Social Work Month in March celebrates everyday heroes

Feb 25, 2022
Newman School of Social Work

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March National Social Work Month. This year, the Newman University social work departments — both in Wichita and Colorado Springs — invite the community to recognize the ever-growing profession and its contributions to society throughout the month of March.

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About National Social Work Month

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 720,000 social workers in the U.S. alone. That number is expected to increase 12% by the end of the decade, “making social work one of the fastest-growing professions in the nation.” The theme of the month, “The Time is Right for Social Work,” is a testament to the importance of the field.

Roxxi Davis
Roxxi Davis

“Social Work Month is a time to recognize the commitment social workers make to serving others while respecting the dignity and worth of the person with competence, integrity and a dedication to social justice,” explained Roxxi Davis, MSW program director of the Colorado Springs site.

Yelando Johnson
Yelando Johnson

Yelando Johnson, BSW program director and associate professor, added, “We want to celebrate all the social workers in our communities and the work that they are doing in both academia and professional practice. We also want to recognize our very own faculty and staff, people who make the department thrive.”

Video: Lee Stewart, Master of Social Work at Newman University

Upcoming events

March 1

  • “The Power of Words Part 1,” a faculty and staff Diversity Round Table discussion over New Orleans jambalaya and hurricanes, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Alumni Center at the Wichita campus.

March 3

  • BSW/MSW Practicum Field Fair, 4:30 to 6 p.m. MST, Colorado Springs campus. 

March 4

  • Virtual Social Work Continuing Education Unites (CEU) workshop on the topic of grief and loss, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST. Register for this free program.

March 10

  • BSW/MSW Field Fair, 4:40 to 6 p.m. in De Mattias Hall, Wichita campus.

March 11

  • Enjoy free morning donuts sponsored by the social work department during Jet Friday, 8:30 a.m. in the Fugate Student Center on the Wichita campus. 

Follow along and celebrate National Social Work Month with the Newman community! Find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Students attend a social work class on the Wichita campus.
Students attend a social work class on the Wichita campus.

Newman bachelor’s in social work program

Through Newman’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program, students are prepared to engage in a lifetime pursuit of advocacy and social justice. Earning a BSW degree prepares students with skills for broad, entry-level and generalist social work practice.

Students will be exposed to theoretical frameworks and policies associated with diversity, inequality and oppression, and will learn through concentrations in social services with diverse populations and addiction counseling.

Both the BSW and MSW programs offer online and hybrid learning options for non-traditional students. Newman University also offers a seamless accelerated advanced standing program from the BSW to the MSW, pending successful completion of undergraduate requirements. Transfer students can even benefit from a fast track to the MSW in just one additional year after earning their Associate of Science degree.

As program director of the Wichita campus, Johnson said she “wholeheartedly believes in the good of everyone,” and her role in an academic setting allows her to connect with, mentor and help students achieve their goals.

“Within my work, I rely on my ethics and deep understanding of the high standards the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) sets for professionals in social work, and I strive to apply both these high standards and ethics in my career,” Johnson said.

Students, faculty and staff explore the field of social work as they meet with a visitor from China, 2019.

Newman master’s in social work program

The Newman University’s Master of Social Work program (MSW) program is developed for the working professional and offers evening courses, online and hybrid learning options for non-traditional students. Students also have the option of choosing between full-time and part-time plans.

The MSW program has advanced standing options for students who have already earned their BSW degree from an accredited university, which allows students to finish their MSW degree within one year. Students who have not year earned a BSW degree enter foundational courses that provide foundational knowledge of social work.

Newman’s MSW Trauma-Competent curriculum is based on clinical and trauma competencies to fully prepare you to deliver responsive, 21st century practice.

“The mission of Newman’s MSW program is inextricably linked to the university’s mission,” Davis, program director, explained. “The mission of the MSW program is to empower graduates to transform society. Therefore, we believe that to truly transform others, one must in tandem transform themselves.”

(From left to right) Diana Morford is presented with the Excellence in Mastery of Social Work award by program director Jennifer Jones.
(From left to right) Diana Morford is presented with the Excellence in Mastery of Social Work award by program director Jennifer Jones.

Cross-campus collaboration

The Newman social work program stretches across the entire Wichita campus, Colorado Springs campus and outreach sites. Both sites offer unique learning advantages: a small cohort model, strong faculty and student collaboration, field education, community-based learning and active engagement with alumni.

Both programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and are tailored to 21st-century learning, where students will be inspired to develop a passion for the profession

On the Wichita campus, social work program participants often partner with other educational departments within the School of Nursing and Allied Health. By partnering with students in the occupational therapy assistant program, for example, students can experience inter-professional education opportunities that translate to the real-world healthcare setting.

