Carver connects prospective students to social work education

Elizabeth Carver, MSW '09
Director of Continuing Studies, Training and Master of Social Work Admissions, University of Minnesota

Elizabeth Carver (formerly Elizabeth Cutter-Wilson) had always wanted to attend UW-Madison, so when she began to pursue an MSW, she applied only to the School of Social Work at UW. During her time in the program, she was a research assistant to Professor Jan Steven Greenberg, from whom she learned the methods of conducting high-quality, impactful research. After post-MSW fellowships at hospitals in Boston and St. Paul, she began working for the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. Carver now directs MSW admissions, training and continuing studies at the school, facilitating the education of future generations of social workers and academics in the field.


What originally inspired you to become a social worker?

Prior to college, I had a very firm plan to attend law school. Law school seemed to provide a route to doing social justice work and I was certain there was no other path. However, while in college I started work as a domestic abuse advocate and was inspired by the empathy I saw social workers bring to very difficult and emotionally draining cases. They were so skilled and doing such meaningful and important work. I knew I needed to be a part of the social work community, and that it was my path toward socially just work.


Walk us through a typical day in the life at your job.

I wear a lot of hats at the school, so no day is typical. When I have my continuing education hat on, I meet with instructors, develop course content, work on marketing and strategy, meet with social work professionals to discuss continuing education needs and meet with the board of social work. When I wear my admissions hat, I discuss the social work profession, discuss our application process, tour the school with prospective students and meet with faculty and staff.


UW taught me so much about how to be an advocate for the social work profession and I truly use those skills every day.

How has your School of Social Work education prepared you for both your past jobs and your current job?

It helps me every day. I learned to love the social work profession at UW. I know how amazing the MSW program can be and I know how demanding the work can be. UW taught me so much about how to be an advocate for the social work profession and I truly use those skills every day.


Do you have any advice for current students in the School of Social Work to prepare themselves for their future careers?

Be flexible, focused, and plan ahead. Remember your MSW is a professional training degree. You should be networking and having informational interviews from the time you start your MSW program. You will get the most out of your MSW if you know where you want to go professionally. All of that said, you may not get your dream job or dream field experience, but you can make it an amazing opportunity with the right energy and outlook. Making the best of it will lead to great things.

Last edited by karnaky on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Printer Friendly Version