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A History of the University of Missouri-Columbia
School of Social Work

Note to Researcher: The information about the School of Social Work found on this page was originally compiled in 1999. More current information about the College of Human Environmental Sciences and its departments can be found at the following URL:

http://hes.missouri.edu/.

History

Social work training in some form has been offered by the University of Missouri-Columbia since 1906 when the University arranged extension lectures on social service in St. Louis. These lectures developed into the St. Louis School of Philanthropy which had operated under an independent board prior to its affiliation with the UMC Department of Sociology. From 1909 to 1915 the School of Philanthropy was affiliated with Washington University in St. Louis, but UMC again undertook administration of the project from 1916 to 1924, the name having been changed to the Missouri School of Social Economy. On the UMC campus, the College of Arts and Science introduced curricula in social work through the Department of Sociology in 1925 and in 1929 the College of Agriculture established curriculum for the training of rural public welfare workers. Administration of all social work training was transferred to the Graduate School in 1935, and a one-year graduate curriculum leading to a master's degree in sociology with a major in social work was offered.

In 1946, the Department of Social Work was established in the College of Arts and Science, along with a one-year graduate program which led to a Certificate of Social Work. An undergraduate social work program was also retained as an area of concentration leading to bachelor's degree in the College of Arts and Science. In 1949, a two-year program leading to a Master of Science in Social Work was added, including an emphasis for the training of corrections workers.

In 1953, the department became the School of Social Work within the College of Arts and Sciences, and retained its master's and bachelor's programs. A community development program was initiated by the School in 1957, when the University assigned the School the responsibility for developing a self-help program for Missouri communities to be made available through the Division of Continuing Education. In 1960 the College of Arts and Science established a recreation leadership curriculum administered by the School of Social Work as a variant of the area of concentration in social work.

In 1965 the School of Social and Community Services was established, comprised of the School of Social Work, the Department of Regional and Community Affairs (the community development program which had formerly been administered by the School of Social Work), and the Department of Recreation, which took over leadership of the recreational leadership program that had been administered by the School of Social Work. The School of Social and Community Services was renamed the College of Public and Community Services in 1975.

The School of Social Work began providing state-wide outreach programs through the University Extension Division in 1967. Focuses of the program included developmental training for agency staffs and citizens engaged in implementing new or expanded social services, professional development, and consultation.

Following a national trend recognizing the undergraduate degree in social work as the first professional practice degree in the field, the UMC's undergraduate curriculum in social work was transferred from the College of Arts and Science to the School of Social Work in 1975, leading to a bachelor's degree in social work. The BSW and the MSW became components of a five-year continuum curriculum.

In 1988 the College of Public and Community Services disbanded and the School of Social Work became a department of the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Today, the School of Social Work continues to offer the MSW degree program, with concentrations in the areas of mental health, health, family and children services, and planning and administration, as well as the BSW degree program. In 2000 the School of Social Work began offering a doctoral program with current emphasis on "state social policy."

The Mission Statement of the School of Social Work is available at the following URL: ssw.missouri.edu/mission.html.

Leadership

Note to Researcher: Information on current administrators in the School of Social Work can be found at the following URL:

http://hes.missouri.edu/.

  • 1948-1954 Mark Hale, Chair
  • 1954-1965 Arthur Nebel, Director
  • 1965-1970 Arthur Robins, Director
  • 1970-1972 John J.O. Moore, Director
  • 1973-1974 J.F.X. Paiva, Director
  • 1973-1974 Lee J. Cary, Director
  • 1975-1977 Roland Meinert, Director
  • 1977-1983 Richard Boettcher, Director
  • 1983-1989 Roland Meinert, Director
  • 1988-1989 Joann Mermelstien, Interim Director
  • 1989-1997 Judith A. Davenport, Director
  • 1997-2003 Charles D. Cowger, Director
  • 2003-2007 Colleen Galambos, Director
  • 2007-2008 Marjorie R. Sable, Interim Director
  • 2008-         Marjorie R. Sable, Director
Sources: University General Catalogs & Bulletins (C:0/51/1); College of Public & Community Services Catalog & Bulletins (C:16/9/1); Information about the School of Social Work dating after 1999 was taken from the School's website: ssw.missouri.edu/history.html

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Copyright © Curators of the University of Missouri 1997 - 2002
Published by: University Archives muarchives.missouri.edu/
Originally Prepared by Mary French: November 1999
Revised: 01 June 2016
URL: https://muarchives.missouri.edu/c-rg5-sw.html

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