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Walla Walla University—Missoula

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).



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.

Laurelle C. Warner

Program Coordinator
Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology

(406) 549-1050

laurelle.warner@wallawalla.edu

Education

  • MSW University of Connecticut School of Social Work, 1989
  • PhD Candidate, in progress 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
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). State of Montana, 2016
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (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 

    Karen Emerson

    Missoula Field Education Coordinator
    Instructor of Social Work and Sociology

    (406) 549-1797

    karen.emerson@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • MSW Eastern Washington University, 1992
    • LCSW

    Teaching Areas

    Field Seminar for foundation and advanced students

    Research/Interests

    Trauma and PTSD, addiction, grief and loss, cultural competency, physical and emotional abuse, mental illness and family systems

    Other

    Experience

    I moved to Montana from the Midwest in 1978.  Immediately, I knew I had found my permanent home. A year later I began providing social work services for the state of Montana. For 12 years, I worked in Child Protective Services as a case worker and as a supervisor. After that I worked a couple of years in Adult Protective Services.  Family systems became a particular professional interest of mine. When I completed my MSW in 1992 from Eastern Washington University, I worked with Missoula District Court doing family assessments and custody evaluations. For the next nine years I worked as the Clinical Supervisor for Casey Family Programs in Missoula.  The agency provided long term foster care, kinship care, and adoption services to children who could not be reunited with their biological parents.  All of these children and families had experienced trauma and loss.  

    During my many years of working with wounded and damaged families, I received significant training in the areas of trauma and PTSD, addiction, grief and loss, cultural competency, physical and emotional abuse, and mental illness. Since 2004 I have been a faculty member at the satellite MSW Program in Missoula for Walla Walla University. My position is Field Practicum Coordinator.  In this role, I develop practicum sites, recruit field instructors, and assist students in securing appropriate practicum placements. I teach Field Seminar for both foundation and advanced students.  Additionally, I oversee student placements, I evaluate, in collaboration with Field Supervisors, the students’ performance and level of competence at their practice setting. Pairing students to agencies and field instructors is a little like match making.  Developing sites and relationships with agencies across western Montana is challenging and rewarding.  When visiting agencies I have the opportunity educate individuals about the Walla Walla School of Social Work and speak with potential students about the program.


    Kevin Grussling

    Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (406) 542-8425

    kevin.grussling@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • BSW Walla Walla College, 1986
    • MSW Walla Walla College, 1990
    • DSW (abd) Capella University, current

    Teaching Areas

    Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Policy, History of Social Welfare, Privilege & Oppression, Spirituality and Social Work

    Research/Interests

    Exploring the Role of Social Support Relationships of Addicts in Recovery

    Hobbies

    Photography and computer/electronics; He has been a licensed ham radio operator for over 40 years.

    Other

    Faculty Awards

    Social Work Educator of the Year - Blue Mountain Chapter of WA-NASW, 2006

    Professional Memberships/Affiliations

    • NASW; 36 years
    • Montana Chapter of NASW Board of Directors; 6 years

    Service

    Kevin serves as an elder at the Stevensville Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    Experience

    Kevin brings many years of social work experience to the classroom environment. His professional practice includes medical social work, psychiatric social work, geriatric and disabilities services, and addictions.

    Randi Hankins

    Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (509) 527-2314

    randi.hankins@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • MSW
    • Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
    • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)

    Teaching Areas

    Psychopathology, mental health, crisis intervention, personality disorders, child and adolescence, CBT and policy

    Research/Interests

    Severe and Persistent Mental Illness, Suicide Prevention and Intervention

    Other

    Faculty Awards

    National Association of Social Workers Washington Chapter   Teacher of the Year 1999

    National Association of Social Workers Washington Chapter   President’s Award 2018

    Service

    Provide workshops and training for foster parents and community members on a variety of children’s mental health topics

    Professional Memberships/Affiliations

    • Washington Association of Designated Crisis Responders
    • National Alliance of Mentally Ill

    Ann Szalda-Petree

    Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (406) 721-2075

    ann.szalda-petree@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • MSW Walla Walla University, 2005
    • PhD University of Montana, 1993; Psychology
    • MA University of Montana, 1992; Psychology
    • BS Seattle University, 1988; Psychology
    • LCSW

    Teaching Areas
    Advanced Individual Practice, Advanced Group Practice, Advanced Family Practice, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Approaches, Research Methods, Advanced Clinical Evaluation and Clinical Issues in Relationships

      Research/Interests
      I am beginning an investigation into the relationship between attachment and belief in conspiracy theories. I am currently conducting research on decreasing recidivism among people going through pre-release programs. I frequently read about the use of humor in psychotherapy.

      Hobbies
      Spending time with family and in the outdoors, running, radio and podcast production, music writing and production, bicycling and reading

      Other

      Professional Memberships/Affiliations
      NASW

      Service

      • President of the Board of Directors at KFGM Missoula Community Radio 105.5 FM, streaming at 1055KFGM.org
      • Radio show host and producer for KFGM and the Community Radio Network of Montana

      Staff

      Judith Jones

      Front Desk Receptionist

      (406) 549-4928

      judith.jones@wallawalla.edu

      Hobbies

      Hiking, cross country skiing and traveling

      Other

      Job Description

      Front Desk Receptionist; I work part-time on the Missoula campus assisting faculty and staff as needed.

      Angela Schwab 

      Administrative Assistant/Front Desk Receptionist

      (406) 549-4928

      angela.schwab@wallawalla.edu

      Hobbies

      Spending time in nature, hiking, photography, videography, backpacking and spending time with family

      I love wildlife, animals, nature and learning about our Creator through observing them. A few of my favorite places to do this are Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. I spend as much time as possible in both places and hope to spend a season living in both sometime in the future. I enjoy photography and videography, trying to creatively capture the beauty of God’s creation. I love the mountains. Hiking in them with family, friends, and my malamute is one of the best things ever! Backpacking is pretty great too. Spending time with family and friends is a high priority, and I especially enjoy watching my three grandchildren grow up. I love to learn and be inspired. The greatest treasure of all is growing in my understanding of God’s ways and His loving character. Being able to share that with others is my greatest goal. “ABOVE ALL, LOVE each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

      Other

      Message to students

      I absolutely love my job as an Administrative Assistant and Curriculum Advisor for the Social Work department in Missoula. I’ve always had an interest in the study of Social Work and Psychology, so I’ve found this job to be not only fun, but enlightening. I’ve learned a lot over the last 9 years of working in this department, things that have caused me to grow mentally, spiritually, and in my understanding of life and relationships. We have had so many kind, compassionate, intelligent, and interesting individuals come through our program, and I consider it a privilege to get to know them. I look forward to meeting and getting to know you as well. I’m here to assist you in preparing for and moving through the program. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. 

      Service 

      • Church newsletter editor, Missoula Seventh Day Adventist Church
      • Kindergarten teacher, Missoula Seventh Day Adventist Church

      Last update on May 29, 2019