Social work student works with a kid
Social work students working together in Ropes course
Social work students working with nursing students collaboratively
Students learning experientially through simulation
Social work students gaining experience through simulation learning
Students at graduation ceremony
Social worker working with kids

“We stand today united in a belief in beauty, genius, and courage, and that these can transform the world.” 
-Jane Addams, a founder of the social work profession

School of Social Work

The School of Social Work prepares students to make a difference in the world through direct practice with individuals, couples, families and communities; policy analysis and advocacy; and social work research. Our students are trained to help people discover and build upon their own resources and strengths as well as the resources and strengths of their environment to meet the challenges of poverty, discrimination, health and mental health issues, and other difficult life situations.

UNCW social work alumni are working in social service, health and mental health agencies in Southeastern North Carolina, throughout the state and across the country. Our current students are working toward joining their predecessors, while also serving our community in local field placements as part of their education. School of Social Work faculty members continue to serve via community outreach and their contributions to social work scholarship.

Explore our site to learn more about our academic programs, our learning outcomes, our passionate faculty and how you can join us in transforming the world through social work. Read more about the mission and goals for the School of Social Work: Download the Strategic Plan (PDF).

Anti-Racism Statement from The School of Social Work Faculty 

February 9, 2021

The events of police brutality against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans are steeped in historical patterns of individual and institutionalized racism. The School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Wilmington stands in full solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We affirm our commitment as an anti-racist organization that is deeply devoted to racial and ethnic justice.

Consistent with the mission, values, and ethics of the social work profession, our aim is to contribute to the dismantling of practices, policies, structures, and traditions that emanate from and result in racial bias and discrimination. We take ownership of our responsibility to promote racial equity, empowerment, and justice through intentionality, consistency, and persistence.

With a focus on racial justice, we pledge to continually examine ourselves the institutions in which we work, our profession, and the communities in which we live. We acknowledge positive social change does not happen without continued critical self-reflection and values-based action. As such, the commitments outlined below will guide our immediate and future actions to become a truly anti-racist school of social work. 

Our Commitments: 

  • We commit to congruence between our professional values and our actions in pursuit of racial justice.  
  • We commit to centering diversity, inclusion, and racial equity in our work.
  • We commit to bringing integrity and compassion to the necessary work of unpacking racial bias, White privilege, White supremacy, and institutionalized discrimination.   
  • We commit to challenging the racist beliefs, policies, and social structures that promote discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. 
  • We commit to collaboration and meaningful action in pursuing racial equity alongside our students, field instructors, local agencies, and communities.  
  • We commit to the inclusion and amplification of Black voices across the curriculum, when teaching, conducting research, and co-creating the culture of our school.
  • We commit to ongoing evaluation and continued improvement of our focus on racial justice issues, both in and outside of the classroom.  
  • We commit to contributing to university-level initiatives to advance racial equity.

Immediate Actions (2020-2021):  

  • Revise BSW and MSW courses, including course objectives and assessment measures, in order to amplify Black scholars and increase explicit efforts to address racial justice issues. 
  • Develop a digital resource library for faculty focused on Black scholarship and racial justice pedagogy.   
  • Provide continuing education opportunities focused on racial justice issues for field instructors, practitioners, and the local community. 
  • Update the School of Social Work website with racial justice resources for students and community partners.
  • Actively oppose and/or remove racially unjust policies and practices within our school, institution, and community.  

Informed by the evolution of our 2020-2021 efforts, the School of Social Work will identify specific action items for 2021-2022 at the conclusion of the academic years. Areas we intend to explore include the following but are not limited to:

  • Continued pedagogical and curricular revisions;
  • The design and implementation of anti-racist protocols for students who experience issues of racism in class or in field placements;
  • Recruitment, retention, and positive scholarly trajectory of Black students and faculty; and
  • Improvement of climate, space, and support for Black students.

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