Mission & History
The College of Social Work, through excellence in teaching, research, and service, prepares leaders who enhance individual and community well-being, celebrate difference, and promote social and economic justice for vulnerable populations. The College fosters social change through collaboration with individuals, families, communities, and other change agents to build strengths and resolve complex individual and social problems. As an internationally recognized College, we build and apply knowledge that positively impacts Ohio, the nation, and the world.
Social Work has a long and rich tradition at The Ohio State University, starting with our very first social work course offered in 1875. We conveyed our first Bachelor of Social Service in 1916, our first Masters degree in 1923, and our first doctorate in 1934. First accredited in 1919, the College of Social Work is the oldest continuously accredited public social work program in the country. We received our latest re-accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education in 2010.
Following the 1927 establishment of the School of Social Administration, our name changed to the School of Social Work in 1960. Eight years later we joined the College of Administrative Science, and in 1976, we were granted independent College status. Today we are located in Stillman Hall, a building constructed as a Works Progress Administration project and dedicated in 1937 as the School of Social Administration. In that same year, Harry L. Hopkins, then Administrator of the Federal Works Progress Administration under President Roosevelt, made the presentation of the building to Ohio State Trustees.
Stillman Hall also remains home to a WPA Federal Arts Project in which 10 life-sized murals depict scenes from the history and development of social welfare. Ohio-native artist Emerson C. Burkhart completed the murals in 1939.
Read more about the history of the College of Social Work in “Facing the Challenge: A Short History of The Ohio State University’s College of Social Work.”