The year 1899 marked the birth of a one-building state-authorized school known as Southwest Texas State Normal School, serving 300 students. Built on the banks of the crystal-clear San Marcos River in the rural Hill Country of central Texas, the quiet school grew slowly but steadily, always emphasizing teacher education.
Today, after providing education for more than 100 years, that institution is known as Texas State University. The fourth-largest university in the second-most populous state in the nation, Texas State serves over 34,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Located in San Marcos, a community of about 50,000 people, Texas State enjoys the ease of living that a smaller city affords, but it is only 40 miles north of San Antonio and 40 miles south of Austin.
In the 1970s, a small collection of social work courses grew to become the Walter Richter Institute of Social Work. The Institute offered a BSW degree which the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) initially accredited in 1978 and has reaccredited continuously to the present.
In 1988, the Institute received a Title IV-B Child Welfare Grant, followed by a Title IV-E contract. This initiative gave birth to the Center for Children and Families (CCF). Originally housed in the School, CCF is now an interdisciplinary University center under the direction of Dr. Nancy Feyl Chavkin of the School’s faculty. It fosters collaboration between academic departments and community agencies for interdisciplinary research, education, and service, thereby extending the School’s mission. CCF has had IV-E and IV-B grants continuously since 1988, as well as funding from US Department of Education, US Department of Health and Human Services, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Hartford Foundation, and the Hogg Foundation, among others. It has helped build the education and the careers of countless students.
Social Work Masters Degree Program
2000-2001 marked two milestones: the Richter Institute (known as the Department of Social Work since 1996) became the School of Social Work, and the School’s new MSW degree was initially accredited by CSWE. In 2004 the School launched its online MSW degree program to join its on-campus MSW. The School’s growth has been significant, and it joined the College of Applied Arts in 2009. This College, a vibrant unit of seven departments, including Criminal Justice, and Family and Consumer Sciences, brings more grant money into the University than any other college. Today the School has 21 full-time faculty, of whom 17 hold a doctorate.
Today, Texas State University School of Social Work serves about 600 students at any one time. Of those, approximately 250 are BSW students or pre-majors. The highly-successful MSW degree is offered both on-campus and online. The lessons faculty have learned from developing the online MSW has transformed the School from a traditional enterprise to an entrepreneurial, tech-savvy educational program which uses the extensive benefits of technology for both baccalaureate and masters-level teaching.