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First Class of DSW Graduates Celebrate this Accomplishment
June 22, 2015

On Saturday, June 20, the Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) program at Rutgers School of Social Work graduated its first ever class, a group of 20 students. The event was held from 4-6 pm in the CAC student center multi-purpose room, and families of the graduates were in attendance to celebrate the culmination of this challenging three-year program.

“We are extremely proud of our new graduates, and of the mission behind the program. The goal of the DSW program is to turn practitioners into scholars and to keep them writing and publishing in the field, sharing their real world experiences.  Throughout the three years, students continuously engage in writing workshops that synthesize this broader modular system, and help to guide them as they create writing portfolios that lead to publication,” said Jerry Floersch, director of the DSW Program and associate professor, Rutgers University School of Social Work.

Speakers at the graduation included Cathryn Potter, dean of Rutgers School of Social Work, and Richard Miller, visiting professor for the DSW program. Debbie Ruisard, DSW graduating student, was selected to speak. 

"I am proud to be a part of the first Rutgers DSW cohort of phenomenological, ontological, philosophical and anthoropological social workers working in the field with veterans at the VA, troubled students in an alternative school, special education students in Camden, grade school and high school students dealing with the pressures of immigration, poverty, privilege and broken families, with the seriously mentally ill, adolescents in the juvenile justice system, young people who self-harm, individuals who have HIV, heroin addicts in Ocean County, substance abusing mothers involved with child welfare, and with private practice clients in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas (and California!) providing empathic therapy to families, sexually abused children, adult trauma survivors, substance abusers, and autistic children. The DSW program was not designed to teach us new clinical skills, for we already knew how to do the work. But it provided an opportunity to deepen our understanding of what and why we do what we do by learning from each other and from thoughtful, intelligent clinicians and academics in other fields," said Ruisard.

More than fifty universities offer a Ph.D. in social work, but for those seeking doctoral education to develop clinical scholarship, however, the choices are quite limited. The Doctorate in Social Work Program at Rutgers University is committed to exploring the growing distance between theory and practice. The program has been designed to address the critical need for clinical leaders and advanced practitioners while providing students with an innovative educational model that prepares them to become knowledge producers in the field of clinical social work. Each semester of the program consists of four on-site residencies and one online residency. The four on-site residency sessions include lectures, seminars, writing workshops, case presentations, meetings with faculty and advisors, and group research sessions. 

For more information, visit DSW.

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