part-time job almost seemed like too much at first, but it ultimately worked and the extra dollars cut down on the stress of making ends meet.

moving to the mountains! It seemed way to far away but i absolutely love it out here and the drive is totally worth it.

     pushing myself to learnIn my opinion, regardless of the instructor, you get what you put into any class. Admittedly challenging at times, I’m glad I tried my darndest to do the readings, be present in class discussion, and put effort into assignments. As a result, I feel changed for the better and grateful for the opportunity to learn and develop as a person, and as a social worker. 

Harvest on the Rio Grande dedication ceremony

Harvest on the Rio Grande – Dedication Ceremony

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 4:00pm – 5:30pm in the Quadrangle east of Craig Hall, University of Denver 2148 South High Street, Denver 80208 GSSW, the University of Denver, and community members had a dedication ceremony for the Harvest on the Rio Grande sculptures generously donated to the University of Denver.

The site selected for the work, adjacent to the Graduate School of Social Work, celebrates shared themes of family and community. The artist will attend the dedication ceremony, which will include a Native blessing. GSSW Dean James Herbert Williams and DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp spoke. We hope you will join us as we welcome the six life-size figures of Harvest on the Rio Grande into the University of Denver community!

To learn more about the sculptures please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/gsswnews/2015/15-4-sculpture.html

Please see below for pictures of the ceremony.

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MSW Priority application date is right around the corner!

For some readers of this blog our subject might be a reminder to submit an application. For some readers this might be the first time you’ve thought about submitting an application to get your MSW. For some, you’ve already submitted and are probably thinking “did I get in?”

For those that have not yet submitted their application it is not too late! We thought we would provide some tips for applying and know it’s not too late to apply and still join us next Fall!

Tip #1

GSSW has three different MSW program applications currently available. One in Denver, one in Durango, and one in Glenwood Springs. Now the question might be: what program is right for me? Well ask yourself the following question:

Where do I currently live or would prefer to live as a MSW student?

If you answered Denver then you will need to apply online by visiting: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/admission/index.html

  • Our Denver program is currently accepting applications for our Advanced Standing (BSW holders only) and Two-Year MSW programs. If you are applying as a two year student select Fall, if you are applying as an Advanced Standing select Summer when starting your application.

If you answered Durango then you will need to download our application and mail it into our office. To get your very own copy of our application please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/fourcornersapplication.pdf.

  • Our Four Corners Program (located in Durango) is currently accepting applications for our Advanced Standing (BSW holding) students only.

If you answered Glenwood Springs then you will need to download our application and mail it into our office. To get your very own copy of our application please visit: http://www.du.edu/socialwork/media/documents/westerncoapp.pdf.

  • Our Western Colorado Program (located in Glenwood Springs) is currently accepting applications for our Two Year program.

Tip #2

Have your transcripts sent to GSSW directly. This is for all programs!

What’s the address you may ask? Well our address is:

Graduate School of Social Work

University of Denver

2148 S. High St.

Denver, CO 80208

GSSW can accept some electronic transcripts. Before requesting an electronic  transcript be sent please check with Nick Ota-Wang at Nick.Ota-Wang@du.edu.

Tip #3

Ask for recommendations before you apply.

Giving a recommender a heads up that you are applying will give them time to watch for our recommendation request and give them time to submit your recommendation.

Remind your recommenders  that our email maybe in their junk/spam folder.

Tip #4

Your career goal statement, and your resume are your documents. Both tell us about you and why you would be a great fit to join the GSSW student body.

Keep your career goal statement between 7-10 pages double spaced. Answer questions in order asked, and if you want to use labels please do. If you want to write a flowing essay please do. It’s up to you!

Your resume should be a professional resume but remember that volunteer experience.

Tip #5

Email gssw-admission@du.edu or call our office 303-871-2841 with questions, check your application status, and to ensure we have received your materials. We want to hear from you!

Fun face about GSSW: We were founded in 1931, have been fully accredited since 1933, and are the oldest MSW program in the Rocky Mountain Region. Come be part of a long historic tradition of excellent Social Work Practice!

GSSW & DU closed for the Holidays & New Year!

