Social Work at FAMU
The Beginning of Social Work at FAMU
The official social work program began with one introductory course in the Department of Sociology during the 1950-51 academic year. By 1956, a six-course sequence was available as a minor for students majoring in the liberal arts. In 1957, the first “colored” social workers were hired by the State of Florida with FAMU graduates being highly represented in this first group. The liaison built between the program faculty and the Personnel Director of the Florida State agency made such employment a reality.
With a student enrollment of nearly two hundred and fifty social work minors, Florida A & M University received its first Formula Grant in HEW Region IV in 1968. Ever since, the social work program has had faculty offering an “approved” (and later “accredited”) professional curriculum in social work education.
A bachelor’s degree in social work was first offered in 1979 under the visionary leadership of Dr. Victoria Warner. Under her direction, the program achieved departmental status in the 1990-91 academic year. Both departmental faculty and the University administrators believe that the BSW program met the “goodness-of-fit test” in relation to:
1. The mission of Florida A & M University
2. The essential values of FAMU students, particularly those related to issues of social and economic justice
3. Local and national needs of the profession, and
4. The self-actualization of students choosing social work as their career.
Dr. Warner soon dreamed of a master’s degree in social work at Florida A & M University and took steps within the University and with the Council on Social Work Education to make her dream a reality. When she retired in May of 1997, Dr. Sharon Williams became the Chair of the Department of Social Work, hiring a graduate faculty and overseeing the implementation of the new MSW program in the 1997-98 academic year. In 1999, Dr. Marilyn Spearman was appointed to the position of Chair of the Department and worked with the graduate faculty to move the program into Initial Accreditation Status. In August of 2002, Dr. Brenda Jarmon was elected to the position of Chair of the Department of Social Work. In that same year, CSWE granted the MSW program Initial Accreditation status. Both the BSW and MSW Programs were fully re-accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 2008. In 2011, Dr. Robin Perry was elected as the new Chair of the Department of Social Work. Dr. Laura Myers is the BSW Program Director, and Dr. Brenda Jarmon and Dr. Barbara Haile currently serve as the Co-Directors of the MSW Program. The social work faculty, along with the University, its students, social service agencies, and a supportive community, strive to deliver a high-quality program committed to the enhancement of human well-being, social and economic justice, and the alleviation of poverty and oppression in all of its forms.