Doctoral Social Work Student Receives Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Work Education, hits 10k on YouTube 

The award celebrates Magruder’s innovative use of artificial intelligence, leadership in Quality Matters-aligned curriculum development, and a focus on humanizing online learning.   

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Tuscaloosa, AL – Karen Magruder, LCSW-S, an online Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) student at the UK College of Social Work (CoSW), was recognized during the National Conference on DSW Education and Social Work as the 2024 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Social Work Education.  

The award celebrates what sets Magruder’s teaching apart, including innovative use of artificial intelligence, pioneering efforts to promote open education resources, leadership in Quality Matters-aligned curriculum development, and a focus on humanizing online learning.   

Conference organizer Dr. Nicole Ruggiano shared that the awards committee was impressed by Magruder’s exceptionally positive student feedback and dedication to education in social work, noting that, “she has a very student-centered approach.” 

“I’m so humbled and grateful for this recognition” Magruder shared. “This award motivates me to continue striving to engage students with meaningful connections, share my passion for social work in a fun and approachable way, and seek innovative ways to embrace technology to enhance learning.”  

The National Conference on DSW Education and Social Work is hosted by the University of Alabama and serves as a platform for prospective, current, and graduate DSW students and doctoral faculty and program directors. Magruder, an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Texas Arlington presented an oral presentation (Is it cheating to use ChatGPT?:  A roadmap for crafting a student-centered AI-use policy) and poster presentation (“Part of the journey and not left out”: The role of instructor engagement to promote online student success) at the conference.  

“It’s been an incredible opportunity to learn with other DSW students and the inspiring faculty at CoSW,” Magruder shared. “I’m thankful for my CoSW mentors who challenge me to elevate and share my work, and I appreciate being able – no matter the distance – to connect with fellow scholar-practitioners, thanks to wonderful opportunities like the National DSW Conference.”  

Magruder is an educator, clinical supervisor, therapist, and doctoral student. Her broad social work experience covers landscapes like mental health, environmental justice, and aging. She also manages a thriving YouTube channel producing content focused on professional development and licensure preparation for social workers and social work students.  

“What started as a simple effort to keep requested “bonus” resources accessible to my students’ post-graduation, unexpectedly went viral.” Magruder shared about her YouTube channel hitting 10,000 followers. The channel now functions as a platform to help social work scholars around the world access free and engaging materials to support their professional development. “I’m so touched by the followers who’ve gone out of their way to send messages and comments about my channel having a positive impact – it’s an honor to be part of their learning and licensing journeys.”  

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.