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Department of Social Work 2020-2021 Updates & Resources

Learn more regarding official University updates and resources on COVID-19 and Safe Return to Campus.

Learn more about how MSU Denver Student Services have transferred online.

The Department of Social Work's physical offices remain closed, but all services continue remotely. We are ready to support you via email, over the phone, or by video conferencing.

If you need assistance, please call us at 303-615-0555. Our Welcome Desk is being staffed virtually while our physical offices are closed.

You can also feel free to also reach out to us via email:

Take care,

Department of Social Work Faculty & Staff

Self-Care Resources

While navigating difficult times, we invite you to check out these self-care resources recommended by Department of Social Work faculty:

Official Departmental Communications

Dear Social Work Students,

We hope this email finds you well during these challenging times. We wanted to take some time to share with your our plans for courses in Spring 2021.

Please watch this video from Dr. Jessica Retrum, Chair and Associate Professor of Social Work:

As you begin to reflect and process this information, we know you will have questions. Here is some additional information that may help you plan for and navigate Spring 2021.

  • The online schedule will be available on Monday, October 12th  
  • You will receive an email from the Office of Social Work Student Services (OSWSS) on October 12th. This email will include tips and tricks for navigating the schedule, course rotation information, course sequencing information, and more.
  • Registration begins on Monday, October 26th. You can check your registration day and time in the Student Hub.

Stay connected with your support team.

  • Your OSWSS Advisor is an expert on navigating the schedule, progressing through the Social Work curriculum, Departmental and University policies and procedures, and MSU Denver systems and resources. If you have not met with them this semester, or have any concerns or questions, please set up an appointment in one of the following ways:
    • Call the Welcome Desk at 303-615-0555 OR
    • Schedule directly with Claire Alfus or Liz De La Rosa through SSC Navigate.
  • Your Faculty Advisor is here to help you progress through the program, work through difficult challenges in the classroom or in field, and mentor you towards your academic and career goals. Many students find that emailing their OSWSS and faculty advisor creates a strong support team and brings to you multiple perspectives and resources. We highly recommend you utilize this resource.
  • If you are in field, you have your Field Liaison and your Field Placement Navigator. This team can help you achieve the best possible learning goals in your placement and help you navigate any challenges along the way. If you are not sure how to reach these individuals directly, email the Field Team at
  • You are also always welcome to reach out to a member of the Leadership Team. Our contact information is included below.


The Department of Social Work Leadership Team

Jo Daugherty Bailey, Ph.D., MSW
MSW Program Director/Professor of Social Work
pronouns: she/her/hers

Amy K Middleton, MS | Director
Office of Social Work Student Services, Finance, and Administration
pronouns: she/her/hers

K Scherrer, PhD, LCSW, MA
BSSW Program Director and Associate Professor
pronouns: she/her/hers

Jessica Retrum, PhD, MSSW
Chair, Associate Professor 
pronouns: she/her/hers

Susie Ryder, MSW | Director
Office of Field Education
pronouns: she/her/hers 

Department of Social Work | College of Health and Applied Science
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Campus Box 70 P.O. Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217-3362
Main Line: 303-615-0555

Dear Students,

The Office of Field Education has been working continuously on reviewing and adapting our program policies to ensure that students, agencies, and instructors all feel supported in entering field for the 2020-21 academic year. Earlier this year, our accrediting body The Council on Social Work Education, adjusted their accreditation requirements for student field hours due to the impact of COVID-19. After consulting with students and community partners, the Office of Field Education has decided to make the following adjustments for student field requirements for the Fall semester:

  • BSSW/MSW Foundation
    • Previous Field Hours Required: 240
    • Fall 2020 Required Field Hours: 200
  • MSW Concentration
    • Previous Field Hours Required: 300
    • Fall 2020 Required Field Hours: 250

Determinations for the spring 2021 semester field hours will be made and announced by Oct. 31, 2020

It is our recommendation that when possible students should use the previous hour requirements as we believe that this provides optimal learning opportunities for students to engage with their agency. We encourage that you discuss these changes in requirements directly with your agency as we know that each agency is working hard to integrate safety and CDC public health guidelines into your internship plans, and they may have their own preferences on student internship hours. It is our hope that this adjustment to the hour requirement supports those that need it the additional flexibility in their scheduling of field hours while still allowing for students to engage in exceptional experiential based learning opportunities.

If you have additional questions about our change in policy, please feel free to contact

Additional Student Announcements

If you are still in the process of searching for your field placement for the 2020-21 academic year, please reach out to your Placement Navigator with any updates on your search.

If you have accepted an offeror a field placement, please be sure to complete the Field Confirmation Form 2020-21.

Please keep an eye out for more information about the Student Field Orientation that will be held online in Canvas.

