Widener University
Center for Social Work Education
Vol. I, Issue I
October 2011
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Field Placement Supervisors
If you or someone you know has an MSW and would be interested in becoming a field placement supervisor for the Center's current BSW or MSW students, please contact Pat Fletcher, Director of Field Education at 610-499-1133 or pafletcher@widener.edu. 
Support the Center for Social Work Education
Did you know that the percentage of alumni giving is almost as important as the amount a university receives?  Your donation of as little as $5 can make a big difference for the Center for Social Work Education.  Please consider helping to support the Center and its students by mailing a check to:
Widener University Development Office
Attn: Center for Social Work Education
One University Place
Chester, PA 19013

or through the University Advancement Office's website.

Thank you for your support of Widener University's Center for Social Work Education. 


John Poulin
Welcome to the Center for Social Work Education's initial e-newsletter.  The summer of 2011 has marked some important changes in the administrative structure and appointments for the Center of Social Work Education.  As of July 1, Dr. Paula Silver has assumed the role of Acting Dean of the School of Human Service Professions in place of her predecessor, Dr. Stephen Wilhite.  Dr. John Poulin has stepped into the position of Acting Director of the Center for Social Work Education and Associate Dean for the School of Human Service Professions.  Professor Laura Sadtler has stepped down from her position as Director of Field Instruction, with Professor Pat Fletcher moving into this role.  Dr. Beth Barol has assumed the newly created position of MSW Program Director.  Finally, the position of Assistant Director of the Center for Social Work Education was eliminated during the restructuring, a role that was formerly occupied by Dr. Jenny Wyatt.

I am honored to be again in the role of Director for the Center for Social Work Education.  Although much has changed since I last occupied this position 14 years ago, much is the same.  This coming year I am committed to maintaining and strengthening the positive sense of community that characterizes our BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. programs.  My goal is to have every student that comes to Widener for a social work degree have personally and professionally satisfying experiences.  I believe in a collaborative working and learning environment where the stakeholders feel empowered and have a voice.  This philosophy will be the driving force behind my leadership style.


The main agenda for this academic year is to prepare the BSW and MSW programs for reaffirmation of our accreditation with the Council on Social Work Education.  I also will continue our efforts to have our programs nationally recognized and to enhance our national standing.  To this end, I hope to be able to expand our support for faculty scholarship and research and to expand support for faculty teaching.  I look forward to the challenges of the coming year and to working with our excellent faculty in providing our students with the very best in social work education.


John Poulin, Ph.D.

Acting Director and Associate Dean

Prof. Laura Sadtler: Notes from the Field 


Laura Sadtler with Students
Laura Sadtler is seen here with two of her BSW senior students,
Lisa Harris and Emily Fleming.
Twenty-two years ago, Professor Laura Sadtler, MSW, LCSW joined the faculty of the then newly created MSW Program at Widener as Director of Field Education.  Along with Dr. John Poulin and Dr. Carolyn Walter, she developed curriculum, created the program structure, designed the field program, interviewed and admitted students, and hired faculty.  In its fledgling year, the MSW Field Program consisted of fourteen students.  Professor Sadtler explains, "I applied to be Director of Field because of my strong commitment to the field and its importance in students' education.  To me, it truly is the time that students identify with the profession, take on the values and ethics, and ... apply what they've learned in the classroom."  Further, she says, "My dream for the program was ... to have an integrated field model so that truly the teacher would take ownership, not only of teaching the students, but would be the liaison to the field to help the students apply the knowledge-base.  We've continued that model ... and I feel that it really helps students have the support needed in a changing agency environment."  In addition, Professor Sadtler has tried to tailor the field experience in accordance with each individual's needs, even now that the program has grown to over two hundred students.


Effective July 1 of this year, Professor Sadtler has stepped down from her role as Director of Field Education.  While this change is bittersweet, she felt it was fitting given her personal goals and the impending reaccreditation of the Center.  She explains, "More than likely I'll be retiring in about 4-5 years, so I thought it was very important that Pat Fletcher, who's been a wonderful Assistant Director of Field for many years and a wonderful colleague, step into that position.  That way she could move through the reaccreditation, develop the new competencies that will be needed to demonstrate in the field, and really carry forth the plan that will be for the next 8-10 years." 


