Welcome to the School of Social Work

at the University of Central Florida

Director's Greeting

Welcome to the School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida! The School of Social Work prepares social work students to become practitioners who promote optimal well-being in the lives of individuals across the life span who face health, mental health, and other challenges that may emerge from human rights, social and economic justice conditions. Our clinical health focus helps students apply research informed practice to assess and address the health and behavioral healthcare needs of individuals, families, groups and communities in diverse practice settings.

These are challenging times in our society; however, our faculty and students in collaboration with our community partners, and alumni are ready to meet those challenges! Our students come from diverse backgrounds and bring interesting and valuable work experiences that contribute to our School’s excellence. Our total enrollment exceeds 900 students from our BSW, face to face MSW, and our MSW Online programs. Both the BSW and MSW programs are fully-accredited by the Council on Social Work Education through 2024. Our esteemed faculty members and professional support staff bring together a wide diversity of experience and skills for the benefit of students, alumni and community partners. Together, they all broadly contribute to the goals of the social work profession through their nationally and internationally recognized research, our very strong academic programs and faculty community based research and service activities. These collaborations enhance the education of our students and the employment opportunities of our graduates.

Our faculty members are actively engaged in research and have significantly increased the amount of external grant funding, allowing for innovative research in various aspects of health, behavioral health and community based research. Through external grant funding opportunities, faculty members are often able to recruit social work students as research assistants; thereby giving our students specialized mentoring opportunities in research methodology.

As a clinical discipline committed to improving the health of our community, the School of Social Work has served as a leader on campus for interprofessional education. Social Work students and faculty work side by side with faculty and students from the UCF medical school and other disciplines (physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy) to provide UCF students with evidence-based healthcare training focused on treating  patients who present with various health challenges.

The School continues to participate in providing healthcare to underserved individuals and families through the Apopka Clinic. That collaboration between UCF, the Farmworker Association of Florida and the University of Florida provides much needed healthcare to marginalized individuals and families from the farmworker community. With its interprofessional education and practice focus, this collaboration includes students from social work, physical therapy, College of Medicine, College of Nursing and pharmacy students from the University of Florida’s Orlando campus. Together these interdisciplinary teams provide health services to the farmworker community in a temporary (or “pop-up”) health clinic.

Recognizing the needs of our community and society, the School has an active Military Certificate program at the graduate level that helps students understand the unique health and behavioral health challenges often faced by members of the military who selflessly serve our country.and the families that support them. Faculty members who teach and mentor students in this certificate program are former members and officers of the military and conduct research on challenges faced by veterans.

The School created the Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training in 2017. The CBHRT’s focus is to promote research and training in behavioral health. Faculty members engaged in the CBHRT’s work seek to solve some of the most pressing problems facing the community, state and nation. The Center fosters collaborative partnerships and cross-disciplinary-work among mental health professionals, health care providers and behavioral health researchers from across the university and community.

Last but not least is the School’s recognition for its successful fully online track of the MSW program. Developed and implemented in 2016, the program is available regionally and nationally and as of Fall 2019 will enroll 450 students. It has received several recognitions including, “One of the Best Fully Online MSW Programs” by HumanServicesEdu.org, and was ranked 41 by OnlineMasters.com. The program’s success is greatly due to our faculty members who are experts in practice, mental health, and healthcare practice, evidence-based research and social policy.

These are just a few highlights that describe what makes the School of Social Work a vibrant, innovative and exciting place for our students, faculty and community partners. How do we create this type of learning and research environment? We all work together and practice using what I call the 4 C’s: collegiality, communication, collaboration and commitment. By engaging in collegiality and supporting a flow of communication, our faculty and students will collaborate with their colleagues within and outside of the School, to uphold our School’s commitment to engage in research informed clinical practice that elicits substantial change in the health and mental health of the clients and patients we serve, while also making a difference in our college, university and the larger Central Florida community.

I invite all current students, prospective students, alumni, community partners and other colleagues to get involved with us and learn about the various opportunities in the School of Social Work at UCF!

Warmest Regards,

Ana M. Leon, PhD
Interim Director
School of Social Work

Go Knights!  Charge on!

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