The professional papers of a long-serving and impactful Louisville legislator are set to become a part of the archives of the Spalding University Library and School of Social Work.

Retired Kentucky state Rep. Jim Wayne, who served the 35th House District in Frankfort from 1990 to 2019 and who is also a mental health professional trained in social work, is donating a trove of his legislative papers,  news clippings and other archives to Spalding in order to make them a public resource and historical reference for research into lawmaking, politics, community organizing, social work and social policy.

Wayne, 73, will introduce the collection during a free, public lecture 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, in the Spalding Library Lecture Lounge, 853 Library Lane. Co-sponsored by the Library and the School of Social Work, Wayne’s lecture is titled, “Against the Grain: The Social Worker in a Broken World.” Any social worker who attends the lecture will be eligible for one continuing education unit (CEU) toward their professional development.

The Spalding collection of Wayne’s papers spans from 1975, when he was a legislative aide in Washington, D.C., working on climate policy, to his retirement from the Kentucky General Assembly. Wayne said all told, he provided Spalding with about 10 boxes of files, plus a number of flash drives.

A friend of Wayne’s who had organized his own writings and archives told Wayne that it’s important to preserve and share one’s life’s work, especially when that work has impacted the public, because it provides historical context for future generations of what life was like, the successes and struggles that took place and how things were or were not resolved.

“It dawned on me that with all these things I had in my file cabinets in Frankfort and some of the things I had in boxes, ‘Perhaps (that friend) is right,'” Wayne said. “Perhaps someone is doing work on social policy and would like to understand how certain projects were undertaken, how coalitions were built, what negotiations were required, who the protagonists were and how things eventually moved  ahead.”

The archive has a range of public information regarding Wayne’s career that was collected by the Legislative Research Commission. That includes legislative committee transcripts and testimony, floor and committee speeches, and the text of bill signings. There are video copies of Wayne’s appearances on KET programs such as “Kentucky Tonight,” and clippings of his Courier-Journal op-eds, including ones regarding the 1980s and ’90s expansion of the Louisville regional airport and the impact it had on residents in neighborhoods surrounding the airport.

Wayne said the archive could serve as a source for research on issues and projects in which he’d played a key role, including state tax reform, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the strengthening of laws to protect against child sex abuse.

Viewers can also review examples of political materials from over the years, including clippings of newspaper endorsements he received.

“I think there are even a few yard signs in there,” Wayne said.

Wayne’s papers will be housed in the Spalding Library Archives at 853 Library Lane, and can be viewed in person. Contact [email protected] to make an appointment. The staff is also beginning to digitize the collection so that it will accessible online through the Kentucky Digital Library online database.

Wayne said he is pleased that his papers will be housed at Spalding, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in fiction writing. In addition, in 2018, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Spalding during a celebration hosted by the School of Social Work.

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure presents framed honorary doctorate diploma to Rep. Jim Wayne
Jim Wayne received an honorary doctorate for public service from Spalding President Tori Murden McClure and the School of Social Work in 2018.

“I love Spalding,” Wayne said. “I really feel like a part of the community there, and I think President Tori Murden McClure is really doing an amazing job of understanding how that university needs to serve the vulnerable and the marginalized in our city. The School of Social Work is a really fine school of social work, and I think the faculty at the School of Social Work will understand how to use this collection.”

In addition to his legislative career, Wayne is President and Founder of the Wayne Corporation, which provides Employee Assistance Programs to a range of businesses, hospitals and schools. Wayne also holds master’s degrees in social work and theology.

Two leaders in Spalding’s School of Social Work – Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron and Undergraduate Education Director Dr. Stacy Deck – said Wayne and his work made a lasting impression on them while they students preparing for their careers.

Cambron said Wayne played a pivotal role in her decision to become a social worker. After her mother went to work part-time at Wayne’s firm, Shannon Cambron met with Wayne at her mother’s request. At the time, Cambron had been struggling with choosing the right path for her graduate work.

