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Social work’s rich history at Augsburg

In the early years of the social work major, students from St. Olaf College joined Augsburg students in the 1970s to live in a version of a “Jane Addams house” on campus and concentrate on urban field work.

Similar milestones will be documented in a history of social work timeline, one of the faculty-led projects to celebrate Augsburg’s upcoming 150th anniversary. This visual timeline will examine how social work has impacted Augsburg, the surrounding community, and the profession of social work.

The timeline is researched by Professor Emeriti Anthony Bibus who identified documents, interviewed previous faculty and students, and searched for photos to mark the important milestones.  A student, marketing major Chendamonee Hing, is developing a digital version of the timeline that will become a visual display.  The timeline will be unveiled in the winter of 2020 at an alumni gathering and will be transportable to various events.

The timeline starts in the 1960s when social work begins in the sociology department with the help of Joel Torstensen and Paul Steen.  The major was created in 1974 – and began as a joint program with St. Olaf.  Also documented is the launch of the Master of Social Work program in the 1990s. Highlights include the development of international study options, curriculum developments such as Intergroup Dialogue, and the growth of the program over the years.