Tag: Masters Social Work

Celebrating the ‘new’ UW-Green Bay MSW

UW-Green Bay, operating for the first time as its own freestanding program, celebrated the “new” Master of Social Work Program on April 29 with a welcome/orientation session in the University Union for students of the program.

The students were greeted by Dean Sue Mattison of the College of Professional Studies and welcomed by members of the Social Work faculty. It is expected UW-Green Bay will enroll approximately 85 students in various cohorts in the 2015-16 academic year.

The program and degree aren’t entirely new, of course. For a dozen years previous, UW-Green Bay partnered on a collaborative MSW with UW-Oshkosh offering courses and serving students at both locations, with each institution authorized to grant the collaborative degree. New this year, and thanks to the success of the joint venture, the UW System has authorized each school to operate independently.

The fall 2015 enrollment here will include both first-semester enrollees in the new UW-Green Bay master’s and continuing students who started in the collaborative program.

Associate Professor Doreen Higgins, MSW chair and coordinator, acknowledged the “extraordinary efforts” of the faculty in the Social Work Professional Programs, the institutional support from university leadership, and the work of Dean Mattison in developing the new freestanding program. Higgins said the strong turnout for Wednesday’s reception reflects “MSW students who are excited to begin their graduate school journey.”


Returning adult MSW grad will offer Saturday’s student address

Soon-to-be MSW grad Susan Exworthy has done the commencement thing before — exactly one year ago, in fact. In May 2013, Exworthy, a 50-year-old returning adult student, earned her Bachelor of Social Work degree (and a University Leadership Award, to boot). Saturday (May 17), she’ll participate in the ceremony as a Master of Social Work grad, set to complete her degree requirements in August after a year of full-time work, extra courses and a 15-hour-a-week internship requirement. Exworthy is Saturday’s graduating class speaker, and we expect she may have some advice on dedication and multitasking. Our news post has more.

Returning adult Social Work student is UW-Green Bay graduating class speaker

A returning adult student who is earning her Master of Social Work degree while working full-time, carrying an expanded course load and completing an internship requirement of 15 hours per week will be the graduating class speaker during UW-Green Bay commencement Saturday, May 17.

Susan Exworthy of De Pere completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work last year at the age of 50, participating in UW-Green Bay’s May 2013 commencement. She entered the MSW program in the fall, and by this August will have completed the degree requirements in a single year despite the significant time demands. In addition to work, classes and internship requirements, Exworthy during the past academic year passed her state and national examinations for social work licensure at the Certified Social Worker level.

Exworthy currently is completing an internship with Dynamic Family Solutions, which operates mental health counseling clinics in Northeastern Wisconsin, and she has been asked to continue on as a resident therapist after graduation. Additionally, she recently assumed new duties as a substance abuse counselor with Independent Assessment and Counseling Services of Green Bay. Exworthy plans to attain licensure as a Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Wisconsin.

Exworthy was civically active for more than 20 years in Oconto County, where she previously lived. She was a licensed foster parent, an alderwoman, a proponent for restoration and enhancement of historic downtown Oconto, and chair of the city’s Board of Appeals. She is an active volunteer with Unity Hospice and Goodwill, and has served on the committee for Brown County Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week. Exworthy and her husband Paul have six children and four grandchildren.

Spring commencement will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 17 at the Kress Events Center on campus. For more information.


Master’s of Social Work gets OK for independent program


The UW System Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday (Feb. 7) for a resolution authorizing development of an independent Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at UW-Green Bay. This will formally end the Collaborative MSW Program with UW Oshkosh, which is now authorized to develop its own independent MSW Program as well. This change was made possible by the longstanding collaboration of the MSW program faculty and staff since its inception in 2003. It is expected that both programs will be up and running independently by fall of 2015. Planners believe UW Green Bay’s independent program will be able to double the number of MSW graduate students served on the UW-Green Bay campus. In the photo above, UW-Green Bay Social Work faculty members Jolanda Sallmann and Doreen Higgins were joined by Dean of Professional Studies Sue Mattison (center) at the Feb. 7 Regent meeting.

