Department News

Fall Brings Flurry Of Activity For Social Work Students

Students, Victor V., Natalie C., Carly D., Melissa S., and Kristina J in New York City looking at MSW programs.

Carly D. and Everett R. helping to plant thousands of American Flags in support of the Student Veteran Organization at WCSU.

Social work majors Matt C., Kristy R., Nick T., and Jessica V in front of the state capital building for the NASW Lobby Day Workshop.

The Fall 2013 semester brought a flurry of activities for social work students.  We began the semester with the Professional Development Day in September.  All social work majors gathered for a day of workshops about the profession.  It was a chance for students to learn about the different fields of practice, become familiar with the work of practicing social workers, and learn about various masters of social work programs.  In October, Phi Alpha, the national social work honor society inducted new members. Phi Alpha members not only meet high GPA requirements but also demonstrate distinction in leadership and practice performance.  Special thanks to Dr. Deneen Harris for organizing both events.  

Social work students also travelled off campus for some great learning experiences.  Professor Patti Ivry along with several social work students visited the state capital building to explore lobbying techniques at a National Association of Social Workers workshop.  Seniors in the social work club took a trip to New York with Dr. Sharon Young to look at graduate programs.  The social work club was also involved in helping the Student Veteran Organization install flags in honor of Veteran’s Day.  One of the highlights of social work club activities was the “Who Needs Feminism” event.  Social work club members involved the entire campus community in a discussion of the importance of feminism in everyone’s lives.  Check out  the Facebook page for the event:

The Spring semester will bring more great events and activities for students.  Before graduation in May, our students will take part in a poverty simulation, attend the annual social work symposium, participate in education and outreach tables, and so many more activities.

Welcome our new faculty Rebecca Wade-Rancourt and Patti Ivry on her new position as chair!

We are happy to announce some exciting changes to the social work faculty. Patti Ivry will be bringing her many years of experience at WCSU to her new position as department chair. We are also happy to announce a new full time faculty member,  Rebecca Wade-Rancourt.  Ms. Wade-Rancourt's  professional experience includes many years as a clinical social worker with children and families. Students will greatly benefit from the professional expertise she adds to classroom experiences.  We look forward to an exciting academic year ahead.

New Awards

The Department of Social Work is delighted to announce two new awards that will be given for the first time at the end of Spring Semester 2014, and annually thereafter.
The Dr. Rob Veneziano Research Award will be given to a student who excels in the area of social work research, and/or who shows outstanding potential for a research related career. The award is named for Dr. Rob Veneziano, Professor Emeritus, who revised, enhanced, and taught the Department’s social work research course, in addition to teaching other courses, and Chairing the Department during his tenure at WestConn. Dr. Veneziano himself is an outstanding researcher, and was an excellent role model for students, as they developed their interest in social work research.

The Professors Marjorie and Richard Steinberg Field Performance Award will be awarded to a student who excels in his/her field practicum and/or is engaged in a unique project while in his/her field placement.
Professor Marjorie Steinberg, Professor Emeritus, taught, Chaired, and served as Field Coordinator in the Department of Social Work during her 20 year tenure at the University. During her many years as Field Coordinator, Ms. Steinberg further professionalized the field component of the Department of Social Work.  Her husband Richard Steinberg has served as an adjunct field liaison in the Department.  His dedication to students and maintenance of high standards has benefitted emerging social workers.  Both, Mr. and Mrs. Steinberg are professional social workers who have dedicated their careers to developing and improving students’ field experiences.

So it is with great enthusiasm that the Department of Social Work initiates these two new awards, honoring esteemed faculty members who have furthered the professional education and development of scores of social work students and recognizing outstanding students in each of the two areas, research and field.


Ileana Velazquez Retiring

The Department of Social Work bids a fond adieu to Ileana Velazquez, Adjunct Professor since Spring 2010. At the end of this semester, she will begin her next phase of retirement. 

Ileana began part-time teaching after retiring as Director of the Danbury Office of the CT State Department of Children and Families. While there, she supervised many of our field students, and for many years she has been an active member on our Community Advisory Committee.

She helped to develop the Department’s Child Welfare course, which she subsequently taught, and she also taught the Cultural Diversity class.

Notably, Ileana and her husband founded the Latino Scholarship Fund, 19 years ago. Since then, the Fund has raised over $700,000 and awarded more than 400 scholarships. 

Most importantly, Ileana has been a valued member of the Department. We will all miss her and her cheerful demeanor and positive attitude. We wish a happy and fulfilling retirement, and we thank her for her commitment to the social work students and Department at WestConn.


Department of Social Work Students attend  NASW Lobby Day training at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford

Department of Social Work Students attend  NASW Lobby Day training at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford

On Friday, November 30th 2012, a group of social work students traveled to the Legislative Office Building in Hartford for the NASW Lobby Day training.  The training included students from every social work program in the state of Connecticut.  It featured veteran lobbyist Betty Gallo who discussed the finer points of lobbying state representatives and senators.  The day wrapped up with the opportunity for students to role play their lobbying skills with three state representatives.  Here, student Matt Cole, is role playing with State Representative Mae Flexer, convincing her to support changes which would assure the Department of Children and Families hires BSW's and MSW's for social work positions.



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