Social Work | Capital University, Columbus Ohio


Social Work

  • 720x380-Audience-Social Work
  • In this section..

    • Whether you're a traditional student, or returning to college to finish your degree, we'll prepare you for social work practice with individuals, families, organizations and communities.

      Capital's Bachelor of Social Work degree program serves traditional and non-traditional undergraduates. Its curriculum is built around the principle that social work education flows from a common core of values and knowledge through which we practice. We bring into the profession graduates who make responsible decisions and value choices in a rapidly changing society.

      WHAT YOU'll learn

      Accreditation — Capital's social work program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974. To practice social work in any state, you must have a state license. Only graduates from accredited programs are eligible to take state social work licensing exams and to apply for a one-year accelerated Master of Social Work program offered at a number of institutions. 

      As a social work major at Capital, you'll be part of a program committed to social change, diversity and exemplary practice in any setting — rural or urban, large or small. You'll also be prepared for technology-enhanced practice and international social welfare.

      In our classrooms, learning is an active process, where students and professors are highly engaged in an exchange of knowledge and experience. Our faculty members use high-impact teaching and learning practices, like undergraduate research, internships, field experiences and capstone projects, proven to have the highest impact on learning.

      We use a liberal arts core curriculum to educate broadly, build your knowledge and expand your world view. We also educate you specifically to refine your skills and talent in your chosen field. And we prepare you to navigate complexity, diversity and change.     

      Review our BSW Degree Requirements 

      High-Impact Practices: Field Experiences

      Social work is a practice, so before you graduate with your Bachelor of Social Work from Capital, you will apply in the field what you've learned in the classroom. You'll be able to choose from a wide variety of social work agencies in Ohio's capital city of Columbus, along with and other nearby towns and cities. Working along side an experienced, master’s-educated professional social worker, you will integrate classroom learning with professional practice.

      Qualified agency staff members will serve as field instructors to ensure the highest quality experience. Placement opportunities provide a professional foundation for practice in a variety of areas including health, mental health, education, children’s services, chemical dependency, public welfare and aging.

      You'll also be encouraged through the Student Social Work Association to participate actively with faculty, administration and local community representatives in policy formation, program and curriculum development and assessment. Opportunities exist for study abroad for those interested in international social work.

      According to the Association of Social Work Boards, in 2015, 23 out of 33 Capital’s social work students first time test takers passed the licensing exam. Furthermore, 5 out of 7 students who repeated the exam passed the test. The overall pass rate for Capital University students is nearly identical for all social work licensure exam takers in North America.

      Read our Assessment of Student Learning outcomes for the Social Work Program.

      where you'll go: Careers and Placement  

      Our social work graduates find jobs soon after graduation — sometimes at the agency where their field placement occurred. As a graduate, you'll be prepared for work in various places, including mental health clinics, public welfare agencies, courts, correctional institutions, child and family services, the Peace Corps, schools, hospitals and vocational and rehabilitation centers.

      Here's what some of our graduates are doing now:

      • Mental/behavioral health
      • Child/family services
      • Adolescent services
      • Community outreach
      • Gerontology
      • Case management
      • Addiction treatment
      • Counselor with the deaf
      • Fellowship positions in social work master’s programs
      • International social work

      Many of our graduates go on to earn advanced degrees at universities like The Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Dayton and more. 

    • Renda Ross, Ph.D., LISWS

      Chair, Program Director, and Associate Professor

      600x600 Renda Ross

      Social Work
      Renner Hall
      Room 133


      • Biography

        Dr. Renda Ross, LISW-S has over 25 years of clinical experience and teaching in higher education. She is licensed by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapy Board, with supervisory endorsement. Dr. Ross' areas of expertise include working with individuals, couples & groups, using evidence based practices in behavioral health and wellness.

        At Capital University, she has served as Social Work Field Education Director (1999-2006) and as Department Chair/BSW Program Director from 2007-2014. In 2010, she oversaw the department's reaccreditation (by Council on Social Work Education-Commission on Reaccreditation). Dr. Ross is a longstanding member of Capital’s Undergraduate Symposium Committee and previously chaired the Faculty Development Committee.

