October 27, 2020

Home Stretch


Dear Students,

From today, we have only four more weeks of classes during this fall semester.  The last day of classes is November 24 and the Final Exam Period is December 3 - 9.  

There is no doubt we have all had some challenges this semester, on personal, family, school, work, community, and societal levels.  In the midst of it all, Chad Dorrill's death due to COVID-19 hit our university and community hard.  In addition to your instructors staying connected to you, around midterm Dr. Phillips and Dr. Howell checked in on you by email or anonymous survey to see how things were going.  Many of you expressed fear and worry about staying physically and mentally healthy.  Many of you are worried about your family, friends, and fellow students.  Those of you who are in their field placements are challenged to keep safe and well while trying to get all you can from this learning experience.  Some students are struggling financially, feeling tired, overwhelmed, and lonely.  Many are finding that having a majority of classes online requires more focus and time than they expected.  Some expressed that there are too many group projects and it is hard to get together now.  Some would appreciate faster response to emails since you can't just stop by after class to ask questions about assignments.  Flexible or inconsistent due dates and loss of weekly class meeting patterns has made time management and routine structure a challenge.  Some are having internet and computer problems.     

The good news is that there was a lot of appreciation expressed for your supportive, understanding, encouraging, caring, and flexible instructors.  We hear you.  Our faculty and staff are planning and doing what we can to be helpful while still providing you with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills you need to become professional social workers.  Many of you said you are glad to be in the Social Work program and are focusing on learning as much as possible right now.  Students shared what they are doing to take care of themselves and keep a positive attitude.  Many of you are supporting each other.  Overall, you seem to be resilient and hopeful. 

I want to remind you that the university has a wide variety of resources available to assist and support students.  Scroll through this webpage for emergency funding, support for learning, resources for parenting, health and mental health services, and more.  You can contact the Dean of Students' office for many other services including case management and off campus student services.  

Keep reaching out to each other, your instructors, advisors, mentors, and program directors.  My contact information is listed below.  I invite you to drop in to my weekly Zoom meeting with students, SW Zoom, every Monday through December 7, from 10 to 11 am.  No agenda, just an opportunity to talk or ask questions. 

I encourage you to stay focused on your health and well-being, and that of others.  While each of us has our unique personal experience of being in this global pandemic and time of unrest, we are all in this together.  Most of us have never experienced anything like this and we are all doing the best we can.  In all my years as a social worker, I never cease to be amazed by the resilience, adaptability, and strength of human beings.  Nelson Mandela said, "It always seems impossible until it's done."  The day will come when this experience is a memory.  For now, let's just do the next right thing. 

Warm regards, 

Lauren Renkert


Lauren E. Renkert, PhD, LCSW

Chair, Department of Social Work


August 18, 2020

Welcome New and Returning Social Work Students!

We are glad you've decided to earn a professional social work degree!  The core values of our profession uphold service, social justice, the dignity and worth of each individual, the importance of human relationships, competence, and integrity.  These are timeless values, and they are needed at this time in our world.  

 As we move forward into the uncertain future, we are staying focused on two priorities--the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff; and providing you with an excellent social work education.  The social work faculty and staff are ready to meet you, teach you, mentor you, learn with you, and support you, in a variety of course and communication formats.

 Please note the following:

1)  Please complete your daily health check before you come to any of our campuses, including Levine Hall, Holmes Convocation Center, or the ASU Centers at Hickory or Burke.  If you are completing your field education, you must also complete this before going to your field placement site.  Please stay informed about App State Coronavirus Information

2)  Information about the Department's location and hours of operation can be found on our Administration web page.  This includes the names and contact information of our administrative support staff, program directors, and department chairperson.

 3)  I invite you to drop in to my weekly Zoom meeting with students, SW Zoom, every Monday through December 7, except for Labor Day, from 10 to 11 am.  No agenda, just an opportunity to talk or ask questions. 

 4)  We have posted updated versions of our BSW Student Handbook and MSW Student Handbook.  We have also posted updated versions of our BSW Field Manual and MSW Field Manual.  Please read these manuals and refer to them when you have questions.  

