Virginia Commonwealth University

About the school

Honors and awards

Each year the VCU School of Social Work recognizes outstanding students who have contributed leadership and service to the school and/or university, and who have otherwise distinguished themselves through commitment and dedication to a particular area of social work. Faculty and students may nominate outstanding students to be recognized for the following awards.

General eligibility for each School of Social Work award are August, December, or May graduates exemplify the characteristics described for the particular award. The deadline for submission of all nominations and supporting documents is March 1.

Selection of candidates for the various awards will be made by an awards committee from the School of Social Work. The honorees will be presented with the awards at the school’s annual Awards Ceremony and Reception and an announcement of the honorees will be made at the university’s annual Commencement Ceremony.

The Elaine Rothenberg Social Work Award

Each year the VCU School of Social Work honors an outstanding student in the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs with the Elaine Rothenberg Social Work Award. As the dean of the School of Social Work, Dean Rothenberg exemplified the following characteristics: academic excellence, service to the university, community and profession; and exceptional personal qualities of compassion and leadership. The names of the selected students will be engraved on a plaque in the Raleigh Building.

One student from each program is eligible for the Elaine Rothenberg Social Work Award.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. The following documents must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award: 

  • Nomination form. [Word document]
  • Current transcript (unofficial).
  • Current resume.

Deadline to submit completed applications to the director of student services is March 1.

David N. Saunders Legislative Award

The David N. Saunders Legislative Award was established in honor and memory of Dr. David N. Saunders, associate professor of social work. The award recognizes Saunders and his commitment to furthering social goals through involvement in the legislative process at all levels of government. Saunders was an active participant in the development of social policy in state and local government, and he was well known and respected in both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly. The recipient will receive a cash award.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. To apply, you must be a graduating B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. student. The following documents must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award:

  • Nomination form. [Word document]
  • Two letters of recommendation including one from a professor in the School of Social Work. Letters should address the student’s academic achievements, personal qualities and advocacy efforts.
  • A typed essay by the student describing her/his involvement in the legislative process, any activities, projects or advocacy efforts, and his/her commitment to advocacy and governmental activism on behalf of a chosen client population or specific social issue.

Deadline to submit completed applications to the director of student services is March 1.

Sally DuBose Service Award

This award honors a graduating student who has dedicated his or her time and service as well as demonstrated enthusiastic commitment to the VCU Northern Virginia M.S.W. Program. This award is given in memory of our former student services coordinator who so warmly gave her time and service to the students at VCU.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. To apply, you must be a graduating M.S.W. student enrolled in the Northern Virginia program. The following documents must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award:

  • Nomination form. [Word document]
  • A typed essay by the student describing her/his contributions to the Northern Virginia M.S.W. Program.

Deadline to submit nominations to the Northern Virginia program director is March 1.

School of Social Work Social Justice Award

The Social Justice Award is given to a graduating B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. student who has demonstrated a commitment and dedication to the ideals of social justice through his or her demonstrated activities while a student in the social work program. The award recipient’s name will be engraved on a plaque in the Raleigh Building.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. The following document must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award:

Deadline to submit nominations to chairs of the Social Justice Committees on the relevant campus is March 1.

VCU Distinguished Service Award

The School of Social Work may nominate one B.S.W. and one M.S.W. student who have given exemplary service to the school to be recognized at the annual University Leadership and Service Awards Ceremony in the spring. A reception to honor the students follows the ceremony and each recipient receives a framed certificate. Please submit nominations with supporting information to the Director of Student Services. Selections will be made by the awards committee and forwarded to the University Service and Leadership Awards Committee.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. To apply, you must be a graduating B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. student. The following documents must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award:

Deadline to submit nominations to the director of student services is March 1.

School of Social Work Leadership and Service Awards

The School of Social Work requests nominations from students and faculty for determining those graduates in the B.S.W., M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs who have demonstrated leadership and service to the school, the university and the community.

Procedures

Nominations are requested from faculty and students. To apply, you must be a graduating B.S.W., M.S.W. or Ph.D. student. The following documents must be submitted for a student to be considered for the award:

Deadline to submit nominations to the director of student services is March 1.

The Helen Pinkus Award

To be offered in spring 2008, the Helen Pinkus Award is given by the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work in honor of Helen Pinkus, a noted clinical educator and faculty of the VCU School of Social Work. Pinkus was a founding member of the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work. At the time of her death in December 1978, she was teaching clinical casework in the VCU School of Social Work.

To honor and sustain Pinkus’ contributions to both the practicing and teaching communities, the Virginia Society for clinical Social Work and the VCU School of Social Work jointly make this award. We recognize a student who is achieving a standard of excellence during her or his preparation for clinical practice. In addition to this honor, the recipient will receive a $500 cash award.

Eligibility

Any graduating M.S.W. student in the clinical track may submit an application that includes an information form, student statement and three reference forms to:

Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work

P.O. Box 70478
Richmond, Virginia 23255
Application deadline: mid-March

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Membership

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society promoting the pursuit of excellence in all academic fields. Founded at the University of Maine in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi recognizes outstanding achievement by students, faculty and others through election to membership. Graduating students with excellent academic credentials and demonstrated leadership qualities are nominated by the School of Social Work for Phi Kappa Phi membership each year.

Procedures

August, December and May graduates who are academically within the top 10 percent of their graduating class are eligible for nomination by a faculty member for membership to Phi Kappa Phi. To be nominated they must not only have an excellent GPA, but they must be recognized by faculty as an individual who has exhibited leadership and creativity while an M.S.W. student.

Phi Alpha National Honor Society for Social Work Students

VCU Chapter/Nu Rho

Faculty advisor: Kim Flournoy DiJoseph

The purposes of Phi Alpha Honor Society are to provide a closer bond among students of social work and to promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers, and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work. Phi Alpha offers membership to B.S.W. and M.S.W. students, faculty and practitioners.

Eligible students will be invited via email to join during the spring semester.

VCU chapter B.S.W. student membership eligibility and requirements:

  • Declared social work as a major
  • Achieved upper level social work status
  • Completed nine semester hours of required social work courses
  • Achieved overall grade point average of 3.25
  • Achieved a 3.5 GPA in required social work courses
  • Paid the lifetime membership fee of $50

VCU chapter M.S.W. student membership requirements

  • Completed a minimum of 12 hours of course work
  • Achieved a GPA of 3.85 on a 4.0 scale
  • Paid the lifetime membership fee of $50

Faculty and honorary membership

Membership is available to all full-time social work faculty. Each chapter may select two persons each year for honorary membership. This recognition is available to persons outside the program who have made a significant contribution to the program and/or society. Membership certificates for honorary members are provided by the National Office without cost to local chapters.