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School salutes field instructors with conference, video

By Ronni Zuckerman

On May 17, the School hosted its annual Appreciation Conference for Field Instructors and Task Supervisors. The School has a strong commitment to supporting its field instructors, from more than 300 agencies in the Triangle and Piedmont areas. 125 of these social work professionals spent a day at the School interacting with faculty, attending workshops and networking. Photo gallery

Ronni Zuckerman, clinical instructor and field faculty member, coordinated this year’s event. Associate Dean Rebecca Macy, and Director of Field Education Rebecca Brigham welcomed participants with a conference highlight: a video featuring students personally describing their admiration and respect for their field instructors and talking about all they had learned from their mentors. Albert Thrower, MSW student and videographer, created the incredibly inspiring video. Watch video

Professor Kim Strom-Gottfried presented the keynote address, “Ethical Action in Challenging Times.” Afternoon workshops included a panel discussion about mental health reform entitled, “The Changing Landscape of Mental Health,” featuring Bebe Smith of UNC School of Social Work, Tim Brooks of Carolina Outreach, and Ann Oshel of Alliance Behavior Health. The other options were “Oh No, Not Another Buzzword! Why Trauma-Informed Care is Here to Stay,” presented by Cherie Spehar of The Apex Center for Trauma Healing-Smiling Spirit Pathways; and “What’s in Your Toolbox? An Evidence-Based Approach to Managing Chronic Pain and Distress,” by Deborah Barrett, UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Kathy Boyd, executive director of NASW-NC, presented on current initiatives and resources available through their organization.

Each year, the School gives awards to local agencies that exemplify “the best of the best” in field instruction. Award winners this year were: Fellowship Health Resources, presented by faculty member Jean Livermore; the Exchange Club Family Center of Durham, presented by faculty member Ronni Zuckerman; Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, presented by faculty member Rebecca Brigham; Mission Hospitals, presented by faculty member Theresa Palmer; and the Federal Medical Center, presented by faculty member Denise’ Dews. Three long time retiring field instructors were also honored, Connie Culbreth, Jo Sanders and Connie Renz.

The Field Education Program recruits and develops new field instructors on a continuous basis. If you are interested in becoming a field instructor, please contact Rebecca Brigham at