Department of Social Work
October 22, 2016

Faculty News

Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) Hooding Ceremony

May 4, 2012

Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) Hooding CeremonyThe department held a Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) Hooding Ceremony for the Laredo distance education graduates. Elizabeth Martinez, Cristina De Bosquez, Veronica Rivera and Griselda Vasquez (Front row, L-R)graduated from the Masters program utilizing distance education (back row, Hector Diaz, Denise Longoria from the Laredo campus and John Ronnau). Laredo Community College and the College of Health Sciences' Social Work Department collaborate so that students in Laredo can pursue a MSSW degree that isn't offered in that area of the state. The department also collaborates with the University of Texas-Brownsville to offer MSSW classes via distance education. Currently, UTPA is the only university south of San Antonio that offers bachelor's and master's degrees in social work. Under the program, students in the Laredo and Brownsville areas can take UTPA courses at the higher education institutions near their homes and online.

Noe Ramirez, Associate Professor, recently had a manuscript published.


Ramirez, N. (2012) (manuscript). Socioeconomic Trends and the Latino Family: Implications for Social Work Education in Preserving its Traditional Support System.

Advances in Social Work Journal

Dr. Irene Queiro-Tajalli, Editor

Catherine Faver, Professor, had a refereed journal article and presentation to contribute.

Refereed journal article

Faver, C. A., & Alanis, E. (2012). Fostering empathy through stories: A pilot program for special needs adoptive families. Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 660-665. Available online 16 December 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2011.12.012

Refereed presentation

Faver, C. A. (2012, March 20). Children, animals, and empathy: Using humane education to prevent and intervene in child maltreatment. Presentation at the annual conference of Prevent Child Abuse Texas, Corpus Christi.

Raúl Solis, Assistant Professor and BSW Program Director, is exercising his artistic talents as an invited art illustrator for the recently created Journal of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Genealogical Society.

Catherine Faver, Professor is a recipient of the 2012 Faculty Development Program Grant. The title of her grant is, "Online Certification Program in Plant-based Nutrition."

Héctor Diaz returned from a HETS conference in Puerto Rico and was awarded best presentation for, "A Hybrid Distance Education Program to Increase Access to Social Work Education in South Texas" in the category for "How to Increase Access to Educational Programs." HETS is the Hispanic Educational Technology Services program and it promotes, supports, and increases the capabilities of member institutions in order to enhance Hispanic/Latino student success and opportunities in Higher Education.

Iran Barrera, Sonia Arrendondo, Estela Sosa-Garza, Department of Social Work, along with Joseph McCoy, RGV Mental Health Coalition and Patty Koo, Student Health Services conducted a debriefing and discussion regarding the on-campus suicide that took place this week. Students, faculty and staff were invited.

Iran Barrera, Assistant Professor, heads the Mental Health Professionals "Del Valle." The organization is for Mexican-American mental health professionals (as well as those who are interested in better serving the Mexican-American community) who meet regularly to discuss current topics and issues affecting service delivery in "El Valle" with the intent of findings solutions and promoting mental health literacy. Its second luncheon will be on December 9, 2011, 12 p.m at La Quinta Suites, 4603 N. Cage; Nolana / U.S. 281. The guest speaker for this event will be Pharr police chief Mr. Ruben Villescas. For more information contact Iran Barrera or click on the following and scroll down: http://blogs.utpa.edu/graduate/.

Héctor Díaz, Professor and Department Chair, has been accepted to present at the Hispanic Educational Telecommunications Systems (HETS) conference in Puerto Rico in February.

John Gonzalez, Assistant Professor, attended the Council on Social Work Education 57th Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, GA October 27-30, 2011 and presented a paper titled "Older Mexican Americans: Motivational factors of mental health service utilization". He was also re-elected to the position of Treasurer of the Association of Latino/a Social Work Educators.

Iran Barrera, Assistant Professor, had his paper titled, "Potentially Harmful Practices: Using the DSM with People of Color" published in the journal, Social Work in Mental Health.

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