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Academics > College of Professional Studies > Department of Social Work & Sociology

Department of Social Work & Sociology

Be Inspiring. Be Rewarded. Be A Social Worker.

Social Work and Sociology became one department in July 2017. The department brings students together who are committed to creating a better world by improving people's quality of life and promoting justice and safety of communities. Throughout our programs, students develop important research skills and have the chance to present professional-level work. We also provide opportunities for field work and internships so students can apply their knowledge and skills while serving the local community. Ours students are united by shared values, including a commitment to social justice, service to others, and dedication to influencing positive social change.

The Social Work Program at Concord University is dedicated to preparing students for professional generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Upon completion of the CSWE accredited program, students are qualified to become licensed practitioners and join the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Concord offers both a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

The BSW program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974. The primary mission of the BSW program is to prepare graduates for baccalaureate level, generalist, professional social practice enabling them to work effectively with a variety of issues and people. The BSW program is offered mostly in seat with a few classes offered online.

The MSW program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 2015. The primary mission of the MSW program is "to prepare graduates for advanced generalist social work practice with a specialized area in rural practice. The MSW program is built upon a systems approach and a strengths perspective, delivered in a manner that meets the needs of students that live and/or work primarily in rural areas". The MSW program is offered fully online.

The Sociology program conforms to the Sociological Literacy Framework recommended by the American Sociological Association. Sociology majors develop theoretical and methodological frameworks for the student of human social behavior and social problems. The Criminology emphasis enables students to systematically analyze crime and justice issues. The primary mission of the Sociology program is to prepare students for graduate school or careers in professions related to sociology and criminology. 

Our Faculty

Joan Pendergast

Associate Professor of Social Work/Chair, Department of Social Work and Sociology

Candence "Candie" Dick

Training Coordinator

Shawn R. Allen

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Elen Darden

Professor of Social Work

Robbin Durham

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Angela Fedele

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Nola Gum

Instructor in Social Work

Vanessa Howell

Administrative Associate-MSW Program


Scott C. Inghram

Associate Professor - Social Work/Director of MSW Program


Nia Key

Instructor in Social Work

Tracy Luff

Professor of Sociology/Dir. of Honors Program

Ida A. Mills

Associate Professor of Social Work

Mark A. Mills

Instructor of Sociology/Criminology

M. Marie Newcomb-Lewis

Concord University Counselor

Patricia Nishimoto

Associate Professor of Social Work

Kathryn Nutter-Pridgen

Assistant Professor of Sociology


Stephen Pridgen

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Lori Pace

Instructor of Criminology

Terri Philpott

Instructor of Social Work

Elizabeth (Beth) Sizemore

Program Assistant Administrator

Sarah Whittaker

Professor of Social Work

Why Major in Social Work?

The Social Work profession focuses on issues of equality, social and economic justice while working to strengthen individuals, families, and communities. Here at Concord University, you will develop the knowledge and learn the skills to work in a variety of settings. 

Our professional social work education includes courses on social work values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, populations-at-risk, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, research, and field practicum. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and upon graduation, students are qualified to become licensed social work practitioners.

What Can The Social Work Program Do for Me?

Concord's Social Work program offers a specialized degree that prepares its graduates for immediate entry into professional social work positions or graduate school. Graduates of our program are well prepared to enter the field. In fact:

  • Graduates are either employed in the social work field (most either during or after completion of their internship) or accepted to graduate school.
  • Public Service Scholarships are available, and upon graduation provide direct access to jobs with the state-wide Department of Health and Human Resources.
  • Students may be eligible for assistantships to work with faculty on research projects.
  • Continuous and ongoing contact with community agencies and organizations.
  • BSW’s are given special consideration for civil service ranking.
  • Graduates are allowed to take the Social Work Licensure Exam.
  • Fully Accredited since 1974 by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 
What Will I Learn?

Graduates of the social work program are trained as generalist practitioners through a wide range of courses enabling them to work effectively with a variety of issues and people.

Core Courses Include:

  • Introduction to Social Work
  • Group Dynamics and Interviewing Skills
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Social Policy and Services
  • Human Diversity
  • Social Work Research Methods
  • Field Instruction Internship

Elective Courses Include:

  • Health and Human Resources Administration
  • Working with Children and Adolescents
  • Gerontology and the Field of Aging
  • Health Care
  • Corrections
  • International Social Work Addictions
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
What Type of Jobs Can I Get as a Social Worker?

Social workers are highly sought after in a wide variety of occupations. Generalist social work practitioners can work in a variety of fields and settings dealing with human behavior. Below are just a few of the many career choices that are possible with a degree in social work.

  • Abuse Centers
  • Adoption and Foster Care
  • Adult and Child Protective Services
  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Civil Rights and Social Justice Services
  • City and County Departments of Social Services
  • Community Action Agencies
  • Community Planning and Development
  • Corporate & Industrial Settings
  • Correctional Institutions
  • Counseling
  • Department of Health and Human Resources
  • Developmental Disabilities (Children & Adults)
  • Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Programs
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Employment Counseling
  • Family Social Services
  • Hospice Programs
  • Hospitals (Medical & Psychiatric)
  • Human Relations Work
  • Juvenile and Adult Probation
  • Juvenile Services
  • Nursing Homes
  • Public Assistance Programs
  • Public Housing Authority
  • Public Schools
  • Rehabilitation and Vocational Services
  • Substance Abuse
  • Veteran's Affairs
Social Work Organization

CSWO 2019-2020 Officers

Karli Plumley

Lillie Boyd

SGA Representative
Madyson Kennedy

Vice President
​Ashley Vaughn

​Shara Morris

Lindsay Violet

Once you are admitted into the Social Work program, you are invited to become a member of the Concord University Social Work Organization (CSWO). CSWO combines fun and fellowship with service and governance. CSWO is a service based organization that strives to 'be the change' and seeks members who have a passion to help our community, our college, and our nation.