 5)  This semester we begin requiring the use of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 7th edition, in all of our courses.  You can find some great free resources for writing in APA style, and information about getting support for developing your writing skills, on our Write Social Work web page.

 We hope you have a successful and healthy semester!


Warm Regards,

Lauren Renkert


Lauren E. Renkert, PhD, LCSW

Chair, Department of Social Work



July 31, 2020

Dear Students,

The first day of fall classes, August 17, is only a couple weeks away! We hope you have had some enjoyment and time to relax this summer. Please note the following information. Any future updates will also be available on this web page.

Current University Information about COVID-19

The university's most current and comprehensive information for faculty, staff, and students, can be found here:

Fall Courses

You may be aware that there have been some changes to the schedule and format of some of the fall courses across the university. Here's how you can check your courses:

Go to  https://appalnet.appstate.edu/ and log into AppalNet Self Service > Student tab > Class Schedule Search > select term > select Subject: Social Work > Class Search.

The column headings are at the top of the page.

If the Location column indicates WEB, the course is 100% online.
If there are Days and Times indicated, the course will have some or all synchronous online meetings. If some, these dates will be listed in the NOTE FOR SECTION ABOVE. If the Time column indicates TBA, there are no required meeting times and the course is taught asynchronously.

If the Location column indicates a classroom, such as LLHS # or HCC #, the course is face-to-face or hybrid. If the Location indicates HICKRY or BURKE, with no room number, it will be taught at the ASU Center at Hickory or Burke in a classroom that has not yet been assigned. If the Location indicates HICKORY or BURKE, followed by a room number, the course will be taught at the ASU Center at Burke in the classroom listed.If the course is hybrid, the NOTE FOR SECTION ABOVE will provide the required meeting dates for the face-to-face classes and/or meeting pattern.

If you have questions about a course, please communicate with your instructor, keeping in mind that some instructors may not be available yet. If you need to drop/add course(s), you should not do so without communicating with your advisor to be sure you are staying on track with your course plan. If you are looking for courses, please note in the Sec column that sections numbered in the 100s are at the Boone campuses; in the 300s they are in Hickory or Morganton; and honors sections are numbered in the 400s.

Promoting Health and Well Being

We are in a historic time that presents us with challenges and opportunities. Students, faculty, and staff are required to complete a training regarding safety during a pandemic and we will be following public health recommendations, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance from one another. As social work faculty and students, and as members of the Beaver College of Health Sciences, we share a collective responsibility to promote the health and well-being of one another and our community.

We look forward to seeing you soon, whether in person or virtually!


Warm regards,

Lauren Renkert


Lauren E. Renkert, PhD, LCSW

Chair, Department of Social Work



Welcome to the Department of Social Work at Appalachian State University! Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and housed within the Beaver College of Health Sciences, the Department of Social Work offers both undergraduate (BSW) and graduate (MSW) programs. The Department provides a collaborative and supportive community with dedicated faculty and quality instruction. We offer academic, social, service, international/study abroad, and field (internship) opportunities for students as they develop into social work professionals.

Guided by an overarching framework of social and economic justice, our mission is to promote the well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities. Our programs assist students in developing competencies for ethically and culturally competent social work practice within the distinct Appalachian culture of the region and across national and international contexts. Students in both programs complete field placements (internship opportunities) in the region in order to integrate their coursework with experiences in social service and human service agencies.

According to the National Association of Social Workers (n.d.), social workers are "people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, who want their work to make a difference" (para. 1). Social work is a growing and dynamic field, and the U.S. Department of Labor projects continued employment growth through 2022. With a degree in social work, you will be prepared for practice in hospitals and nursing homes, health departments, mental health centers, child and family service agencies, substance abuse programs, group homes and residential education programs, schools, correctional facilities, departments of social services, housing programs and shelters, domestic violence programs, advocacy agencies, legislative offices, community development and community planning organizations, non-governmental/community-based organizations, non-profit/grassroots organizations, international programs and international development, and other public and private human service agencies and programs.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about the profession of social work and our undergraduate (BSW) and graduate (MSW) programs.


See what two social workers think about the profession from their TED Talks: