Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work


Social Work Professor Nationally Honored at CSWE as PIE Award Recipient

Social Work Professor Nationally Honored at CSWE as PIE Award Recipient

On November 5, at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting (APM) in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Maria Vidal de Haymes received the 2016 Partners in Advancing Education for International (PIE) Social Work Award in the individual category. The CSWE Global Commission recognized and honored her extraordinary achievements in international social work education and highlighted her work being led here in the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. This national recognition brings Dr. Vidal to join the ranks of past honorable PIE Awardees. This award embodies what Dr. Vidal has stood for in her career mission to pursue grassroots consciousness raising amongst the poor migrants to affect community and policy response to action.

In 2003, the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Global Social Work Education initiated the Partners in Advancing Education for International Social Work (PIE) Awards to recognize the contributions of partners in the advancement of conceptual, curricular and programmatic innovations in education for international social work. Three partner awards are given annually, one for each of the following categories: (1) individuals or teams of individuals, (2) student and (3) national and international organizations.

Dr. Vidal is Professor in the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. She has dedicated her career to social justice issues related to irregular migrants, refugees, and forcibly displaced persons and their families, as well as the integration of refugees and immigrants in the U.S. The Migration Studies in Social Work sub-specialization program that she developed offers continued education, international field practicum, and study abroad opportunities. Dr. Vidal is an international leader, esteemed scholar, and innovative collaborator in the field of Latin American migration issues. Her deep passion and commitment represents the social work profession in her interdisciplinary, international, multi-level collaboration to assist the migrant families in home, transit, and destination countries.

Grant to help train grad students who will work with at-risk youth


Meet the project team: (front row, from left) Christie Mason, PhD, project manager; Susan Grossman, PhD, project administrator; Maria Vidal de Haymes, PhD, co-principal investigator; Shweta Singh, PhD, evaluator; (back row, from left) John Orwat, PhD, principal investigator; Brian Kelly, PhD, curriculum; James Fogerty, director of internships and student services.

Loyola’s School of Social Work received a $480,000 federal grant in September to train graduate students and help them work with at-risk youth who have behavioral health disorders.

Over the next three years, the school hopes to recruit about 100 students for the project, said Associate Professor John Orwat, PhD, who is leading the program. The $480,000 that Loyola recently received from the United States Department of Health and Human Services is for the first year of the program; the other two years of the program have been funded as well, Orwat said.

The bulk of the grant will be used for training and stipend money for School of Social Work students. The goal, Orwat said, is to get students outside the classroom and have them work directly with at-risk youth.

Orwat said the money also will be used to build relationships with communities and to establish local councils to create what he calls “synergistic relationships.” 

“The idea is to build a community-academic relationship,” Orwat said. “What’s happening in the field informs how the academic work is designed—and the other way around as well.”

The project, Orwat said, meshes perfectly with Loyola’s mission of promoting social justice through hands-on work.

“It’s very much in line with the University’s strategic goals of transformative, experiential learning,” he said.

The 2012 International AIDS Conference Washington D.C.
July 22-27, 2012.


The International AIDS Conference is held every two years and has not been in the United States in twenty years.  Washington D.C. had the honor of hosting this event filled with celebrities, politicians, researchers, physicians and others heavily involved in the fight against AIDS and HIV.  In addition there were 23,767 participants and 183 countries representing. 

The Dean was quoted in Bloomberg, Time Magazine, US News and World Report, and was interviewed by Global Medical News.

For more information on this conference visit AIDS 2012.


New Student Assembly - Fall 2012

New Student Assembly

Dean Darrell Wheeler, Ph.D, MPH and Father Jerry Overbeck, S.J. Ph.D, chaplain to the Schools of Social Work and Law welcomed this new class as they embark on their graduate academic journey in preparation for careers as professional social workers.

Students met their new classmates, heard a presentation on the field work experience and social work careers from a panel represented by a recent graduate, current field instructors and a School of Social Work field liaison. Students were reminded that liaisons and field instructors are an important source of support during the field internship learning experience.

Faculty members led small lunch discussion groups answering questions and  sharing their areas of scholarship. Presentations on library services, personal safety in field work and an ice cream reception with faculty concluded a very exciting day in the School of Social Work.


