U.S. News & World Report has increased the ranking of the Florida Atlantic Master of Social Work (MSW) program to 79th in the nation, nearly 20 points up from just one year ago when it earned the highly coveted "Top 100" ranking. The MSW program is coordinated by Dr. Joy McClellan, and the full curriculum is now offered at the Boca Raton and Davie campuses. Read More | Explore MSW Program


Our renowned faculty pursue multidisciplinary and community-engaged research, leveraging multiple in-house centers and institutes and an extensive network of scholars and organizations that wraps around the globe. The award-winning research coming out of the College of Social Work & Criminal Justice enhances the lives of individuals, families, and communities; informs a wide spectrum of solutions to societal and human needs; and contributes to the scientific basis of our professions.

We are well on our way toward fulfilling one of our five strategic priorities: integrate the cross-disciplinary research and scholarship portfolios between our two schools, across the university network and deeply within our communities. With this launch, we are seeking to:

  • Grow & Disseminate research & scholarship where we already excel.
  • Deliver meaningful impact within our communities, classrooms and professions.
  • Broaden recognition of the college’s research & scholarship efforts.
  • Bolster multidisciplinary, cross-school and cross-university research & scholarship.
  • Elevate our college's research as a powerful tool for championing change.
  • Heighten innovative community-based research & visibility of technology.
  • Engage students in hands-on, transformative research opportunities.
  • Demonstrate contributions to the FA Race to Excellence pillars & platforms.

Explore Our Research Hub

​​​​​​​​​​​​Professional Development Courses

As clinicians, we understand the critical importance of high-quality continuing education. As research and evidence-based treatment evolves, standards of care shift. Whether you are just beginning your clinical journey or are a seasoned clinician ready to expand your scope of practice, we've got you covered for the upcoming year.

Check out the courses below and register today!

You can also visit our
website for a complete course listing and frequent additions. To make sure you’re the first to know about new courses, you can request email notifications and like us on Facebook for course updates and School news.

The FAU Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work is an approved provider of the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling, the Florida Board of Psychology, the Florida Office of School Psychology, and the Florida Board of Nursing (BAP #50-6251), as well as the Florida Certification Board (#5350-A) and the Council on Social Work Education. Many states accept CEUs from CSWE-accredited institutions in other states.

Did you know?

Funds raised through the Office of Professional Development provide students’ scholarships and assistantships, and support faculty and students with research projects, attendance and presentations at national and international conferences, and other projects related to advancing our school's academic excellence and community engagement. 

Agency Training Available

New Agency Training Available!
Foundations in Narrative Therapy: This 6-hour course will provide clinicians with specific Narrative Therapy interventions that can be applied to multiple populations across the age span. Emphasis will be placed on using Narrative therapy as a powerful tool of intervention for many specific diagnoses utilizing a trauma-informed lens. 

The Office of Professional Development within the FAU Sandler School of Social Work offers a wide variety of training options for community agencies. All workshops can be facilitated online or in-person, offer flexible scheduling, and can be fully customized to meet your unique agency needs. Take a look at our menu of options

*NEW* Agency Trainings Available!

Cannabis Induced Psychosis: Current Research and Recovery Strategies
Assertive Community Treatment: A Paradigm Shift in Treating Severe Mental Illness 

The 2023-2024 training schedule for FAU’s Office of Professional Development is now live on the website, and we are now accepting registrations for all upcoming trainings. Individuals can take a look at our full course lineup here:
FAU: 2023-2024 Course Schedule

Upcoming Courses:

EMDR Basic Training
Powerful evidence-based treatment for children, teens and adults. Dates Offered: Oct 20-22 and Dec 1-3.
Learn More

Telehealth Certificate Course for Mental Health Professionals
Designed for clinical social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and other allied clinical professionals. Opens Nov 6 – Closes Dec 17. Early-Bird Rates thru Oct 23.
Learn More

LCSW Exam Prep Course
Includes test questions and answers obtained directly from the exam creators, exclusively available for use at Schools of Social Work. Dates Offered: Jan 28, 2024 and May 18, 2024.
Learn More

