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.


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 are expected to meet with their advisor to develop a plan of study for completing the degree. Every semester, the student is expected to meet with an advisor to discuss progress and any needs or concerns.

General Information
  • Students may be “pre-social work” majors up until they apply for formal admission into the program and become full, social work majors. Advising for pre-social work majors is done in the College of Arts and Sciences Office, 248-370-4567 on the second floor of 221 Varner. Pre-social work majors should contact the College Advisors to do a change of major form and to have a general education evaluation completed to determine how much course work, in addition to the social work curriculum, is required to complete the bachelor’s degree. 
  • Deadlines for admission is June 15th. Admissions forms are available here
  • Students will receive a plan of study when they are accepted into the program. At that time, students will be able to register for their social work classes. Every student admitted into the social work program is guaranteed a spot in all social work courses. Failing to follow the sequence will delay graduation. It is imperative that students stay in sequence according to their plan of study!
  • Orientations to the program are held in the Fall semester. Pre-social work and social work majors will be notified via email as to when the orientations occur.
  • Once students have been formally admitted into the program, an appointment with the advisor will be scheduled.
  • Students who are admitted in the Fall will complete two semesters of field internship in their senior year – starting in the Fall and completing by the end of the Winter semester. 
  • An orientation to field meeting will be held a semester before students are scheduled to enter field. At that time, the placement process is explained, the available agencies are described and an interview with the Field Placement Director is scheduled.


Students can schedule half-hour appointments with an Academic Advisor as needed when they have questions about their major program, class scheduling, or any issues related to their academic progress at Oakland University. Please call (248) 370-4567 to schedule an appointment or stop by our offices at 221 Varner Hall to make the appointment in person.

 Answers to general questions can often be found on the CAS Advising section. Please take the time to read this, as it can often eliminate your need to meet with an advisor.

Students can also refer general questions to our CAS advising e-mail address at Students will generally receive a response within 2 days during normal business hours. E-mail inquiries should be general in nature. If you have several questions, or very detailed questions about academic problems or your academic program, you should handle these during an appointment with an Academic Advisor. We cannot schedule appointments via e-mail, so call (248) 370-4567 if you need an appointment.


Who to Contact
At the main Oakland University campus:

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

At the Anton/Frankel Center campus:

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

Social work practice is concerned with enhancing the interactions between people and their social environments in order to enable people to accomplish life tasks, mediate distress and realize their aspirations and values.
The purpose of the social work program is to:
  1. Enhance the problem solving and coping capacities of people; 
  2. link people with systems that provide them with resources, services and opportunities;
  3. promote the effective and human operation of these systems; 
  4. contribute to the development and improvement of social policy.

Currently, the Social Work Program is housed within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Competency-based education is an outcome performance approach to curriculum design. Competencies are measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills. The goal of the outcome approach is to demonstrate the integration and application of the competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Read and print the ten core competencies.
Students have the option to take classes to complete their Bachelor of Social Work at our newly expanded location, the Anton/Frankel Center (AFC) in Macomb County. See the  OU Macomb County website for location, directions and more information; or contact Heather El-Khoury at (248) 370-3914 or

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.


Career & MSW Programs
Social Work Career Information

Michigan State University MSW Program

Poverty Simulation

Oakland University is excited to offer a simulated experience that sensitizes the realities of poverty.

Social Work Alumni

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.