The School of Social Work celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Saturday November 9, 2013 with an all-day Institute entitled “Exploring the Best Practices in Social Work in the fields of: Aging, Behavioral Health, Child Welfare, Criminal Justice, and Health”. The program featured opening remarks by Janlee Wong, Executive Director of the California Chapter of NASW and panelists included: Patricia Volland, a Distinguished Lecturer and Directors of the Social Work Leadership Institute at the Silverman School of Social Work at Hunter College; Alfredo Aguirre, Director of SD County Department of Behavioral Health; Charles Wilson, Executive Director of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Rady’s Children ‘s Hospital of San Diego; Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer of San Diego County; and as moderator Dr. Thom Reilly, Director of the School of Social Work. A reception followed the Institute, providing an opportunity for alumnus to reconnect and network with each other.
To commemorate the event this blog provides you a short chronological history of the School.
In the early 1960’s Governor Pat Brown hired Dr. Ernest Witte, a nationally recognized social work educator as a consultant to assess the need for additional social work education programs in the State. Dr. Witte subsequently become a consultant to the Chancellor of the California State College System and developed a strategic plan for social work education in California. Upon the recommendations found in the strategic plan, the California State Assembly approved in l962 the creation of six new schools of social work in the State College System and provided line item funding for this purpose. Five Masters in Social Work (M.S.W.) degree programs were initiated during this era. These included programs at California State College Fresno; San Francisco; San Jose; Sacramento; and San Diego.
Dr. Witte was appointed in 1963 as the first Dean of the School of Social Work at the California State College San Diego. The School was created that year with the transfer to the School of Social Work of an undergraduate social welfare major that had existed in the Sociology Department since the 1950s and the creation of a new M.S.W. program. The first student body of 45 was admitted in September of l964 and an inaugural dinner for the new M.S.W. Program was held on September 22, l964.
An application for accreditation of the masters program was submitted in 1965 to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation. The M.S.W. program received full accreditation in 1966 and the first class graduated that year. This is the first of the degree programs to be offered over the years by the School. In subsequent years the following degree programs evolved. They included:
- An MSSW degree (Baccalaureate/Master degree which is now called the advance standing program). Students with a BASW degree completed the MSW program in one year. This program was initially offered from l969 to 1975.
- The BASW degree was accredited in 1974.
- Two four-year dual degree programs were started: In 1987 an MSW/MPH degree program and in 1995 an MSW/JD degree program.
Dr. Kurt Riechart was appointed the Dean of the School of Social Work in 1970. Under his leadership, in the early l970, additional initiatives evolved for the School: the Institute on Ethnic and Minority Curriculum Content and the inclusion of an emphasis on Social Work with the Aging. The School’s emphasis in aging resulted in the creation of the Schools first Center in l973. With strong support from community services agencies a “Center on Aging” was created within the School. Over time other institutes and centers were created these included: The Social Policy Institute in 1985; in 1987 The Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Studies and Services; and the Consensus Organizing Center in 1999.
In 1974 Dr. Joe Kelly was appointed to serve as Acting Dean of the School. At that time Dr. Kelly took the lead in the School’s efforts to assist in the development of a five and a half year License in Social Work Program at the Universidad Autonomo de Mexico in Tijuana Mexico. This was the first of the School’s ventures into the international arenas. Others would follow:
- The Conference of International Programs in 1983, a program hosting international social work visitors.
- The Taiwan Chinese Children’s Fund’s Child Welfare Training Program 1988 to 1992.
- In 2001, Thailand International Program/internship.
- Summer Programs for students in Mexico, Ireland and Germany.
There was another change in the leadership of the School in l975. Dr. Harry Butler was appointed Dean of the School of the School of Social Work and served in that capacity until 1978, when he became the first Dean of the newly created College of Health and Human Services. During this time two Certificate programs were developed. These included and were followed by other:
- The Pupil Personal and Child Welfare Attendance Certificate in School Social Work 1974.
- The SPAN Certificate Program created in 1977. This Certificate Program was created for recovering substance abusers that were also former felons. This program has since been discontinued.
- Early Childhood Social Emotional and Behavioral Regulation Intervention Specialist 2012.
Dr. Anita S. Harbert was appointed the new Director of the School of Social Work in l979 and served in this role until her retirement in 2008. While she was director a number of new stipend programs and the Academy for Professional Excellence were created. In l992 with funding from Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, a Title IV-E M.S.W. Stipend Program was initiated through the newly created California Social Work Education Center (CALSWEC) at UC Berkeley. San Diego State University School of Social Work, along with the seven existing Schools of Social Work in the State, received grants that year to initiate Child Welfare Stipend Program.
The School received subsequent CALSWEC Title IV-E and other grants. In 2003 an award for the development of a baccalaureate level Child Welfare Title IV-E Stipend Training Program. And in 2007 after many years of sporadic funding for its part-time M.S.W. program at the Imperial Valley Campus the School attained Title IV E funding for this program as well. With the passage in 2004 of State Proposition 63, The Mental Health Services Act, funding for mental health stipends became available through CALSWEC. The School was the recipient of one of these Mental Health Training Program grants, which provided stipends to second year mental health students.
In 1995 the California Department of Social Services decided to fund five Public Child Welfare Training Academies in the state with Title IV funds. The academies provided standardized training for newly hired child welfare workers. The School received funds for an Academy to serve five southern California counties and trains over 4000 child welfare workers per year. In 2001 the academy’s activities were expanded to include: curriculum development, training, technical assistance, organizational development and research. And it services base was extended to eight southern California counties, statewide and nationally. In addition, the content was expanded to include mental health and aging.
A change in the leadership of the School occurred in 2008 with Dr. Thomas Reilly’s appointment as the Director of the School of Social Work. As a result, several initiatives have begun. The Advanced Standing Program was re-initiated by the School in the summer of 2008 with the first class graduating in the spring of 2009. The first interdisciplinary program at the undergraduate level was created in 2008 with a Specialty in Criminal Justice. This program is a collaboration between the School of Social Work and SDSU Department of Criminal Justice.
With CALSWEC Title IV E funds, the School is implementing a social work Native American recruitment program for the 10 schools of social work in Southern California. In addition the School is in the final phase of negotiation with UCSD School of Family Medicine to offer a joint PH. D. program in Applied Social Sciences with an Emphasis Drug Use. This program is expected to admit students in 2015.
Dr. Harbert is Professor Emeritus and former Director of the School.