History of the School

History of School of the School of Social Work

1917  The Detroit Junior College, offering a two-year program in general education, was established in 'Old Main' and later developed into the College of Liberal Arts.

1933  The Colleges of Liberal Arts, Education, Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy and the Graduate School were united by action of the Detroit Board of Education into a university organization, temporarily called the Colleges of the City of Detroit.

1934 The name Wayne University was adopted, taken from Wayne County and, ultimately, from General Anthony Wayne.

1935 The School of Public Affairs and Social Work was organized.

1936-1949 Lent D. Upson, Ph.D. and Florence W. Booth, M.Sc. led and shaped the School of Social Work during its early formative years.

1949-1950 The School of Social Work became a separate entity when the public affairs program joined the College of Liberal Arts.

1950 - 1963 Charles B, Brink served as dean.  During his tenure, the school experienced a steady growth in students, division of administrative power, and committees established.

1956 Wayne State University becomes a state university.

1964- 1981 Sidney Dillick, Ph.D., M.S.W. served as dean.  The faculty grew to 57 members during his leadership with the acquisition of federal grants. 

1972 The B.S.W. program was approved by the Council of Social Work Education.

1974 The B.S.W. program was first accredited.

1981-1999 Leon W. Chestang, Ph.D., M.S.W. served as dean.  The school began to greatly increase its emphasis on research. 

1991 The School of Social Work moved from the Cohn building to the newly renovated historical Thompson Home. 

2002-2011 Phyllis Ivory Vroom, Ph.D. became dean.  Her era is characterized as one of research and scholarship. 

2006 In September, the first students were admitted into the School of Social Work Ph.D. program.

2008 The Center for Social Work Practice and Policy Research was established.

2010 The School of Social Work celebrated its 75th Anniversary.

2012 The Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Studies (CADAS) was approved to be administered and housed in the School of Social Work.

2012 In June, Cheryl E. Waites, Ed.D., M.S.W., A.C.S.W., became the 7th Dean of the School of Social Work.

2012 The Thompson Home Parlor was named in honor of Phyllis Ivory Vroom, dean ermeriti, following her retirement as dean.

2012 The Nation's First Dual-Title Program in Social Work and Infant Mental Health was established.

2012 The BSW WOW! (Where Online Works!) Program is launched allowing undergraduate students to complete their degree online.

2013 The School of Social Work was selected to participate in the Integrated Behavioral Healthcare Social Work Field Placement Project focusing on offering integrated care course content, creating an integrated care field placement for social work students and participating in field placement learning network activities.

2013 The dual-title program in Social Work and Gerontology was approved for offering to all students enrolled in the MSW or PhD program in Social Work at Wayne State University.

2015 The interdisciplinary PhD in Social Work and Anthropology (SWAN) was launched.

2016 The School of Social Work moved from Thompson Home to 5447 Woodward Avenue

2017 In June, Jerrold Brandell became the Interium Dean of the School of Social Work.

2018 In June, Sheryl Kubiak became the 8th Dean of the School of Social Work.

2020 Minors in Social Work and Social Justice, and Law and Social Work were launched. 

For an in-depth history of the School, the profession and Detroit check-out our Looking Back, Looking Forward publication.