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Saint Leo 360 Podcast

Episode 26: Exploring Saint Leo’s Bachelor of Social Work Program with Dr. Ebony Perez

Posted by Greg Lindberg on December 9, 2020
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Download Episode 26 Transcript

Speaker 1:
Saint Leo 360, a 360 degree overview of the Saint Leo University community.

Greg Lindberg:
Welcome to another episode of the Saint Leo 360 podcast. My name is Greg Lindberg, your host here with you. On this episode of the podcast we are speaking about the Bachelor of Social Work program here at Saint Leo University. And to help us do that we have a great guest joining us today. Her name is Dr. Ebony Perez and she is the Department Chair of Undergraduate Social work at St. Leo. And she is also an Assistant Professor of Social Work here at St. Leo University. Dr. Perez. Welcome.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Thank you. Thank you for having me, Greg.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. Really appreciate you doing this and then look forward to our conversation. So first off, Dr. Perez, just introduce yourself, talk to our listeners about who you are, where you're from, perhaps what you did before coming to Saint Leo and how long you've been with us.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Sure. I actually am a Florida transplant, like many folks who live in Florida. I am originally from a small town in Western Pennsylvania, called Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. And if anyone knows anything about football they will know that we are a huge football town that has lots of folks who ended up in the league. So it's just outside of Pittsburgh and that's where I was born and raised, spent my time at and kind of came into my own. I did attend undergrad on the eastern side of the state but then came back to Western PA for graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, which is where I received my master's degree in social work. But it's also where I began my social work education and really my professional career.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So I've done lots of things and that's one of the reasons that I chose a degree in social work was because it is very flexible and really offers the opportunity to discover yourself while you are working in a professional environment. So my undergraduate degree was actually in psychology, and I quickly realized that psych was not what I thought it was. I really wanted to work in mental health and be very hands-on, kind of boots on the ground. And when I was looking at graduate school that's where I realized that social work was where it was at. And I was jealous because had I done a social work degree in undergrad I would have been able to get my master's degree in one year instead of two.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So shame on me for not knowing better. So I've done work in Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. I did medical social work there. I worked in the critical care units as well as in the ER. I've also worked in research with treatment resistant anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. And I have worked in inpatient psychiatric care with folks who were what we call dual diagnosed. So they had some sort of learning exceptionalities such as autism or a low IQ. And they also had a psychiatric diagnosis as well. And that's what I did right before I came to Florida.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And I absolutely loved it. I love the versatility of the social work degree that really let me explore. And once I got to Florida I worked at a local community college as a counselor and working with students who were having barriers, just like life barriers crop up and really impact their ability to finish their associate's degree. So often the students that I worked with were non-traditional students so they may have been a little older or they were parents, held down full-time jobs as well as trying to go to school. And just trying to figure out how to do these things, as far as school and live life and create that balance.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And I absolutely loved that and have the opportunity to do adjunct in a college success class when I was at that school. And got bit by the teaching bug as I would say, and had the opportunity came up to be an adjunct for Saint Leo. Actually one of the faculty members at the community college I worked at was very familiar with Saint Leo social work program, referred and still refers lots of students to it and he actually really helped support me in the decision to pursue teaching full time. And I just fell in love with Saint Leo's community environment, how people were so willing to help and really seemed to care about their students. It wasn't another number or students weren't getting in the way of a research agenda. And that's how I ended up at Saint Leo and why I'm still here.

Greg Lindberg:
Nice. And then so how long have you actually been with Saint Leo?

Dr. Ebony Perez:
I've been here, I started as an adjunct in the fall of 2014 and got hired full time in May of 2015 and started working full-time in July of 2015, so five years.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. Wow, very interesting. And then in terms of the Bachelor of Social Work program, talk to me about when that was started, how long we've had that and the reasons behind Saint Leo launching that program.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Sure. Greg, this is a very interesting story. At least to me. Dr. Margaret McGuinness who is my predecessor, she knew all about the history of the social work program and she actually wrote it all down. So I've the opportunity. That's been really, really helpful. I've had the opportunity to read through some of her documents. The program started, the journey really began in the 1969, 70 school year. And what they discovered was that the majority of the sociology students that were in the institution were expressing their desire to find work in direct practice following graduation. And so then they really started to explore bringing on social work as a major.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
It is a very arduous process. I will tell you, we have a national accrediting body in addition to being accredited by SACSCOC with the entire institution. We fall under the council of social work education, and they are the national body that outlined our competencies and behaviors that we're charged with putting into our curriculum and the knowledge, values, skills, cognitive, and affective processing that our students need to have upon graduation.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So it's nothing that happened very quickly. So even though they started the journey in 1969, 70 school year, they did not gain full accreditation and until 1983. So that process involves not just getting students into program but it involves you creating the curriculum, really developing activities, showing how unique behaviors that the council puts out and then writing a report up every couple of years until you get full accreditation

