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Student Opportunities

Careers

Social work is a growing profession that offers a broad range of employment opportunities and settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of social workers is expected to grow by 25 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.”

Licensing

To become a professional social worker in most states social work licensure is required. To receive licensure, an individual must hold a social work degree from an accredited program. Both the BSSW and MSSW programs at ACU are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This accreditation enables students to test for licensure upon graduation.

Student Associations

The Student Social Work Association (SSWA) is open to all interested undergraduate and graduate social work students and other ACU students as well. The students meet regularly to plan events, such as the Second Chance Dance or the Chickasaw Nation Spring Break Trip, learn from local social work professionals, and engage with each other and the community.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)

NASW is a social work professional membership organization that “works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies”.

There are several ways to get involved with NASW in Abilene, including attending the West Central Texas branch meetings and professional development sessions, and joining other social work professionals and students in Texas for Advocacy Day or Social Work Student Day at the Legislature in Austin.

NACSW “equips its members to integrate Christian faith and professional social work practice” through providing social work professionals and students opportunities to engage in continued learning from a Christian perspective.

Each year NACSW holds a convention at a different location in the United States. In the past several years, social work students accompanied faculty to these conferences to present original research and attend conference sessions in their areas of interest.

Research and Presentations

Students in ACU’s School of Social Work are often involved in extracurricular research and have opportunities to present at professional conferences nationwide.

These conferences include:

  • Dr. Stephen Baldridge, Director of the BSSW Program, 2013 ACU Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year;
  • Milene Crossman, MSSW Graduate, 2012 ACU Graduate School Project of the Year;
  • Jonathan Holmes, BSSW Graduate, 2012 ACU Undergraduate Researcher of the Year;
  • Alexandra Moran, BSSW Graduate, 2011 ACU Undergraduate Researcher of the Year;
  • J. Garpue Lieway, MSSW Graduate, 2011 Outstanding ACU Graduate College Paper;
  • Whitney Herrington, MSSW Graduate, 2010 Outstanding NASW Policy Paper.
  • Alsahow, E., DeOtte, E.. Interprofessional Simulation (IPS) as an Educational Tool to Address Cultural Competence in Working with Muslim Patients in West Texas (poster).  Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Research Day. Abilene, TX.
  • Fordham, C., Tudor, K., Fuentes, I., Barker, T., Jessup, E., Sims, H., Morrison, K. & Alsahow, E..   Interprofessional Simulation (IPS) as an Educational Tool to Address Underserved Student Representation and Cultural Competence (poster).  Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Meeting. Washington, DC.
  • Hunter, J. (2018, January). Did large NPOs focus more on Accumulating Profit than Generating Serves at the Peak of the Recent Recession? Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of 2018 SSWR.
  • Sims, H., Fordham, C., Tudor, K., Jessup, E., DeOtte, E., Alsahow, E., Morrison, K. & Morrison, B.. Interprofessional Simulation (IPS) as an Educational Tool to Address Underserved Representation and Cultural Competence Among Future Rural Health Professionals (poster).  Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Research Day. Abilene, TX.
  • Sims, H., Fordham, C., Tudor, K., Jessup, E., DeOtte, E., Alsahow, E., Morrison, K., & Morrison, B.. Interprofessional Simulation High-Intensity Low-Volume Clinical Training: Human Trafficking (poster).  Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Research Day. Abilene, TX.
  • Barker, T., Fordham, C., Fuentes, I., Jessup, E., & Tudor, K. (co-authors). Interprofessional Education as a Tool to Address Underserved Representation and Cultural Competence. Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Meeting. Washington, DC. Abstract submitted.
  • Bayoh, D. (co-author). Barriers to Economic Self-sufficiency of Congolese Refugees. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association, Austin, TX.
  • Colsch, L. (co-author). Xenotransplantation: The Challenge to Current Psychosocial Knowledge. Society for Transplant Social Work Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA. Abstract accepted.
  • Craggett, K., Jang, K., & Lipps, A.J. (2017). The Association Between Depression, Spirituality and Religiosity, and Alcohol Use in College Students at a Faith Based University. SSWR Twenty-First Annual Conference: Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth. New Orleans, LA. January, 2017.
  • Fasse, J., & McCabe, R..  Homelessness in Abilene, TX.  9th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium, Texas State University.  San Marcos, TX
  • Fleet, T. & Lipps, A. J. (2017). A Supplemental Instruction Program for High Risk University Students. International Organization for Social Sciences and Behavioral Research Conference. Atlantic City, NJ. September, 2017
  • Floyd, S.. Measuring Organizational Climate at the Abilene- Taylor County Public Health District. Western Social Sciences Conference. San Francisco, CA. April, 2017
  • Fordham, C., Tudor, K., Jessup, E., Sims, H., Morrison, K., & Alashow, E.. Interprofessional Education as a Tool to Address Underserved Representation and Cultural Competence.  9th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium, Texas State University.  San Marcos, TX
  • Fuentes, I.. (co-author): The Challenges and Benefits to Underserved Populations by Incorporating the SBIRT and PHQ9 into a West Texas Community Health Clinic. Crossroads of Rural Health Conference. Amarillo, TX.
  • Fuentes, I.. (co-author): The Challenges and Benefits to Underserved Populations by Incorporating the SBIRT and PHQ9 into a West Texas Community Health Clinic.(Poster)  4th Annual Cultural Inclusion Institute. University of Texas San Antonio.   San Antonio, TX
  • Fuentes, I.. The Influence of an Interprofessional Simulation Exercise on Gender, Ethnicity, and Professional Perceptions of Social Work, Nursing, Pharmacy, and First Responder Students. Southwest Social Science Annual Meeting.  Austin, TX
  • Hamm, S., Davis, K., & Crumpton, T.. Black and Hispanic Community Collaboration: A Qualitative assessment, Western Social Sciences, San Francisco, CA, April 2017
  • Nix, T. & Lipps, A. J. (2017). Can Interaction With Elderly Persons Alter University Students’ Attitudes Toward Older Adults? Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference. Miami, FL.

