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School of Social Work News

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Director's message

Deana Morrow

As we know all too well by now, COVID-19 has transitioned from an acute crisis to a chronic and enduring one over the course of 2020. I am so very proud of our faculty and students for how they have responded to the academic and field internship disruptions created by the pandemic. We rapidly pivoted in-person classes to online last spring, and we found innovative ways for students to engage in remote field instruction when agencies shut down. We learned to socially distance in classrooms this fall, and we became accustomed to wearing masks on campus and in field internships. The School of Social Work community has risen to the challenges of the pandemic, and we are steadfast in our commitment to ensure outstanding education for our students.

A social pandemic has also escalated this year—the pandemic of racism, both overt and covert. In response to the images of unarmed Black men and women being killed and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the School of Social Work stands in support of anti-racism, social justice, and equity. To this end, we established the Committee on Anti-racism, Equity and Justice to help lead the School in advancing anti-racist practice and curricula and to strengthen our commitment to building a more inclusive School of Social Work community.

The year has been difficult, and yet to paraphrase Maya Angelou, still we rise. We rise to serve the educational needs of social work students who will be future leaders in our state and region. We rise to engage impactful research for building stronger families and communities. And we rise in advocacy to ensure that all people have a place at the table of opportunity. I hope you will enjoy our newsletter.

Be well,

Deana F. Morrow, PhD, LISC, ACSW
Director and Professor, WVU School of Social Work


Planting seeds for a safe and healthy society

A new WVU research collaborative is working to address the many challenging conditions facing the state and Appalachia. In the Eberly College Interdisciplinary Research Collaborative for a Safe and Healthy Society, researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including social work, are working together with partners across campus to seek solutions to these pressing issues. Learn more about the projects.


Woman in yellow shirt smiles as she shelves books at a library

Making a home among the stacks

Since transferring to WVU fall 2017, Connecticut native Déja Fleury has found a home-away-from-home in Morgantown. Nearly three years later, the social work major is helping the local library feel more like home for its patrons. Learn more about her project.

Pursuing justice

A WVU student is seeking justice for imprisoned individuals who are not receiving adequate healthcare. As part of her internship with nonprofit law firm Mountain State Justice, Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration dual-degree student Meg Haller is leading the organization’s grant writing efforts to seek funding to support a class action lawsuit about this matter. Read more about the project.

Supporting West Virginia's aging populations

With senior citizens making up nearly 20% of West Virginia’s population, one WVU student has committed her career to helping them transition from skilled nursing facilities back into the community. During her field placement at Mapleshire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Master of Social Work student Heather Beeseck recognized that older clients needed access to more support services, especially when they were only temporarily in a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. Learn more about her work.

Expanding access and reducing stigma for mental health services

Serving in the Army National Guard has inspired one Master of Social Work student to pursue a career combating stigmas surrounding mental health. Green Bank native Dustin Dilley is using his experience in the military to help veterans navigating mental health challenges. Read more about his efforts.

Supporting healthy "grandfamilies"

With 1 in 14 West Virginia youth being raised by grandparents, one West Virginia University student is committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to support their families. Master of Social Work student Mariah Martin is an intern with Healthy Grandfamilies, an eight-week training program from the Children’s Home Society for grandparents voluntarily raising their grandchildren. Learn more about her efforts.

In the Media

Faculty work to improve online class delivery for fall semester
Kristina Hash | Daily Athenaeum

WVU experts say Pride Month should include racial justice
Megan Gandy | WDTV

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