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so we have been fully accredited since 1963. We've been continuously reaffirmed. We're actually in our reaccreditation year currently so I am writing that very arduous document. But it does really give you a very good look at what your program does, how it implements the behaviors that we're charged to implement for our students. Because social work very much like education. They're the only two degrees that really with your bachelor's degree you can go out and immediately begin practicing your craft if you want. So we take that responsibility very serious in making sure our students have the skills in order to move on.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. I see. And yeah, definitely very interesting. Just that we've had such a long history of this program, and I think that demonstrates our strength. The fact we've been offering this type of curriculum for such a long time.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Absolutely. And we're always evolving and responding to the needs of our students, the needs of the clients that we will serve, now and in the future and also what's going on in society.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure, absolutely. Let's talk about the demographics of the students that enter this program. And just if you could kind of explain what types of students, demographically speaking, and also just their interests and what they want to do when they enter this program.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Sure. So this is, it always makes me smile because often times people will come in and they'll say, "I just want to help people." Right. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about social work is that we do school social work and we quote-en-quote snatch babies, right? Like child welfare removal. And while we do prepare people for those types of careers, if they want to, really the students that we are looking for, the students who come looking for us are the ones who will say, "I want to help people. I know I don't want medicine, right? I'm not really a blood and guts kind of person but I want to do something significant and I want to do something very hands-on."

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so we do talk to them about careers in social work. And so we have students who are traditional age students coming out of high school. I think one of the positive things of our society lately is the fact that we are working really hard to de-stigmatize mental health. And really putting out there that mental health is something that we should all be concerned about. So for people who are interested in mental health and some of our traditional right out of high school students who care about working in a field of mental health they have a lot more language behind it.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
It has saturated the culture from shows and movies that they watched to even some of the music that they listened to. So we do have a number of traditional age students who are interested in our program. We also have adult students who are looking for either second careers. They've done the thing that they thought would make them money and are now looking for a piece of happiness. Some different type of fulfillment. Or we have students who have been veterans and they come out of our military services and they want to work with other veterans.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so we have a very significant veterans population. And then we also have the folks who, they've stayed home, they've raised their kids there, everybody's off to college. And so they're like, "Now what? Now it's my turn. What do I want to do?" So we have a very diverse base when it comes to the demographics of our students age wise, but we also have a racially and ethnically diverse population that mirrors what we're seeing at the larger university. And that's really exciting as well because I think people have, well, I know they have a definite misconception of who we are as social workers and what we do. But I also think that people often think that if you're a social worker we're talking about white females and that's who is all in the program.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
But we have males in our program, and that population of young men coming into the program is growing. We have people of all different racial and ethnic diverse groups who are coming into the program and really looking at society and saying they want to be a change agent and they really want to do something different and engage in social justice in any way that they can. And they really see this as a path and when they don't, we help them see it as a path.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. That's great. In terms of where this program is offered I understand that there are a few options in terms of university campus, some of our education centers and also an online component.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Yes, absolutely. And so we do have obviously the main campus here in San Antonio, Florida which is just outside of Tampa, but we also have a Tampa education center and we also have an East Pasco center. And it's interesting because those, when we're not in a midst of a pandemic, they run face-to-face and in the evenings at the centers, because that we are dealing with COVID right now we've made some adjustments to the way that our platforms are offered. However, the goal is obviously to return back to that face-to-face instruction.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so the East Pasco center options are offered currently at our new Port Richey location and then also in Spring Hill. That's so that we can service that side of the world understanding that people have jobs, they have kids, they have other requirements that they need to be a part of. And so when we look at not just where our program is offered, how it's offered is determined by where it's offered. So on campus, it is that traditional times during the day, classes tend to meet either once or twice a week, depending on the class. But it is all really like daytime late afternoon hours.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
When we look at the Tampa education and the East Pasco center we are looking at evening hours only. And so that's for our parents who are individuals who are out there working full-time they may have other responsibilities at home, whether they are caretakers for anywhere from parents to their own children. And part of that is what the East Pasco offering, while it is face-to-face, new Port Richey, Spring Hill. We also have started a blended program option and that one is a spring start and it does a combination of Zoom instruction. And this was going on even before the pandemic so it has that online, what we call synchronous learning.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So the person is at home or at work or in Panera somewhere where they have good Wifi and they log on to class at five o'clock from wherever they are and it's face-to-face. So it's not your traditional flat online program. It still is more dynamic than that. And they're in the room kind of working and talking together. And then there are five Saturdays throughout the semester where they come together on the university campus and they meet and they have class then.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So it gives you the combination of having a bit more flexibility to take care of your personal responsibilities but still complete your education. And our blended program is the only one that is a spring start. And it really serves those folks who are perhaps graduating from a local state college or community college, and they're graduating in December and they just want to keep going. They don't want to wait until fall to start finishing their bachelor's degree. And that program option is really for those students and targeting people who are in that situation. And we have students who really attend that program that are from Bradenton all the way up to Alachua County, Gainesville area, because they enjoy the content that we're giving them what we have to offer.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. That's wonderful that we can offer such a variety of options. And obviously going back to the demographics of our students, to be able to serve such a variety of students that are at all types of different stages of their lives, so to speak.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Absolutely. And that's an example of us responding to what the students' needs are. We had students for several years saying, because we only had that fall entry, we had students for several years saying that they wanted to come early. They didn't want to wait that semester. But then also understanding, right, your family members, you have responsibilities. So kids may have soccer practice or football practice, or you're volunteering and the community or with your local church or faith-based organization. And so actually coming to campus, sometimes it's hard, but if you can get to your home or stay a couple of hours after work and just log on and do class then, and you know those Saturdays that you are going to be in school, it makes it much easier to plan your life.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So this is a program that we piloted last spring and that we've had some success with. So we're just going to keep it going. And it's really in response to the student body that we had.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure. That's great. I also understand that we do offer a social work minor, correct?

Dr. Ebony Perez:
We do. We have a social work minor that is available on the university campus only right now. What that minor does, social work is a dynamic profession. It really is. It allows us to operate in different areas, but the minor, sometimes you'll have students who are like, "I really want to do X Y Z, but this social work thing interests me too." In fact, this is another example of our department of responding to student requests. We had a number of criminal justice students over the past two years who were showing up and saying, "I'm really interested in your class, or I'm really interested in this course content. I see a lot of overlapping when it comes to criminal justice. And I really think that this would make me a better law enforcement officer. If I had this knowledge and this background. I really want to go into law enforcement, but I think this will make me better."

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Thanks to our criminal justice students that is how the social work minor was really born. But when you think about it, it not only supports the criminal justice bill and supports law enforcement, but what profession do you go into where you don't have to deal with people? Right?

Greg Lindberg:
Right.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Because we're all having to deal with people all the time, no matter if we are starting our own business, if we are running somebody else's business, or if we are in law enforcement, we're all having to deal with individuals. And so the skills that you gained through the social work program can be applied to any major and really compliment any major. And so we created a minor and students have. There's a little bit of variety in there so if you have students who are more interested in business and research and policy then they would take one class over another. If you have students who are really interested in social justice and anti-oppressive work and racial equity then there are options within there too. So there's a little flexibility to also meet the flavor of the students but I think it really works out. And that's something that we just launched this past fall. So we're seeing that pickup on university campus as well.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow, very cool. Let's dive into the faculty that teach in the bachelor of social work program. And I know Saint Leo, we really pride ourselves on the practical experience of our faculty. You're certainly a perfect example of that. And if you could just explain the faculty, maybe some of their backgrounds and also just the access to faculty that students have.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Sure. One of the things I think is really cool is the varied background that individuals have within our department. You're not only getting people who know the theory and that can give you the knowledge, but everybody has experience. It's actually one of the requirements by CSWE is that faculty have a minimum of two years experience. Our faculty, including our adjunct faculty have way more experience than two years. But we have faculty who in addition to myself, but we have other faculty who have engaged in medical social work, and really interdisciplinary family health that look at the connection between humans and animals and that bond and how it can be really therapeutic.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
We have faculty who are engaged in what we call macro practice. So that's like community engagement looking to create change through advocacy, looking at building civic character and understanding how, what we do on that community and groups level really impacts all of us and can change everyone's life even if you personally are not seeing a social worker. We have another faculty member, Dr. Brock, who is very interested in gerontology looking at disaster relief work. Looking at issues of trauma, post traumatic stress, excuse me, and also looking at hospice work.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so the idea of aging, right. Aging is the one thing that we're all, God-willing, going to have in common, no matter our race, creed, color, socioeconomic status, we're all going to get older. Right. And so she really digs into that aging side of social work. And then we also have faculty who are grounded in spirituality and faith based counseling, looking at things such as how faith and mental health coincide with one another. We have forensic social work. We have faculty who are interested in K-12 education, maternal and child health, and also program evaluation and looking at really digging in and taking apart how programs that are serving the community are working, how well they're working, what can they shift? What can they change in order to do better? And we have several faculty members who have experience in social work practice with in veterans.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And I think that's really key because social work has a rich history of serving our veteran population. As I mentioned earlier, part, in our demographics part we have a number of students who are veterans who want to come in and continue to serve. And we do see it as still serving, right. They continue to serve by helping veterans in one way, shape or form. And so our experience that we have is really grounded and rooted in social justice. It's really a place of reconciliation. And how do we move forward in order to create a stronger community for us all?

Greg Lindberg:
Exactly. Yeah. Very well said.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Thank you.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure. As far as the courses offered in this program and the types of courses and topics covered, could you just kind of give an overview of what students can expect in terms of course work?

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Sure. I'll give a brief overview of everything, but I'll point out two classes that I really think, two or three that make us stand out and pretty dynamic. So we prepare students for what's called generalized practice. And so they'll have to take a number of practice courses. And those courses are actually like the skill base of social work. How do you do it? It's a hands-on profession. We can't just be like, "Here's a book." We have to really help you, introduce you to it and talk to you about working with individuals groups within the community. We also look at human behavior and one of the key things about social work is we really take a close look at how the social environment impacts human behavior and the development of people through late adulthood.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So that's another course that is pretty general that any social work program anywhere is going to have a human behavior course. Some of the things that make us really unique is we really expanded our offering of electives. And so we look at offering at least one elective for our center location students. Often times when you've completed an associate's degree, you may not have very many electives to take but we still want to give you the option. And so some of our electives that have been offered are maternal and child health, for example, or forensic social work. We have a brand new elective coming out in this spring that will focus on spirituality and the helping profession.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And one of the neat things about our elective is that they're not only geared to social work students. So in those courses you may be in the class with criminal justice majors or education majors, business majors. Because those classes are really opened up and it really helps support that interdisciplinary work that you'll do as a social worker. Our main social work courses are offered in a cohort model so they build on one another. So for example, you'll have to take a class that really looks at how do you do social work documentation, right? Because remember we're preparing you to get out there and practice.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So we're looking at writing case notes, we're looking at taking a bio-psycho-social assessment and writing it up. How would you write notes for court? So it's very hands-on and practical that way, but we're also preparing you for advance work, advanced education I should say. And so in that you'll also learn how to do a journal article critique, and how to turn that into a literature review. And that is very helpful if you plan on going into a master's program.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So those are some of the ways that we kind of shift and shape our curriculum to prepare you for both work and higher education. But we also really take seriously our stance on social justice and anti-oppressive practice. And we do have a course specifically focused on older clients so that students can understand and develop an awareness of how things may be shifting and changing for the aging population. And interestingly enough our boomers are aging. So the number of folks that are going to be needing some sort of support services is going to grow exponentially over the next 10 years or so.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And another class that we offer is our diversity issues and social order class. And that class is really focused on looking at how do we work with diverse populations but focusing on those who have been marginalized and oppressed in society. So we take a deep dive. It's a class that isn't necessarily about teaching you new terminology or teaching you new values but it is really a class that interrogates who you are and how you bring that into a social work space. How do you bring that into your profession? And then how do you manage that when views and opinions are divergent, are something still uncomfortable? What do you do with that? It's too late to wait until you get into practice in order to begin to do the deep work on that. So we get students started on that while they're still in the classroom with faculty support.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. Very interesting. And just wow, what a variety of courses and perspectives that students receive from faculty and everything. That's wonderful.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Thank you.

