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Walla Walla University—Billings

Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology

Our mission is to train competent and ethical professionals who: embody integrity, value all people, serve their communities, and pursue social justice. Our program is designed for commuter students with one day a week classes. This makes it easy to complete your degree while still managing the demands of life.  An MSW can be earned in six quarters.  A four quarter advanced standing program is also available to BSW graduates who have graduated from a CSWE accredited institution.

The focus of the program is advanced clinical practice. Students may take electives in areas such as addictions, aging, child welfare, children and families, mental health, medical social work, and school social work. 

The Master of Social Work program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).


Want to know more about our M.S.W. program? 

Our M.S.W. program is interactive, personal, and designed to be accessible for working professionals seeking careers in advanced clinical practice.

Join us for an upcoming online info session where we will cover program format and scheduling, curriculum, costs and fees, the admissions process, and more.

Bring your questions! You'll have the chance to ask them and get them answered live.


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Meet the faculty

Our faculty of full-time professors and supporting contract teachers is large enough to offer experience in a diverse range of areas, but small enough to allow students to get to know each faculty member. We strive to offer a quality program for our majors, including a wide range of class options and small class sizes.


Darold Bigger

Dean

Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Theology

(509) 527-2389

darold.bigger@wallawalla.edu

Education

  • B.A. & M.S.W Walla Walla College
  • M.Div. Andrews University 
  • Ph.D. Claremont School of Theology
  • ACSW
  • LMFT

Research/Interests

  • Forgiveness
  • Resiliency 

Hobbies

Snow skiing, boating, and horses

Service

  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, volunteer
  • Five Loaves Foundation, board member
  • Possibilities Ministries, mental health team
  • Rotary Club, member
  • Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, Cadre speaker

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

  • Adventist Society for Religious Studies
  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Phi Alpha--Honor Society in Social Work

Faculty Awards

  • NASW Blue Mountain Region Social Work Educator of the Year, 2003
  • Walla Walla University Community Service Award, 2008
  • Faculty Development Grant for studying Ministerial Personality and Outreach Style, 2011
  • Walla Walla University Honored Alumnus of the Year, 2011
  • Faculty Development Grant for developing the Forgive Now Workshop, 2011
  • Faculty Development Grant for studying Resilience Lessons from Prisoners of War, 2014

    Laurellé C. Warner

    M.S.W. Program Director
    Missoula Program Coordinator
    Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (406) 549-1050

    laurelle.warner@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • M.S.W. University of Connecticut School of Social Work, 1989
    • Ph.D., Loma Linda University; Social Policy and Social Research
    • Certificate: Basic Mediation Training, Center for Conflict Resolution, La Sierra University, 2013 
    • Certificate: Research on Spirituality and Health, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, 2011 
    • Certificate: Addiction, New England Institute of Addiction Studies and Colby College, 1989
    • LCSW, State of Montana, 2016
    • LCSW, State of Connecticut, 1997

    Teaching Areas 

    • Practice with Individuals and Field Seminar
    • Practice with Groups
    • Practice with Couples and Families
    • Field Seminar

    Research/Interests

    • Resilience in the Lives of Black Women

    Hobbies

    • Knowing, understanding, and applying theories from various fields; enjoying the beauty of nature

    Other

    Faculty Awards

    • 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, National Association of Social Workers, California Inland Empire

    Service

    • Civically engaged, on a range of committees and fellowship at WWU, pro bono counseling/therapeutic services offered 
    • Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society, NASW member 

    Deisy Haid

    Field Education Director
    Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (509) 527-2472 

    deisy.haid@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • LCSW Oregon
    • BSW Walla Walla University
    • MSW Walla Walla University

    Teaching Areas
    Field education

      Research/Interests

      Crisis intervention and stabilization, children psychiatric residential, juvenile justice, child welfare and adoptions, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, child and family therapy, collaborative problem solving and wraparound 

      Hobbies
      Family time, making authentic Mexican food, reading, playing sports/exercising and binge watching Netflix

