Current Students

Sheryl KubiakLast updated: 03.25.20

Dean Social Work Warrior Students,

With the rapid changes to the way we communicate, work, live and support one another during the COVID-19 outbreak, we at The Wayne State School of Social Work are committed to supporting our Detroit community with resources and opportunities to connect with one another.

Our executive team in the School of Social Work – along with our university partners – are interested in the health and safety of each and every member of our community. As you may know, in compliance with state and CDC recommendations, Wayne State has transitioned to online classes for the remainder of the semester and our employees have transitioned to a virtual work environment off-campus. I am truly proud of the teamwork and commitment of our faculty and staff! They have worked tirelessly to ensure that our work continues! We remain deeply committed to our students, faculty, staff and community, and have implemented the following areas of focus:

  • FACULTY and FIELD: The week of March 16th we worked closely with faculty and staff to provide them with the support and resources needed to deliver class content in an online context and to work remotely. We established virtual drop-in hours with technology and curricula experts to ensure we are properly prepped when all online classes went live. We also worked (and will continue to) with our field placement agencies, instructors and students as it related to student placements.
  • STUDENT ONLINE INSTRUCTIONDuring the week of March 23 (and thereafter) we will focus intensively on assisting students as they begin their online courses to ensure they have the necessary support needed to successfully complete the semester. We understand this is a stressful time for students on many levels as their field placements, courses, campus supports, jobs and personal lives are affected by COVID-19. With Governor Whitmer's recent 'stay at home' order, we are utilizing local and national partners to engage students in non-contact/alternative tasks to complete their field hours.
  • COMMUNITY NEEDS:  As we stabilize our online and virtual operations, we will begin the week of March 30th to mobilize our faculty, staff, students and alumni toward the collective needs of our community. We will work closely with the University and local organizations to support all of our community members. We have sent a brief survey to our field agencies to determine their current operational status and needs and will conduct a 'Community Partner's Breakfast' to dialogue with agency administrators.

Wishing continued good health to you and yours,

Sheryl Kubiak, Dean

Field placements


CSWE made a decision to reduce the number of hours that social work students will be required to work in field placement this semester. In an announcement early today, they amended standards to decrease the number of hours by 15%.

This will be immensely helpful to many of you who have been struggling to meet the required hours when your field placements have closed or operations have shifted to virtual contact only.  This 15% reduction means:

  • MSW students needing 225 hours this semester, will now only need to have 191;
  • BSW students needing to meet 230 hours will now need 196 hours.   
  • MSW advanced year students who are registered for 6 credits for their field will need to complete their 191 hours PLUS 113 hours more to meet the additional 2 credits they elected to take as those hours meet elective credits.

Depending on how many hours you have currently, you may be close to or at that amount. If you do not have those hours, there are several opportunities that we have been providing that are alternatives to face-to-face meetings. 

It is important to note that the above assumes students are in good standing, have been attending field and progressing toward competency - including completion of Learning Plan outcomes, all Process Recordings/PRACSIS, Midterm and final evaluations. 

As always, any changes in your field attendance should be discussed with your field instructors and Faculty Field Liaisons.  


Governor Whitmer issued a 'stay-at-home' order for nonessential businesses and their employees. Although it is clear in the details of that order that caregivers – including physicians, dentists, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, therapists and others – are considered 'essential'  there are some clarifications needed to illuminate the role of students.  The spirit of this order is intended to slow the spread of the COVID 19 virus and support the burgeoning health care system by staying healthy. Because students were not intended to take on a primary role in providing these essential caregiving services, we are recommending that students who are still attending field placement in person suspend face-to-face work and instead engage in non-contact/alternative tasks in consultation with their Field Instructors. After speaking with many community provider agencies, we understand that most are transitioning to virtual contacts (phone, skype, teams and/or zoom). These virtual contacts are considered acceptable activities for field placement hours.

However, as has been our policy, this is a decision that needs to be made by the student in concert with their field instructor. The School of Social Work has already provided information regarding alternative activities to guide field instructors and students. We also are continuing our conversations and advocacy for broader solutions addressing the required hours mandated by our accrediting body (CSWE) with deans and directors across the country.