Though Professor Sadtler is relinquishing many of her current responsibilities, she will still have plenty to keep her busy.  She sits on the CSWE Council on Field Education and "would like to put more time and energy into looking at more national themes and issues of field programs throughout the country."  She will also use the time to focus on her research interests.  On a more personal note, she is looking forward to "playing the piano or taking a yoga class and just being with her family."


Reflecting on her experience at Widener thus far, Professor Sadler says, "I'm just really pleased that I had the opportunity to be Director of Field and to be a part in developing the MSW program and maintaining the BSW program.  I've been able to truly be helpful in a multitude of ways to students entering the field and I feel really so emotionally gratified to have that opportunity."  Professor Sadtler will continue to teach courses for both the MSW and BSW programs, as well as continue as the head of the BSW Field Program.  We applaud her accomplishments over the past twenty-two years and wish her the best of luck with her future goals.

Dr. Beth Barol: Bringing Students Together
Beth BarolDr. Beth Barol has been a faculty member in Widener's Center for Social Work Education since 2004, mainly teaching at the Harrisburg campus. When asked what she likes about being a professor of social work, Dr. Barol exclaims, "I love working with the students.  I love seeing people who care deeply about other human beings have awakenings to why people do the stuff they do and how they can offer more effective support." She also speaks highly of her colleagues, adding, "I think we have a really special faculty.  They really are in love with social work.  They have real fields of expertise to share with students and they work collegially together."  

As of July 1, Dr. Barol adopted the newly developed position of MSW Program Director.  She will handle all aspects of the program, including curriculum implementation and MSW student concerns.  Since this is a new role, one of Dr. Barol's main desires is to be supportive of people, using the already-rich opportunities, such as developing relationships with their advisors, and having her as a support and problem-solver. However, she is not lacking in new ideas she would like to explore.  She explains, "One of my goals, through organizations such as the MSW Student Organization, is to be able to get a closer link with students in terms of incorporating their needs and what works best for them in our own governance."  Additionally, Dr. Barol is interested in "continuing to explore ways in which, as busy as our students are, we can enrich the between-classes culture so that people really feel that this is a home for them and have a sense of community here."


Though this marks a significant transition in Dr. Barol's life, one where she will cease enjoying the close-knit feel of a smaller campus and her tight working relationship with Harrisburg's program director Trevor Evans, she is looking forward to this new opportunity.  Dr. Barol says, "I'm a bit excited because this gives me a chance to integrate more of myself because, while I love teaching, I also love clinical supervision and management.  So the idea to be able to integrate my clinical orientation with the operations aspect of the Center, developing the teams and groups and to move towards full participation, I feel helps fulfill me as well."  We wish to extend sincere congratulations to Dr. Barol and wish her the best of luck this school year.

Dr. Paula Silver: Committed to Social Work
Paula SilverSince her appointment as Director in 1997, Dr. Paula Silver has faithfully led the Center for Social Work Education and celebrated many exciting achievements.  In the past fourteen years, the MSW program has increased by at least one hundred students and, in 2007, the doctoral program was created.  Dr. Silver exclaims, "We're no longer the new kids on the block.  We're a very established program.  Being in the leadership position during that period when we became ... one of the very well-respected MSW programs in the region is a very exciting accomplishment for me and also was very exciting to see." 

Effective July 1 of this year, Dr. Silver has become the Acting Dean of the School of Human Service Professions.  While this move is exciting in many ways, it also evokes some sadness.  Speaking of her time as Director, she says, "It was very special having a very special group of colleagues as Director of the Center.  Presiding over a group that, above all, wanted to have a collaborative work style made my job much easier."  She adds, "You can take the Director out of Social Work, but you can't take the Social Work out of the Director.  Much of my heart will remain there and may well return."


Looking ahead to her new role, Dr. Silver "would like to see more study abroad opportunities across all of the units.  I think the more we can expose students to international experiences, the more it broadens their skills and their perspectives."  She also "hopes to maintain the collaborative style of leadership she enjoyed at the unit level at the school level with the Associate Deans of the units."  Since it is unclear how long Dr. Silver will remain in her current position, she is unsure exactly how she will make her mark but plans to be very involved with all units of the School of Human Service Professions.  She will also sustain the many accomplishments of her predecessor, Dean Wilhite, including the success of the Charter School and the various service-learning opportunities offered in each of the units.


