MC-20123 - Portrait of Adrienne Newman

With the Ball State University bachelor of social work (BSW) now online, students at laptops world-wide can thank Adrienne Newman, among many others. 

Assistant professor of practice of social work, Adrienne spent months exploring what an online BSW would mean to the community, current and potential students, and, ultimately, the clients served by graduates. 

“The success of our longstanding BSW , and more recent master of social work (MSW) , are good drivers for potential students to consider pursuing an online BSW with us,” she says. 

Ball State’s on-campus social work major enrolls more than 250 students. It was the first accredited program in the state and is the oldest accredited program in the state. 

“Offering an online BSW gives those who are working, raising families, have caregiving responsibilities, or live too far from campus an option,” she says. 

Besides its delivery method, Adrienne says the online BSW has some enticing features: all required courses are offered in both fall and spring semesters; independent studies give students the opportunity to concentrate on favorite subjects; field placements with reputable organizations; a department where students are on a first-name basis; and faculty who expose students to diverse interests. 

For the other half of her title, assistant director of field education, Adrienne coordinates all aspects of the student’s practicum experience, helping them develop a resume and prepare for interviews. She also helps them prioritize the social service agencies or organizations where they are interested in doing their 400 hours of field work. 

“During their practicum, I work with faculty liaisons who help students and supervisors determine learning activities, monitor student progress, problem solve as needed, and celebrate the students’ successes.” 

No matter the modality, she says, “our focus will always be to provide a quality learning experience that fully prepares students to enter the job market, no matter where they currently live or plan to live.” 

That’s the same preparation Adrienne received when she graduated from Ball State with degrees in social work and criminal justice. 

Eventually she earned her MSW while working as a social work practitioner and administrator in Nashville, Tennessee, for 27 years.  

“My greatest impact in social work,” she says “was my efforts to improve access for older adults to home and community-based care that was paid for by Medicaid funding. Providing alternatives to nursing home care was critical for the quality of life and well-being of older adults in Tennessee, and it was a less costly way to provide services.” 

She joined the Ball State social work faculty in 2016. 

“When I decided to make a change in how I practiced social work, I was very happy to learn that Ball State was hiring a social work professor,” she says. “I felt that my skills, interests, experience, and goals were a good fit. Fortunately, the hiring committee agreed.”