A History Of Social Work At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary -- By: Jeanine Cannon Bozeman

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 14:2 (Fall 2017)
Article: A History Of Social Work At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Author: Jeanine Cannon Bozeman


A History Of Social Work At New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Jeanine Cannon Bozeman

Jeanine Cannon Bozeman is senior professor of Social Work at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The celebration of the one hundred-year anniversary of the founding of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) will take place during the 2017-2018 academic year. In addition, the social work program wishes to celebrate our history within our beloved institution. This article is presented for that purpose.

Our program is indebted to C. Ferris Jordan, former chair of the Division of Christian Education Ministries at NOBTS, for the summation of the first social work feasibility study, which is incorporated into this history of social work at our institution. Jordan played a significant role in the development of the social work program at NOBTS by his contribution of articles, courses in gerontology, and encouragement to professors and students prior to his death in 2014.

The social work program at NOBTS began in 1954. The program was placed in the School of Religious Education under Dean John M. Price Jr. Allegra Lapraire, the director of the Sellers Home for Unwed Mothers, a Home Mission Board agency in New Orleans, served as tutor in social work from 1954 to 1956. She held the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.

In 1956, Margaret Leverett was employed as tutor to teach social work in the School of Religious Education. Leverett served in that capacity until 1959, when she was promoted to instructor after earning the MSW degree. She advanced to assistant professor of Social Work for the 1961-1962 academic year and continued to teach courses in social work while pursuing the Doctor of Religious Education degree, which she received in January 1965. The subject of her dissertation was the Good Will Centers in New Orleans.1

While tutors were teaching social work courses, two courses were offered at the seminary: Social Case Work and Good Will Center Work. The curriculum was expanded to seven courses in the 1956-1957 academic year following Leverett’s full-time appointment to the faculty. Further expansions in the social work curriculum within the Master of Religious Education (MRE) degree program continued through the 1960s and 1970s. The 1956-1960 catalog noted an agreement between the Tulane University School of Social Work permitting students to enroll in degree programs at each institution and pursue the MRE and the MSW degrees in three- to four-year tracks. Advanced seminars in social work in the religious education doctoral program were included in the 1...

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