In collaboration with student groups like the Student Government Association and the Jets Resource Hub, the Newman social work department helps connect students to internships that build on necessary services and community resources, such as Project Care

Faculty of both the Colorado Springs and Wichita campuses serve on committees including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI), Faculty Admissions Advisory Board, Newman Studies Program committee and the Mental Health Task Force to name a few.

2018 Newman social work graduates
2018 Newman social work graduates

Get to know our faculty and staff

Yelando Johnson

Yelando Johnson, Associate Professor Director of BSW (Wichita campus)

“I am passionate about the social work career field because the principles and values of social work connect with my own values. These are the values of dignity and respect, service to others, integrity, the importance of human relationships, service, social justice, inclusion, a belief that everyone should have self-determination, and that the best thing you can do for a person is to expand opportunity, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or citizenship.”

Fun fact: Yelando served in the Army National Guard for four years as a chaplain’s assistant.

Roxxi Davis

Roxxi Davis, MSW Program Director (Colorado Springs campus)

“I was called into the field of social work and it is my vocation in life. I am passionate about preparing the next generation of social workers because there are so many people in that have stories that need to be heard. For me, social workers take the time to hear individuals, families, groups and community stories. It’s these narratives of these voices heard, which in turns allows social workers to advocate for.”

Fun fact: Roxxi has a twin sister and they were born one minute apart.

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones, Director of Field Education for the MSW and BSW Program (Wichita campus)

“I always was drawn to helping others and social work was the right fit! I love helping others find their passion and grow personally and professionally.”

Fun fact: Jennifer loves to run and listen to SmartLess Podcast. She would like to visit every National Park in the U.S. and she has been to seven of them already!

Lindsey Stillwell

Lindsey Stillwell, Visiting Professor of Social Work (Wichita campus)

“After working at 9-1-1 for a decade, I knew our society needed more people out there working towards creating a society we all want to live in. I chose social work because my degree would give me the skills to do many different types of work. I could work with 1-on-1 with individuals to help them with their immediate needs, with communities or groups that needed an advocate to help their issues be heard, or on changing and implementing the very laws and policies that affect our day-to-day lives.”

Fun fact: Lindsey raced BMX as a kid (before it was an Olympic sport) and was one of the top ranked girls in the country. She is a first-generation college graduate and was a returning adult student.

LeAnn Wittman

LeAnn Wittman, Assistant Professor (Wichita campus)

“I have over 20 years in direct and administrative social work experience primarily with persons who are unhoused and/or have experienced intimate partner violence. My primary areas of expertise are trauma-informed care, intimate partner violence, and poverty-related social policies.”

Fun fact: LeAnn earned her BSW in 1993 and her MSW in 1995, both from University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. She completed her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, and began teaching at Newman in August 2017, focusing on research.

Rachel Seton

Rachel Seton, Office Coordinator (Colorado Springs campus)

“I have been working in education since 2014 and have served in academic and administrative roles. My academic background is in education and specifically in educational leadership. I am inspired to help students reach their educational goals to obtain an advanced degree.” 

Fun fact: Rachel has visited more than 15 National Parks including Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Flight 93 National Memorial. She also worked as a Park Ranger for two years.

Brittany Stahnke

Brittany Stahnke, Assistant Professor (Colorado Springs campus)

“I joined the social work field because from the time I was young, I wanted to be there for people at the moments that most people walk out. I love teaching, and feel like a born mentor to my students. Academia is my life!”

Fun fact: Brittany’s parents both build houses, and she and her brother are both counselors. She also traveled several times while growing up and is originally from South Florida.

Karen Noel

Karen Noel, Administrative Assistant for School of Social Work and Division of Social Sciences (Wichita campus)

“My favorite aspect of my job at Newman is when I am able to interact with students and perspective students. It’s a great feeling when you have a conversation with someone who is interested in applying and then you see their application come in!”

Fun fact: Karen is originally from Philadelphia and earned a degree in illustration from Moore College of Art & Design. Art is Karen’s passion. She started an Etsy business in November 2021 and it has been very successful!

Michael Duxler, Associate Professor (Wichita campus)

“I have been on the faculty at Newman University’s Graduate School of Social Work since 2002. I am most interested in the application of general systems theory to families, the work place and community. Since 2011 I have intensely studied and practiced mindfulness. I have also been working with childcare directors to find creative applications with children, parents, daycare teachers and staff.”

Fun fact: Michael facilitated a study at Newman from 2006 to 2012 titled “Marriage for Keeps.” Newman was one in only eight sites in the country to do this research.

Earn your bachelor’s degree in Social Work

Offering contemporary Generalist programming, our students will be inspired to develop passion for the profession as well as learn from concentrations in Social Justice-Social Services with Diverse Populations and Substance Abuse that is relevant and necessary for Social Work today.

Earn your master’s degree in Social Work

The MSW program, with a focus in trauma-competent practice, offers students a supportive and individual education in the classroom and in Field Education.