UW-Green Bay and UWOshkosh have established a Collaborative MSW Program that prepares social workers for advanced practice as facilitators, partners and leaders in planned change activities with service users and community service providers. The program’s goal is to educate professionals ready to assume direct practice and administrative leadership roles within this region’s increasingly diverse and transforming rural and metropolitan environments.

The program aims to prepare practitioners who can work to strengthen families through services and policies supportive of family and community well being; engage in interdisciplinary learning and coordinated inter-professional practice; provide leadership in the community and encourage and guide the inclusion and representation of Native Americans and members of diverse cultures in the region.

Program graduates provide leadership in the social work field:

  • through their expertise in the use of skills associated with “best practice” models, particularly those that are family-focused and that serve diverse clientele;
  • by taking action to improve services, particularly in the public and tribal practice sectors and in rural social work practice;
  • by regularly utilizing research to critically analyze, improve and develop services within their areas of expertise;
  • by developing and refining services through collaborative efforts with diverse clientele;
  • by developing ongoing and innovative strategies for support of professional peers.

The program offers a full-time curriculum which can be completed in two calendar years for students entering at the foundation level or one year for students entering at the advanced level. A part-time program is also available, which can be completed in nine semesters for students entering at the foundation level or five semesters for students entering at the advanced level. To meet the needs of working students, most courses in the program are offered evenings or Saturdays. Students also integrate and apply their classroom learning in a sixteen-hour per week field experience.

Areas of Emphasis

In addition to requiring a common foundation of courses, the Collaborative MSW Program offers students a choice of two concentrations.

The Advanced Direct Practice concentration prepares students for leadership in the field through their work with and on behalf of individuals, groups and families. Work with vulnerable families who face multiple life challenges is emphasized.

Students may also concentrate their studies in social work Administration and Management. This concentration admits students who are interested in providing leadership in their management roles, particularly in public and tribal settings

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the Collaborative MSW Program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75, with 3.0 in the last two years of study;
  2. Have an academic background in the liberal arts and have completed a minimum of 18 credits in the social sciences from among courses in at least three of the following disciplines: psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science (BSW students meet this criterion);
  3. Through a written statement, three references (including one academic reference), and a relevant professional work/volunteer background, provide evidence of interest in and ability to work with social work clientele and in social work settings; documentation of breadth and depth of professional and/or volunteer experience (usually includes post-baccalaureate experience) that has prepared the applicant for advanced level practice;
  4. Have completed course work in: biological life sciences, statistics, research methods, and life span development or submit plans for completing this work prior to taking the Advanced Curriculum in the program; students who need to complete more than two support courses will not be admitted;
  5. For advanced standing, have graduated from an accredited baccalaureate social work program within the last eight years.

Detailed admissions information will be posted on the Collaborative MSW Program website in the fall of 2013.

Steps Toward the Degree

  1. Prospective student submits an admission application and is recommended for admission.
  2. Applicant is admitted to the Master of Social Work graduate program.
  3. The student submits an Official Declaration of Master’s Degree (GR-1 Form) to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the semester in which the first six graduate credits are completed. This confirms the student’s enrollment in the program.
  4. As part of advanced standing coursework, the student registers for SOC WORK 731 Advanced Research Applications in Social Work Practice (fall) and develops a professional project proposal. Proposal is reviewed and approved by the course instructor.
  5. After successful completion of SOC WORK 731, the student registers for SOC WORK 734 Field Research Consultation (spring) and completes IRB materials and the Approval of Thesis or Project Proposal (GR-2 Form) is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies by the course instructor.
  6. The student files an Application for Graduation with the Registrar’s Office through the Student Information System (SIS). The application must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar prior to November 1 for fall semester graduates, and April 1 for spring and summer semester graduates.
  7. Student registers for SOC WORK 732; Field Research Project (summer) and continue work on their project. Upon successful completion, the course instructor submits a grade. The instructor also files the Approval of Thesis Defense or Project Presentation (GR-4 Form) with the Office of Graduate Studies.
  8. Degree is awarded and graduate receives diploma.

Degree Requirements

For program applicants who do not have a BSW degree completed within the last eight years, 60 credits are required for graduation. This includes a 28-credit two-semester foundation curriculum (fall and spring), and a 32-credit three-semester advanced curriculum (fall, spring, and summer). Applicants who have completed a BSW degree within the last eight years receive advanced standing and recognition for having completed all foundation requirements.

Students in the program are required to maintain a grade of B or better in all required social work courses.

Part-Time Option

Students entering the Foundation Program complete the part-time option in four years. Students entering the Advanced Standing curriculum complete the part-time option in two years.

Foundation Curriculum Requirements, 28 credits

Foundation Courses:

A 28-credit set of foundation courses is required for all non-BSW students and for BSW students who received their degree more than eight years before entering the program. Eight credits of the foundation curriculum involve a field practicum in which students practice as social workers in a supervised field setting, carrying out a variety of generalist practice responsibilities.

SOC WORK 701 Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 702 Generalist Practice I, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 703 Skills Lab with Individuals, Families and Small Groups, 1 cr.

SOC WORK 704 Generalist Social Work Practice II, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 705 Skills Lab with Large Groups and Communities, 1 cr.

SOC WORK 706 Social Welfare Institutions, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 707 Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 708 Social Welfare Policy: Contemporary Approaches, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 709 Field I: Foundation Social Work Field Practicum, 4 cr.

SOC WORK 710 Field II: Foundation Social Work Field Practicum, 4 cr.

Advanced Curriculum Requirements, 32 credits

All students are required to take 12 credits of required advanced course work. In addition, Advanced Direct Practice students are required to take 6 credits of required course work and 6 credits of additional electives. Administration/Management students are required to take 9 credits of required course work and 3 credits of additional electives. Eight credits of the advanced curriculum are associated with a field practicum in which students practice as social workers in a supervised field setting, with either advanced direct practice or with administrative responsibilities.

Advanced Requirements: Required For All Students, 20 credits

SOC WORK 720 Practice Competence in a Diverse Community, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 728 Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 729 Field III: Advanced Social Work Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar, 4 cr.

SOC WORK 731 Advanced Research Applications in Social Work Practice, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 732 Field Research Project, 1 cr.

SOC WORK 733 Field IV: Advanced Social Work Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar, 4 cr.

SOC WORK 734 Field Research Consultation, 2 cr.

Advanced Requirements: Direct Practice Concentration, 12 credits

SOC WORK 721 Multi-Level Family Intervention, 3 cr.

Advanced HBSE Selection, 3 credits:

PSYCH 530 (UWOSH) Adult Development and Aging, 3 cr.

PSYCH 690 (UWOSH) Special Topics (see MSW Coordinator), 3 cr.

HUM DEV 544 (UWGB) Dying, Death, and Loss, 3 cr.

WOM STUDIES 550 (UWOSH) Women, Race and Class, 3 cr.

EDUC 552 (UWGB) Social and Family Influences on Early Development and Learning, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 727 Psychopathology and Strength-Based Assessment, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 795 Special Topics (see MSW Coordinator)

Electives, 6 credits

Advanced Requirements: Administration/Management Concentration, 12 credits

SOC WORK 722 Social Work Management and Supervision in the Social Services, 3 cr.

Budgeting Course, 3 credits:

MPA 752 (UWOSH) Public Budgeting & Finance, 3 cr.


PU EN AF 615 (UWGB) Public and Nonprofit Budgeting, 3 cr.

Advanced HBSE Selection, 3 credits:

BUS ADM 589 (UWGB) Organizational Behavior, 3 cr.


MPA 723 (UWOSH) Organization Theory and Practice, 3 cr.

Elective, 3 credits

Advanced Requirements: Electives

In addition to advanced HBSE options, students select electives from the following approved list:

SOC WORK 701 (For BSW Students Only) Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 722 Social Work Management and Supervision in the Social Services (for Advanced Direct Practice Students only)

SOC WORK 735 Emerging Issues in Child Welfare, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 737 Social Work and Crisis Intervention with Vulnerable Populations, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 747 Mental Health Theories, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 757 (SOC WORK 575 at UW-Oshkosh) Treatment and Mistreatment of Offenders, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 795 Special Topics, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 798 Independent Study, 3 cr.

MPA 711 (UWOSH) Introduction to Public Administration, 3 cr.

MPA 752 (UWOSH) Public Budgeting and Finance, 3 cr.

MANAGMNT 750 (UWGB) Team Leadership, 3 cr.

MANAGMNT 757 (UWGB) Leadership and Innovation, 3 cr.

MANAGMNT 776 (UWGB) Organizational Communication and Conflict, 3 cr.

MPA 711 (UWOSH) Introduction to Public Administration, 3 cr.

MPA 752 (UWOSH) Public Budgeting and Finance, 3 cr.

MPA 760 (UWOSH) Administrative Law, 3 cr.

MPA 729 (UWOSH) Health Care Organization and Management, 3 cr.

MPA 797-071 (UWOSH) Nonprofit Management, 3 cr.

MPA 797-071 (UWOSH) Labor Management Relations in the Public Sector, 3 cr.

PU EN AF 615 (UWGB) Public & Nonprofit Budgeting, 3 cr.