News and Special Events 
The 2023-24 calendar for the Robin Rubin Center for Happiness & Life Enhancement is packed with wellness programming you don’t want to miss – from weekly meditations, bi-monthly yoga sessions and interactive workshops. All sessions are offered free of charge to students, faculty, staff and community members. Events Calendar

People who live in the rural communities along Lake Okeechobee are subjected to repeated, intermittent exposures to air pollution during agricultural fires. Not only is the risk of ADRD among aging residents of these communities from repeated air pollution a concern, but smoke exposure also is associated with an anxious, irritable and depressed mood, which could lead to social isolation and thereby impact mental health in general. To better understand this issue, researchers from Florida Atlantic, including Juyoung Park, Ph.D., MSW, professor, have received a five-year, $4.2 million R01 grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with the University of Miami, Colorado State University and Washington State University.
Read Release

The Sandler School of Social Work is pleased to announce new additions to our team:

  • Withney Bichotte-Germain, MSW, LCSW, visiting instructor, earned her BSW and MSW from Florida Atlantic University. Withney started working at FAU in 2014. She has worked as a resident assistant with the housing department and was a graduate assistant with the Dean of Students Office. Withney has interned at the State Attorney’s Office, victim advocate unit and Kids in Distress. She has worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Child Protective Services as a child protective investigator for a few years where she investigated child abuse and neglect cases in Broward County. Additionally, Withney has worked as a hospice social worker and bereavement counselor. Withney has been an adjunct professor at FAU since January of 2022. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Withney continues to provide counseling to individual and families.

  • Kristie Slinskey, DSW, LCSW, visiting instructor, A three-time FAU alumna, Dr. Slinskey earned her doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degree in social work after relocating from New York State to south Florida. With over a decade of experience in the field of substance use and mental health she has served as both clinician and clinical director of evidence-based substance use treatment facilities in Palm Beach County. Dr. Slinskey currently holds the position of Chief Clinical Officer at an inpatient treatment center for adults suffering from substance use disorders and maintains a private practice where she works with adults, couples and families in Palm Beach Gardens. Dr. Slinskey is also engaged in macro social work as an advocate for policy change in tackling our nation’s opioid crisis. With her team, Dr. Slinskey has traveled to Washington DC and met with members of congress to effectuate change and advocate for this vulnerable population during this dangerous epidemic. In her practice Dr. Slinskey utilizes a psychodynamic approach and is trained in EMDR, Hypnotherapy, as well as Post-Induction Therapy. Dr. Slinskey is currently teaching Interventions in The Field of Addiction and will be adding Practice with Families in the fall. Dr. Slinskey enjoys working with social work students and witnessing the promise of future leaders in the field.

  • Danile Jerome, MSW, is our new Associate Director of Operations and Community Engagement. In this role, Danile will oversee all community engagement activities for the Sandler School of Social Work, including developing annual training and wellness calendars, and coordinating professional development workshops, certificate programs, and wellness events.

Congratulations, Summer Grads!
During the recent Summer commencement ceremony, the College of Social Work and Criminal Justice conferred: 1 Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice degree, 18 Master of Social Work degrees, 61 Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice degrees, 4 Bachelor of General Studies degrees and 61 Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degrees. Hats off to the newest members of our alumni family and the faculty and staff who helped shepherd them to this exciting milestone!
Page through the Commencement Program

Various units at Florida Atlantic University worked together to help support Florida State Representative Patricia Williams' Back-to-School Community Event in Broward County this month. The event, which took place in Lauderdale Lakes, provided families with resources and supplies for a healthy and successful back to school transition after summer break. The College of Social Work and Criminal Justice collection efforts, led by Atensia Earp-Bowen, LCSW, instructor, combined with collections at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, College of Education, and the FAU Alumni and Community Engagement team coordinated school supply drop-off locations on the Boca Raton and Davie campuses, and then arranged to drop off those supplies at the Representative's district office. FAU student volunteers also participated in the event on the day of and interacted with parents and students, providing information, resources, and guidance throughout the event. 

