The Newman University School of Social Work was one of only 100 organizations and individuals that recently received Centennial Medals from Catholic Charities USA. The medals were created by Catholic Charities in celebration of its 100th anniversary, and bestowed upon people or organizations that Catholic Charities identifies as contributing to its mission of reducing poverty.
The award was accepted by Kevin Brown, Ph.D., director of the School of Social Work at Newman, at a Sept. 27 ceremony in the Library of Congress. The ceremony was part of a "Centennial Gathering" sponsored by Catholic Charities USA Sept. 25-28 in Washington, D.C.
"As a part of the centennial celebration we are recognizing different individuals and institutions that help support our mission," said Roger Conner, senior director of communications at Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, Va. "Newman is among a select group receiving one of our specially commissioned centennial medals, which is being presented to you for your strong commitment to social work."
Brown said 13 Catholic schools of social work were recognized for their contribution to the professional preparation of the staff of Catholic Charities, and for their work in partnership with Catholic Charities in serving the poor and disadvantaged in our society. The inscription on the medal honors the Newman social work program for its, "commitment to the mission of Catholic Charities to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call to the entire church and other people of good will to do the same."
Brown accepted the award from Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, and Donna Markham, OP, chair of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities, USA.
"It's a real honor for the School of Social Work to be recognized," Brown said. "I met several people from Catholic Charities across the nation. It was nice to see a lot of people working on the same kind of mission."
The focus of the social work program at Newman is on family-centered practice rather than general practice. This means that emphasis is placed on students understanding the nature of families and being able to work with them as unique entities.
Newman provides the opportunity to obtain a master in Social Work (MSW) degree at its Wichita campus, as well as in western Kansas. Through satellite campuses, students in Dodge City and Garden City participate in the program. As in Wichita, these programs focus on family-centered social work practice.
A Newman MSW outreach center was also developed several years ago in Colorado Springs, Colo., to meet the need for services in that area. The program was launched by former dean of the Newman School of Social Work Mike Smith, Ph.D. working with The Most Rev. Michael Sheridan, bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, and Kurt Bartley, executive director of Catholic Charities for that diocese at the time. The first classes in Colorado Springs were offered in the fall of 2005.