Call of duty for graduate student Crum includes help for homeless veterans

Ex-Marine Michael Crum helps homeless vetsFor veterans like Michael Crum, the call of duty to serve others does not end when he exchanges his uniform for street clothes. Crum served four years in the Marine Corps from 1997-2001 and is a UW-Green Bay graduate student in the Social Work Collaborative M.S.W. program.

Michael CrumIn his Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis class, students are required to do a community engagement project.

Crum started the project, “Operation Ready Aim Comfort,” to help fill 200 bags for homeless veterans so they can receive basic necessities.

While doing research, he contacted the Outagamie Veterans Office to learn more about issues affecting veterans in the area. He found that homelessness is a rising issue in the veterans’ community.

As a Marine veteran, Crum has lived the struggle that veterans face. “Once the opportunity presented itself to give back to other veterans I jumped at the chance,” he said.

“I just moved back to the area in May and I quickly fell into a situation where I struggled with finding a job,” he explained. “I had no income and was struggling to get back on my feet. The Boot Campaign organization and the Fox Cities Veterans Council were able to provide me relief until I was able to find a job.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.9 percent of veterans were unemployed as of October 2013.

“I think this is unacceptable,” Crum said. “If I am able to give back and provide relief to other veterans, then I will shake whatever tree and ruffle whatever feathers I have to, to give back to veterans who deserve better.”

The UW-Green Bay Phoenix Bookstore and UW-Oshkosh partnered to donate 100 drawstring bags for donations. The bags will be filled with necessities such as toiletries, clothes, blankets and easy to carry food items.

Crum stresses that every donation is important and every bag will mean a lot to each recipient.

“When you hand someone something they can’t afford or haven’t had in awhile, it makes you feel beyond good knowing you helped. It also makes you appreciate the things you do have,” Crum said.

Ex-Marine helps homeless vets

Organizations from the Green Bay, Oshkosh, Appleton and Fond du Lac areas joined together starting Nov. 11 to bring awareness about the homeless population and to fill the 200 bags with donations by Dec. 13.

“There is definitely a need for it in our area,” said Sandra Meyer, Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) Veterans Employment specialist at the Center for Veteran Issues and a 2011 UW-Green Bay grad. “I feel fortunate that we will be able to provide homeless veterans with some of those necessities.”

The comfort bags will be taken to the various shelters throughout the Fox Cities, Oshkosh and Green Bay areas, and other bags will be donated to the Veterans Court and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This project is very humbling,” Crum said. “Being a veteran, it’s unfortunate to know that other veterans are in situations where they have to live in transitional housing, shelters or on the streets. I am very impressed with the level of support I have received so far.

Crum encourages everyone to “get involved and advocate for the things you are passionate about. You can accomplish so much by just speaking up and using your voice. I recently heard a quote that said, ‘I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody.’”

Crum welcomes comments or questions at crumsm19@uwgb.edu. Collection sites are located at UW-Green Bay at the Veterans Office in Student Services, the Phoenix Bookstore, or outside of the Social Work office. Monetary donations can be sent to Community First Credit Union, Operation Ready Aim Comfort, P.O. Box 1487, Appleton WI, 54912.

— Story and photos by Cheyenne Makinia, student intern, Marketing and University Communication

Faculty note: Higgins publication

Doreen Higgins, associate professor of Social Work and coordinator for the master’s in social work program, is co-author of a paper published in the May 2013 edition of the journal Educational Gerontology. Higgins collaborated with Prof. Eunjeong Ko of San Diego State University on the article, “Do older Korean immigrants engage in end-of-life communication?” Their research observes that not every culture is receptive to end-of-life planning, and relatively little is known about older Korean immigrants’ end-of-life communication with family and health care professionals. This article presents findings from a cross-sectional study conducted with 195 older Korean immigrants that show only about one in five have engaged in such discussion. Culturally appropriate interventions to promote dialogue regarding treatment preferences among older adults, family, and health care professionals are recommended.