Our ultimate goal is to support the success of our students. As always, that success is dependent upon the health of our community, the human services agencies within Southeast MI, and the hundreds of field instructors who give tirelessly to our students. We know that the individuals, families and communities we serve will continue to need support. Providing this support – and simultaneously protecting the health and well-being of our social workforce – is a new challenge we are all facing. Facing this collaboratively, I have no doubt that we will all learn a great deal and be successful in moving through this!

WSU School of Social Work Field Plan for Interruption of Field Placement due to National or Local Events

Additional Resources for Remote Activities:

  • NEW: Social Work students can take FREE online WSU Social Work Continuing Education Courses. Students should check with their Field Instructors to see which courses they should complete and complete the steps outlined below. For IT questions regarding the CE process below, contact Katie Alfonsi at 
    1. Visit the WSU Social Work CE website 
    2. View the materials for each course you want to complete
    3. Complete and pass the course post-test and any associated assignments from your Field Instructor
    4. Visit the CE Store and insert the discount code WSUSSW for $0 cost for your course
    5. The CE Office will email you a CE certificate for your completed course(s) within 5-7 business days
  • Field Education Strategies for Remote Competency Development
  • Sample Activity
  • Online Trainings for Students (Free or Minimal Charge)

Student services

School faculty and staff are working closely with the University, Detroit and other surrounding communities to provide information and to connect individuals to resources at this difficult time. Some things to keep in mind:

  • WSU Coronavirus student information page for the status of student resources across campus
  • Social Work Academic Advisors and Writing Coaches are available for virtual appointments. Please schedule an appointment by visiting our website for their email or WAMS calendar.
  • Student Disability Services will be available for students who may need a new or adjusted accommodation based on the shift to online classes.  Please call 313-577-1851 to schedule an appointment Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Visit the WSU C&IT Cornovirus Student Technology page for information on technology resources and Learn Anywhere resources. Wayne State is exploring ways to support students who do not have access to a computer off-campus or who may have limited connectivity - libraries on campus are working to find resources.
  • The W Pantry will remain open but on limited hours (Wednesday's 11 am - 4 pm)
    • The Pantry has waived the "twice a month" rule for receiving food
    • They are asking students to wait outside the pantry when they arrive and a staff/student worker will come out and give them a pre-packaged bag of food
    • Students will have to provide their Access ID to receive the food 

Building update

Although the School of Social Work's building is closed, we are working hard to ensure the safety of all faculty, staff and students and therefore many employees are working off-site. We are still here and available via email ( or phone (313-577-4409) for questions and resources. Please don't hesitate to reach out. List of WSU campus building statuses


This is an unprecedented time in everyone's lives and it is easy to put self-care on the back burner. We encourage you to take a moment and peruse some of the resources below. As Social Work Associate Professor Suzanne Brown and Part-time Faculty member and yoga instructor, Caitlin Brown noted in their recent blog Managing anxiety during the COVID 19 outbreak, "In the end, while we may have little control over our circumstances, we do have control over our responses. Compassion, presence in the moment, altruism, and action align with our social work values, and offer powerful responses to our present circumstances."

Ways to help

It is important to all of us as social workers that we contribute to the well-being of the community. As the magnitude of COVID-19 became evident, we began reaching out to our community partners to gather information on their needs and ways we can help fellow Detroiters. Our Center for Social Work Research has been working to collect this data and has created a Social Work Warriors In Action list. If your organization is in need of a resource and you would like to be added to the list, please contact our Associate Dean for Research, Joanne Sobeck at

Wayne State is working on COVID-19 mobile testing sites and Social Work students and faculty will have the opportunity to assist in the phone case management portion of the project to help individuals who test positive for COVID-19 manage barriers that arise when isolating themselves and family members. More details to come.

Stay connected

We encourage you to regularly check this page for updates on resource and volunteer opportunities. Wayne State has established a comprehensive COVID-19 resource page and NASW and NASW-MI have materials online specifically related to social work and COVID-19. We will continue to share information on our FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn pages – please follow, like and share. 

Students, be sure to check out this page regularly for the latest in Social Work news, student announcements and events.