Dean's Statement on Social Work Month

Friday, Mar 10, 2023

By Dean Scott Ryan
School of Social Work


Social Work Month Logo 2023


March is Social Work Month, a time we dedicate to recognizing the impact our profession makes in Texas, across the nation and internationally.


Social Work Breaks Barriers is the theme for 2023.


For sure, our profession tears down obstacles. On Friday, March 3, hundreds of social work professionals, and students gathered in Austin for Social Work Advocacy Day at the State Capitol. They discussed with members of the 88th Legislature strategies to remove obstacles preventing individuals, families, and communities from living their best lives.


Specifically, attendees educated lawmakers about the need to support legislation defining the services of school Social Workers and requiring districts to hire them. 

The Texas Education Code should distinguish Social Work duties from those of campus counselors who, most often, schedule students’ classes and offer career information.


The Texas branch of the National Association of Social Workers called for the passage of House Bill 226 and Senate Bill 253 in the 87th Legislature in 2021. Lawmakers declined to do so. Therefore, the bills are being reintroduced this legislative session to help protect children in schools.


We need Social Workers in public schools now. We need to address bullying, which leads to school violence. We must tackle drug, alcohol and substance misuse, delinquency, poor grades, and poverty.


Among those seeking passage of this legislation were more than 30 UTA School of Social Work students at the State Capitol talking to lawmakers. Already our students are engaged in the practice of advocacy, and we are proud of them.


Our emerging Social Workers not only break barriers statewide, but they are also kicking down the walls of separation here on our university campus. 


One of our Social Work undergraduate students, Lei-Sea Sky, is among more than 50 UTA co-eds who formed a new campus organization to bring together those with hearing losses in a social and collaborative space. 


Lei-Sea saw an obstacle on campus: It takes too much lead time to get an interpreter. Sometimes, there are too few interpreters for all the non-hearing students who need them daily in our classrooms. As a Social Work student, Lei-Sea recognizes barriers; she also understands raising awareness is the first step leading to change. 


This Social Work Month, I call on all Social Workers to continue breaking barriers so that everyone has access to a more equitable society.


In Solidarity,


Dean Scott Ryan

Scott D. Ryan

Dean and Professor

School of Social Work

The University of Texas at Arlington





87th Legislature Summary:


88th (2023) Legislature:


Social Work Breaks Barriers


Social Work Month Proclamation


NASW Texas 2023 Legislative Priorities:


Centers for Disease Control: Understanding School Violence


In 2018, 51 Percent of School Violence Concentrated in just 10 States: Texas is one of them