SOC WORK 571 (UWOSH) Child and Family Welfare

Advanced Requirement: Professional Project

Students develop their project proposal in the Advanced Research Applications course (SOC WORK 731), and finalize their project proposals in the Field Research Consultation course (SOC WORK 734). Students in the program meet professional project requirements by completing a research project during their final semester in the program in the Field Research Project course (SOC WORK 732).


Akakpo, Tohoro Francis, UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. BA. (1986) University of Benin, Togo, West Africa; MPA. (1994) University of Michigan-Flint; MSW. (2002) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; PhD. (2008) Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Fields of interest: include at-risk families and juvenile delinquents; juveniles transitioning from residential facilities into community; child abuse and neglect; international social work, child labor and human trafficking; and the role of non-governmental organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Altepeter, Donna, UW-Oshkosh, Lecturer. BA. Theology (1981); MSW. (1983) St. Louis University; CICSW and ACSW.

Fields of interest: social work in health care and severe mental illness.

Aspenson, Karen J., UW-Oshkosh. B.S. Psychology and Sociology, Troy State University, Dothan, Alabama; M.S.W. (2007) UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh Collaborative MSW Program.

Fields of interest: mental health, direct practice methods, and trauma.

Brown, James, UW-Oshkosh, Assistant Professor. BSW. (1992) Northern Michigan University; MSW. (1993) University of Michigan; PhD. in Social Work and minor in Education (2010). Dr. Brown’s practice experience has been in relation to: substance abuse prevention, foster care casework, and school social work.

Fields of interest: school bullying and anti-bullying policy, juvenile youth access to mental health care, and prenatal assessment and intervention.

Bruno, David, UW-Oshkosh. Dr. David Bruno received a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling from Wayne State University. He also holds a Master of Social Work and a Master of Art in Marriage and Family Therapy from Wayne State University.

Fields of interest: children and family therapy, marital counseling, reactive depression, youth mentoring and application of the strengths perspective.

Giesler, Fredi, UW-Oshkosh, Associate Professor. BA. Social Welfare (1981) Pacific Lutheran University; MSW. (1991); PhD. Social Welfare (2002) University of Washington, Seattle.

Fields of interest: prevention science, child welfare, community-based program evaluation and policy research.

Groessl, Joan, UW-Green Bay, Lecturer and BSW. Field Coordinator. BSW. (1984) UW-Green Bay; M.S.W. (1989) UW-Milwaukee; PhD (2013) Marian University; LCSW.

Fields of interest: mental health (particularly seriously and persistently mentally ill); forensic and homeless populations and administration.

Higgins, Doreen, UW-Green Bay, Associate Professor and Collaborative MSW Program Coordinator. BSW. (1990) UW-Green Bay; MSSW. (1991) UW-Madison; PhD. Social Work (2008) University of Kansas.

Fields of interest: health care policy; minority health and health disparities; the racial wealth gap; community reentry of aging ex-offenders; social work education and aging curricula.

Himmelheber, Sarah A., UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. BS. Political Science and Sociology (2000) New College of Florida; MSW (2004) University of Georgia; PhD. (2012) University of Georgia.

Fields of interest: community food security, mental health, and community-based, participatory research

Jick, Karen, UW-Green Bay, Lecturer. BS. Social Work (1972); MSSW. (1974) UW-Madison. LCSW; ACSW.

Fields of interest: child welfare; behavior health issues for children; marriage and family therapy; field education for social work students; social work ethics; international studies.

Mattila, Matthew, UW-Green Bay, Child Welfare Coordinator. BSW. (1977) Pacific Lutheran University; MSW. (1985) Portland State University.

Fields of interest: direct practice with children and families, family and divorce mediation, child welfare, forensic social work, and adult education.

Sallmann, Jolanda M., UW-Green Bay, Associate Professor and Program Chair. BSW. (1992), MSW. (1996) University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; PhD. (2005) UW-Madison.

Fields of interest: violence against women across the life course, including its broader effects on mental health, substance use, criminal justice involvement, poverty and homelessness.

Trimberger, Gail E., UW-Green Bay, Assistant Professor. BSW. (1981) UW-Eau Claire; MSSW. (1982) UW-Madison; PhD (2013) Marian University; LCSW.

Fields of interest: end-of-life, aging, grief, hospice and palliative care, bioethics.

Williams, Amy F., UW-Oshkosh, Academic Staff, Undergraduate and MSW. Field Coordinator. BA. Psychology (1992) Concordia University; MSW. (1999) University of Minnesota.

Fields of interest: school social work practice, grant procurement, and program evaluation.