Dr. Patricia Findley has assumed the role of MSW Director effective September 1, 2018. As MSW Director, Dr. Findley will oversee the MSW program, including its specialized programs and curricular components, will chair the MSW Curriculum Committee, and will join the leadership team for the School.
Dr. Findley came to Rutgers in 2002 at the Program for Disability Research through the School of Management and Labor Relations, working on several grants including a large cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration and a NIH K Award. Following a brief time as a Health Science Specialist/Researcher in the VA at East Orange, she joined faculty at SSW in 2007. Dr. Findley was tenured as an associate professor in 2013. Her clinical and research work has focused on disability, health, and the impact of comorbid conditions. She became the Special Assistant to the Dean for Interprofessional Health Initiatives in 2015, and has been the MSW Campus Coordinator for the Newark campus. She also sits on the Board of Rutgers Health representing SSW. Dr. Findley has been a tremendous ambassador for the school, developing relationships with faculty and administrators across multiple campuses and programs.
What are you most excited about in your new position?
I am excited about the opportunity to revitalize the curriculum to better prepare our students to face the current challenges and opportunities. As we are moving forward after our successful reaffirmation from CSWE, this is a perfect time to evaluate and energize our courses to meet the changing needs of the social work profession. We're in the midst of both a politically divisive time; one that allows us to give our students direct and meaningful purpose toward social justice issues. It also allows us to draw upon the strengths of our historic and theorectical foundations as well as our strong evidence-based practice. Our faculty are among the most engaged and connected scholars who can give our students access to their experiences and their expertise in very important clinical and policy-changing ways.
What makes this MSW program different from others?
With the development of social work programs at other institutions, we see that interest in the field has grown rapidly over the last several years. We have so much to offer here at the School, and I want to be sure that we are really promoting the unique benefits of our MSW program. For example, our Centers and Institutes are at the forefront of research and policy changes across the nation. Students are able to focus with the VAWC certificate, the Management and Policy specialization, or the aging and health certificate and other programs that allow them to tailor their education to meet their individual interests. We also have tremendous opportunity here with our interprofessional linkages across the university, particularly in the area of Rutgers Health. All of those things really set us apart.
What drew you to the field of social work?
I grew up in the Midwest, outside of Chicago, among smart and passionate people. My grandparents were my inspiration to become a social worker. They ran a free ambulance service for 26 years in the mountains outside of Denver. They were trained by the American Red Cross, and donated all of their time and energy to helping others. One thing I remember vividly is that for every year they offered this service, they delivered at least one baby. As the years went by, those same children would come back to visit my grandparents. That really stayed with me--that they were performing this daily service, and the impact of it went far beyond what they could have imagined. That inspired me. They were amazing people.