National Social Workers’ group president to speak at UND Homecoming event


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines


The University of North Dakota Department of Social Work will hold two special events during Homecoming Week, including a visit from a nationally recognized speaker in the field of social work.

Dr. Elizabeth "Betsy" Clark, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Social Workers, will provide the keynote address at the UND Social Work Department's annual homecoming training event for faculty, students, field instructors, social work professionals and alumni Oct. 12 at Banquets at the Boardwalk in East Grand Forks, 415 Second St. N.W.

Clark is slated to address the topic of "Social Work in a Time of Change" and focus on opportunities and challenges in North Dakota and how social workers can use their unique skills to strengthen communities across the state. She will discuss concepts of community and individual resilience, disaster preparedness and response and social work leadership skills. Her address is scheduled between 9:30 a.m. and noon. The training event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"It is not an exaggeration to state that Dr. Clark is the voice of our profession," says Thomasine Heitkamp, UND professor of social work.

Clark also will discuss the importance of social work safety, including public awareness, modern safety measures, and legislative and policy efforts to ensure that social workers can serve clients in the safest and most competent way possible.

This will be Clark's first visit to Grand Forks.

The UND Department of Social Work has been much in the news recently – both locally and nationally. The department just started a partnership with Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, N.D., on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, to provide classes at Sitting Bull College for students who want to pursue a bachelor of science in social work (BSSW) degree from UND. Also, during the last academic year, the department's master's distance program was listed number six in the nation in "The Best Schools" rankings, and U.S. News and World Report put the overall master's program at 79th in the nation -- the top third of all social work programs.