Category Archives: News & Events

Making a great college better starts with enhancing its faculty, and The Ohio State University College of Social Work took a significant step forward recently when it announced the addition of four noted researchers. That, coupled with the reappointment of Tom Gregoire as dean for a 5-year term, builds on a vision of growth and stability as the College of Social Work pursues its long-range strategic plan.

The new faculty members bring years of research and practice to the college and an immeasurable commitment to their profession and the university.

Professor Natasha Bowen, PhD, formerly of the University of North Carolina at Chapel College of Social Work 304 Hill, conducts research to help teachers and school administrators understand the social environmental factors that affect students’ learning and behavior. She developed the Elementary School Success Profile (ESSP), a state-of-the-art assessment tool for students in grades three through five, and works with schools and districts to use ESSP data to determine how best to help their students succeed. Some of Bowen’s time will be spent contributing to the Research Methodology Center in Education and Human Ecology.

Visiting professor Bridget Freisthler, PhD, a UCLA faculty member for more than a College of Social Work 306 decade, uses community mapping to study how the availability of alcohol and illicit drugs affect neighborhood rates of child maltreatment. She is an expert in incorporating cutting edge spatial analysis methods through Geographic Information Systems, spatial statistics, and spatial econometrics. Freisthler will join the college in fall 2016.

Professor Shannon Jarrott, PhD, formerly of Virginia Tech, studies aging and how youth College of Social Work 307 and older adults can interact to benefit each other. She will lend her expertise to the Champion Intergenerational Center when it opens on the East Side this year. A university-community partnership, the center will serve as a model in the care of children and the elderly.

Assistant professor Njeri Kagotho, PhD, studies the short-term and long-range Kagotho 2015economic impact of chronic illness on vulnerable households. At Ohio State, she looks forward to creating adaptable programs that promote economic security for HIV impacted families in East Africa. She was most recently at Adelphi University.



Nearly 200 people from universities and colleges around the country attended the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery’s (HECAOD) 2015 National Meeting at The Ohio State University’s Blackwell Inn & Conference Center in August. The conference focused on collegiate alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery. It provided the training and tools necessary to strengthen alcohol and drug prevention, intervention, and recovery during the higher education experience and beyond.


Following the National Meeting, a “Rappel to End the Stigma of Addiction” event was held at Columbus at Capital Square. Here, the HECAOD joined forces with the Shatterproof Challenge Rappelling Series to host a fundraiser to help end the stigma of addiction and increase funding for the prevention, treatment and recovery of this disease. In the United States alone, alcohol and other drugs claim more than 135,000 lives every year — that’s 370 people every day and 15 lives every hour. For every dollar raised over $500, Shatterproof donated 50 percent or at least $250 to the HECAOD ($1000 minimum required to participate).

scashTexting and tweeting–they’re the primary ways teens and young adults communicate. With suicide ranked as the third leading cause of death among 10-24 year olds, Dr. Scottye Cash, of The Ohio State University College of Social Work, is researching ways to use technology to find young people who are struggling. Cash found that this age group often makes their pain known via mobile technology and social media sites, finding it easier to post or text than talk. While they’d rarely call a traditional hotline, they’re much more likely to text a 24-hour-a-day text line–just one idea emerging from her research. Cash is an expert on the role social media plays in adolescent suicide, an issue also recently addressed by Facebook.

For an interview, contact Frankie Jones-Harris, Communications Director, at 614-330-2206 or

CSW_Botticelli_02-1024x557CSW_Botticelli_01-1024x664CSW_Botticelli_17-1024x680On Friday, May 8, the U.S. Drug Czar Michael Botticelli visited the College of Social Work and HECAOD to discuss collegiate drug misuse prevention and recovery. Watch the short video below of Director Botticelli’s historic visit!




On Saturday, May 2, the College of Social Work faculty, staff, students and friends marched as part of the #CBUS2Ferguson Solidarity with Baltimore, also in support of #BlackLivesMatter. More than 300 protesters marched from The Ohio State University campus to the Short North. Click here to see it on Storify.