Greg Lindberg:
In terms of our connections to companies, to organizations, from what I understand students are required to complete some type of field work, field placement. What have you. Talk to me about that requirement and just any specific connections we might have to, say, local organizations in the Tampa Bay area and how that experience really benefits students.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Absolutely. And so you're right. One of most common things that folks would hear upon graduating is, "We can't hire you because you don't have experience, right?" So CSWE has said, "Not only do you need experience so that you can get hired, but you need experience because the people that you're working with are going to be vulnerable, they're going to be experiencing some sort of crisis. So you also have to get practice in not doing harm."

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And so we do have some really strong connections for internship in the Tampa Bay area. On that big community level we actually have placements in two different legislative offices. Additionally we have placements in school districts from Pasco County, Alachua County, Hillsborough, Citrus, Polk County. We have placements at Westcare where students are able to engage in group work as well. And then for those who are looking for a more individualized placement we have metropolitan ministries. We also work with the Veterans HEAT Factory and we have partnership with them, partnership with Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, as well as Lutheran Family Services.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
That's just a sample of what we have. We have over 60 placements around the Tampa Bay area for students to find their placement home, at least for those 400 hours that they're required. We even have worked with Pasco County Sheriff's office so we're out there, we're around.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. That's great. Wonderful. What would you say the main goals, the main outcomes of this program are in terms of what your goal is. all the faculty, their goals are for students to walk away with from this program?

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Yeah, that's an excellent question. Our main goal is, we actually have a two-fold main goal. It is to prepare students for what we call generalist practice. So that's to work in all of those areas I just went over, but it's also to prepare students for advanced study when and if they choose to go. Some of our students choose to go into graduate school right away. They come into the program and they're like, "I already know that I want my clinical degree. I already know that I'm going to go to a master's program." And so our model is really the model in which you come into our program and if you do well in our program, then you would be eligible for one year of school to get your MSW, which is a terminal degree in the field of social work.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So if you think about that, if you're coming in from high school, that means four years of college and then one year, so five years total, you can have a master's degree and be on your way to clinical licensure. And if you're coming in from a community college or you're transferring in from a city college, that means two years with us, you do well, then one year for your master's degree. If you choose to, it's not the only option, but some students want to take the longer road and for a variety of reasons, which is fine, but other students really find that attractive that they can save a year of time and a year of finances off getting their graduate degree. Those are really the goals is to prepare them both for potential clinical practice and licensure through continuing their education in grad school. And we have a remarkable master's program here, as well as Saint Leo.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And then also for students who say, "You know what? I've been in school for a really long time, I really want to take a break. I want to take a breather." That we've prepared them to move into crisis intervention, to do the work hands-on at that entry level. And in fact, Greg, every single semester, we have students who are offered jobs at their placements before they even finished their internship.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
And I think that's really exciting and a testimony to the rigor and the quality of students that we help develop through this program. Not all students take the opportunity. Again, some students say, "I guess I gotta go get my master's now, or I'm never going to go back." Some students say, "I've gotten everything I can out of this internship and I do not like to work with this population, so I'm moving on." But some students are actually hired in their internship, but what a remarkable testimony that folks are getting jobs before they even graduate.

Greg Lindberg:
Oh, yeah. That definitely says a lot about not only the student but the program and how it's really prepared them so well, so quickly.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Absolutely.

Greg Lindberg:
As far as alumni and success stories could you give us some examples of different roles that some of our alumni with the BSW have gone on to in terms of their careers?