      Other

      Professional Memberships/Affiliations

      • Charter member of the National Honor Society of Social Work Students PI XI Chapter since 2009

      Faculty Awards                               

      • Community Partner of the Month Award from Clackamas County Behavioral Health Division—2016
      • Clinician of the Month Award from Clackamas County Behavioral Health Division—2012

      Service

      • Hispanic and Latino Faculty and Staff Association—2018–current
      • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer—2017–current 
      • Hispanic Interagency Networking Team and Gang Violence Task Force—2012-2013

      Pam Bing Perry

      Program Coordinator
      Professor of Social Work and Sociology

      (509) 527-2558

      pamela.bingperry@wallawalla.edu

      Education

      • MBA
      • MS in Marriage and Family Therapy
      • Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)

      Teaching Areas

      • Families
      • Beginning Practice
      • Introduction to Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
      • Practicum Groups

      Research/Interests
      The effects of Emotion Coaching training on parents with Adverse Childhood Experiences – title: “Parenting from the Heart: Nurturing Your Child’s Emotional World”. 

      Emotions and trauma, trauma-informed care, EFT, Gottman model, couples therapy 

      Other

      Professional Memberships/Affiliations

      • NASW

      • AAMFT

      Service
      MAMFT board member, board president elect, Big Sky CISM clinical team member, ACE presentations, suicide prevention walk, The Festival of Trees, member of St. Vincent advisory board

       


      Kayleith Pellandini

      Billings Field Education Coordinator
      Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

      (509) 527-2779

      kayleith.pellandini@wallawalla.edu

      Education

      • MSW Andrews University, 1998

      Teaching Areas

      • Field Education
      • Connecting students with a field placement that aligns with their goals and aspirations

      Research/Interests

      End of quarter student evaluations are a big part of what I do as a Field Education Coordinator. Analyzing the best way to measure student growth requires constant observation and critique. Though I am not formally researching this topic I am constantly monitoring and revising the processes in addition to assessing for outcomes.

      Hobbies

      Design and decor, oil painting, photography, reading, family time, hiking in the woods, building and maintaining positive friendships, and recognizing and drawing out the best in others

      Other

      Professional Memberships/ Affiliations

      • NASW
      • CSWE

      Service

      The mission of Dress for Success is to “Empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.” Suiting women at Dress for Success has been a blessing to me. With a trauma informed approach, I am able to help women feel great from the inside out.

      Understanding how to captivate our youth in the church also piques my passion. I currently serve as a deaconess as well as the youth activities coordinator. In these areas, I strive to be a difference maker.

      Family

      The year 1998 was a big one! I graduated with my MSW from Andrews University and the very next week, married the love of my life.

      Amanda Lewis

      Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

      (509) 527-2797

      amanda.lewis@wallawalla.edu

      Education

      • BSW Montana State University-Billings
      • MSW Walla Walla University
      • LCSW 
      • LMFT

      Teaching Areas

      • Individual
      • Family and Group Practice
      • Psychopathology
      • Policy and Advocacy

      Research/Interests

      I am currently researching the influence of social media and technology on adolescent development. 

      Hobbies

      Spending time with family, hiking, swimming and being outdoors

      Other

      History

      I was born and raised on a cattle ranch in Southeastern Montana. I have a private practice I have operated since 2008 in the small community in which I reside.  I am married, with 3 children; two boys and a girl.  

      Professional Memberships/Affiliations

      • NASW 

      Service

      I provide service in my small community in the form of coaching, teaching, and volunteering.  

      Message to students

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead


      Bradley Dennis

      Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

      (509) 527-2594

      bradley.dennis@wallawalla.edu


      Staff

      Nicole Helgeson

      Mental Health Clinic Coordinator

      (406) 254-0308

      wwu-billingsmhc@wallawalla.edu

      Tori Bauer-Koch

      Library Research Consultant

      (509) 527-2745

      victoria.bauer-koch@wallawalla.edu

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