“I knew I wanted to be a clinician,” she said, “but I also knew that doing that work from a lens of justice and liberation was important to me. I honestly didn’t know that social work could provide that path until I met with Jim. He was gracious and inspiring, and I left his office confident I had found my life’s work. Having the artifacts of his work on Spalding’s campus is a testament to the his legacy of advocacy and change on the personal and community level.”

Deck said that as a graduate student in the 1990s, she drove to Frankfort and “camped out” in an LRC office to review hard copies of Wayne’s legislative work on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund as background for a policy analysis assignment.

“I am delighted that information like that will now be easily accessible via Spalding University’s online archives of Representative Wayne’s papers,” Deck said. “In the same way that the Affordable Housing Trust Fund remains a lasting legacy of Representative Wayne’s social justice work, documentation of the process for achieving that legislative victory will now be available as a guide and inspiration to continue this important work.”


Mayor Greg Fischer today joined partners from Spalding University’s School of Social Work, the University of Louisville and Seven Counties Services on Wednesday to announce plans for a pilot program to deflect a number of 911 calls to a non-police response “focused on problem-solving, de-escalation and referral to appropriate community services.”

The pilot, recommended in a report from the UofL ’s Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky (CIK), will initially be limited to crisis intervention 911 calls from LMPD’s Fourth Division. It is the product of research and collaboration by the partners, including the School of Social Work, in the Diversion Options: Voice and Empowerment (DOVE) Delegates, announced in May. The recommended pilot involves establishing:

  •  A Behavioral Health Hub, with health crisis interventionists integrated in the MetroSafe 911 call center. Call takers would direct certain crisis intervention calls to a trained interventionist, who would help further triage the crisis to determine whether it could be de-escalated over the phone, if the person in crisis would benefit from a mobile response, or if the scenario called for an LMPD response due to safety concerns. Their mission would be “to assist persons in crisis and first responders by providing empathy, connection, de-escalation, and linkage to the right-sized care,” the report says.
  • A mobile response unit consisting of trained crisis interventionists to “rapidly respond, effectively screen and assist persons in crisis in accessing the appropriate level of care.”
  • A 24-hour “community respite center,” a fully staffed safe place where individuals can stay for up to 24 hours when connected by the mobile response team. There, qualified mental health and substance use professionals will provide evaluations and connect individuals to needed services and resources, beyond what the mobile response team can provide onsite.

*Overview | BSSW | MSW | DSW
*Faculty bios
*Related: School of Social Work collaborating on 911 alternative response model

The research team recommended the pilot be centered in LMPD’s Fourth Division because of its high number of Crisis Intervention-related calls, an average of 11.63 events each day.

“Our team has been grateful for the opportunity to partner with the community to build a better way of addressing a public health crisis,” said Susan Buchino, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences and Assistance Director of the Commonwealth Institute of Kentucky. “Our research has allowed us to examine what other communities have done, while being intentional about listening to the unique needs of our own community. The one thing emphasized by other cities is that it is best to start small, learn from the community what’s working and what needs to change, and then refine the process before scaling it.”

Now that the report has been shared, the Mayor said, UofL, Seven Counties Services and other partners will begin to work to implement the plan, with UofL’s stated goal of beginning the pilot in December.

In announcing a nearly $5 million investment in deflection and diversion programs as part of the FY22 budget, Mayor Fischer noted that “some situations are best served by a social service response, particularly when dealing with people living with  homelessness, mental health challenges or substance use.”

Today, he said, “By quadrupling our investment in violence prevention and capacity-building programs, including in deflection and diversion, we are acting on our shared goal of creating a safe city with fewer arrests and less incarceration for those who qualify for alternative programs. I appreciate the hard work of the University team to move us closer to that goal.”

Louisville Metro Government contracted with CIK to draft the report and to give recommendations on implementation of the pilot, as part of Mayor Fischer’s plan for reimagining public safety with an emphasis on the whole-of-government and whole-of-city approach.

