Dr. Elise Fullmer has joined West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences as director of the School of Social Work. She will begin her duties July 1.

Dr. Fullmer joins WVU from Radford University, where she was director of the Waldron College of Health and Human Services. She has also served in academic leadership positions in social work programs at Spalding University, Murray State University, and UNC-Charlotte and was a practicing social worker in Utah and New York. Her research focuses on disenfranchised groups, including people with developmental disabilities and issues related to aging in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities.

Robert Jones, dean of Eberly College, was “impressed by Dr. Fullmer’s vision for the future of social work nationally and in West Virginia. Her experiences and commitment to make a difference are substantial, and will no doubt lead to success in her new role.”

Fullmer succeeds Dr. Christopher Plein, interim director of the School of Social Work, who will return to his faculty role in the Department of Public Administration.

“Dr. Fullmer is joining the School of Social Work at an important stage in its development,” Plein said. “We look forward to her leadership contributions in helping build on a platform of success to further enhance our research, teaching, and service missions.”

Fullmer earned her doctorate in social work from the State University of New York at Albany, a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Utah.

“I am very pleased to join WVU as the director of the School of Social Work,” Fullmer said. “The school is a vibrant unit within the University and the state.”

It’s an exciting time to be a social work educator and social worker, Fullmer said, because of the major civil rights issues being decided in the Supreme Court and the public discussion and debate that surround the issues.

“Whatever the outcome, social workers will play a part in championing civil rights,” Fullmer said. “With the many social problems facing our nation and the world it is incumbent on social workers to be an integral part of developing best practices in order that we can deal effectively with issues such as poverty, substance abuse, aging and child welfare, as examples. I look forward to working with my colleagues at the University and with community constituents as we work together on a variety of initiatives.”

WVU is the only institution in the state’s higher education community offering an accredited Master of Social Work program and is nationally recognized in the area of rural social work practice and nonprofit management. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is home to approximately 450 students, 260 of which are graduate students. It has been continually accredited since 1942.



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