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Walla Walla University — Missoula Campus

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 adjunct 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

      Kevin Grussling

      Associate 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 Capella University, 2021

      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

      Jeremy Springer

      Assistant Professor of Social Work and Sociology

      (406) 549-4928

      jeremy.springer@wallawalla.edu

      Education

      • MSW
      • LCSW

      I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and proud WWU School of Social Work alumnus. I completed my BSW in 2007, MSW in 2009, and am honored to be among the inaugural cohort of the WWU DSW program, concluding in summer, 2022.  I have spent the bulk of my professional career in the community mental health field, advocating for and providing a range of clinical services to individuals with severe mental illness. Crisis, pre-commitment investigation, clinical supervision, program development, social justice, and macro policy advocacy are all areas I feel deeply passionate about. 

      Returning to WWU to teach is a long-time dream of mine.  I am beyond excited to be able to give back to a program that has given me so much, while working to prepare and shape the next generation of social workers. I very much look forward to the opportunity to share the knowledge and experiences I have gained over years in the field, but also to learn and be humbled by the experiences of the students I serve. 

      I grew up in the Walla Walla Valley and developed a natural affinity for backpacking and spending time in the great outdoors at an early age. This affinity is shared by my wife, Shannon (also a Walla Walla native), and to a lesser degree by our children Sebastian (30), Brennan (27), Brittany (27), Keenan (15), and our year-old Boxer, Walter.  I love to travel to new places hunting for shiny rocks, yet unseen vistas, and further examples of the beauty of God's creation.  When I'm not outdoors, I enjoy collecting and dabbling at playing stringed instruments, playing the French horn, cultivating culinary and medicinal mushrooms, and playing an occasional video game.


      David Wiltfong

      Missoula Field Education Coordinator

      Instructor of Social Work and Sociology

      (406) 549-1797 ext. 2294

      david.wiltfong@wallawalla.edu

      I have been happily married to my wife Kate since 2007. Together we have two daughters, Francie (9) and Ruby (7), and a lab, Holly. We enjoy all that living in Western Montana has to offer us. I prioritize time with my family and other forms of self-care because that allows me to best serve those I work with.

      Prior to joining Walla Walla University in 2019 I worked with Missoula Correctional Services as Director of Treatment in the Pre-Release department (MPRC) since 2002. MPRC is a residential facility for adult felony offenders transitioning out of criminal justice facilities and onto probation and parole. As a social worker in corrections, I was consistently engaged across all areas of the social work spectrum including mental health, addiction, education, housing, employment, and the larger criminal justice system. I believe that relationships and connectedness are the foundation of the safety and security people need to make lasting change. In addition to overseeing treatment operations at MPRC, I also provided on-site supervision for practicum students as well as staff that were license eligible. Lastly, I have a small private practice two evenings a week where I facilitate batterer intervention and an anger management program as well as see a handful of private clients. I am proud of the education that I obtained at Walla Walla and believe that social workers are key components of ensuring safe and healthy individuals and communities.


      Staff

      Angela Schwab 

      Administrative Assistant/Curriculum Advisor

      (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

      Jessica Cardiff

      Library Research Consultant

      (406) 829-1495

      jessica.cardiff@wallawalla.edu