Meet BSW Program Director
Jeanne Sokolec, EdD, LCSW

BSW Director

Although I direct the undergraduate program, I also teach in the MSW and doctoral programs with a focus on policy practice. My MA in Philosophy has a focus on “healthcare ethics” which are very closely aligned with ethics of the social work profession. In the last couple of years, I have developed and taught courses online.

I also lecture on organizational ethics with a focus on the organization’s responsibilities to staff. For fun, I love to travel, go to theater and opera, needlepoint, and try new restaurants.

When you are on the 12th floor of Lewis Towers, come by and introduce yourself.

Meet MSW Program Director
Susan Grossman, PhD

MSW Director

I came to Loyola in 1997 after working on research projects related to homelessness and gang-involved youth for several years post-doctorate.  Since arriving at Loyola, I have taught research and policy courses at the BSW, MSW, and doctoral levels.  I have also been involved in several research projects with a number of colleagues in the School of Social Work, focusing on interpersonal violence and homelessness.

I was born in a suburb of New York City but have been living in Chicago for 40 years.  My husband grew up in Gary, IN, and we made Chicago our home. Ironically, our son now lives in New York City, so I have another excuse to visit my family out East.  When I have down time, I love to read (particularly historical fiction) and go for long walks. 

I began serving as Associate Dean of the School of Social Work in January of 2012 and took on the position of MSW Program Director in the Fall of 2014.  My door is always open to students, so please feel free to come see me if you have a concern or problem, or just to say hello.  I look forward to meeting you. 

Loyola's School of Social Work Teach-In Day

School of Social Work Homecoming 2012


"Social Justice, Human Rights & Global Sustainability; Responsibility & Accountability."

2.0 CEUs

Date and Location

Friday,  October 12th

2:30 to 6:00pm 

Lewis Towers, Beane Hall

Water Tower Campus


Presentations - 2:30 to 4:30pm

2:30pm   "Social Justice, Human Rights & Global Sustainability," 

by Dr. Khadija Khaja, M.S.W.,PhD
Associate Professor at Indiana University, School of Social Work

3:30pm    Break

3:45pm    Loyola University’s “Global thumb-print,” 

by Aaron Durnbaugh, M.A.
Director of Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago

4:15pm     Respondent and Q&A

Angela Mason, M.S.
Director of Community Gardening and Green Youth Farm, Chicago Botanical Gardens

Reception  - 4:30 to 6:00pm

Senn High School and the School of Social Work

Social Work Advocacy Day
Thursday, February 28
Springfield IL

Advocacy Day 2013

Illinois Capitol Building




Thursday, February 28

The Prairie Capital Convention Center

Springfield, Illinois

Sponsored by NASW-Illinois


Sample of Legislation to be highlighted at Event:

Illinois Assault Weapons Ban

Marriage Equality Act

Full NASW agenda to follow


Sign-up: Lewis Towers, Room 850

Registration: Paid by School of Social Work!

Transportation: Coach Bus- reduced rate $15!

Must sign-up to reserve bus seat!

Registration Deadline: 2/15/13

Depart from 25 E. Pearson - 4:45 AM return 6:30 PM


For Info Contact:

Jim Fogerty, Student Services jfogert@luc.edu

Tim Feltman tfeltman@luc.edu NASW Liaison

Chris Leach cleach1@luc.edu NASW Liaison


Spring Career Fair
March 26, 2013 | 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Corboy Law Center | Kasbeer Hall
Water Tower Campus

Spring Career Fair

Please see the following important information and plan to join us for the Annual Loyola School of Social Work Career Fair sponsored by Loyola University Chicago’s School of Social Work and Loyola’s Career Development Center. The Fair will be held Tuesday, March 26, 2013 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus in Kasbeer Hall, 15th floor, 25 E. Pearson St., Corboy Law Center.

You must register with the Career Development Center’s RamblerLink system available at www.luc.edu/career to make your resume available to employers who will be in attendance at the Fair. A RamblerLink account has already been created for you. Please login using your Loyola username and Loyola password. You may update your profile and upload your resume. After you receive e-mail notification that your resume has been approved, register for the fair and if you wish, express interest in specific employers.

Please see the 2013 SSW Career Fair brochure, which includes instructions for using RamblerLink.

All resumes MUST be submitted online in RamblerLink to be included in the electronic resume book that will be made available to all participating Social Service agencies.

