News and Events

JMSW student Madison Hill pens letter to the editor

"Maslow’s theory of human needs states that before an individual can reach self-actualization, their human needs must be met first," writes Madison Hill, a current graduate student in the Joint Master of Social Work program at Texas Woman’s University, where she also serves as an AmeriCorps member for Communities in Schools of North Texas serving at-risk students.

Texas Governor appoints TWU Social Work alumna to State Independent Living Council

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed TWU alumna Melva Henderson and three others to the State Independent Living Council for terms set to expire on October 24, 2023. The council develops the State Plan for Independent Living and serves as a resource to state and local organizations on Independent Living and related issues for persons with disabilities. Henderson is a prospect research associate at Envision Dallas. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Arts in Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Public service a common denominator in congresswoman’s career

If there is a gene for leadership and public service, it can be found in Sylvia Garcia’s DNA. The Texas Woman’s University social work graduate (BA '72) and current U.S. congresswoman representing Houston’s 29th District is no stranger to being in leadership posts and helping disadvantaged people. 

As a first-term congresswoman, Garcia in 2020 became the first Hispanic – and one of three women – to ever be selected as an impeachment manager in a presidential impeachment trial.

TWU-UNT Joint Master of Social Work program gains accreditation

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has granted initial accreditation to a Joint Master of Social Work (JMSW) degree program offered by Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas through June 2024.

TWU social work alumna Kathryn McCartney named Head Start CEO

Hard work and dedication are the principles Kathryn L. McCartney lives by daily. McCartney, who has spent her entire career working around the early childhood community, has risen up the ranks to become the new chief executive officer of Head Start of Greater Dallas Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves 2,500 low-income preschool age children, infants and toddlers throughout 44 full-day Head Start and Early Head Start centers in Dallas County. McCartney earned her bachelor's degree in social work at TWU.

Ratonia Runnels interviewed about COVID-19 test disparities in Latino population

Denton County racial demographics mirror the national trend — with people of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in both positive cases and deaths. 

“In terms of COVID more specifically, it’s really just a melting pot of contributing factors when we look at who has to work outside of the home, who lives in multigenerational or multifamily homes, who has the best access to care. … It’s pretty clear the level of susceptibility,” said Texas Woman’s University professor Ratonia Runnels, who has also researched health disparities.

Dr. Brandi Felderhoff featured in DRC article about grief, death during pandemic

Brandi Felderhoff, Ph.D., LCSW, a social work professor at Texas Woman’s University, said under the veil of the pandemic, traditional processes of grieving have changed. Felderhoff, who specializes in nursing home and end-of-life settings, said a lack of connection is a significant loss.

From not being able to say a proper goodbye to being unable to congregate in groups to console each other, “everything has changed,” Felderhoff noted.

National women’s group lauds Saunders for lifetime achievement

A national women’s group has recognized the founding executive director of TWU’s Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, Maj. Gen. Mary Saunders (ret.) USAF, with the organization’s lifetime achievement award for her work in producing women leaders.

Inaugural TWU-UNT JMSW Hooding Ceremony

The inaugural TWU-UNT Joint Master of Social Work Hooding Ceremony took place May 9, 2019, on TWU's Denton campus. Honorees were: Gabriela Banda, Nahid Baset, Abigail Curry, Amanda Fath, Elizabeth Garcia, Katherine Hodge, Kristyn Hookie, Taylor Howard, Ahrielle Jackson, Michell Johnson, Damaris Larsen, Jayvin LeBlanc, Erin Lukacs, Cheryl McCutchan, Ainsley Mendoza, Courtney Moroney, Jared Mowery, Hope Nordon, Katherine Ralph Lisa Schleder, Tonya Sodd, Sara Sparks, Marion Stearns, Stacy Teague and Janelle Van Benthem.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

TWU-UNT JMSW Class of 2019 graduates and program faculty.
TWU-UNT JMSW Class of 2019 graduates and program faculty.
A graduate cap decorated with both university logos and

TWU student Reighley Baugh pens Texas Tribune op-ed

BSW student Reighley Baugh's opinion editorial on the foster care-to-prison pipeline was recently published in the Texas Tribune as part of a SOWK 4433 class assignment. 

From Baugh's op-ed: 

Nelson Mandela once said that a society’s soul should be judged by the way it treats its children. In the United States, the soul of our society would be judged harshly, particularly because of the way we treat wards of the state.

