Dr. Ruth Weinzettle has been named head of the Department of Social Work at Northwestern State University effective July 1. The NSU Department of Social Work offers the nationally accredited (CSWE-Council on Social Work Education) Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, with face-to-face and online options. Weinzettle has been on faculty at NSU since 2006 and has been acting director for the last year. Her appointment as department head was approved last month by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System.
Weinzettle’s first act as department head was to announce that NSU’s social work program was recently ranked fifth online program in the nation by bestcolleges.com, an organization that researches online programs to inform students about institutions that provide quality distance education at an affordable cost.
“I am excited about continuing to lead and work with dedicated colleagues to provide an excellent BSW program,” Weinzettle said.
The department will begin the year with several new faculty and staff in addition to experienced faculty members who will collaborate to achieve departmental goals. Goals include strengthening the online program offerings, establishing stronger connections with social work alumni and community agencies, enhancing efforts to engage with students, including online students, offering student scholarships and implementing the first social work endowed professorship given in honor of Matilde Bradford.
“It will be a busy first year as Head of the Social Work Department,” she said.
Weinzettle chose social work as her life’s work as a teen and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work at Louisiana College and master’s and Ph.D. in social work at Louisiana State University. She began her career in Marksville and worked five years with the State of Louisiana in Child Welfare , the area that influenced her decision to be a social worker. She then spent nearly a decade at Family Counseling Agency in Alexandria as a social worker, family violence program coordinator, clinical supervisor, director of professional services and interim executive director. She transitioned to academia and taught at Louisiana College for 14 years before joining NSU’s faculty in 2006 as associate professor and coordinator of NSU’s Cenla social work program,
She has since served as a professor and director of field education and NSU Lead of the State of Louisiana’s Title IVE Stipend Program. She has taught classes in human behavior and the social environment, generalist practice, field placement, research methods, marriage and family and generalist practice with families. As acting department head, she has for the last year overseen curriculum development course scheduling, budgetary issues, faculty evaluation and other duties.
While teaching college, Weinzettle has also been active in part-time private social work providing therapy services, supervision and consultation services regarding social work practice, community practice and programs. She has been a member of the Association of Social Work Boards since 2004 serving in several leadership capacities.
Professionally, she is an appointed member of the Louisiana State Board of Social Work Examiners, is a member of and site visitor for the Council on Social Work Education and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Weinzettle is currently a volunteer mental health consultant for the Strong Neighborhoods Project directed through the United Way of Central Louisiana and an evaluator for the Extra Mile Parent Project. She is a member of St. James Episcopal Church and the Red River Chorale.
Northwestern State’s online bachelor’s degree in social work at NSU prepares students for generalist social work practice. This 120-credit program includes 53 credits of core social work courses. Students graduate with a bachelor of social work (BSW) degree upon completing the program. Online courses follow both synchronous and asynchronous delivery formats, and courses are taught following the typical 16-week semester with fewer courses offered in either the 8-week A or B terms. In the summer, students can opt to enroll in 4-week or 8-week terms. The BSW program does not require any campus visits for completion. Students meet the field work requirement within their home area with the approval of the school.