Social Work master’s program listed among best in U.S.

The UW-Green Bay/UW-Oshkosh Collaborative Master of Social Work program is listed among the best in the country, according to a recent peer ranking from U.S. News & World Report. The program tied for No. 89 on the list of 200 schools listed in a subsection of the “Top Health Schools” portion of the “Best Graduate Schools” report from U.S. News. Read more about the rankings and their criteria.

Facts and figures: Commencement, May 2011


•  About 850 eligible to participate in Commencement exercises on Saturday

•  About 675 have signed up to actually participate, to “march” in cap and gown

•  Breaking down those numbers… as of May 2, the 848 “eligible” breaks down as follows: 715 students had registered to complete their degree requirements by the end of spring semester; another 133 intend to complete requirements this summer. (Projected graduates of both May and August are eligible to participate in the May 14 ceremony.)

•  Of the 848 students, 94 % (or 793) are undergraduate degree candidates. The remaining 55 are master’s degree candidates.

•  The number of undergraduate degree candidates (793) is an all-time record, up 8 % from last year.

•  The number of master’s degree graduates is up 31% from last year.


•  Undergraduate candidates range in age from 19 to 73, with a mean average of 26 years old. 30% of the undergraduate candidates are 25 or older.

•  For master’s degree candidates, 53 of 55, or 96% are 25 or older.  The master’s candidates range in age from 24 to 58, with a mean average of 33.


Over two-thirds (68% or n=537) of the undergraduate degree candidates are women and a larger proportion (87% or n=48) of the graduate degree candidates are women.


•  The master’s candidates include 3 Native Americans, 1 Asian American and 1 Hispanic American, with a total of 9% of master’s candidates representing minority backgrounds.  The undergraduate candidates include 68 students of color (9% of the total) from a range of backgrounds: 24 Asian American, 15 Native American, 9 Mexican or Hispanic American, 9 African American, and 11 from multiple racial or ethnic categories.

•  Graduates represent various nations of origin including Cameroon, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, United Kingdom, Zambia and the United States.

•  Sovereign American Indian nations represented among the graduates include the Chippewa Cree (Bad River Tribe); Menominee, Oneida and Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican.

•  Graduates come from 27 U.S. states


•  Majors with the largest number of eligible candidates listed in the printed Commencement booklet are: Business Administration, 122;  Psychology, 94;  Human Biology, 86;  Interdisciplinary Studies, 77; Human Development, 65; Nursing, 47;  Communication, 45; and Elementary Education, 38; Accounting, 30.

Among the 55 master’s degree candidates, the breakdown is as follows: Applied Leadership for Teaching and Learning (a master’s for educators), 23;  Social Work, 19;  Management, 9; Environmental Science and Policy, 4


•  Area high schools are well-represented among potential graduates.  Almost a quarter (24% or n=192) of the undergraduate degree applicants completed high school in Brown County, WI.

•  Schools with 10 or more alumni applying to graduate this May or August:

  • Green Bay Preble, 48
  • Green Bay East, 26
  • Manitowoc Lincoln,  23
  • Green Bay Southwest, 19
  • Bay Port, 18
  • Ashwaubenon, 17
  • Green Bay West, 17
  • Pulaski, 17
  • Hortonville, 12
  • West De Pere, 12
  • Luxemburg Casco, 11
  • Sheboygan North, 10
  • De Pere, 10
  • Seymour, 10


UW-Green Bay alumna dies in traffic accident

Holli Starr, 26, of Green Bay was killed in an auto accident on Sunday, April 3, when the car in which she was riding lost control on Highway 151 near Beaver Dam after heavy hail and sleet made driving hazardous. Starr had graduated from UW Green Bay in psychology and was currently enrolled in the MSW (Masters of Social Work) collaborative program with UW-Oshkosh, where she was formally registered. Said a spokesperson for the UW-Green Bay Social Work program: “She will be greatly missed by her colleagues in the program and by the faculty who had the good fortune to be her teachers.” For information on arrangements.