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MU Home » Academics » School of Public Affairs » Department of Social Work

Brief Program History

Social work courses were first taught under the sociology major in 1974. In 1975, Social Work was offered as a free-standing major. Courses were developed in response to the demand for an increasing number of jobs in social and human services in a region rapidly changing from agrarian and rural to a more urban setting. The Fayetteville area continued to attract increasing industry, retirement communities, and younger families.

In 1981 Ms. Ann Davis, the first full-time MSW, was hired to direct the Program, which she did for five years. In 1986, following Ms. Davis’s retirement, Ms. Emily Seamon, MSW was hired as Social Work Program Director. In 1991 Ms. Terri Brown, MSW, joined the faculty as Field Practicum Coordinator, and the second full-time faculty member. A commitment was made by the University to develop the social work major into a professional program serving the needs of the region.

Dr. Ronnie Martin was chair of the Social Work Department from 1999-2003, during which the program was reaccredited in 2002 for eight years. The Social Work Program was granted independent Department Status in the fall of 2002. Dr. Bonita Belcastro, a Ph.D. in Social Work, assumed the program director responsibilities in the Fall of 2003. Mrs. Deborah Murray served as interim chair during the 2005-2006 academic years. Dr. George Hendricks currently serves as the Department Chair. The program has grown by spring 2007 to include 80 majors.