Additional registration information as well as the names of participating agencies that are registered is available at the Career Fair site:


Our partners in the field are in the process of registering to participate. They will be sharing their experiences and employment options where available. Participating in the Career Fair is an excellent way for you to continue your journey toward your professional goals.

Remember that professional attire is required. We look forward to seeing you at the Fair.

Spring 2013 Teach-In;
Social Work with the Military Client Population: Veterans, Family, and Children

Spring 2013 Teach In

The School of Social Work Collaboration with VA Social Work Staff in the Greater Chicago area and Wisconsin;

Invites You to interact with Faculty and Fellow Students from the Carthage and Water Tower Campuses at the Spring 2013 Teach In.

SSW faculty and VA staff will lead break-out sessions in the following topic areas:

  • Domestic Violence and the military family
    Professor Priscila Freire
  • School setting, children of deployed military and veterans
    Professor Michael Kelly
  • Substance abuse
    Professor Lynn Boyle
  • Couples, rebuilding relationships
    Professor Janice Rasheed
  • Military sexual trauma
    Professor Terry Northcut
  • Suicide assessment and treatment
    Professor Caleb Kim
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Lunch will be provided

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Registration: 9:30 a.m.

Program: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Kasbeer Hall, 15th Floor

25 E. Pearson Chicago, IL 60611

Current enrolled students Please RSVP to SSW-Teach-In@luc.edu

**Not open to the public**

School reunion helps celebrate 100th student presentation


Associate professor Shirley Simon poses with Loyola students at a 2008 conference in Cologne, Germany.

Helping students to become professionals never gets old for Shirley Simon.

An associate professor in Loyola’s School of Social Work, Simon has been serving as a mentor for graduate students since 2005 to help them prepare peer-reviewed posters and papers and then present their findings at conferences around the world.

This year marks the 100th student presentation, and the school invited all of the presenters back for a Nov. 5 reunion to celebrate the milestone.

“In the past, we’ve brought back the most recent group of presenters for a small recognition ceremony in the fall,” Simon says. “But now we’re inviting all of them back to celebrate their hard work.”

What started out as a small endeavor with just three students nearly a decade ago has blossomed into a program that now helps almost two dozen students a year. Simon teaches social work students how to prepare an abstract, submit it for consideration, conduct the research—and then compile all of that information and present it to peers and professionals at a symposium.

At the end of the process, Simon says, her students are truly transformed.

“They enter the conference a little anxious and unsure,” she says, “but they walk out feeling professional and competent and motivated to do more. This may be their first presentation, but it’s definitely not their last.”

Earlier this year, 20 Loyola students and recent alums traveled to Boston for an international symposium for social group workers. Nineteen of them made presentations—a number that far exceeded any other institution—and they discussed topics ranging from using dance therapy to help at-risk teens, to combining 12-step programs and group therapy to treat addiction.

For Joyce Webster, being part of the original group of students who went through the program in 2005 was a life-changing experience.

“It really helped me find my passion and helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do,” Webster says.

Webster, who now teaches as an adjunct professor at the School of Social Work, is returning the favor by guiding the next generation of social workers through the research process.

“I’ve been through it myself, so I can relate to what they’re going through,” she says, “and it’s nice to be able to share my experiences with them.”

As for Simon, she hopes to continue mentoring students and helping them become forces in the field of social work.

“To me, it’s the essence of teaching,” she says. “I get a chance to help these students grow and develop and to watch them succeed. I’m so privileged to be a part of that process.”

Reflections from Beijing Study Abroad

Reflections from Beijing Study Abroad

Interested in Study Abroad with Loyola's MSW program? We offer study abroad opportunities in China, Italy, and Mexico. Learn more about our study abroad programs, and read our students' reflections from the 2012 Beijing trip. 

Gayl Monto, MSW student

My trip to China was amazing. It was a very different experience than my other foreign travels. I feel lucky to have been able to see Asia in an educational and experiential context.  I was fortunate to be able to travel to Shanghai prior to Beijing and to Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. 

Thank you to all the people and academics who coordinated this wonderful trip, especially to Lynn and Lily Boyle who made this trip very personal and special. Gayl's experience continues.