In recent years, attention has been given to America’s children in the ‘School-To-Prison Pipeline.’ Zero-tolerance policies, the criminalization of adolescence and the pushing of disadvantaged children out of the classrooms have fed a number of youths into justice systems — many of them foster youth. Home and state systems, like group homes, foster care and youth institutions, set children up for emotional and relational trauma when children are uprooted from their biological families and have multiple home placements.

TWU social work alumna Sylvia Garcia elected to Congress

Congresswoman-elect and TWU Social Work Program alumna Sylvia Garcia (BA'72)  is one of the first Latinas in Texas to be elected to Congress. "I feel the responsibility to empower others, just as TWU empowered me. My central mission is to empower the next generation to keep up that fight. I truly am constantly guided by the TWU purpose: 'educate a woman, empower the world,'" said Garcia.

TWU Social Work program participates in 10th Annual Denton County Adoption Day

The TWU Social Work Program, along with a few members of the child development program at TWU, provided the lion’s share of entertainment for children at this year's Denton County Adoption Day. Friday’s event was the 10th annual Adoption Day, as well as the largest so far. In total, 25 kids were adopted by 19 families throughout the morning and afternoon.

Each family had their adoption in a courtroom covered in stuffed animals donated by TWU, and each child had a chance to pick their favorite of the animals to take home. In addition to a new, cuddly friend, each child received a Dr. Seuss book signed by their presiding judge, attorney and others.

BSW student Guadalupe Resendiz featured in 'Women Who Lead' series

Guadalupe Resendiz didn’t waste a second of her senior year in the Texas Woman’s social work program. In between a packed class schedule, Resendiz also explored her passion for volunteer work. After discovering the International Studies Abroad (ISA) program, an education abroad affiliated partner with TWU, Resendiz found an opportunity to merge two of her passions - school and volunteer work through missions.

Alex Colvin, Ph.D., named distinguished alumnus of Brenham High School

As the oldest public school district in Texas, Brenham ISD is celebrating the proud history and achievements of the district and some of its most distinguished alumni. Alex Colvin, Ph.D., JMSW Director of Field Education, is one of four honorees to be named a distinguished alumnus.

Colvin is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Black Social Workers, North American Association of Christians in Social Work, Texas Field Educator Consortium and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors. He received the Texas A&M System Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2008-2010 and 2012, an award given based on student input. He has authored over 20 refereed publications and has presented his research at over 30 professional conferences.

Fall 2018 Announcements


  • The TWU-UNT Joint MSW has been granted “Candidacy” status. Graduates of the program can now be licensed as social workers in Texas upon graduation.
  • Nila Ricks, Ph.D., LMSW, has been named the new TWU Bachelor of Social Work Program Director.  Ricks is not only the first African American social work faculty member to receive tenure, but also the first African American director for the social work program.
  • New assistant professor Brandi Felderhoff was recently elected to the National Association of Social Workers/Texas Chapter Board of Directors as Vice President. This is her first election to the State Board, and her term will run for three years.


Spring 2018 Pinning Ceremony

The Spring 2018 Pinning Ceremony of recently admitted TWU Social Work majors.
The Spring 2018 Pinning Ceremony of recently admitted TWU Social Work majors.

Fall 2017 Pinning Ceremony

the Fall 2017 Pinning Ceremony of recently admitted Social Work majors
The Fall 2017 Pinning Ceremony of recently admitted TWU Social Work majors.

2018 Social Work Awards Banquet

TWU Social Work faculty at 2018 Awards Banquet

Left to right: Alex Colvin, PhD; Emarely Rosa-Davila, PhD; Nila Ricks, PhD, LMSW; Linda Marshall, PhD, LMSW; Mark Sandel, LMSW; Ratonia Runnels, PhD, LMSW; Daniel "Boone" Taylor. Not pictured: Michele Bland.

Governor Abbott appoints TWU alumna to Family And Protective Services Council

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently appointed TWU alumna Davina Hollin and eight others to the Family And Protective Services Council. The council is charged with studying and making recommendations to the commissioner regarding the management and operation of the Department of Family and Protective Services. 

Hollin is the manager of crisis programs at Denton County MHMR. She is a volunteer and advocate for foster youth and a member of ACCEPT, a group for youth, foster alumni, and young adults, and she is a former youth care worker at Cumberland Children's Home. Hollin received her Bachelor of Social Work from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Social Work from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Page last updated 3:40 PM, January 26, 2021