Friday, June 09, 2017

pictureHelen Petracchi, MSSW,’83, PhD ’92, was named a “2017 Council on Social Work Education Scholar.” Petracchi, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, has extensive experience with social work education research, and received a $5,000 award. She will work with CSWE’s Joint Research Task Force which is comprised of members of the Commissions on Research, Education and Accreditation and will focus on best practices or models in field education/internship experience across disciplines and their connection to social work accreditation standards.


Dr. Petracchi was also recently appointed as a member of the CSWE Commission on Accreditation, where she joins School of Social Work Assistant Director Bill Heiss, and other social work educators from throughout the country, in "the critically important function of maintaining and advocating for quality in social work education through its accreditation/candidacy of more than 750 social work programs in the United States."

Friday, June 02, 2017

PictureBraunginn and Larsen Part of Wisconsin School Social Workers Association

One in five school-age children struggle with mental health issues and 80 percent of those students do not get professional help. Most school districts in Wisconsin do not receive funding specifically to support students with mental health issues.


To address the needs of school districts and the importance of professionally-licensed social workers in schools, two field faculty members met with state legislators. Jenny Braunginn and Katie Larsen, who teach School Social Work Field Units, recently met with Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sen. Luther Olsen. Larsen and Braunginn spoke with the lawmakers as liaisons to the Board of Wisconsin School Social Workers Association (WSSWA). Specifically, they talked about Governor Walker’s budget proposal to expand resources for access to mental health services for school-age children.


Governor Walker’s plan, which was developed by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and mental health experts, would provide $6.3 million dollars for a categorical aid program to support school...

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

FlierIdea Inspired by Field Unit

May was Mental Health Month to raise awareness of mental health, fight stigma, provide support, and educate the public. With one in five adults living with a mental health condition, there is a great need. First-year MSW student, Emily Erwin-Frank found a way to advocate, educate, and entertain locally.

She organized an event called Upstage Stigma a compilation of song, dance, theater, poetry, and spoken word by local artists and performers to, “give voice to the experience of mental illness.”


Thursday, March 23, 2017

To celebrate our 70-year legacy of shaping social work education, policy, and practice, and to encourage more alumni to support the School financially, the School held a 70th anniversary, “New Donor Sweepstakes.” Congrats to alums Julia Dauenhauer, BSW ’06, Kari Ehrhardt, MSW ’08 and Susan Kronenberg, MSW ’12 who won gift certificates to Amazon and REI. And thank you to Board of Visitors members Alissa Ovadia, BSW ’04, Marion Usher, MSSW, '65, and Irene Wong, PhD ’95 who generously provided the funds to purchase the certificates.


Last year 70 new donors joined more than 400 other alums supporting the School as part of our 2016 annual campaign. Financial support from our alumni and friends is crucial to enhancing the School’s educational, research and services missions. We are grateful for that support.


You can help us make 2017 an even better year, by making a donation online at If you have any questions or would like to talk further about supporting the School, please contact Mel Morgenbesser at

Monday, February 27, 2017



Children at home in the Catalyst ProjectAfter Anna Donahoe, MSW ’15, graduated and started job hunting, she found it difficult to find employment that met her goals and philosophy. Like her mother, Susan Donahoe, a retired teacher and early childhood project director, she hoped to find a way to help low income families overcome the barriers they often encountered. Together, Anna and Susan (with help from friends), purchased and rehabbed a small building in Madison that now houses four low-income single mothers and their children. They describe the Catalyst Project as “a community of parent partnership and therapeutic interventions founded on the belief that the wisdom of those not well served by society is essential to creating a society that serves all of its people.” As the project’s social worker, Anna collaborates with each family and the group as a whole to develop and implement strategies that encourages each mother to use the power she holds to her child(ren)’s best advantage. You can find more information about the program at


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