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Oh, sure. We have BSW alumni that are actively employed all over this area from Eckerd Connects, which is the Tampa Bay agency for case management or foster care at the Pasco County Sheriff's office. We have alumni who work at Sunrise Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Center. BayCare Behavioral Health, students who graduated from us in our, within the Pasco and Hillsborough school district, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. So we really do have alumni all over this area.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow. That's wonderful. So I did want to wrap up here. Speaking about COVID-19 and the pandemic, I know you did reference it earlier in terms of just some of the adjustments we've made as a university, but I'm curious about your perspective within the social work field. How has COVID-19 impacted the field and from what I understand it sounds like there might even be more opportunity out there just because of so many people who have struggled and dealt with a number of different challenges because of COVID-19.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Right. I think that's an excellent point. And one thing I want to point out is that before we were in the midst of this pandemic social work, employment had a projected growth rate of 26% before the pandemic. What the pandemic has highlighted is that some of the issues that social workers have been fighting for for decades. Equity, as far as access to healthcare, equity, as far as preventative health management so that you don't have some of the longterm effects. Financial equity, some of the issues that we are seeing happen to community along racial and socioeconomic lines, are things that social workers have been fighting for. And what this pandemic has done is it has highlighted that we're on the right track. And we've been on the right side of this for quite some time now. And here's yet another opportunity for us to be able to really move things forward and to make our communities healthier and stronger, which is better for all of us.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
So I think if we were on a projected growth rate of 26% before the pandemic, that's just going to increase. Has no option but to increase. We figure we have had millions of families at this point impacted, dealing with the fallout, or we have no clue what the long-term effects are for COVID-19. And so you will have social workers who are in hospital setting, you'll have social workers who are holding the keys to various resources within the community or making connections so that people have stronger outcomes and are living healthier lives.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Those things go just going to increase the demand for the skills that are needed that come through social work. And we have also seen with all of the social justice issues that have come about over this 2020 year. You've seen people in grassroots movements pushing things forward, and social workers are community activists, we're community organizers. We partner with, we help community really find what their best place is and help them move forward.'

Dr. Ebony Perez:
We do this in partnership, we're not coming in to save the community. We're not pretending to be a savior. We're doing this in partnership with the people who live in that community. And many of us are a part of those communities where we want to see significant change. And COVID-19 has just elevated our awareness to what this profession has already known and has already been working towards.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
I think we have a very good opportunity to continue to push forward, but folks out there, they're gonna need jobs. People will say, "Oh, you're not gonna make any money with social work." That's not entirely true. It's one of those myths that are out there and COVID-19 is helping us debunk some of the myths around the profession in general.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. No question about that. Okay. Well again, I want to thank you, Dr. Ebony Perez, for joining us here on the Saint Leo 360 podcast. Really appreciate the time, the insight, your sense of humor, and really enjoyed the conversation. I hope those out there interested in potentially pursuing a bachelor's in social work will consider this program.

Dr. Ebony Perez:
Same here. Thank you so much for thinking of us Greg, and for having me on the podcast. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely, you're very welcome.

Speaker 1:
To hear more episodes of the Saint Leo 360 podcast visit saintleo.edu/podcast. To learn more about Saint Leo's programs and services. Call (877) 622-2009, or visit saintleo.edu.

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Saint Leo 360 podcast, we are joined by Dr. Ebony Perez, chair of undergraduate social work at Saint Leo University. Dr. Perez discussed:

  • Her education and practical experience working in the social work field
  • The long and successful history of Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Social Work degree program dating back to the 1960s
  • The types of students who have enrolled in this undergraduate social work degree program and their career interests
  • Where the program is offered and some nice flexible options for all types of learners
  • The social work minor option and the other majors with which this minor can effectively be paired
  • The background of the faculty in this program and their one-on-one access to Saint Leo students
  • The types of courses offered in this social work degree program and some unique electives
  • The requirement for students to attain practical experience through field placements and internships, along with specific connections Saint Leo University has to local organizations around the Tampa Bay area
  • Opportunities for students to also earn a Master of Social Work degree from Saint Leo in just one year upon earning a Bachelor of Social Work degree
  • Where Saint Leo BSW alumni are currently working and how their degree has helped them attain a variety of rewarding roles in the social work field
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the social work field and the increased opportunities within the field as a result of the pandemic’s effects on our society

Links & Resources

Learn more about Saint Leo University’s Bachelor of Social Work degree program at https://www.saintleo.edu/social-work-bachelor-degree.

Find out more about Dr. Perez in her faculty bio at https://www.saintleo.edu/faculty-bios/Ebony-N-Perez-PhD-MSW.

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