MSW Student Bulletin

Rutgers School of Social Work

March 17, 2020 Online Learning

Welcome to today's special edition of our MSW Student Bulletin.

Important Message from Dean Potter to the Student Community

Dear Students:

As citizens of the world, country, state and community, we are experiencing an unprecedented set of challenges as we respond to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Truly, we hope this is a once in a lifetime challenge and opportunity to take a strong, proactive, public health approach to a global pandemic. I want to thank you all for your good grace and good humor, flexibility and patience, in responding to situations and decisions as they evolve.

As we have all been reminded, there is a need for very strong, social distancing approaches to changing our life-style for a time, in order to limit the spread of the disease, and to "flatten the curve" and prevent spikes in new COVID-19 cases. Universities and communities are making decisions with that goal in mind. Our decisions are made with the best information at hand at the time. The University’s transition to online learning and the School of Social Work’s disruption of field education were made with an eye to community health. We know the suspension from field education has been difficult for many of you and for your agencies and clients. As dedicated emerging professionals, many of you have questioned the logic and potential ethical dilemmas this disruption has raised. We recognize that these measures will cause disruptions and frustrations, but they will truly save some lives as well. We encourage you to discuss and process these dilemmas with your instructors and peers as you continue your coursework online.

We know this is a very stressful and anxiety provoking time for all of us. I want to assure our students that we continue to work with you to complete your semester in a timely and successful manner and, for those approaching graduation, ensure a successful completion of the MSW program. Practice your self-care and social work skills during this period. Please take care of yourselves and take care of your families and communities—even if remotely--during this difficult time.

We are going to learn some things, as social workers, during this time. We are going to recognize how much we need enhanced technology-aided intervention models and skills. We are going to learn a lot about community and personal anxiety-reduction needs and models. We are going to learn how to slow down the pace of life for a time, and how to manage the things our frenetic lives sometimes mask. We are going to have time to practice creative self-care approaches, and appreciate and care for those closest to us. I look forward to the conversations we will have about the lessons learned.

Cathryn Potter

Distinguished Professor

Dean, Rutgers University School of Social Work

Critical Information about Transition to Remote/Online Learning

Classes: As you are aware, all on the ground classes have been moved to an online format through April 3rd. Please watch for email communication from your professors/instructors about how to proceed starting the week of March 23rd . Many instructors may be asking you to login to your course through the Conferences/BigBlueButton feature in CANVAS at your usual scheduled class day and time starting Monday, March 23rd .

CANVAS Support and trainings: Video and written tutorials on CANVAS can be found at the SSW special student webpage as well as on the Rutgers Canvas page. Tutorial for the synchronous video conference features called BigBlueButton (BBB) can be found on the special SSW student webpage. We strongly advise that you review all these materials in advance and practice logging into CANVAS.

CANVAS App: CANVAS is also available in an app form. You can download the app here and/or follow the instructions on SSW special student webpage.


We are hosting live online training on CANVAS conferencing/BigBlueButton(BBB) for students on the following dates and times. We ask that you attend one of these virtual training sessions.

Sunday March 22 at 8 pm

Monday March 23 at 11 am

Tuesday March 24 at 12 pm (Noon)

To join: Go to this address to join by video | Access code: 637322235

Join by phone : +1-650-429-3300 USA (Toll) | Access code: 637 322 235

Technology support during class: We are hoping to arrange on-demand tech support during, at minimum, the first week of class. Please look for forthcoming emails about this.

Continuing Online Courses: For those of you in continuing online classes or in the online program, please proceed as scheduled in your courses and reach out to your faculty/instructors with any concerns.

Internet access: We know some of you have concerns about internet access. As of now, RU libraries and computer labs will remain open with limited hours. Please click here for library operating hours before you go. Please click here for the modified computing labs hours in New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden. Spectrum announced that it is providing free internet access during this period and Comcast has price reductions as well. AT&T has also instituted some lenient payment rules.

Field Education: Field education is currently suspended until April 6 for all students.We know the suspension from field education has been difficult for many of you and for your agencies and clients. We encourage you to discuss these unplanned terminations with your peers and professors. Please find communication about field education disruptions/modifications here. We will be in communication with you about any changes in field education plans. If you have questions about field education, please reach out to the appropriate field office faculty.

Nancy Schley, Associate Director, NB Field Office
Trinay Thomas, Associate Director, Newark Field Office
Bernardo Hiraldo, Associate Director, Camden Field Office
Rachel Schwartz, Director, Online MSW Education,
Amy Strickler, Assistant Director, IW program

Your SSW Advisors: Your SSW advisors are the best people to reach out to when you have questions or concerns about classes, your academic progress, how to manage the transition to online learning and/or any challenges you are facing completing your assignments.

Rachel Schwartz, Online/Blended

Ericka Deglau, Intensive Weekend

Karun Singh On campus

Marian Diksies On campus

Charles Chear On campus

Natalie Bembry On campus

Arlene Hunter On campus

Managing stress: We know this is a very difficult and anxiety producing time and there are lots of unknowns in the face of this global pandemic. We realize that many of you are concerned about completing coursework online. We also recognize that many of you are managing disruptions to your work and family life as well. We want to reassure you that we will support you to complete this semester successfully. We also ask that you have patience with your instructors as they move your classes online. We are sure that we will be able to get through this together.

Important Dates

Sunday, April 19, 2020 ~ Fall registration begins. Specific info will be emailed to students.

Last day of classes for MSW

Monday classes end May 11

Tuesday classes end May 5

Wednesday classes end May 6

Thursday classes end May 7

**Please note: Online/Blended/Intensive Weekend Programs registration dates may differ. You will receive more information from your program.

Graduate Fellowships / Internships


April 13, 2020 ~ Deadline to apply for Influencing Social Policy's annual policy contest

April 26, 2020 ~ NASW-NJ Social Work Student Virtual Summit