In regards to the Center, Dr. Silver admits, "One thing that makes this transition easier for me is knowing that I've left the Center in very good hands.  The students and the faculty will benefit from John [Poulin's] many talents."  She adds, "I think with some of the administrative restructuring that we've done, we leave the academic program of the Center in a much better situation.  Having an MSW Program Director whose sole function is to implement the MSW curriculum is something we haven't had the luxury of before and I think that will make a big difference ... and will serve the students better."  We send our congratulations and well wishes to Dr. Silver as she embarks on this new journey and look forward to seeing her familiar face around the Center.

Meet Our New Faculty Member: Dr. Linda Houser
Linda Houser Teaching

Linda Houser is coming to Widener after 8 years of combining part-time teaching with program and policy research, most recently for Rutgers University's Center for Women and Work.  After three students over the course of a year approached her to ask how they could change their majors to social work, Dr. Houser realized just how much she wanted to get back to teaching social work students!  Thus, she is delighted to be joining Widener'
s forward-thinking Center for Social Work Education.


Dr. Houser graduated with her BSW from Eastern University in 1996 and with her MSW from Temple University in 2000.  She began her career in direct practice with the families of young children with chronic or disabling conditions, connecting them with developmental assessments and services.  In 2010, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College with her Ph.D.  Her dissertation research explored factors associated with childcare disruption and care-related work interruption, specifically the impact of type of care arrangement and maternal employment characteristics, in the context of local and geographic considerations.  


Dr. Houser's other areas of research and policy interest include child care subsidies, state workforce policies and supports, and employment and caregiving in families of children with chronic illnesses, particularly autism spectrum disorders.  She thoroughly enjoys research and is looking forward to the opportunity to work with both students and faculty to build practice-relevant social work knowledge.  This semester, Dr. Houser will be responsible for teaching SW 540: Social and Economic Justice I and SW 636: Organizations and Program Development.


When asked, Dr. Houser wanted to share this with our readers about her recent addition to the Center:

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to teach at Widener!  There is a pressing need for professionals who are well-prepared to bridge the gaps that so often exist between individuals and the groups, communities, and public policies that affect them; I am eager to be part of a program committed to preparing professionals for just such a task.  I look forward to sharing my policy and research interests with Widener's students, and to learning how these learning areas can best serve each of you." 


We want to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Houser and express how excited we are to have her join our faculty! 

Meet Our New Faculty Member: Dr. Sachi Ando
Sachi Ando is a new faculty member of the Center for Social Work Education at Widener University.  Born and raised in Nara, Japan, she came to the United States for higher education.  She received her B.A. in Psychology from University at Albany, State University of New York in 2002 and her B.A. in English from Kansai Gaidai University in Japan in 2003.  In 2004, Dr. Ando completed her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington and in 2010, she finished her Ph.D in Social Work from the same university.  

Dr. Ando has established a research agenda in the areas of international migration and well-being among immigrants and refugees.  Her professional passion is to become an educator and a researcher to seek well-being of all people in the world through the art, philosophy, and science of Social Work.  This semester, Dr. Ando will be responsible for teaching SW 520: SW Research I and SW 541: Social and Economic Justice II at the MSW level, as well as SW 350: SW Research Methods at the BSW level.  


When asked, Dr. Ando wanted to share this with our readers about her recent addition to the Center:

"I am delighted to become a faculty member of the CSWE.  After eight and a half years living deep in the heart of Texas, it required me a lot of courage to move out of the comfort zone and readjust to the new environment of the Northeast.  Thanks to the incredibly supportive faculty and staff members, the transition was smooth.  Also, it did not take much time to fall in love with the Widener spirit.  I am excited about the new school year to begin!  In the fall I will be teaching both BSW- and MSW-level research, as well as a social justice course.  Come stop by my office to say Howdy!  Looking forward to working with the CSWE students this year."


We want to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Ando and express how excited we are to have her join our faculty!