We appreciate all your time and patience as we work to address this ever-changing situation. We look forward to working with you all as we navigate this upcoming academic year!

Take care,

Cassie Mullin | Field Coordinator – Data and Resource Management
Office of Field Education | Department of Social Work

Dear Social Work Students,

We hope this email finds you doing well as we approach Fall semester. While it will certainly be different, we are looing forward to connecting with you all again and supporting you along your journey. By now you know that all Social Work classes will be online for Fall 2020. There will be no requirements for you to come to campus, and all services will continue to be offered remotely. This email will summarize our plan for classes and provide several resources and opportunities for you to learn more.

To ease this transition for our students who prefer to learn face to face on campus, we have customized the classes that originally were to be held on campus to include synchronous learning (learning occurring at the same time) in the new online environment. This means that these online classes will have structured time built in for live/real time activities with your instructor and classmates. Many of you have experienced via Zoom in other online classes you have taken.

Snapshot View of Fall 2020

Department of Social Work classes that were...

  • On Campus Face to Face
    • Are now online with scheduled meeting times (such as Zoom sessions) that mirror the day/time the class was supposed to be on campus for learning in real time with your instructor and classmates.
    • And they will look like this in the schedule: A specific day, time, and location of SYNCH will be listed.
  • On Campus/Online Hybrid
    • Are now online with scheduled meeting times (such as Zoom sessions) that mirror the day/time the class was supposed to be on campus for learning in real time with your instructor and classmates.
    • And they will look like this in the schedule: A specific day, time, and location of SYNCH will be listed.
  • Online
    • No changes in how they will be delivered
    • No changes in how they appear on the schedule

Fall Student Resource Page

If you missed one of our previous emails about the Fall semester, you can find them here: Fall Semester Resource page: 

Bookmark this page for future reference and a resource for navigating the upcoming academic year.

Community Zoom Rooms

Representatives from the Office of Field Education, Office of Social Work Student Services, and Online Programming will host Community Zoom Rooms to answer students’ questions about Fall semester. There is no need to RSVP. You can feel free to drop in for any and all of the sessions you choose. 

Advising Appointments

  • Office of Social Work Student Services
  • Office of Field Education
    • For students completing a field placement in 2020-21, the Office of Field Education will be sending information within the coming weeks about flexible solutions and contingency planning. Please continue to check your email for details and/or reach out to if you have specific questions.

Take care,

Amy K Middleton, MS | Director
Office of Social Work Student Services, Administration, and Finance

pronouns: she/her/hers

Why Do I Have My Pronouns Listed?

Department of Social Work| College of Professional Studies

Dear Social Work Students,

I hope you are well and doing okay during these challenging, transitional, and transformational times. This email is regarding our plans for face to face and hybrid classes in Fall 2020. As a student who is already registered, there is absolutely nothing you need to do. So, if you need to save this email and read it later when you have a bit more bandwidth for new information, that is okay.  Either way, please do find some time to read it carefully at some point as we hope it will provide you with a sense of certainty and confidence in what your Fall semester will look like.

Because of concerns for the health and well-being of students, staff, faculty and their loved ones as a result of COVID-19, the university is limiting on campus instruction for the fall semester.  As a result, all Social Work classes will be online in Fall 2020 with some very intentional modifications for those sections that were face to face or hybrid. We will be listening to our university leaders’ plan for a safe return on campus and that guidance will dictate who may be able to spend some time on campus later this year. We will keep you informed as we learn more.

What Happens Next?

First things first, there is nothing you need to do. Your section(s) that you are enrolled in will be automatically modified to indicate online. Your instructor will stay the same, the CRN will stay the same, and your classmates enrolled in the same section as you will remain intact.  While tuition and fees will be set later this month for the 2020-21 academic year, you can rest assured that the University has worked hard to create an equal environment where online and on campus students pay the same amount in tuition and fees. Also, we are glad to report that the RTD waiver will continue and we hope that the news of no commuting or parking fees is some relief. More information will be released by the University soon!

The Online Environment is our Friend (even if we don’t always invite them over for dinner)

The Department of Social Work had the very first fully online BSSW Program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. We are leaders in online education, not only in social work education, but at MSU Denver as well. We have been developing online programming since 2005. Online programming is in the fabric of our being and we know that, even if it’s not a learning environment intentionally chosen by students, it can be an enriching learning environment.

We have invested in online programming, and we will continue to do so. In recent years, we have appointed Dr. Ann Obermann as our Online Program Coordinator. Within the last year, we have hired an Online and Hybrid Course Development Analyst to work with Social Work faculty on online course design and delivery. Our faculty continually participate in online development workshops both within the Department of Social Work and at the University.

