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History of the Texas Tech Social Work Program

The Social Work Program at Texas Tech University began during the 1967-68 academic year with 24 students and with three courses developed by a member of the Sociology faculty. A year later, the University’s Board of Regents approved Social Welfare as a major in its own right, yet sociologists and faculty from across campus continued to teach the courses.  In 1970 the first faculty with a Master of Social Work (M. S. W.) degree was hired to teach three core social work courses although students continued to take courses in other departments. The following year, the program applied for and received its Approved status from the Council on Social Work Education. Three social work courses were added, and the SW (Social Work) prefix was applied to course numbers thereby differentiating social work from sociology courses.

The decade of the 1970s saw an expansion in terms of resources, faculty and students. The program acquired Title XX grant funding in 1972, in addition to 3 more faculty positions, and the number of social work students swelled to just over 200 in the spring of 1975. In 1978, the Council on Social Work Accreditation reviewed the program and granted full accreditation status which has been reaffirmed in subsequent reviews.

Our graduates have contributed to the well being of our society at all levels of agency practice working with diverse populations throughout the country in such settings as behavioral health units, adult and juvenile corrections, health care organizations, schools and protective services. Some of our graduates are affiliated with university level social work programs such as field placement supervisors, recruitment and admissions directors and social work faculty, including one of our own, Laura Lowe (TTU, 1990).

Under the new leardership of Dr. Helen Morrow (fall 2004), the program has undergone significant changes including the reassesssment of the entire curriculum, course sequence restructuring, development of a new mission statement as well as program goals and objectives, development of the Community Advisory Committee and the official positions of Student Representatives. Faculty continue to strive to fine tune the program to meet the needs of both the students and the community and welcome input from students, alumni, professional social workers, and community members.