News of the School

Comings and Goings


After 11 years as front office coordinator Darleen Ford is retiring. Ford brought professionalism, procedures and a smile to the main office.

Thomas Ulbrich accepted the position of assistant dean, entrepreneurship and social innovation initiatives, a jointly funded role with the schools of Social Work and Management.


Susan A. Green, MSW ’88, was promoted to clinical professor. In her 20+ years of experience, she has taught a wide variety of social work classes as well as worked with various groups and individuals. Green’s professional interests include trauma, trauma treatment, integration of a solution focused approach with a trauma-informed system, resilience and post-traumatic growth. As co-director of the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, she focuses on these areas along with building training courses for educators and social workers. She is certified in various individual and group trauma treatments. Among her many awards, Green has received the Buffalo Blue Sky Gold Coin (2018), and in 2017 was the UBSSW Faculty of the Year.

Alumni News

Alicia M. Laible-Kenyon, MSW ’10, was named Elderwood Administrative Services Employee of the Year, recognizing her commitment to quality, employee engagement and community leadership. Laible-Kenyon is executive director for Elderwood Health Plan, a Western New York managed long-term care plan operating in Western New York. “Alicia embodies the core values of integrity, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence. She is a leader in the office and in the community,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rubin, Elderwood’s co-chief executive officer.

After Jackie McGinley, PhD ’18, created an award for students working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Research Professor Thomas Nochajski was inspired to endow the award in honor of his late wife, Dr. Susan Nochajski, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and director of the Occupational Therapy Program.  The Susan Nochajski and Jacqueline McGinley Excellence in Disability Practice will be presented to both an MSW student and an OT student. Nominations can be made by faculty, field educators, field liaisons and fellow students.

National News

Assistant Professors Annette Semanchin Jones, Elizabeth Bowen and Annahita Ball made national news for their research on how young adults’ experiences with homelessness and maltreatment impacted their time in school, and what the adults in their lives could do to have a positive impact. Their research was reported on various news outlets including Futurity, Social Work Helper, Science Daily and PhysOrg.

Continuing Education Partnership

In December, 17 Western New York social work supervisors graduated from “Social Work Practice Fellows (SWPF): A Professional Development Program for Social Work Supervisors of Direct Practice across the Life Course.” The UBSSW Office of Continuing Education offered this six-day certificate program; it’s part of a multi-site initiative coordinated by Adelphi University faculty with support from the Health Foundation of Western & Central New York and the Florence V. Burden Foundation.

Faculty Achievements

Clinical Professor and the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC) Co-director Susan Green and ITTIC Project Manager Samantha Koury, MSW ’15, represented ITTIC at the New York Public Welfare Association’s Social Services Leadership and Policy Forum in Albany in October 2018. They discussed ITTIC’s trauma-informed organizational model and provided details about the approach’s application. ITTIC is a leader in promoting trauma-informed care; its work has been fundamental in helping Allegany County to become the first New York county to pass a trauma-informed policy resolution. Vicki Grant, MSW ’05, commissioner of the Allegany County Department of Social Services, collaborated in the creation of the Allegany County policy resolution, and was crucial to its being approved.

Clinical Assistant Professor Katie McClain-Meeder, MSW ’12, is committed to social work and ecologically responsible food production. Combining social work values and responsible food production and food access throughout her professional and personal life, McClain-Meeder believes that small scale, local, responsibly grown food is consistent with social work values – and is vital for both environmental and community health. She and her partner, an expert in agriculture and market gardening, started Little Bear Farm where they’ve been growing and selling vegetables and eggs locally for three years. Read the full UBNow story

Nancy J. Smyth, dean and professor, has been recognized as a mentor through the CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education Mentor Recognition Program; she was acknowledged for this honor by Robin Hartinger-Saunders, PhD ’08, MSW ’97, Elaine M. Maccio, Elaine S. Rinfrette, PhD ’04, MSW ‘98 and Kimberley M. Zittel-Barr, PhD ’03, MSW ’94. Congratulations, Dean Smyth!

Global & Civic Engagement

Laura Lewis, UBSSW assistant dean for global partnerships and director of field education, received a Fulbright Scholar Award, which allowed her to travel to the International Education Administrators program in France last fall. The program is designed to help U.S. international education professionals and senior higher education officials create connections with the societal, cultural and higher education systems of other countries. During her trip, she presented to several French institutions on the School of Social Work’s model of virtual or online classroom exchange. She visited seven universities in France and met with social work faculty from several Belgian universities. Lewis anticipates continuing these talks to explore opportunities for collaboration.

UBSSW faculty Kelly Patterson, Filomena Critelli and Laura Lewis visited Haiti for the fourth time in fall 2018 as a continuation of a community needs assessment in partnership with SUNY New Paltz, University of Albany and the Haiti Development Institute. Their work there includes social work workforce development—enrichment activities for youth, expanding women’s entrepreneurial skills and helping to develop a degree path for social work by supporting a fledgling school of social work in Haiti. Reciprocal partners in Haiti include government officials, higher education institutions and social service programs. After helping to develop the curriculum and supporting the program through the accreditation process, the UB team plans to help deliver social work course modules to students.