Broward Faculty Member of the Year

Cindy Sterne, Adjunct Instructor in the School of Social Work, was recently recognized as the Broward “Faculty Member of the Year”.

The Broward Achievement Awards Luncheon was hosted by Student Affairs and Broward Campus Administration on March 30, 2018.

Congratulations, Cindy!

Meet our Student of the Year

Congratulations to Kimberley Small, winner of the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work Student of the Year Award!

“Kimberley is a powerhouse,” said Joy McClellan, MSW Program Coordinator and Instructor at the School.

“She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work as well as neuroscience, was awarded advanced standing admission to the MSW program, and was awarded one of our highly competitive Provost Fellowships, enabling her to engage in research with the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health here on campus. That’s all in addition to working with the Social Work Honor’s Society, Phi Alpha, to provide a job fair and a leadership seminar for her fellow classmates,” McClellan continued.

According to Sara Dochterman, program coordinator for the School’s Professional Development division and School Instructor, Kimberley’s name appears with virtually every student-led project.

“Persistent and dedicated, Kimberley lives the values and ethics of social work,” Dochterman said. “In the classroom, she shines as one who strives to master the information and skills offered, and stands for her classmates to do the same. She is a powerful force ready to make a difference!”

Look out, world – Kimberley has a promising career ahead, and we look forward to watching it unfold.

Applause All Around – Student Research Project Presentations

Our students put countless hours of hard work into these fascinating – and extremely timely – research projects. It was extremely rewarding to hear them talk through their findings and insights. Victoria, Yve, and Haidee, thank you for your efforts. You make us all immensely proud.

Victoria Arcay and Yve Lopes, both bachelor’s students in the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, presented findings of their research project, Effects of Nonpharmacological Intervention in Older Adults With Dementia, at the 8th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Haidee Cano, a master’s student, presented her project, Yo Tambien Importo: How Empowerment Groups Assist Undocumented Survivors of Gender-Based Violence, at the 2018 Latino Social Workers Conference at the University of Washington School of Social Work.

FAU Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work Offers Condolences To The Victims of the Parkland Tragedy

Heartbroken and in deep sorrow, the faculty, staff and students at The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work stand alongside of the students, teachers, families, first responders, law enforcement officers, friends of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and the Broward County community, as we mourn the lives of the victims of this horrific and senseless act of violence. As social workers, we will engage in actions to ensure that we assist and support those who were impacted by this tragedy. We will bring the strength and resiliency that our community sorely needs. We must focus all our energy, efforts, studies, training, and our life on not merely ending violence, but fostering harmony and connectedness among one another and instilling hope at times when hopelessness inundates our communities. In this time of crisis, let us commit ourselves to our calling to serve others and improve lives.  We will work alongside our community and take all necessary actions to restore hope and make it a safer and more equitable place.  FAU students who feel distressed or in need of emotional support can contact FAU counseling services at 561-297-3540.

Naelys Luna, Ph.D.
Director and Professor
Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work

FAU’S School of Social Work Celebrates 1000th Graduate


Florida Atlantic University’s Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry recently celebrated Shanekia Calbert as its 1,000thgraduate of the Master of Social Work program.

The Master of Social Work program was launched in 2000 and currently has 296 students enrolled in the program. Graduates are nationally renowned for the depth of their clinical expertise, and are in great demand as senior practitioners and health, mental health, and human service leaders.

Prior to her graduation, Calbert received two job offers and has accepted a position through her internship as a clinical therapist at Family Unity, an agency devoted to providing high quality services to children and families.

“The difference between interest and commitment is when you’re interested in doing something you do it only when it is convenient, but when you are committed to something, you accept no excuses only results,” said Calbert.

Calbert will assist several families who are involved in the foster care system that require specialized behavioral health services, an area she studied while earning a child welfare certificate from FAU’s Child Welfare Institute.

“We are thrilled to graduate our 1,000th Master in Social Work student,” said Naelys Luna, director of the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work. “Our graduates are highly trained and committed clinical social workers dedicated to making a fundamental difference in the lives of people they serve in our communities.”

Phyllis & Harvey Sandler Donate $7M to School of Social Work


Florida Atlantic University today announced a $7 million gift from longtime benefactors Phyllis and Harvey Sandler to name The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work within the College for Design and Social Inquiry.

