Teaching and mentoring are the primary foci of the Valparaiso University Department of Social Work. All 10 Core Competencies (which we actively use to judge our program) are student-oriented. The faculty are committed to pushing students to excellence. Early in the admission process we explain to new students what we expect of them, how we will hold them to high standards, and how we will walk with them through each step, supporting them in the process. Additionally we include multiple opportunities to apply theoretical material to real-life situations.
Barb Crumpacker Niedner and Barbara Gaebel-Morgan have extensive professional practice experience that they draw upon to guide students through exploration of their own communication skills, strengths, and practice challenges. Matt Ringenberg is involved in a variety of evaluation, research, and consultation activities. He brings this ongoing experience to the classroom and also offers opportunities for students to participate as research assistants as the work allows. Barbara Bullock teaches part-time. Her full time position is as a Student Counselor at Indiana University Northwest. She has a wide variety of experience in therapy, mediation, education, and diversity training which she brings to the classroom. Lynn Shimala holds everything together; coordinating events, supervising student assistants, and serving as the institutional (and sometimes personal) memory for the rest of us.