This student organization was formed in 1975 and has been officially recognized as a Campus organization since 1976. The primary purpose of the organization is to give the students an opportunity to organize on their behalf.

There are many opportunities to become involved in the CSWO. Leadership positions and committee memberships are always encouraged. Some ways the students in this organization participate include:

  • Serving on the Curriculum Committee, which acts in an advisory capacity in the Social Work Department
  • Participating in service projects and fundraisers
  • Attending conferences together
  • Playing a role in governance of the campus community by working with the Student Government Organization

For meeting dates and times, visit the CSWO Facebook page.

Dr. Joan Pendergast

Concord Social Work Organization By-Laws (PDF)
Concord Social Work Organization Core Competencies (PDF)
Program Accreditation

The Concord University's Bachelor of Social Work program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1974. The BSW program received Reaffirmation of Accreditation by the CSWE in February 2011. 

The Master of Social Work Program entered into Candidacy in June 2013. Initial Accreditation was granted June 2015.

MSW Program Accreditation Status

  • HEPC Intent to Plan: January 2006 (re-affirmation October 2010)
  • Social Work Department: February 16, 2011
  • Social Sciences Division: February 16, 2011
  • University Graduate Council: February 28, 2011; University Graduate Council: November 15, 2011
  • Faculty Senate: March 14, 2011
  • AAEC: March 17, 2011
  • BOG: April 19, 2011
  • HEPC Program Approval: February 17, 2012
  • CSWE: Submitted April 30, 2012; May 2, 2012 Candidacy Eligibility Application Approved
  • CSWE: Benchmark I Submitted January 25, 2013
  • Higher Learning Commission, Institutional Actions Council: Approval February 25, 2013
  • CSWE Commissioner’s Visit February 26, 2013
  • CSWE: Program Response to the Commissioner’s Benchmark I Review Brief; Submitted April 11, 2013
  • CSWE: Candidacy Granted, June 2013
  • CSWE: Benchmark II Submitted January 21, 2014, Benchmark II Approved: June 2014
  • CSWE: Benchmark III Submitted December 15, 2014
  • CSWE: Initial Accreditation Submitted December 15, 2014
  • CSWE: Initial Accreditation Granted June 2015

About CSWE

The Council on Social Work Education is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.

CSWE Accreditation

CSWE's Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet them. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE's recognition body, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.

Current Number of Social Work Programs

As of the June 2019 COA meeting, there are:

  • 527 accredited baccalaureate social work programs
  • 271 accredited master's social work programs
  • 14 baccalaureate social work programs in candidacy
  • 26 master's social work programs in candidacy

CSWE Core Competencies for Social Work Education

Phi Alpha Honor Society

Phi Alpha is the National Social Work Honor Society. The purpose of the Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

The Concord University chapter was founded in 2001, the first program in West Virginia to be chartered by Phi Alpha. Only 10 to 12 Concord social work students are inducted each year.

Undergraduate Phi Alpha Honor Society Membership Requirements

For consideration of membership into this prestigious national honors society, students must:

  • Declare Social Work as a Major
  • Achieve Sophomore status
  • Complete 9 semester credit hours (12 quarter hours) of required social work courses
  • Achieve at least an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Achieve at least a 3.25 GPA on a 4.0 scale in required social work courses

Graduate Phi Alpha Honor Society Membership Requirements

  • Complete 12 semester credit hours of social work courses
  • Earn at least a 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

For more information, contact Concord's Phi Alpha Honor Society adviser.

BSW Adviser
Dr. Ida Mills

MSW Advisor
Dr. Pattie Nishimoto

Outstanding Graduate Award - Social Work
Each year the Outstanding Social Work Graduate of the Year is awarded to the graduating Social Work student achieving the highest standard of academic excellence. The Outstanding Social Work Graduate of the Year not only has the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) of all graduates, but also exhibits superiority in the areas of service to others, community involvement and leadership.


Maria Harer
Social Work & Sociology Major


Hannah Barker
Social Work Major


Michelle Shrewsberry
Magna Cum Laude • Social Work Major 


Katie Ratcliffe
Summa Cum Laude • Social Work Major

Savannah Halverson
Magna Cum Laude • Social Work Major & Minor in Psychology

Britany Hopkins

Rebecca Gouty

Nola Gum

Jennifer Crowe

Lucretia O'Dell

Gloria Beverage & Jennifer Justice

Chedella M. Ware

Patricia Lynn Good

Amanda Pendry
Summa Cum Laude • Social Work & Psychology Double Major

Ann Reed

Kaitlyn Begg & Chasity Owen

Marsha Edwards

Jessica Kennedy

Carol Jackson

Ruschelle Smiroldo

Erin R. Luzader


Programs of Studies



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