In its Alternative Responder Model report recommending and outlining the pilot model, the UofL team acknowledged the national debate around public safety, and cites “a pattern in which law enforcement has become a default response in crisis calls, even when the crisis may be a civil issue or one best resolved by health care or social services.

“Even the officers themselves – in Louisville and elsewhere – admit they are asked to do too much, often without the best tools for serving the person in crisis, especially when it is a behavioral health need,” the report continues.

The report is the result of seven months of study by CIK and a multidisciplinary team consisting of the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities; Spalding’s School of Social Work; Seven Counties Services (SCS); and community members, charged with assessing the feasibility and development of an alternative response model that appropriately meets the need of Louisville’s residents.

“Spalding’s School of Social Work is proud to be involved in this vital, community-focused work to develop a deflection and diversion model for Louisville,” said Dr. Shannon Cambron, Chair of the Spalding University School of Social Work. “This is a critical moment for our community. We have a unique opportunity to finally get this right, to stop doing the same thing yet expecting something different. These issues are generations in the making, and addressing them is not short-term work. By starting small and strategically scaling up, by centering the work in the community and empowering the community to hold us accountable, long-term solutions are not only possible but probable and sustainable.”

“As the region’s leading provider of mental health services, Seven Counties Services is well positioned for this community partnership to help our neighbors in crisis who need mental health treatment or other social services as opposed to a police response,” said Abby Drane, President & CEO of Seven Counties Services / Bellewood & Brooklawn. “We are hopeful that this deflection program will best serve our neighbors and aid in the effort to modernize public safety for the Louisville Metro area. This plan will provide a more streamlined path to critical services for those with a mental health or addiction crisis.”

Their work included a review of police deflection activities in other U.S. communities; a series of interviews and focus groups with community members, behavioral health providers, and Metro Government leaders, as well as observations of Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) responses to 911 calls that could potentially be deflected and activities in the MetroSafe 911 Call Center, and an extensive review of MetroSafe 911 data.

The team also engaged with a Community Advisory/Accountability Board, which has met routinely since April to provide oversight and recommendations to the team’s research and planning – and effort to enhance community ownership and sustainability for the new program.

The report stresses that continual evaluation of the program is key, and that expansion beyond the pilot phase should occur “in phases that allow researchers to evaluate implementation and outcome and identify areas of improvement and success.”

A recent report from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has identified Spalding University’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program as a high-achieving academic program that prepares underrepresented minority (URM) students for high-demand occupations with earnings that match or exceed their peers.  Based on analysis of statewide data, Spalding’s BSSW program was one of five programs with the highest ratios of Bachelor’s-level URM to non-URM post-graduation wages.

“This honor really speaks to the extraordinary commitment of our students and the faculty that join them on their journey to becoming exemplary social workers,” Dr. Shannon Cambron, Chair of Spalding’s School of Social Work, said. “Social work is necessary, difficult, relentless, even sacred work and the students who chose Spalding do so because they want to be pushed to be their best in a place where they are fully known, fully supported, and fully valued. I’m in awe of them, and I know I’m a better social worker, educator, and leader because of them!”

The report, “Analysis on Workforce Preparedness and Early Career Outcomes for Underrepresented Minority and Low-Income Status Students in Kentucky,” identified 29 baccalaureate, associate and certificate/diploma degree programs that prepare URM and low-income students for successful careers with equitable earnings.

The CPE analysis shows that in most cases, low-income and URM graduates from these degree programs earned higher wages than their peers.  Findings were based on earnings data one year following graduation from over 140,000 Kentucky graduates between 2008-2020.

“The School of Social Work is dedicated to meeting the needs of the times and achieving racial and economic equity,” Dr. Stacy Deck, Director of Undergraduate Education in the School of Social Work, said. “We are delighted to be recognized as a model program in the state and excited to consider the positive impact our graduates will have on their communities as professional social workers.”

