School of Social Work Newsletter | Fall 2022 Recap

From Department Head Charlotte Bright

Charlotte Bright, Professor of Social Work and Director of the School of Social Work, Colorado State University, July 8, 2021
Department Head Charlotte Bright

Dear School of Social Work Alumni and Friends:

We had a very busy, meaningful semester here in the School of Social Work, capped off with a lovely set of commencement activities on campus. Winter break has been a welcome respite!

We find ourselves in an exciting time of transition and change. Based on the findings of our needs assessment, we are engaging in strategic planning efforts to improve the structure, processes, culture, and climate at the school. We have established a set of workgroups that include school employees, students, and community partners who are building our goals and action steps. This work takes courage and effort, and I have every bit of confidence it will pay off tremendously in the years to come.

This fall, we received the welcome and much-anticipated news that our bachelor’s and master’s programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education through October 2029. This reaffirmation is the culmination of a lengthy and comprehensive process of self-study. I am so proud of everyone at the school, alongside other allies, for the work they put in to make this happen. We have jumped right in to program and curriculum planning and design. This process will result in updates to our teaching and learning in both content and approach, and we look forward to making our social work degrees as relevant and inclusive as possible. Key to this change is the anti-racist, anti-oppressive lens that the Council on Social Work Education is requiring of all accredited social work programs. We are very excited to lean into our equity and justice work in the curriculum and the student experience.

This past semester also saw us making great strides in our research and scholarship. For the first time since 2020, many of us were able to attend academic conferences in person. It was energizing to hear presentations and share some of our own work with colleagues from around the world. These face-to-face interactions connect us to the broader arena of social work scholarship and allow us to increase the impact of our own work.

As we enter 2023, I send you my warmest wishes for a healthy, happy new year. I am grateful for each of you and for your support of the School of Social Work.

Sending my very best,

Charlotte Bright

Director and Professor, School of Social Work

Colorado State University


Ray Jackson speaking to a group of people

In Leadership in Social Work Lecture, Ray Jackson (’99) shared how he uses social work daily as VP of player development for the Denver Broncos

Ray Jackson thanked his mentor, Professor Emeritus Brad Sheafor. “I thought I was a football player; turns out I was a social worker. That’s what he saw in me.”

Tricia Van Horssen posing outside next to her dog and some daisy flowers

Tricia Van Horssen (’99) loves every second of her career as a school social worker

“…she told us that if we aren’t ‘ticking people off,’ then we aren’t doing our job. Change is hard, and challenging systems is hard, but it is our job to do the hard stuff to make positive changes.”

Outstanding Grads

Kristen Johnson profile photo

M.S.W. student’s capstone project a tribute to officers who helped stepdaughter in 2017 murder case

“Chris picks it up and is like, ‘Hey, Meggy, what’s going on?’” said Kristen Johnson, Chris’ wife and Megan’s stepmother since Megan was 9 years old. “It was the police, and they said, ‘Your daughter’s been shot, and she’s in surgery now, but she’s expected to recover.’”

Adam Lovell in his garden

Community, agriculture, and housing guide Adam Lovell’s journey

This fall, Lovell is graduating with cum laude distinction based on his grade point average while earning his Bachelor of Social Work. While this feat is impressive, there is more to Lovell’s story that enabled him to be recognized as one of CSU’s outstanding graduates.

Research News

HABIC Grief research photo of a dog and a man

HABIC researches short-term effects of dog intervention for veterans with PTSD

HABIC Animal Trainer and Volunteer Coordinator Kate Miller and Postdoctoral Researcher Kerri Rodriguez collaborated on a study about the short-term effects of a dog training intervention for military veterans with PTSD using the veteran’s own pet dog.

Jen Currin-Mcculloch profle photo

Jen Currin-McCulloch explores relationship between breast cancer survivors and their pets

Before joining the Colorado State University School of Social Work as a faculty member, Jen Currin-McCulloch worked as an oncology and palliative care social worker for over two decades.

Shivani Kaushik at poster show event in front of her work

Grad student researches end-of-life care in U.S. correctional system

Shivani Kaushik was recognized with the Excellence in Research and Scholarship award, one of five awards given by the College of Health and Human Sciences, which she has received three years in a row.

Tiffany Jones on the Health and Human Science Matters Podcast

Tiffany Jones went on the College of Health and Human Sciences podcast to discuss her anti-racism work and research in rural school districts, her journey from being an art therapist to researcher, and more.

Tiffany Jones podcast profile photo

The Future of Social Work

SWRC Marc Winokur And Courtney Martinez

Social Work Research Center delivers high-impact research, prepares next generation

The Social Work Research Center acts as an incubator for future leaders of the field by training students in high-impact research and evaluation skills.

Arnold Cantu posing for a profile photo on CSU campus

Graduate student seeks to create a more empathetic model of mental health care

The biomedical model of mental health care can arguably do more harm than good, says Arnold Cantu. His recent publication sets the stage for alternatives.

Giving Impact

Michelle Foster At Scholarship Event 2022

Gratitude and celebration fill the room at College of Health and Human Sciences Scholarship recognition event

Sounds of happy voices, plenty of smiles, and feelings of appreciation and joy were on display at the Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences scholarship recognition dinner on Nov. 10.

Melissa Pappas profile photo

Melissa Pappas (’85) named Distinguished Alumna for her outstanding impact and enduring commitment to CSU

Pappas returned to campus for the Distinguished Alumni Awards. “We are grateful to Melissa for her leadership and generosity,” Dean Lise Youngblade said. “We are so proud to celebrate her as the CHHS Honor Alumna.”


Stock photo of pills

CSU offering naloxone and overdose prevention trainings to local community

Colorado State University’s Health Network, the CSU School of Social Work and community partners are collaborating with Northern Colorado agencies to offer training about overdose prevention and using naloxone.

BIPOC Alliance Dandelions Rising participating kids in makeup and costumes

Dandelions Rising supports BIPOC youth through curriculum based on liberation and healing

Colorado State University and the BIPOC Alliance of Larimer County are partnering on a project to develop young leaders in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community of Northern Colorado and contribute to positive mental health among children and youth. 

New Instructor

Jordan Brooks – Focusing on queer affirmative social work and various models of mental health

Jordan Brooks joins the School of Social Work from CSU’s Health Network and is excited to help teach the next generation of social workers.

Jordan Brooks profile photo on campus

Research Day 2023

Judges needed for research poster sessions at College of Health and Human Sciences Research Day – March 6, 2023

CHHS Research Day is an annual event created to showcase the variety and quality of research and creative scholarship by students, faculty, and staff in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences. The fourth annual CHHS Research Day will take place Monday, March 6, 2023, at the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.

Research Day Logo

Your Connections

Alumni and friends make our Rams family strong!

Whether you join us for a day of continuing education, a rally for rights, or a lifetime as a donor, your time, talent, treasure, and testimony shape our shared future.

Student volunteering

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