Preston03rgb (3)Preston V. McMurry Jr. just became The Ohio State University College of Social Work’s first $1 million individual donor in its nearly 100 year history.  McMurry’s continued generosity to the college will provide scholarship support for students who make a commitment to practice with persons who have experienced domestic violence. Additionally, a portion of this gift will support scholarships for the Anne Hayes Memorial Scholarship fund.  Well qualified students who represent Anne’s commitment to service in the community will benefit from these scholarships.

McMurry, of Phoenix, received his BSSW from the college in 1960, and is also founder of the McMurry Scholar Athlete Citizenship Award, which started in 2008 to honor student-athletes with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who performed significant community service.  This is a second significant gift to the College of Social Work. In 2008, McMurry made what was at the time the largest gift in the college’s history.

Recruited as a running back from Pittsburgh, McMurry was a member of the Woody Hayes 1957 Championship Football team. At the encouragement of Woody’s wife, Anne Hayes, McMurry majored in social work and has combined his business, social work, and philanthropic skills throughout his career.

In 1984, he created one of the largest privately owned marketing firms in the nation, McMurry, Inc.– the only company in the U.S. to be selected by the San Francisco-based Great Place to Work Institute, as one of the ten best places to work, eight years in a row. In 1992, McMurry established Theresa’s Fund, a private family foundation that has donated and helped raise $49,000,000 to combat child abuse and family violence in Arizona. Previous awards include the 2002 OSU Alumni Association Citizenship Award and Arizona’s 2001 Philanthropist of the Year.

College_of_Social_Work_207Mary Jane “M.J.” Hutchins has always loved dogs and is a self-described “animal nut.”  Her two wolfhounds, Flynn and Donovan, are her beloved companions. As a 1961 BSSW graduate, M.J. also loves Ohio State and social work. So it is only fitting that the marriage of these three great loves—Ohio State, social work and her animal companions—would result in financial support for a program designed to recognize and honor the human-animal bond.  #BuckeyeLove

Honoring the Bond is a program and fund that supports grief counseling and pet loss services for Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center clients and animal owners at no cost. In 2003, M.J. endowed a stipend in the College of Social Work to provide a paid field experience to a graduate‐level social work student intern in the center‘s Human‐Animal Bond‐Centered Education and Practice Program. She has also provided the program with in‐kind gifts, including furniture and a stereo system, for the center’s “comfort rooms”—where family members can go with their pets or veterinary staff to discuss difficult decisions or to have private time. Not only is this program unique, it is also especially meaningful because paid internships in the College of Social Work are rare.

“People love their pets and people who have difficult decisions to make regarding their pets’ lives or health often need some help in making them. That’s where the College of Social Work comes in–we sponsor a social work student at Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center,” said M.J. “Having a social worker there not only impacts the clients and owners, it impacts the entire staff–the doctors, technicians, and everyone involved. Social work has given me a chance to express what I feel strongly about and to support something I stand behind.”

Combining social work skills and a love of animals with Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center is a true testament of #BuckeyeLove for M. J. Hutchins!


If you are interested in learning more about or giving to this fund, click here.


A record breaking number of College of Social Work faculty and doctoral students will be presenting at this year’s Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) 19th Annual Conference, held January 14-18, in New Orleans, LA. The presentations will range from topics such as “Exploring the Promotion of Social and Economic Justice through Community Gardens: A Systematic Review of the Physical, Mental and Social Benefits” (Michelle Hand & Michelle Kaiser) to “Exploring Wellbeing to Support Success of LGBTQ and Questioning Students in Higher Education” (Tamara S. Davis & Susan Saltzburg).

To see the full list of presenters, click here.




ClappAs the director of Ohio State’s new Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery, Dr. John Clapp recently served as a reference for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s article “Why Colleges Haven’t Stopped Binge Drinking: Decades of Attention without Much Difference.”

The center will serve as the premier alcohol and drug abuse prevention and recovery resource for colleges and universities across the nation. It is funded through a $2 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. HECAOD is a collaboration among Ohio State’s College of Social Work, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Life, Generation Rx Initiative and Collegiate Recovery Community. Clapp also serves as the associate dean for research at Ohio State’s College of Social Work.