So, while we know it’s not ideal and not what you had hoped for, we also know we can do this really well. We are committed to this, to you, the profession of Social Work and the communities social workers serve. In partnership with you (and our friend “online environment”), we will charge ahead and help you stay on track with your dreams of being a social worker. You can do it, and you are needed more than ever! We are here to help you stay on track for graduation and your career that is just ahead.

Customized Online Classes Designed for You

Okay, but let’s get real, we know you didn’t want to be online and the faculty who signed up for your courses really hoped to have you in person. And, while we know you understand the implications and restrictions of our public health crisis, we also understand you may be apprehensive or unsure, especially if you have never taken an online class before. The good news is that the face to face and hybrid classes that are going online in the Fall will be different than our regular online classes (which we will continue to offer as well).

So, what are these intentional modifications? While you will be learning online, the meeting day and time assigned to your face to face or hybrid course will continue into the online learning environment by way of synchronous time. This means that there will be a significant amount of live virtual face to face instruction, group work, one on one with your faculty, and/or other creative activities to meet learning goals. Our faculty are immersed in the course design process to implement this new, but familiar, teaching and learning modality. If you have taken online BSSW coursework, this may be familiar to you, but know that this is a different concept as the design we are introducing here mirrors face to face/hybrid expectations and not the 50 minutes that BSSW online faculty utilize in fully online BSSW courses. 

Aside from the real time contact with your faculty and peers, this strategy will help students who may feel uneasy about time management in online learning. As an example, all 3 credit hour lecture courses require 3 hours of meeting time. In addition to that, student can expect to spend another 3 hours outside the classroom (research, groupwork, reading, writing, etc.). Fully online students must be able to find time to account for all 6 hours of unstructured time in their week. While this is very flexible, some students may desire more structure. With our plan for synchronous online classes, you will still have that 3 hours of structured time each week. If you protect that time and dedicate it to learning (as you would in the classroom), your schedule and time management will feel like on campus learning. Hey, and maybe a few silver lining benefits like a temporary reprieve from traffic and parking fees. Trying to find the bright side. =)

Woah – that was a lot of information!

While we recommend you save this email, it’s not the last time you will hear from us over the summer. We will be building a website full of resources to help you navigate learning online, accessing advising, communicating with our faculty and staff, and general supports. This email will be archived there too. Additionally, you may have heard that the University is transitioning to a new online platform called Canvas. We will have resources to support you on that too.

The general message here is: we know it’s a lot, we’ve got your back, and we don’t expect everything to fully make sense the very first time you hear it.

Remember to lean on your support team!

  • Office of Social Work Student Services
  • Office of Field Education
    • For students completing a field placement in 2020-21, the Office of Field Education will be in communication throughout the summer about how field placements may be impacted by various types of remote and in-person learning activities based on state, university, and agency health guidelines. Please continue to check your email for details and/or reach out to if you have specific questions.
  • Your faculty advisor – keep in mind they may not be teaching this summer and have limited availability, but they’ll be back in Fall!
  • As we approach Fall semester, we will be expanding this support team to include some online experts as well.

Looking ahead to Spring 2021

If we can be back on campus in Spring 2021, we will be able to transition back seamlessly. For example, if you are in a face-to-face Field class in Fall, and we can be back on campus in Spring 2021, you’ll be back on campus with the same meeting day and time. We will continue to communicate with you as we learn more about the road ahead.

On behalf of the faculty and staff in the Department of Social Work, we invite you to ask any questions you may have along the way and continue to provide us feedback about how things are going.

Take care,

Amy K Middleton, MS | Director
Office of Social Work Student Services, Administration, and Finance

pronouns: she/her/hers

Why Do I Have My Pronouns Listed?

Department of Social Work| College of Professional Studies

Student Resources


Starting in Fall 2020, MSU Denver transitioned it's learning management system from Blackboard to Canvas. We've heard from students that Canvas is an improvement over Blackboard and is much more intuative, but like any technology it may take some time to learn the ropes. If you need help, check out the resources below!

Student Support Services

  • Within Canvas, click on the "Help" button in the left hand navigation bar, then click "Access MSU Denver Academic Support" to find links to the Writing Center, Tutoring Center, Math Lab, and TutorMe (unlimited 24/7 tutoring support)
  • Learn more about how MSU Denver Student Services have transferred online in Fall 2020
  • Not sure who to connect with or where to go for support? Reach out to the Office of Social Work Student Services for guidance:


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Contact Information

Main Office Phone:



Main Office
Central Classroom Suite 201

Office of Field Education
Central Classroom Suite 202

Office of Social Work Student Services
Central Classroom Suite 206

Maps and Parking

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362


Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation logo

Our MSW and BSSW Programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education - the sole accrediting body for social work education.