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Division of Social Work

College of Health Sciences

University of Wyoming

Dept. 3632

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071-2000

Phone: (307) 766-6112

Email: sowkmail@uwyo.edu

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Division of Social Work

History of the Division of Social Work

Photo of University of Wyoming sometime in the 1960's. Social work courses were first offered in 1967 through the Sociology Department within the College of Arts and Sciences.  The Department of Social Work was created in 1975 and was among the first baccalaureate programs in the country to earn accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  In 1984, as part of a college reorganization, Social Work was moved to the College of Health Sciences.  While many things have changed over the years, Social Work's core values and educational mission have remained constant and enduring.

Dr. Jim Wiebler was hired as Social Work's first Director in 1975.  Taking the reins of the baccalaureate-only department, he was already dreaming of establishing an MSW program.  The realization of that dream would not happen until a few years after his passing in 1994. 

Between 1976 and 1983, the Department experienced a period of rapid growth with the advent of Title XX grant funding from the federal government.  In 1978, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) became the first academic degree program to be offered fully on-site at UW-Casper, allowing students from central Wyoming and beyond to earn their BSW degree without having to come to Laramie.  It was during this period of Title XX funding that the Department grew to 18 faculty members, serving both Laramie and Casper campuses.  The student body also grew proportionately to reach over 100 BSW majors on each of the two campuses.  

In 1996, realizing the dream Dr. Wiebler had worked toward for many years, the UW Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program and its first cohort graduated in 1999.  As a tribute to Dr. Wiebler's early work in developing the Social Work program at UW, the Division created a scholarship fund in his name to help deserving students earn a degree in social work.

Throughout all these years, the Division has maintained a statewide mission and reach.  In the early days of outreach education, faculty drove to distant towns or flew in University airplanes as part of UW's cadre of "Flying Professors", leaving the Laramie airport in late afternoon dropping faculty off in locations around the state, and returning to Laramie in the wee hours of the morning.  Today, the use of modern technology has allowed us to advance our mission and reach out to all those Wyoming towns so far away from Laramie via digital and electronic communication as well as face to face interactions.


Brief Chronology of the Division of Social Work

1967: UW Trustees approve an undergraduate program for Social Work in the Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences. 

1967: The first faculty member assigned to the Social Work program was hired.

1970: A second faculty member assigned to the Social Work program within Sociology was hired.

1975: The Social Work program in Sociology is approved to become a stand-alone department within the College of Arts and Sciences.

1975: Dr. James Wiebler hired as the Department’s first director.

1976: The Wyoming State Legislature mandated the University and Casper College to develop a way to offer UW degree programs on-site in Casper.  The model developed had Casper College offering the freshmen and sophomore coursework and UW offering upper division and graduate coursework.  All UW programs were offered on the Casper College campus during the years 1976-77. 

1977: Two full-time Social Work faculty members were assigned to the Casper campus.

1978: Social Work becomes the first academic degree to be fully available in Casper.

1978: UW moves its programs and staff to the old Wilson School building on the grounds of what was the State Youth Treatment Center, where the operation became known as "UW-Casper."Group of people

1984: The Department of Social Work was moved from the College of Arts and Sciences to the College of Health Sciences.

1996: The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree was approved by UW in 1996.

1998: MSW placed into Accreditation Candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education. 

1999: The first MSW class graduated.

2000: The College of Health Sciences was reorganized and the Department of Social Work was re-designated as the Division of Social Work.

2000: The MSW degree program received full accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education.

2008: Social Work's national accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education, changed its accreditation standards to add a focus on "10 Core Competencies" as the outcome for student achievement in social work educational programs. 

2012: The Division of Social Work received reaffirmation from the Council on Social Work Education under the new standards.


Explore the full history of the Division of Social Work HERE.


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Division of Social Work

College of Health Sciences

University of Wyoming

Dept. 3632

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071-2000

Phone: (307) 766-6112

Email: sowkmail@uwyo.edu

UW Division of Social Work Logo

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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