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Organizations & Opportunities, PhD in Social Work

Student Testimonial

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Julie Guistwite, PhD Student

"The opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with expert faculty, a course specific to social work teaching, and the part-time structure drew me to Widener. It provides a student-centered and rigorously inspiring learning environment that both challenges and prepares you for scholarly positions in clinical and academic settings. The supportive faculty exhibits a genuine concern for the holistic development of each student."

Widener social work PhD students have access to multiple opportunities for networking, study, and research outside of the classroom. Through these outlets, students can build their professional networks; acquire additional professional skills; develop grant applications or research projects; and provide support, guidance, and accompaniment to one another.

Brown Bag Lunches

Brown Bag Lunch sessions take place on Fridays between the morning and afternoon doctoral class sessions. Each session features either a discussion topic or presentation and is open to all past and present students. Past session topics have included Demystifying the Publication Process, Grant Writing, and Developing a Research Agenda.

In addition, each fall semester begins with two networking lunch opportunities for students, one held the Saturday before classes begin (which includes all entering BSW, MSW, and PhD students), and another held the first Friday of doctoral classes. The PhD welcome luncheon is an opportunity for past, present, and incoming students to meet one another as well as the full Widener faculty.

Just Write Group

The Just Write Group provides Widener social work PhD students and faculty the opportunity to “just write” in a structured, supportive environment. Each session begins with 10 minutes for group conversation and goal setting, followed by four 20-minute blocks of active writing time, each divided by a 5-minute break. Beginning in the fall of 2015, the group will meet on Friday mornings from 9 to 11:15 a.m. and on Friday afternoons from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m. The group is open, and individuals can attend as often as they wish.

Doctoral Student Association

Founded in the fall of 2015, Widener University’s Doctoral Student Association (DSA) is open to all current social work PhD students. The DSA is student-led, with the goals, agenda, and activities decided upon by students.

Research Symposium and Research Day

  • Held each fall, the Social Work Doctoral Student Research Symposium includes featured presentations by four PhD students. Students interested in presenting submit proposals, which undergo peer review and selection. The event is part of the Center for Social Work Education’s Continuing Education Credit (CEU) event series and is open to Widener students and faculty, Widener alumni, and community members. 
  • Held each spring, Graduate Student Research Day includes both oral presentations and poster presentations by graduate students from across the university. Both MSW and PhD social work students are eligible to participate. Students interested in either oral or poster presentations submit proposals, which undergo peer review and selection. The popular afternoon and evening event is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their presentation skills and receive feedback on research projects.