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Professor chosen for Council

| Thursday, October 2, 2014


Saint Mary’s professor and director of the Social Work program, Frances Kominkiewicz, was appointed as a three-year member to the Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education. The council is a part of the Council for Social Work Education (CWSE) Commission on Diversity and Social and Economic Justice.

headshot copyPhoto courtesy of Saint Mary's
Prior to this appointment, Kominkiewicz served as a site visitor for the CWSE for 17 years. In this role, she visited other college and university social work departments that were seeking accreditation.

“I was chosen for [the council] because I’m lucky enough to be at an all-women’s institution,” Kominkiewicz said. “The council saw Saint Mary’s as strong in terms of understanding women’s issues.

“It’s a perfect time to bring me into the council with all the experience I have had with CSWE as a site visitor and as someone who knows women’s issues, and [my] research is focused on women mentoring women.”

Kominkiewicz sees her appointment on the council as complementary to her work in the classroom.

“I’ve used classroom material in what I’m doing in my work at the council,” she said. “Teaching the ‘Women’s Voices’ course and gender and women’s studies are very applicable to social work education.

“I am able to relay how our students learn so strongly in a women’s institution and give them my experiences in what I’m learning from my students.”

The focus has shifted in her curriculum since her appointment to the council, Kominkiewicz said.

“I’m focusing more on what we are doing differently here at Saint Mary’s, how we are able to learn differently in an all women’s institution and bringing those to the council so other institutions can see what we’re doing that’s so strong,” she said.

Kominkiewicz said she is incredibly proud of the work being done at Saint Mary’s regarding her research topic of women mentoring women. In 2011, the Saint Mary’s social work department received 100 percent national accreditation from CWSE.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s website, the accreditation recognition process involves not only filing an application with the U. S. Department of Education, but also undergoing a review by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which makes a recommendation to the Secretary of Education regarding recognition.

Kominkiewicz said the accreditation of the department wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the community.

“It was a collaborative effort,” she said. “We all worked together, [President] Carol Mooney and [College Provost] Patricia Fleming, to receive a prestigious award.

“We had that support and trust among each other and that makes a big difference to be able to receive 100 percent accreditation.”

Kominkiewicz said graduates of the Saint Mary’s social work department can receive a year of their Master’s credit in social work because of the 100-percent accreditation rating the department received.

Kominkiewicz said she’s certain the department and her classes will benefit from her council experience.

“I was so overjoyed to be chosen to do this, but I know there’s a reason why I got this role,” she said. “I accepted it right away because I thought this would work so well with what we are already doing at Saint Mary’s. We know how to strengthen women and respond to the needs of our community.”

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About Haleigh Ehmsen

A senior at Saint Mary's, Haleigh is majoring in Communication Studies and English Literature & Writing. She serves as the Saint Mary's editor and enjoys coffee, guacamole and good books.

Contact Haleigh