Overview | Faculty bios | Graduate and pursue an MSW
Recent outstanding grads:  Jaz’myne Ware | Kristen Garren 

Noting decades of research on inequity for low-income and URM students in education attainment and earnings, CPE sought to learn more about best practices that foster student success.  CPE focus groups with faculty, staff, and students from the high-achieving degree programs, identified 10 recommendations to improve equitable career outcomes for URM and low-income students, including:

  • Foster a culture of care and trust.
  • Focus on employability, adopting the mindset “their success is our success.”
  • Engage employers in the instruction process.
  • Improve faculty/staff awareness of unique student needs and adapt to shifting concerns.
  • Guide underrepresented students into high-demand occupations.
  • Improve student financial literacy and awareness of resources.
  • Eliminate gaps in career counseling.
  • Provide accessible networking opportunities.
  • Encourage career-focused discussions within social groups.
  • Advance cultural diversity on campus.

A common theme across focus groups was that a “person-centered and career-focused environment” fosters early-career success.  The Spalding BSSW Program embraces key practices identified in the report including pairing high expectations with affirmation and intentional strategies for customized support.  A low student-to-faculty ratio allows for individual relationship-building and responsiveness to student needs.

The Spalding BSSW program, which is currently accepting applications and which plans to add a spring admission opportunity for the first time in January 2022, also focuses on supporting students from college to career.  Career advisement and employability skill-building begin in the first semester and continue through the senior year practicum placement, which offers 450 hours of direct experience in supervised social work practice in a community agency.  As students enter their final semester, they receive guidance on career plans relating to licensure, enrolling in graduate school, and/or pursuing a new job or promotion.  Support from Spalding’s Career Development Center is available to all alumni, and graduates are encouraged to remain connected to Spalding by supervising practicum students, serving as a mentor, and engaging in other forms of service and connection.

Practicing social workers are regulars in the classroom as guest lecturers and panelists, and they assist with skills practice, resume review, mock interviews, and other forms of professional role modeling.  The School of Social Work is also actively recruiting area employers to participate in Workforce Partnerships that cultivate a college-to-career pathway by investing in employees who enroll in Spalding’s BSSW and MSW programs.  Employees of these partner agencies are eligible for a tuition discount.

“The faculty in the Spalding Bachelor of Science in Social Work program are preparing students from all backgrounds for well-paying careers,” said Matthew Vetter, an author of the CPE report. “The best practices in teaching and advising they have put in place provide equitable opportunities for historically underrepresented students to succeed.

“The ability of Spalding’s BSSW program to place underrepresented minority graduates into well-paying jobs strengthens the overall impact of the program on the community. The program models the type of change needed to create a more diverse and equitably paid workforce.”

The CPE report notes that “URM and low-income graduates entering into high-demand occupations appear more likely to overcome structural barriers and more likely to access high-paying jobs.”

With overall employment of social workers projected to grow 12% from 2020 to 2030 (faster than the average for all occupations), this is an ideal time to consider a degree in social work. Individuals who would like to learn more are invited to visit the School of Social Work’s website ( and to attend an info session on Oct. 19 or Nov. 3.


Spalding University, which will begin Fall 2021 classes on Monday, has new faculty chairs leading two of its largest academic schools.

Dr. Svjetlana “Lana” Watson, previously a member of the nursing faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, is the new Chair of the Spalding University School of Nursing, and Dr. Sara Story has been promoted to the position of Chair of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, where she is a longtime faculty member.

Both Watson and Story officially started their new positions on July 1. They also both hold the title of Associate Professor at Spalding.

Dr. Watson, who will oversee all of Spalding’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, spent the past five years as director of the traditional and accelerated tracks of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at IUPUC. There, she developed innovative models for clinical placements and enhancing preceptor training.

Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair
Dr. Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair

“I am excited to join the long tradition of nursing education at Spalding University,” Dr. Watson said. “I feel I was called to accept this position because of Spalding’s dedication to service and its strong relationship with the community it serves. My previous work included growing healthcare access in underserved rural areas through retention efforts of new nurse graduates. Spalding’s strong service focus closely aligns with my personal beliefs and education philosophy. As an educator, I am student-centered and believe with appropriate student support, success is within reach for every student. Growing and improving the program will be my first priority.”

