College of Social Work Advances Professional Development of its Workforce 

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The UK College of Social Work (CoSW) through the Forward, Together: Strategic Priorities Plan, announces yet another funding opportunity for faculty and staff in fiscal year 2024 (FY24). 

For the past few years, CoSW’s administrative priorities have explicitly focused on investments in our workforce. Notably, as indicated in CoSW’s 2022 Forward, Together: Strategic Priorities Plan, CoSW continues to explore ways to support staff and faculty in developing the skills necessary for professional advancement. The Investment in Ingenuity and Initiative Program (I3) is but one example of this commitment. 

“We believe that investing in our people is crucial to fostering talent, creating a better work culture, and encouraging future leaders,” said Dean Justin “Jay” Miller. “The I3 Program is yet another example of how the UK College of Social Work continues to be an ideal place to be educated, employed, and engaged.” 

As part of I3, all CoSW employees were asked to complete a professional development plan for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). Based on the feedback and in alignment with the college’s People First, People Always focus, the I3 guidelines have expanded opportunities for use of professional development funding.  

Specifically, this expansion establishes a pilot called the I3 Level Up Supplement, offering supplementary funding for professional development activities culminating in upskilling or certification within specific skill domains identified as critical by the College. Jamie Furstenberg, Research & Analytics Project Manager at CoSW is the most recent exemplar, earning her Project Management Professional Certification through this funding.  

Along with Furstenberg, many faculty and staff have enthusiastically embraced a diverse range of advancement opportunities. Sara Green, academic advisor for the College, completed her Level 1 Certificate in Philosophical Counseling from the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. Numerous individuals have been recognized and rewarded for their progress, solidifying the value and impact of these funding opportunities in driving tangible success across the board. 

This is true for CoSW’s Director of Advising, Jaime Wainscott, who used I3 funding to advance herself, her team and the College’s advising methodology with a six week “Appreciative Advising” certificate. This rigorous certification uses inquiry-and-change practice that suggests asking generative questions has profound impact in organizational systems. It is especially impactful for higher-risk students. Advisor Kyle Phillips said the journey “emboldened us to construct bridges for our students.”  

This year, Wainscott was presented with the UK Ken Freedman Outstanding Advising Administrator award. She said, “I’m thankful to be encouraged and supported to advance my skillset and the skillset of my team. The support from the College of Social Work has enabled the advising staff to support students more effectively. It has made a huge difference in our methodology.” 

CoSW remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and support for its staff. Through the many professional growth initiatives, CoSW continues to embody its ethos of prioritizing people, first people always, perpetuating a culture of growth, and reinforcing its status as a vanguard institution in the field of social work education and practice. 

For over 85 years, the College of Social Work (CoSW) at the University of Kentucky has been a leader in education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the CoSW works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways.

As the state’s flagship university, our mission is actualized through our deeds. Our faculty are renowned academicians dedicated to fostering the development of high-quality practitioners and researchers. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world.