Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Varner Hall, Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
512 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2371

Social Work, B.S.W.

Social workers provide the bulk of mental health services in the United States. BSW graduates are employed in family service agencies, child welfare organizations, nursing homes, hospices, substance abuse programs, aging services, criminal justice agencies, and schools to name just a few. Their education prepares BSWs to utilize a planned change or problem solving approach that encompasses engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, and follow-up. Clients may consist of individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities.

Activities of the BSW may include interviewing, crisis intervention, case management, advocacy, linking people with services, networking, and outreach to name a few.

Oakland University BSW's Program Mission

Guided by a the principles of social and economic justice, cultural competence and the values and ethics of the social work profession, Oakland University’s BSW program prepares students for competent and effective generalist social work practice with multi-level systems (individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations).

Utilizing critical thinking and evidence based practice skills, graduates of the program are prepared to deliver empowerment based services to the oppressed populations of southeast Michigan.

The Oakland University Bachelor of Social Work Program's conception of generalist practice involves the use of social work knowledge, professional values, and an array of skills that can be adapted to work with diverse client systems of all sizes in a variety of settings.
Our program is designed around competency-based education. Students are trained to demonstrate the integration and application of the following competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities:

Competency 1:  Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


Faculty and staff in the Social Work Program value a close working relationship with students and feel that careful advising and mentoring are critical. Students who declare a pre-major in social work and/or are admitted into the program are assigned an advisor.

Students can schedule half-hour appointments with an Academic Adviser as needed when they have questions about their major program, class scheduling, or any issues related to their academic progress at Oakland University

The Social Work Program has two advisors, located on main campus and out at AFC.

Stephanie Brandimarte, LMSW, Director of Field and Student Services
(248) 370-2502

Heather El-Khoury, LMSW , Coordinator of Field and Student Services, Macomb Anton/Frankel Social Work Program
(248) 370-3914


Oakland University Social Work Program offers social work CEU's multiple times throughout the year for a low cost of $10.00 per ceu credit. To hear about future CEU events, join the mailing list! Click here!

For more information, please contact Heather El-Khoury at or (248) 370-3914.

If you are a social worker that has an idea for a CEU workshop, please contact Heather.

Social Work Career Information

Michigan State University MSW Program


Alumni are important to a university for many reasons. Alumni can serve as great role models and inspirations for current students as they start their own careers.  It can be encouraging for current students achieving a degree to be able to interact with alumni and hear their stories about their college experiences.

Alumni are also beneficial to a university because they offer support to the department in ways such as fundraising, mentoring, promoting their university through work experiences and success. When a university has close relations with its alumni, it is an opportunity to promote the importance of a program by displaying the accomplishments of their past students. Here, we will turn the spotlight to alumni of the Oakland University.

Social Work Alumni

Elizabeth Kici, BSW
Elizabeth is from Holly, MI is graduating from Oakland University-MSW Program in 2015. Currently, Elizabeth holds a position at Hope Network New Passages of Flint, MI as an Adult Case Manager. When she is asked why she chose Social Work, Elizabeth replies, “As Dr. Smith always told us, social work chose me-I didn’t choose social work.  Mental health is my passion, I plan to do policy work with my MPH in order to positively impact the physical and mental wellbeing of adults with mental illness. Closing the gap between mental illness and negative health outcomes!”

For Fun: “My social life and my dog keep me sane! I love to travel and explore Michigan Breweries.”

Elizabeth’s advice to aspiring social workers: “Never work harder than your client. Never lose sight of how important you are to your community and those you serve. One good day trumps one hundred bad days and you will have “ah-ha” moments that reinforce WHY we do this. Self-care should be your number one priority at all times or you'll dig yourself a grave!”

Karen Hanks, LMSW, BSW
Karen of Shelby Township, MI is a graduate of Wayne State University’s class of 2012.  She is currently a Licensing Worker at Bethany Christian Services in Madison Heights, MI.  Karen chose social work because it she felt it “just seemed like a natural fit.” Karen volunteers at Common Ground on the crisis line and recently completed 4000 hours to receive her full license.  She is also a volunteer Discipleship Director at Kensington Community Church’s Shelby Township Campus.

Karen’s advice to aspiring social workers: “Find what you love and work hard for it.”

Tara Guffy, MSW, BSW
Tara is from St. Clair Shores, MI is a recent 2014 graduate of Wayne State University.  She is employed at Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO) in Detroit, MI as a Residential Supports Coordinator.  Tara volunteers for the Wobbly Kitchen in Detroit, MI.

Tara’s advice to aspiring social workers: “Education: Get ready to write and write and write some more! Work: Never forget why you went into this field in the first place and do not allow lack of funding to thwart your practice…be creative, advocate, and do whatever you can to fight against the status quo!” ~OU 2014

Meghan Magdalenic, MSW, BSW
Megan of Wyandotte, MI, is a 2013 graduate of Wayne State University.  She is employed as a Behavioral Health Consultant at Starfish Family Services in Taylor, MI.

Meghan’s advice to aspiring social workers: “Be the change you want to see in the world.  Touching one person’s life is the most incredible feeling.” ~OU 2012

Michael Fiorillo, LMSW, BSW
Michael of Madison Heights, MI graduated from University of Michigan in 2010.  He currently holds a position as a Clinical Services Manager for Spectrum Juvenile Services of Highland Park, MI. Michael is an active member of the MI Board of Social Work, He also enjoys staying active playing any/all sports, traveling and associating with friends/family.

“As for choosing the field, I was hooked after taking my first psychology class. As for staying in the field, seeing a client internalize/utilize intervention.”

Michael’s advice to aspiring social workers: As a colleague, always set goals. Whether it's earning the MSW, passing the licensing exam or earning a promotion. Once you achieve a goal, set another.