Interim Dean Gomez: What to know for the Fall 2022 semester
As interim dean of the VCU School of Social Work, I am excited to usher in a new academic year starting Aug. 23! We are welcoming several hundred new students as well as new faculty and staff or those transitioning to different roles. We are pleased to be offering amazing opportunities for engagement and connectivity.
Here are the key things for students to know for the new semester:
With five student organizations and opportunities for students to serve in leadership positions on school committees, there are plenty of ways to get connected.
Student organizations include the B.S.W. Student Association, the M.S.W. Student Association, the Doctoral Student Association, the Association of Black Social Workers and the Queer & Trans Social Workers at VCU.
Committee opportunities include serving the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs; governance and operations; recruitment, alumni and community events; and others related to the business of the school and academic processes. Learn more about the committees and apply here.
You can also check out student opportunities (advocacy, organizations, leadership) across VCU and details about all aspects of student life at the university.
We know there’s a lot going on, so here are key dates to make sure you’re in the right place at the right time and don’t miss any important deadlines.
Weeks of Welcome
The School of Social Work is sponsoring four Weeks of Welcome (WoW) events early in the semester:
7 p.m. ET Aug. 24, ALC 3100 – WoW Bingo Night This event is sold out.
Engage and socialize with faculty, staff and fellow students. Prizes will be awarded, and light refreshments will be provided.
6 p.m. ET Aug. 30, ALC 3100 & Zoom – WoW Zumba with SSW
M.S.W. Program Director Nicki Lee, Ph.D., will be leading a Zumba class for in-person (up to 20) and Zoom participants. Everyone must pre-register and sign a liability waiver. Yoga mats will be provided to all in-person participants.
11 a.m. ET Sept. 6, ALC 3100 & Zoom – WoW Meet with the Dean
Connect directly with me, Interim Dean Rebecca Gomez, Ph.D., LCSW, over breakfast.
4 p.m. ET Sept. 16, ALC 3100 – WoW Paint and Sip
A night of fun and relaxation, with the paint brushes and canvas provided. You will be encouraged to present your masterpiece to those in attendance, so bring your creative side! Snacks and sodas will be provided.
VCU’s Weeks of Welcome events run through late September. Be sure to check out the Student Organization & Volunteer Opportunities Fair on Aug. 26.
Key academic dates/calendar
- Aug. 23 – First day of class
- Sept. 5 – Holiday, university closed
- Sept. 9 – Last day to submit graduate application for December
- Oct. 21 – Reading Day, no classes
- Oct. 28 – Last day to withdraw with a W
- Nov. 8 – Holiday, university closed
- Nov. 21-Nov. 27 – Fall break, no classes
- Dec. 10 – VCU Commencement
- Dec. 12 – Last day of classes
- Dec. 13-20 – Final examinations
View the complete School of Social Work Student Calendar (including VCU Academic Calendar dates).
Student Handbook, Field Education Manual & other documents
The School of Social Work Student Handbook and Field Education Manual have been updated for the 2022-2023 academic year. The handbook contains the school’s policies, regulations and other information that is applicable to all students; due process policies and procedures; and specific standards, policies and practices that are applicable to students in their respective B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. programs. The field manual includes a list of all Office of Field Education personnel; an introduction to the field process and expectations; details on assignments, grading and policies; and information for B.S.W. and M.S.W. field placements.
Students are required to read and be familiar with the information in the handbook, and students entering field are required to read and be familiar with the field manual. If you have questions about the handbook, please email email@example.com; if you have questions about the field manual, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get to the polls!
It’s an election year, and social workers need to be engaged in the political process. First and foremost, that means registering to vote, encouraging others to vote, and making sure you show up at the polls or take advantage of other opportunities like absentee and mail-in ballots or early voting. Here are details from the Virginia Department of Elections, and you can find similar state resources wherever you are registered or eligible to register.
You can also find out more about voter advocacy opportunities through the Voting is Social Work project from the University of Connecticut. If you have political aspirations for campus leadership, learn more about the VCU Student Government Association.
Get to know us!
I am honored to be serving as your interim dean during the national search for a permanent dean. You can learn more about my background and passion for higher education in this article.
We are also pleased to have seven new faculty who are starting their first full academic year with the school. They are:
- Adrienne Baldwin-White, Ph.D., assistant professor
- Qasarah Bey Spencer, Ed.D., assistant professor in teaching
- Cassie DeSena-Jacobs, D.S.W., LCSW, assistant professor in teaching
- Mer Francis, Ph.D., assistant professor
- Jacob Goffnett, Ph.D., assistant professor
- McKenzie N. Green, Ph.D., assistant professor and iCubed scholar
- Shenita Williams, Ph.D., LCSW, director of field education and assistant professor in teaching
In addition, Associate Professor in Teaching Stephanie Odera, Ed.D., has moved from director of field education to director of the B.S.W. Program. Madison Woodroof, M.S.W., has moved from student success advisor to assistant director of field education and program field coordinator. India Turner, M.S.W., is also a new program field coordinator.
Please see a partial listing of this semester’s community-embedded (adjunct) faculty, and check back for updates as the list is finalized. These faculty’s expertise and lived experience enrich our instruction to students in the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs and through field education. Many are also alumni of our school.
Meet the Office of Field Education
Noon-12:45 p.m. ET Aug. 31 – Please “stop by” for this virtual meet and greet with the field team on Zoom.
Noon-1:15 p.m. ET each Wednesday – Starting Sept. 7, join the director of field education each week for a Zoom roundtable discussion and ask a question, share feedback or offer suggestions. Advanced registration is required and limited to 15 students.
- B.S.W. – 1st Wednesday. Register
- M.S.W. on-campus – 2nd Wednesday. Register
- M.S.W. online – 3rd Wednesday. Register
- All programs/formats – 4th Wednesday. Register
Front office: The dean’s suite and front reception desk on the 3rd floor of the Academic Learning Commons (ALC) will be open for a significant part of each day. If you have questions or need assistance, the front desk is a great resource for on-campus students. For online students or anyone who needs virtual assistance, email email@example.com.
Advisors: Our Office of Student Success (OSS) advisors are here for you. You can schedule a meeting with them on campus or online, and you can always drop by on weekdays during business hours. If you drop by and your assigned advisor is not available, any member of the team can meet with you. Be proactive! Let us know when you need support. Don’t wait. We are here to help.
Faculty office hours: Take advantage of regularly scheduled office hours with your instructors. Refer to your course syllabus for the dates and times of office hours as well as whether they are being held in person or online.
Resource Wire: The Resource Wire email serves as our primary vehicle for student information and is sent via every Tuesday to students’ VCU email addresses. It is essential you check your VCU email so that you stay in the know. Make a habit of reading the Resource Wire each week, because there you will find important information and updates on course registration, events, job opportunities, scholarships, field education and all things SSW.
Student Community Hour: I am available every Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET to meet with students. You can join me face to face on campus (ALC 3102H, in the SSW dean’s suite) or virtually through Zoom (email firstname.lastname@example.org for details). Stop by. Say hello. Ask questions. Share your voice.
The fall and the beginning of a new academic year serve as an annual opportunity for renewal as individuals and as a collective. We are excited at the opportunities that lie ahead for our returning and incoming students.
Please know that our focus above all else is to ensure we are helping you, our students, achieve your potential and the successful completion of your degrees, and that we are committed to pursuing social and racial justice across all areas of our school.
Rebecca Gomez, Ph.D., LCSW
Interim Dean and Associate Professor
VCU School of Social Work