“I am extremely passionate about improving the well-being of all, especially the lives of the students and faculty at Florida Atlantic University,” said Phyllis Sandler.

The gift also will establish two new Centers within The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work – the Robin Rubin Mindfulness and Wellness Center and the Substance Misuse, Mental Health and Research Center. A portion of the gift will go toward renovations to the College for Design and Social Inquiry.

“We are extremely grateful to Phyllis and Harvey Sandler for this transformational gift,” said FAU President John Kelly. “The Sandlers understand that social work plays a major role in America’s mental health and social services. Their generosity will help grow our program in remarkable ways and support some of the best and brightest students in the field.”

FAU began its relationship with the Sandler family more than 10 years ago when Phyllis and Harvey’s daughters, Robin Rubin and Amy Ross, decided to go back to school to earn their degrees in social work. Both graduated with honors, and Rubin went on to earn her master’s degree, teach part-time at FAU’s School of Social Work, as well as assemble the School’s first Social Work Community Advisory Board.

“This gift will give for generations to come,” said Wesley Hawkins, Ph.D., dean of the College for Design and Social Inquiry. “Because of the enormous generosity of Phyllis and Harvey Sandler, social work students and faculty can now more fully address the social issues that have plagued our society for centuries – substance misuse, child abuse, health care, suicide, depression – the list goes on and on. The impact and ripple effect of this gift is enormous for helping those in need in our communities for years to come. I am thrilled and very grateful to now call our school: the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work.”

For the past five years, the FAU School of Social Work’s Community Advisory Board, populated by some of Boca Raton’s most prominent community leaders, has highlighted the importance of the social work program at FAU and its impact on the local community. Because of this, FAU’s Phyllis Sandler Heart of Social Work annual fundraiser was created for the social work program and its students.

“It feels so good to give back,” said Harvey Sandler. “It’s important to make investments in your community and take pride in where you live.”

Phyllis and Harvey Sandler have a long history of philanthropic efforts in the community. Together they have named the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Pavilion at the Lynn Cancer Center and The Phyllis Sandler Center for Living Well at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital. They also named and endowed The Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Center for Jewish Life Enhancement at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community  Center. The Sandlers are also one of the largest contributors to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and created the organization’s Sandler Family Major Gifts annual event.

“Naming the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work reflects the incredible generosity of the Sandler family and their commitment to making an impact in the lives of thousands of people,” said Naelys Luna, Ph.D., director of FAU’s School of Social Work. “This is an unprecedented gift that will allow us to develop and fund programs, scholarships and research placing our school as a national leader in social work. This gift will also provide the foundation for continuous academic excellence and remarkable growth preparing some of the most dedicated and committed social work students.”

Because of the Sandler family’s close relationship with Barbara and Dick Schmidt, an additional gift of $250,000 will be given to name the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Student Athlete Lounge within the Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence. The Complex will play a central role in elevating FAU’s academic standing and will benefit students in all academic programs, including those not associated with athletic programs.


Job Announcements


The School of Social Work does not have any open positions at this time.

For social work job opportunities in South Florida posted for outside agencies please visit our Facebook page.



FAU Sick Leave Study

FAU Sick Leave Study

Dr. LeaAnne DeRigne’s (Associate Professor of Social Work) recent research on the importance of paid sick leave benefits was published in the April issue of Health Affairs and has received wide press coverage and is being cited around the country by policy makers, lobbyists, and advocates pushing cities and states to mandate sick leave coverage. This is a wonderful example of research having an impact on real world policy changes.

Key findings from the study, which are representative of the nation, showed that regardless of income, age, race, occupation, full-time or part-time work status, health status or health insurance coverage, workers without paid sick leave were three times more likely to delay medical care than were workers with paid sick leave. They also were three times more likely to forgo needed medical care altogether. Furthermore, families of workers without paid sick leave were two times more likely to delay medical care and 1.6 times more likely to forgo needed medical care. The lowest-income group of workers without paid sick leave were at the highest risk of delaying and forgoing medical care for themselves and their family members — making the most financially vulnerable workers the least likely to be able to address health care concerns in a timely manner.

Link to Forbes Article

Link to streaming interview on The Kathleen Dunn Show

Link to FAU Press Release