Dr. Watson earned the degrees of BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice from Indiana Wesleyan University. She also taught on the nursing faculty of Spencerian College

Dr. Story has been a full-time member of the Spalding occupational therapy faculty since 2013. She is a Spalding alumna who earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership from the university. She also holds an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) from the University of St. Augustine.

Dr. Story will oversee Spalding’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate programs, which are among the largest graduate programs on campus, as well as its certificate program in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. In addition, the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center, also known as enTECH, is a division of ASOT that is under Story’s leadership.

Sara Story
Dr. Sara Story, Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Chair

Dr. Story enjoys using 3D printing to develop inexpensive assistive technology devices that aid clients of all ages in carrying out everyday tasks. Dr. Story is board-certified in gerontology through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Like Watson, Dr. Story is also an accomplished scholar and researcher who frequently presents at professional conferences and publishes scholarly articles.

“I am excited and honored to serve as Chair of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy at Spalding and to take on this leadership role with such a dynamic faculty,” Dr. Story said. “Spalding is my alma mater, and ASOT has been a leader in occupational therapy education and research for years in this region, preparing hundreds of skilled, compassionate therapists. I am proud to work with devoted faculty who inspire students to grow and continue Spalding’s mission to meet the needs of the times.”

Dillon named Communication Interim Chair: Spalding also announces that Dr. Pattie Dillon, who is the Chair of the School of Liberal Studies, will also serve as Interim Chair of the School of Communication for the 2021-22 academic year. Dillon is a professor of history who has served as Faculty Senate President and Faculty Trustee.


In addition to the new Chairs, Spalding has had three faculty members step into new leadership roles as academic program directors for the 2021-22 academic year.

They are: Dr. Leslie Cairo, who will direct the Master of Social Work program; Dr. Nikki Jones, Doctor of Social Work program; and Professor Charles Maynard, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.


Spalding University has once again received a grant of more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support advanced-level psychology and social work students who provide behavioral health services in integrated primary care settings in medically underserved areas of Louisville.

The $1,048,827 grant, which comes via the federal Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program, will fund stipends over four years to Spalding students pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) or a master’s degree in social work (MSW). It continues BHWET support that Spalding has received since 2017 through the university’s Interdisciplinary Behavioral Health Scholars Program. The stipends assist in the recruitment and retention of future behavioral health professionals who do their training work in medically underserved areas.

Over the four-year cycle, a total of 36 Spalding PsyD and MSW students will provide assessments, counseling, addiction therapy and a range of other services at five Louisville health and wellness sites that also provide primary medical care. In addition to providing in-person services, the program aims to train students in and familiarize patients with the use of telehealth.

Program Overviews – BSSW | MSW | DSW
Social work faculty bios

The practicum and fieldwork sites partnering with Spalding are Family Health Centers’ Iroquois, Portland and Southwest branches; the Shawnee Christian Healthcare Center; and the Smoketown Family Wellness Center. These sites also provide pediatric services and support at-risk youth, which is a focus of the Spalding program. The sites are located in parts of the community that have a shortage of behavioral health providers.

Program Overviews | BA in Psychology | PsyD
Psychology faculty bios
Explore the PsyD program

School of Professional Psychology Professor Dr. Steve Katsikas, who will continue to direct the project on behalf of Spalding, said the university’s HRSA BHWET grant “represents an incredible investment in the future workforce that will have immediate and long-term benefits to Louisville and surrounding areas.”

“The majority of health conditions that impact people have a behavioral component, including smoking, diabetes, asthma, substance misuse, COPD, obesity and chronic pain,” Katsikas said. “Professionals working as a part of an integrated team can help prevent or address these and other concerns in a setting that is accessible and familiar to patients. We are thrilled to be able to support these students in their training and bring healing and help to our community.”

