Elizabeth M. Z. Farmer, who is a professor and associate dean for research at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work, has been named dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson announced today. Read more.

Adjunct professor and doctoral alumnus Rick Morycz has been awarded Fellow Status in the Gerontological Society of America, the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging.

Congratulations! Assistant Professor Darren Whitfield has accepted the appointment as the new Direct Practice Chair.

Dean Larry Davis will be a panelist on “The State of Black Pittsburgh 2018: A Community Forum” which will air June 7 at 8 p.m. on WQED-TV. Read more in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Doctoral alumna Lisa Schelbe won the Professor of the Year Award at Florida State University. Dr. Schelbe was nominated by three students who praised her emphasis on ethics and integrity, her dedication to classroom engagement and community evolvement, and for her commitment to child welfare through the CSW Arts & Athletics Camp. One nominator wrote that she stands out because of her, “enthusiasm to educate and connect with not only her students but any individual who is part of or impacted by the field of social work.”

2017 Pitt Social Work Centennial Kickoff and Awards Program

Distinguished Alumni – Social Work Education

Melinda Hohman (MSW ’82, BASW ‘77)

Director, San Diego State University School of Social Work

Melinda Hohman is currently the Director and Professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) School of Social work. She has her BASW and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh and her PhD from Arizona State University. Prior to joining the faculty at SDSU in 1995, she worked as a juvenile probation officer for Allegheny County and as a substance use therapist. She has taught courses on substance use disorders, cultural competency, and social work practice, including Motivational Interviewing (MI). Dr. Hohman has been an MI trainer since the late 1990s, becoming a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 1999. Since then she has trained thousands of social workers, probation officers, and substance abuse counselors among others in MI, both across California and nationally. Dr. Hohman has served as a MINT Trainer of Trainers. She is also the author of the book Motivational Interviewing in Social Work Practice. Dr. Hohman has published over 40 articles and her areas of research include addiction assessment and treatment, DUI, trauma, and the training of MI. She currently is a member of the San Diego County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.


Distinguished Alumni – Social Work Practice

Tonya Slawinski (PhD ’03, MSW ’86)

Owner, Turn Key Consulting (current)

Founder and former Owner and President, Supportive Solutions, Inc.

Following a traditional social work path that included more than twelve years at Western Psych, Dr. Slawinski founded her own company, Supportive Solutions, Inc., which offered social work responses for businesses whose employees and their families were experiencing crisis in their lives.  Under Tonya’s leadership, the company grew to become the largest female-owned private crisis response enterprise in the United States.  Dr. Slawinski continues her work today to include both hospice social work and private consulting services.  She is also a longtime adjunct professor and field instructor for Pitt Social Work.


Outstanding Alumni Award

John Silipigni (MSW ’81)

Director, Health Management Department, Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC

John Silipigni is responsible for all aspects of the Health Management Department that provides comprehensive case management services to OB/GYN, Neonatal ICU, Medical/Surgical, Oncology and Orthopaedic populations.  John is a champion for social workers throughout the UPMC network, helping to develop a career ladder to prepare social workers for leadership roles.  He is a longtime field instructor and adjunct professor for Pitt Social Work.


Outstanding Field Instructor, Direct Practice