2 VCU alumni added to state Board of Social Work
Two VCU School of Social Work alumni have recently been appointed to the state Board of Social Work under the Virginia Department of Health Professions.
Denise Purgold (M.S.W.’97/SW), LCSW, and Sherwood Randolph Jr. (B.S.W.’08/SW; M.S.W.’10/SW), LCSW, M.Div., BC-TMH, join the nine-person board, which has regulatory responsibilities for the profession, including licensure and licensure supervision. They will serve until June 30, 2026.
They join two other VCU alumni already serving on the board, Eboni C. Bugg (M.S.W.’08/SW), LCSW, and Teresa Reynolds (M.S.W.’00/SW), LCSW.
Purgold is an adoption supervisor with United Methodist Family Services. She also is a part-time outpatient therapist at C2adopt, working with adoptees and their parents, and a member of the Greater Richmond Trauma Informed Community Network.
“I am honored to have been appointed to a seat on the Virginia Board of Social Work and I will do my best to serve the commonwealth while continuing to promote social justice and social change,” she says.
Randolph serves as clinical director of the VCU Child Development Clinic, teen pastor of the M3 Church and an associate minister of the Cedar Street Baptist Church. He also serves on the board of directors of the South Richmond Adult Daycare.
“When reflecting on my role as a board member, I see my primary responsibility as service to the profession by carrying out the mission of ensuring safe and competent client care through the promotion of high standards of professional, equitable and ethical practice within the profession of social work here in the commonwealth,” Randolph says.
“As a Black man who is a millennial, spiritual and tri-vocational, I feel that service in this role is extremely important. The reality is that the social work profession doesn’t typically mirror my personhood, but it is integral that we remain mindful that we are present, engaged and add value within the profession. From an intersectional perspective, I am excited about how these aspects of identity will engage macro-level practice and the provision of social work within the commonwealth.
“I consider social work practice as a ‘call’ on my life in which education is inseparably connected. My true job is engaging the community in social and spiritual change across the generations.”
Purgold has worked for over two decades with foster and adoptive families and youth, providing clinical and case management services to adoptive families in the central and eastern regions of Virginia. Services are provided to adoptive families free of charge through the Regional Post Adoption Consortium Services (RPACS) program, which is funded by the Virginia Department of Social Services.
“Most of my work is with parents, helping them understand the needs of their children and to develop more effective parenting strategies using adoption competent, trauma-informed and attachment theory-based approaches,” Purgold says. “I also provide training to families and other professionals in the community on trauma, core adoption issues and attachment.”
Both serve as community-embedded (adjunct) faculty with the School of Social Work, and Randolph also holds that role with Virginia Union University.
Purgold has taught in the VCU B.S.W. Program since 2007, most recently handling 400-level courses SLWK Practice I and II.
“I have always been grateful to the faculty who helped inform my social work practice, and for the field experience which prepared me for working in the social work profession,” she says. “Working as an adjunct faculty member allows me to give back to the next generation of social workers by sharing my professional knowledge and real-world experiences, which help students connect theory and course content to practice.
“I view my relationships with my students as somewhat reciprocal in that I not only teach them, but also learn from them. My adjunct experience has also helped me in my own professional development by keeping me informed about current and ongoing social work and social justice issues, as well as bringing awareness to my own areas for continued learning and growth.”
Randolph has taught at VCU for three years and served as a field instructor for five. He has taught M.S.W. practice courses at the 600 and 700 level. At VUU he has taught undergraduate Social Policy as well as Religion, Spirituality & the Practice of Social Work.
“The VCU School of Social Work has been invaluable in preparation for the work that I am currently doing,” he says. “The three aspects of note for me were the curriculum, field experiences and relationships developed.
“Prior to my Intro to Social Work class, I came to VCU to pursue education. Through this class, I happened to encounter Renata Hedrington Jones (M.S.W.’87/SW), Ph.D., who helped me have a life-changing ‘aha’ moment in which I realized that I belong, a feeling that I had not encountered outside of family and the Black church in a long time.
“I would later engage in field placements that challenged and intrigued me in which relationships with individuals such as Karen Rice (M.S.W.’87/SW), LCSW, would help me challenge and expound upon entrenched patterns of thinking. To date, I gratefully can call these two instructors, along with others, mentors, colleagues and a part of my community. These experiences have helped me to realize that as an adjunct, I am here to help students not only learn curriculum, but also expound upon thinking in which they can experience their own ‘aha’ moments that not only change their lives, but also impacts the lives of every individual in which they encounter.”