Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University!

Social work is a major component of America’s health, mental health and social services. Social workers combat many of America’s greatest social problems in addictions, child welfare, disaster relief, gerontology, health, labor readiness training, mental health, the military, prisons, schools, seniors’ clinics, veterans’ affairs and other areas of human distress. The country’s 650,000 social workers are the mainstay of emergency, psychotherapeutic, and preventative services in public, private, and voluntary sector organizations.

Indeed, there are more clinically trained social workers in our country than there are psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses, combined. The Department of Labor describes social work as one of the country’s fastest-growing disciplines, with an anticipated 16% increase of personnel this decade.  That means the state of Florida, specifically, has a significant need for social work graduates.

Since 1970, the Sandler School of Social Work has provided well-regarded, highly sought academic degrees. Students are attracted to our programs because of the ethical, practice-relevant rigor with which our graduates are prepared for employment. With more than 700 declared Social Work majors, our Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is the largest in the state of Florida. The Master of Social Work (MSW) program, inaugurated in 2000, graduated its 1,000thgraduate in 2016. Our BSW and MSW graduates are nationally renowned for their depth of clinical expertise and are in great demand as senior practitioners and health, mental health and human service leaders.

In 2016, we launched our Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) program, the first in the state of Florida. In 2019, we graduated the inaugural cohort, which included seven clinical scholars that can speak to the various needs in our communities and be leaders in the field of clinical supervision, social work education and practice-oriented research.

The Sandler School of Social Work employs 33 faculty and 28 adjunct instructors, as well as 802 active field education instructors across 229 agency settings in six Florida counties. All are deeply committed to graduating the high-quality professionals for which we have become nationally prominent. In addition, our research faculty produce cutting-edge scholarship that is brought back into the classroom and which transforms professional practice, continuously seeking the most cost-effective, ethical and humane means of addressing some of the most significant social problems our society confronts.

We look forward to your association with our School as a student, alumni, community partner – or all three. The most important decision our School makes is to admit excellent students, and the most important activities lead to the graduation of excellent students.

We would like YOU to be a part of our future. We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to call, write or stop by for a visit.


Heather Thompson, Ph.D. LCSW

Heather Thompson, Ph.D.
Interim Director