Aug 14, 2012

USD’s Social Work Department celebrates graduation of first Master of Social Work cohort

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Department of Social Work at the University of South Dakota celebrated the graduation of its first class of Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) students July 22 when a pinning ceremony recognizing the 23 graduates was held at Hope Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls. Speakers at the ceremony included Michael Lawler, Ph.D., dean of USD’s School of Health Sciences, Charles Schwartz, Ph.D., professor emeritus and the retired chair of USD’s Department of Social Work, and Joan McMillian, retired executive director of the South Dakota chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

“This significant milestone will move forward social services in South Dakota and fill a void in the workforce,” said Elizabeth Talbot, Ph.D., associate professor of social work and director of the M.S.W. program. “Many agencies have been waiting for our graduates and are anxious to hire them for positions that have remained vacant for a long time.”

According to Talbot, the graduates’ employment outlook is strong due to the demand for highly trained experts in social work fields. Graduates of USD’s M.S.W. program, the only one in South Dakota, will be eligible to become licensed for clinical services, move into leadership positions in various agencies or pursue private practice. Agencies who employ M.S.W. graduates can receive third-party reimbursements, Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements and other insurance reimbursements, which bring Federal dollars to the state.

“Many of our recent graduates have already been hired by agencies,” said Talbot.

For more information about the program, please visit

About the School of Health Sciences

USD’s School of Health Sciences has nine programs offering bachelor of science degrees in alcohol and drug studies, dental hygiene, health sciences, medical laboratory science, nursing, and social work; an associate of science degree in nursing; master of science degrees in occupational therapy and physician assistant studies; master of social work; master of arts in addiction studies; and a doctorate of physical therapy degree. For more information about USD’s School of Health Sciences, please visit or call (605) 677-5000.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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