January 19, 2021




Dear Students, Welcome to all new and continuing Social Work majors!  Today is the first day of classes in the new semester of the new year!  It is an important time to be dedicating yourself to learning how to be a social worker...to be learning about how to help others and working toward social justice for all.  

The mission of the Department of Social Work is to educate professional social workers who actively work towards a sustainable and just society, focusing on the well-being and empowerment of the vulnerable and oppressed.  We partner with Appalachian and global communities to advance social, economic, and environmental justice for all people.

Earning your degree in Social Work in the midst of a global pandemic and social and political upheaval is no doubt challenging, yet it is also filled with opportunity.  You will be learning with a deeply committed, experienced, engaged, inspiring, and supportive faculty.  Reach out to us when you have questions, concerns, needs, or ideas!  


Here's to a successful and rewarding semester!


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: