Wednesday, July 3, 2019

By Victoria Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY , TEXAS – UTRGV will offer a new graduate certificate in the School of Social Work aimed at enhancing sustainable community health in the field.

This certificate will be available starting with the 2019 Summer II semester.

The 12-credit hour graduate certificate consists of four courses in social work: three core courses required of all social work graduate students, and students have the choice of one elective to complete their certificate program.

The approved course options are:

· Advanced Macro Assessment.

· Advanced Social Work Practice with Organization.

· Advanced Social Work Practice with Communities.

· Natural Environment and Human Well-Being.

· Community-Based Participatory Research.


Dr. Catherine Faver, UTRGV professor of social work, said the certificate is aimed at any social work graduate students looking to expand their skills in advancing social, economic and environmental justice.

“This certificate maps perfectly with the sustainability model because it focuses on economic security, social equity and environmental health,” Faver said. “It fits perfectly with what social workers do and what our School of Social Work is mandated to teach.”

Sustainability has become a global language, Faver said, and using this model will help students attain skills in interdisciplinary collaboration.

“We want students pursuing this certificate to be prepared to work in an interdisciplinary team to use the sustainability perspective to address these problems,” Faver said.

She believes the sustainability perspective is the only effective way to address local and global problems alike.

“If you only promote one component, then the solution in the long term won’t work,” she said. “It will break down.”

The answer is to look for solutions that take everything into account.

“The sustainability perspective fits well with the traditional social work perspective of enhancing human well-being, because it is a holistic way of enhancing human well-being,” Faver said.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.