March, 2017

  • Paris, D., Guest, H., Kalb, A.,e., Fordhham, C., Tudor, K., Barker, T., Fuentes, I., Jessup, E., & Paris, W. (2017) Interprofessional Education as a Tool to Adddress Underserved Representation and Cultural Competence Among Health Professionals, 4th Annual Cultural Inclusion Institute, San Antonio, 2017
  • Pennington, M.. Teaching Policy through Retreat Based Learning. Influencing Social Policy Conference. St. Louis, MO. May, 2017
  • Roberts, K. E. & Lipps, A. J. (2017). Grief and Bereavement among College Students. SSWR Twenty-First Annual Conference: Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth. New Orleans, LA. January, 2017.
  • West, B.J., & Pennington, M.. Sex Education’s Role in Sexual Attitudes and Activities. Western Social Science Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA. April, 2017.
  • Colsch, L.. (co-author). Student Opinions in Xenotransplantation (poster). The Transplantation Society 20th Annual Meeting, Hong Kong, ROC.
  • Colsch, L.. (co-author).  Xenotransplantation: The Challenge to Current Psychosocial Knowledge.  Society for Transplant Social Work Annual Meeting. San Diego, California.
  • Fordham, C.. Public Perception of SNAP Benefits: Implications for Policy and Practice. North American Christians in Social Work Annual Convention. Cincinnati, OH. November, 2016.
  • Fuentes, I.. Hispanic Family Medical Decision Making and the Influence of Education.  International Research Forum: Universidad Autonoma de Coahuila. Saltillo, MX.
  • Fuentes, I. on behalf of Roberts, K., Nix, T., & Floyd, S.. The Effect of an Interprofessional Educational Simulation Exercise on Perceptions. Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
  • Fuentes, I.. Reaching the majority minority: An autoethnography of a Latina graduate’s trajectory to define quién soy yo in a Hispanic Under-represented geographical region. International Research Forum. Baton Rouge, LA.
  • Heinrich, B.. Community Development and Social Work in Haiti. North American Christians in Social Work Annual Convention. Cincinnati, OH. November, 2016
  • Hust, A. 2016, Factors Contributing to the Economic Self-Sufficiency of At-Risk Foster Youth Who Have Aged Out of Care. [Oral presentation invited at CCFSA, 2017, April 10, Abilene, TX]