Indicators of Progress

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Benchmark Statistics on the PhD Program, 2015-2016


43 PhD students enrolled in 2015-2016

Recruitment for incoming class of 2016: 35 applicants yielded 8 incoming students

Progress towards Milestones:

2015-2016 Students advancing to Candidacy (n=12):           

  • 100% were admitted to candidacy within 5 years of entering the program
  • 75% admitted to candidacy within 4 years of entering the program

2015-2016 Graduates (n=9):

  • 100% graduated within 9 years of entering the program;
  • 56% graduated within 6 years of entering the program 

Dr. Melissa Bessaha will begin a tenure-track assistant professor position at the Stony Brook University School of Social Welfare this summer.

Dr. Todd Vanidestine just finished his first year as an assistant professor at the Adelphi University School of Social Work.

Dr. Matthew Uretsky (who successfully defended his dissertation in June 2016) will begin a tenure-track assistant professor position at the Portland State University School of Social Work this fall.

The photo below is from May 2016 convocation with Todd Vanidestine, Saltanat Childress, Peggy Beall, Melissa Bessaha, and Kyla Liggett-Creel (5 of the 7 Spring graduates).

Benchmark Statistics on the MSW Program, 2015-2016

Graduation rates:

Approximately 90% of MSW students graduated within expected range (i.e., 2 years for full-time students; 3-4 years for part-time students)

Licensing Pass rate:

86% of UMB MSW graduates pass the licensing exam, compared to 81% national average.

Engagement in International programs:

  • 25 students completed international travel courses
  • 20 students completed international Field placements

Student Course Evaluations:

  • 82% of faculty received student evaluations > 4.0 (out of 5.0). The average rating across all courses was 4.27.

Online/Hybrid learning:

  • 22 courses were taught online or in hybrid format during 2015-2016

Objective A: Advance the education of students, alumni, and community partners regarding social work practices that contribute to the effective integration of social, health, and behavioral health services

This year, eight new or revised courses were proposed to be added to the curriculum. These included new courses on Health and Behavioral Health Policy, Risk and Resilience, Perspectives on Racism and Racial Equity in Social Work Practice, and The Impact of Community Violence in West Baltimore: A Trauma-Informed Perspective.

Dr. Nancy Kusmaul, Assistant Professor designed and taught the elective course, Contemporary Issues, Culture and Social Work Practices in Aging (SOWK 369-C) that introduces students to the major issues, trends, policies and services affecting older people and their families.  A particular focus is placed on the impact of diversity on the aging experience.  The course is co-listed with the Erickson School on Aging.


Objective B. Achieve better integration of current offerings across programs (BSW, MSW, PhD, Dual Degree Programs, and Continuing Education)

The Masters' Program Committee finalized Curriculum Diversity Principles that will guide revisions to the MSW Program during the next few years, with the goal of enhancing diversity content across all MSW courses and in field education.

Other activities and accomplishments of the Masters’ Program Committee include:  (1) revised the MSW Program Goals; (2) revised the MSW graduating student survey; and (3) drafted a new survey to be given to foundation students.

Drs. Caroline Burry and Carolyn Tice were awarded a Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work Education Grant (KAKI) from the Council on Social Work Education to design, implement and evaluate a course on environmentalism taught synchronously by the BSW and MSW programs and the Rajagiri School of Social Work, Cochin, India.

Objective C. Increase knowledge and teaching of evidence-based practice

 The Masters’ Program Committee lead the efforts to revise the protocols that guide  independent student (SOWK 790) and faculty (SOWK 789) initiated research courses, and the elimination of the thesis option.

Objective D. Increase the use of e-learning to make our programs more accessible

During the 2015-2016 academic year, 22 MSW courses were taught in an online or hybrid format.

Dr. Nancy Kusmaul was selected to participate in the university-wide Alternative Delivery Program at UMBC. She will convert Contemporary Issues, Culture and Social Work Practices in Aging (SOWK 369-C), currently a face-to-face course, to an alternative format (hybrid) by using technology.