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 served as the Department Chair from 2006-2012, during which he led the department to a successful re-accreditation. The current Chair is Dr. Carla Fagan, who was appointed in 2012. The program continues to grow and graduate exceptional social work practitioners.