Karen Finstad, MSW student

My trip to China was a once in a lifetime experience.  Not only did I visit the amazing sites of Beijing, including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace, the social work course on International Adoption, encompassed the importance of incorporating a global perspective into my education and future practice as a Social Worker. Combining lectures from local professors and field experiences, visiting the Chinese Center for Child Welfare and Adoption, local NGOs and orphanages could not be possible without the amazing staff at the Beijing Center, who made the trip seamless and eye-opening. 

On both a personal and professional level, this trip gave me the opportunity to increase my cultural sensitivity while learning about China's political systems and eating it's amazing food with the dedicated students and staff here at Loyola.


‌Amy Chen, MSW Student

I cannot say enough about how informative, enriching, and meaningful our study abroad trip to China was this past summer, with our focus on Adoption Policy and Practice in a Global Context. Much of my educational background as well as heritage coincides with what I learned and experienced there, but seeing the vast potential of social work opportunities in China as mentioned through the speakers, government officials, coordinators and lecturers allowed me to see how the United States truly has a wealth of resources that we in this profession can offer them if we so choose. 

Our trip additionally helped me gain a historical, as well as present-day, perspective as to how the field has developed as well as expanded on a global scale.  As if learning about these issues on a macro level did not suffice - we were also able to interact with Professor Lynn Boyle's adopted Chinese daughter, Lily, who also came with us on the trip to understand on a deeper level, her heritage.  Ultimately, our trip to Beijing inspired me to always have an international as well as domestic perspective of social work, that has helped better shape my understanding of what I would like to do in the future after graduating from Loyola.

Rachel Geller, MSW Student

The experience was inspirational and emotional, and was a strong reassurance for myself that I am in the right place in the Social Work field.  My time in Beijing taught me a great deal about the culture and the child welfare policies within the United States as well as in China. 

I feel so fortunate to have experienced this trip and look forward to learning more about child welfare and the Chinese culture, in conjunction with cultivating new found friendships made in both China and here at Loyola University.  My 10 Days in Beijing.


LGBT Psychology and Related Fields

LGBT Psychology and Related Fields

Social Work Faculty Presented at 1st International Conference of LGBT Psychology and Related Fields in Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. Michael P. Dentato and Dr. Jeanne Sokolec, faculty members from the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, presented a series of papers and workshops at the first international conference surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues this June at Instituto Universitário de Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal.  Dr. Dentato and Dr. Sokolec presented in collaboration with local and international colleagues including Dr. Robert Cleve from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Dr. Vera Paiva from University of Sao Paolo, Brazil. 

Presentation topics included:

  • Utilizing Minority Stress Theory to Examine Sexual Risk Behavior among Gay and Bisexual Men
  • The Impact of Marginalization on the Healthy Aging of LGBTQ Older Adults
  • Disclosure Decisions of Sexual Identity in Young Adult Males: Emergent Cross-Cultural Themes Utilizing Grounded Theory
  • The Development of a Personal Human Rights Discourse as an Outcome of Sexual Identity Disclosure
  • A Workshop on Developing Competency with Queer Communities: Examining Implications for Best Practices in Counseling

Sponsors of the conference were schools across the U.S. and abroad, including Columbia University, University of Michigan, Cornell University, University of London, Sapienza Università di Roma and University of Salamanca, Spain, among others.  Members of the program committee included Dr. Vivienne Cass, Dr. Alex Carballo-Dieguez, Dr. Gary Harper, and Dr. Ritch Savin-Williams, among other noted international scholars in the field of LGBT issues.

For more information about the presentation topics or LGBTQ issues, please contact Dr. Dentato at mdentato@luc.edu.

Dean Wheeler accepts Alumni Recognition Award and Us Helping Us Founders Award

Dean Wheeler Awards

In the same weekend (on October 12 & 13, 2012), Dean Wheeler was recognized for his dedication to the Social Work profession and awarded for his commitment to AIDS/HIV research, prevention, and intervention.

Dean Wheeler's alma mater Pittsburgh University recognized several great alums from their School of Social Work.  The Dean received his Ph.D. from PITT in 1992 and was honored to be recognized during their Homecoming weekend.

The Dean also does instrumental work with the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). He and his fellow co-chairs, Drs. Beryl Koblin and Ken Mayer, along with the entire HPTN 061 study team, were selected to receive the Founders Award from Us Helping Us, People into Living, Inc.