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

We at GSSW want to wish all of our readers of this blog a very Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

As a reminder we will be closed from December 25 – January 1, re-opening on January 2.

See everyone in 2015!

9th GSSW Director/Dean – James Herbert Williams, PhD – GSSW’s current Dean

James Herbert Williams, PhD, MSW, MPA, University of Denver

9th GSSW Dean/Current Dean

2010 – Present

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James Herbert Williams is Dean and Milton Morris Endowed Chair at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. His research and practice focuses on human security and economic sustainability, health promotion and disease prevention, behavioral health disparities and health equity, global practice and sustainable development, adolescent violence and substance use, mental health services for African American children in urban schools, disproportionate minority confinement of African American youth in the juvenile justice system, school safety and violence prevention, and community strategies for positive youth development. James Herbert joined the University of Denver faculty as dean in 2007; prior to his appointment as Dean, he was the Foundation Professor of Youth and Diversity at the School of Social Work at Arizona State University and the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Brown School. His funded research and training includes grants from NICHD, NIMH, NIDDK, DOJ, DOE, DHHS, UNCRD, OMH, and the Danforth Foundation. His scholarship has been published in several health and social science journals.

James Herbert is currently the Editor-in-Chief for Social Work Research. He is a member of International Editorial Advisory Board for Regional Development Studies; member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Adolescent Health; and member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for the Global Risk Forum’s One Health Initiative. James Herbert has held various leadership roles including President of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD), and three CSWE Commissions (Educational Policy, Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, Information Management and Research); a member of the Action Network for Social Work Education and Research (ANSWER), a board member of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR), a member of the International Committee of the National Association of Social Work, and he has twice served as a member of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Board of Directors both as a member-at-large and as Vice-President. He served as a member of the NADD strategic planning task force and co-chair of the NADD task force on health disparities.

James Herbert received his B.A. from Grambling State University, his MSW from Smith College, his MPA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and his PhD from the University of Washington, Seattle..

If you like to get an appointment with Dean Williams or contact him please email gsswdean@du.edu or call the Office of the GSSW Dean at (303)-871-2203.

8th Director/Dean – Catherine Alter

CATHERINE FOSTER ALTER (1938-present)

Dean and Professor (1996-2006)

Dean Emerita (2006-present)

Catherine Alter

Catherine Alter attended Grinnell College (Iowa), graduating in 1960 as a double major in American Studies and Journalism. Her MSW was completed at University of Iowa (1975). The results from her masters thesis, indicating the overrepresentation of children of color in special education classes in the Davenport, Iowa School District, were used as data in supporting a complaint of racial bias filed with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which eventually led the school district to institute a plan of remediation. She completed her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Maryland (1985), conducting dissertation research on interorganizational service delivery systems.

Alter’s prior professional practice career includes staff and executive positions in public relations, television production, urban planning, administration of area-wide services for seniors, directing a program for at-risk children, and conducting research on social and economic development. She has held paid and/or consulting positions with the Children’s Defense Fund, the Carnegie Council on Children, the Institute for Social and Economic Development, and served as technical expert for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Prior to coming to GSSW as the eighth head of the social work at DU, she was a faculty member at St. Ambrose College (Iowa), University of Maryland, and University of Iowa. At University of Iowa, she chaired the four-city social work satellite programs, was Director of the School of Social Work, and Coordinator of the Graduate Program.

Notable achievements during her tenure as GSSW Dean include curriculum innovations such as: the distance education program in the Four Corners area; certificate programs in working with Latino/as, survivors of trauma, and the use of animals to assist social work practice. She instituted the first comprehensive strategic planning and budgeting process at GSSW; greatly expanded the size of staff and faculty; significantly increased the financial aid assistance to MSW and doctoral students; created continuing education and outreach programs to alumni, community practitioners, and human service agencies; networked with other Colorado social work education programs about the advancement of the profession; coordinating the efforts among NASW, Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work, and other groups to continue social work licensing in Colorado; and, most recently, successfully led a seven year capital campaign which raised over $11 million for the renovation and expansion of the School’s present home, Craig Hall. As a result of these efforts, along with increased faculty scholarship and research, GSSW has moved significantly higher in the national rankings of accredited schools of social work place.