Chair: Karen Hopkins, PhD

The Organizational Leadership Specialization is a vital educational track that prepares students to meet the future leadership demands of the private and public human services sector through developing and using management and leadership skills seamlessly as a continuum across a range of organizational types and community settings. The growing leadership deficit in both the human service nonprofit and public sectors has been well-documented as many current managers are retiring and far fewer are trained to take over despite the national growth in nonprofits and human services. There has never been as great an opportunity as now for prepared social workers to step into leadership positions. Courses with a range of faculty experienced in leadership and a variety of interesting field placements prepare students as supervisors, team leaders, program managers, and transformational leaders in:

  • Design, implementation, and management of programs and services,
  • Talent and resource development,
  • Performance measurement,
  • Budgeting, and
  • Leadership to target change in people, organizations, and culture.

Field placements are available in a plethora of organizations throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. 

The specialization is available to students in the Macro concentration and Macro/Clinical secondary concentration.

A Sub-Specialization in Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance is available within the Organizational Leadership Specialization. 

Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Sub-Specialization

The SWW-EA Sub-specialization within Organizational Leadership offers students the opportunity to complete a MACRO concentration. Classroom learning and field placements focus leadership roles in diverse workplaces, including roles such as human resources, organizational development and consulting, program evaluation, workplace policy, equal employment, unions, and more. Faculty members and field instructors are recognized experts in the social work in the workplace field and broader workplace health and well-being fields. Our graduates join a rapidly expanding group of social workers in the workplace and also in Employee Assistance professionals who are well qualified to develop and manage programs in private and public settings. Employment opportunities exist at all corporate and government levels, as well as internationally.  

Coursework for Students Taking Sub-specialization within Organizational Leadership 

Completing the sub-specialization does not add any time to a student’s academic plan and can easily be accomplished within the two years of the MSW program. To graduate with the sub-specialization, students must complete all coursework required for the Organizational Leadership specialization and all students in this specialization will have a MACRO concentration. SWW-EA students take SOWK 725, “Work, Well-Being and Social Policy” for their advanced policy course. Students will also take SWOA 736, “Administering Employee Assistance Programs” as one of their advanced methods courses in the fall semester. While not required, students are encouraged to take SWCL 705, “Clinical Social Work with Addictive Behavior Patterns” as an elective given the strong emphasis on substance use within the social work in the workplace and employee assistance fields. Advising with Dr. Frey and Dr. Hopkins are available to discuss course plans. 

Required Advising for All Students 

All students will complete their advanced field placement within and approved organization, focused on SWW-EA (including adult behavioral health placements and workplace leadership approved by Dr. Frey and others involved in the various programs). Placements are approved by Dr. Frey and the Office of Field Education. Students are required to meet with Dr. Frey for a face-to-face advising session PRIOR to submitting their application for advanced field placement. This can be done online. Please email Dr. Frey at before the end of the fall semester to schedule this required appointment. Be prepared to discuss your interest in the field and interest in possible field placements during this meeting.  

For Additional Information about Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance 

  • The Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA): 
  • The International Employee Assistance Digital Archive (EAArchive):  

The Work and Family Research Network: 

Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Alumni & Networking Group

Do you work in Employee Assistance or related social work in the workplace field? 

Are you an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Social Work? 

Do you value the importance of Networking with other Employee Assistance Social Workers in the Workplace? 

YES?  Then please join our online Networking Group. Our group offers University of Maryland School of Social Work alumni the opportunity to network with other alumni who are working in the EAP and related social workers in the workplace field. Currently, we have a private group on Facebook that you can request to join: In the future, we will also create a LinkedIn group as an alternative to the Facebook group. We regularly post employment and training opportunities and provide an online meeting space where alumni can converse and share updates and best practices. 

Ready to be a Changemaker?