UNA Pressroom

UNA Social Work Program Celebrates 50 Years of Innovative Practice

Mar. 11, 2024

Ella G. Stephenson , at estephenson5@una.edu

The Department of Social Work at the University of North Alabama is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This will be commemorated during its annual Social Work Conference on March 12 that will be from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the of the Guillot University Center.
In 1971, Dr. Jack Sellers came to UNA to start a social work program thanks to an invitation from Dr. E.B. Norton, then president of Florence State University. Sellers said he built the program with the goal of receiving national accreditation from the Counsel on Social Work Education, which was achieved in 1974. Sellers would go on to be the program’s department chair for 36 years.
“We didn’t want to tuck [the program] away in the Shoals,” Dr. Sellers said. “We wanted to be on the forefront of evolving state, regional, national, and international social work education.”
Today, the program has expanded from its BSW roots and now offers a master’s program, which has placed students across the country, from Alabama to Hawaii. The Department’s BSW and MSW programs continue to develop and evolve with new community partnerships such as a unique program with Florence City Fire Department. This allows social work students and faculty to work alongside the fire department to connect citizens in crisis to needed community resources during medical assistance calls.
The focus of the annual conference is on innovative social work practice, interventions for social work professionals along with workshops designed especially for social work students. A student panel will provide undergraduates an opportunity to give presentations on issues for which they would like to see change.
“We encourage students to develop a call to action for the profession of social work,” said Dr. Freda Coleman-Reed, Chair of the Department. There are more than 100 Social Work careers and “no matter what area of Social Work practice, there is always an element of social justice and human rights.”

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. The first-choice University for more than 10,000 on-campus and online students, UNA is on a bucolic campus in Florence, Alabama, part of the historic and vibrant Shoals region. Lions Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/