The Sandler School of Social Work is pleased to announce that the DSW program will be relaunching in Fall 2024. Our DSW program is part-time and designed with a focus on clinical scholarship. The application portal will become available on January 1st. If you have questions or would like to be on the email-list to receive more detailed information about the program, please email Dani Groton, Ph.D., DSW Coordinator, associate professor, at

Student and Faculty Conference Presentations

Laurie Patlin Suttenberg, DSW, LCSW-QS, DCSW, instructor
, presented a workshop titled CBT and Suicide Prevention, in partnership with United Way of Broward County, on September 1, 2023, via Zoom. The course provided a CBT-informed approach to treating clients who are struggling with suicidal ideation, and was attended by Broward County Schools social workers, as well as ChildNet employees. Dr. Suttenberg focused on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy case conceptualization, with an emphasis on learning to use the cognitive therapy model to identify risk and protective factors as well as signs and symptoms for suicidality.

Showcasing her clinical and research expertise in substance use disorders, Heather Howard, Ph.D., LICSW, associate professor, presented at the 2023 Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Use Program (COSSUP) National Forum in Washington, DC. Her presentation, alongside community partners from Rebel Recovery and the PBC Community Services Department, centered around achieving long-term recovery and recidivism reduction through building social and capital recovery. “If we focus on overall health and mental wellness, we can address the opioid epidemic,” Dr. Howard said.

Allan Barsky, Ph.D., MSW, professor, will be presenting on the ethics of artificial intelligence at the National Association of Social Work Deans and Directors (NADD), and will be facilitating a discussion on the impact of Anti-DEI laws on social work education at the Council on Social Work Education conference, both of which will be held in Atlanta in October.

Additionally, Dr. Barsky, along with two other social workers, did the following podcast on AI:

Luna, J., Barsky, A., & Griffin, G. (2023). Conversations on social work careers: AI and social work. The New Social Worker (podcast).

Student and Faculty Achievements and Honors

Juyoung Park, Ph.D., MSW, professor
, and Ilknur Telkes, Ph.D., assistant professor in the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute, were awarded a $30,000 grant by the Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems Engineering (I-SENSE) to fund their study, “Feasibility of Objective Pain Assessment Using Multimodal Sensing Signals in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease”. The study will explore the feasibility and acceptability of using a wearable electroencephalograph (EEG) and a high-resolution eye tracker system to identify neural signature of chronic pain in older adults with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

A winning combination of Social Work and Criminal Justice Faculty, as well as a Social Work alum and community partner have been awarded the coveted 2023-24 Photovoice Research Award FL Institute for Child Welfare. The research team is led by Morgan Cooley, Ph.D., LCSW, associate professor, and includes Heather Thompson, Ph.D, LCSW, director and associate professor; Marianna Colvin, Ph.D., associate professor and associate dean of research & academic effectiveness; Gabriel Cesar, Ph.D.; Heather Howard, Ph.D., LICSW, associate professor; Corey Best, community curator with Mining for Gold and project consultant; and Robin Jimenez-Bean, MSW, SSW alumna and project consultant. The project, “Parent, Child, and Family Rights within the Florida Child Welfare System” will aim to help the general public, others impacted by child welfare investigation or services, and child welfare and legal professionals better understand the rights of families. The project will also seek to support self-advocacy of participants, which will include parents, adults with child welfare experience as youth, and kin caregivers who have experience with the child welfare system in Florida.

Alumni News Updates


Alumni Virtual Professional Network Meeting
November 14, 2023: 7-8:30 PM

Online Link to follow.

Please email questions to: Kyle Matera or Laurie Suttenberg

The Alumni Committee of the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work is also looking for alumni volunteers to serve in our alumni committee. Volunteers will participate in planning in-person and online alumni events.

Please email your interest to: Kyle Matera or Laurie Suttenberg

The FAU SSW Alumni Society is planning future in-person and virtual mixer events.
Click here to fill out and submit the form to receive emails about these alumni gatherings. Please share this link with FAU SSW alumni friends. We hope to see you at a future event!



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Bachelor of Social Work

  • Florida’s largest BSW program with an average of 600 students
  • Florida’s Top 3 BSW program based on monthly alumni earnings within a year of graduation 

Master of Social Work

  • U.S. News & World Report Top 100 program
  • #3 MSW in the nation based on student evaluations
  • One of FAU’s largest graduate programs with an average of 300 students

Doctor of Social Work

  • Florida’s first DSW program, which trains scholarly clinicians for leadership positions


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