The first Kent School of Social Work and Family Science DSW cohort
The first Kent School of Social Work and Family Science DSW cohort. UofL photo.

For the first time in its history, the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Sciences at University of Louisville has graduated 19 students who earned a doctorate of social work (DSW) on May 11. The degree, which is completely online, is designed for experienced social workers to become practitioner-scholars in teaching and leadership.

“I look at these students as the pioneers and recently encouraged the DSW students to think about their impact. We are producing passionate, well-trained effective change agents, and when we launch students, it’s their opportunity to go forth and create the world we seek,” said Kent School Dean John Miller.

The new DSW program aims “to create leaders that can go into the community and social service programs in educational institutions, in health institutions, in the military,” said Lynetta Mathis, associate professor and director of the DSW program.

She said the structure of the program opens doors for practicing social workers with experience and practice wisdom to pursue doctoral education while retaining their current employment.  

“Quality social workers provide value in every space, and I’m most proud that we are giving geographically diverse leaders the opportunity to make a difference working and serving in their communities across the nation,” Miller said.

In his first year as dean of the school, Miller said he is proud to see the school’s evolution into the doctoral space.

“I am watching new social work leaders take their stance and say, ‘I am part of the answer’,” he said. “That gives me joy, and fires me up as dean of the Kent School of Social Work and Family Science — to see them answering the leadership call.”