        As an active member of the National Association of Social Workers-Ohio Chapter, Dr. Ross began the NASW-OH Annual Conference poster session in 2009 where students, academics, and professionals disseminate research/scholarship. Dr. Ross' current research is focused on: Exploring engagement, participation, and leadership within a multi-cultural context: A unique non-profit service model. (See Dr. Ross maintains a small practice in Worthington, Ohio. Refer to for her complete CV.

      • Teaches

        Micro-Practice with Individuals and Couples
        Mezzo-Practice with Families and Groups
        Field Education Seminar and Field Liaison
        Human Behavior & the Social Environment
        Diversity of People in the USA
        Social Science Research Methods
        Inter-disciplinary course: Exploring the Human Experience
        Principles of Psychology

      • Degrees

        Doctorate, Human Development & Family Science, equivalent hours in Psychology & Family Therapy, The Ohio State University

        Master of Social Work, Clinical Track, The Ohio State University

        Bachelor of Arts, Human Ecology - Family Science and Child Development, Louisiana Tech University

    • Saleem Saleem, Ph.D.



      Social Work
      Renner Hall


      • Biography

        Dr. Saleem is a Professor of Social Work at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio. He earned his Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and his Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington. Dr. Saleem also graduated with a Master of Arts Degree in Sociology and Eastern Literature from the University of Karachi.

        He is a clinically trained psychotherapist and has extensive experience working with families, children, and youth, especially with the Save the Children Foundation of Great Britain. He generally teaches social science research, social work history, social welfare policy, inter-cultural diversity competence, macro social work practice, organizational behavior, and field seminar as well as General Education courses - cultural pluralism, global awareness, and macro social science theory. He pioneered the Student Social Work Exchange Program with Malardalen University in Sweden. He also built study aboard program (India Project) at Capital University. He is committed to building international social work education program with special emphasis of building service learning and community engagement program through university-community partnerships at different levels, local, national, and international.

      • Teaches

        Dr. Saleem generally teaches social science research, social work history, social welfare policy, inter-cultural diversity competence, macro social work practice, organizational behavior, and field seminar as well as General Education courses - cultural pluralism, global awareness, and macro social science theory.

      • Degrees

        • Ph.D., Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh 
        • MSW, Masters in Social Work from the University of Washington.
        • M.A., Sociology
        • M.A., Literature 

      • Publications

        • The study of early intervention for children with learning disabilities
        • The effects of father presence/absence in early child development
        • Socio-cultural factors of aging and quality of life of older Americans
        • Re-entry/Mentoring program for youth and adult ex-offenders
        • A Multidisciplinary Approach to Cultural Competency in Human Services


    • Pamela Ellwanger-Schmidt, Ph.D.

      Associate professor

      Pamela Ellwanger-Schmidt 600x600

      Social Work
      Renner Hall


      • Classes

        Social Work 100, 200, 335 & 336, 370, 460 & 461

      • Biography

        Dr Ellwanger-Schmidt, born and a lifelong member of the Columbus community, received her BSc in Psychology, then returned to school after starting her family to obtain a MSW, and PhD from The Ohio State University. She has worked over 20 years in community mental health/ behavioral health, in addition to her professional work for the Social Work program. Most recently, Dr Ellwanger-Schmidt has been affiliated as a contract behavioral health specialist, for over 15 years with Nationwide Children's Hospital. She holds a LISW-S license,

        'DrE" resides with her husband and two dogs, enjoying her children and grandchildren, in Dublin, Oh.

      • Degrees Earned

        BSc Psychology
        Ph.D , all from The Ohio State University

      • Publications

        2001 Child Development
        Numerous presentations on family systems and human development

    • Robert Bennett, Ph.D.

      Assistant Professor

      Robert Bennett

      Social Work
      Renner Hall


      • Biography

        Dr. Bennett is an Ohio native and first-generation college student. He moved to Columbus to start his undergrad at The Ohio State University. Robert went on to earn a Master of Social Work and PhD from The Ohio State University. 

        Dr. Bennett has multiple years of clinical experience with college students, as well as experience in permanent supportive housing. Dr. Bennett's research focus is poverty and material hardship in the United States.

      • Teaches

        Social Policy Sequence
        Field Practicum