School of Professional Psychology Chair Dr. Brenda Nash said integrated primary care (IPC) settings are projected to be a “major avenue of practice for psychologists in the near future.” The training opportunities provided by the BHWET-supported project will make Spalding PsyD students more competitive for IPC internships and, ultimately, those emerging jobs, she said.

Spalding PsyD students selected for the program will receive $25,000 annual stipends, and MSW students will receive $10,000 stipends.

“The fact that we are able to train students in this model and provide grant-funded stipends to them is huge as it helps cut down students’ debt load as they are learning marketable skills,” Nash said. “We do everything we can to find opportunities and partnerships to help reduce students’ debt. We are thrilled and honored to have received the HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant for the second cycle in a row. It shows our commitment to training and supporting students, and it shows the confidence that HRSA has in us to train the next generation of psychologists.”

School of Social Work Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron called the grant “a game-changer for both our Master of Social Work students and the community they serve.”

“Students are given the opportunity to prepare for the work they’re called to in an interdisciplinary setting where they can holistically consider the needs and strengths of the client,” she said. “The tuition support means they graduate with far less financial burden, which opens more broadly their avenues of service to the community. This grant and those who participate in it are living examples of Spalding’s mission to meet the needs of the times. It’s an exciting reflection of what truly being a diverse community of learners can mean for the student, the university and the community.”

The HRSA grant also supports a faculty clinical coordinator and student supervisors. Dr. Sarah Shelton from the School of Professional Psychology will continue to serve as the clinical coordinator and PsyD supervisor. School of Social Work Assistant Professor Glynita Bell is the MSW supervisor.

Note: This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,048,827 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. government. For more information, please visit

Spalding’s Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award – one of the university’s two highest undergraduate honors – goes to a graduating student who has proven to be a “mature leader and member of the campus community.”

That description fits this year’s recipient, Kristen Garren, who by all accounts, has embodied maturity and determination while achieving overall excellence in completing her Bachelor of Science in Social Work.

Garren, a 45-year-old former transfer student, is set to begin a career in social work after earning a near-perfect GPA and earning high marks for her work in her practicum placement at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute.

A former teacher’s assistant and substitute teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools, Garren was a nine-time Dean’s List selection in accomplishing her longtime goal of getting her bachelor’s degree, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, including a sudden shift to all online classes. She also worked, including as a work-study in the Spalding Library, raised a 12-year-old son and helped him excel at virtual school, and coped with the difficulty of losing a parent and a classmate.

“I don’t want to cry, but (this degree) has been something I’ve been working toward and something I’ve always wanted,” said Garren, who received the Meagher Award at Commencement on Saturday, June 5. “Years ago, I started out and went to school, then I quit. I had kids and life and family and everything. It’s something I’ve always wanted. It’s always been a goal for me, nobody else. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for myself.”

Garren has helped plenty of people along the way, including during her meaningful practicum at Frazier Rehab, where she helped with case management for patients with spinal cord injuries and illnesses.

*Home page for info and links to ceremony replays and programs
*Bios of all university award winners
*Read President McClure’s Commencement address and top 10 list
*Tons of photos on Spalding’s Commencement Facebook album
*Graduate features and Q&As

Garren’s practicum supervisor praised her for her work ethic, kindness and empathy.

She helped arrange for patients to get durable medical equipment, including sometimes from the Project CARAT library of Spalding’s Kosair Charities enTECH assistive technology resource center. She helped answer patient questions about accessibility and care issues at their home and helped locate resources.


As a former education major, being in the hospital was a brand-new experience for Garren, and she said was proud that she succeeded and helped others in a fieldwork setting that was out of her comfort zone. On top of studying for her classes, she devoted time to learning medical terms and healthcare computer systems.

“I feel like I needed to do that to give them the best care,” she said. “Whether I was an intern or not and no matter how many hours I spent there, I wanted to make sure I could answer questions and be able to help them.”

Garren hopes to land a job as a social worker in a medical setting.  At Frazier and through her studies at Spalding, she has developed an understanding and appreciative for trauma-informed care.

“No matter what field of social work you go into, I think trauma-informed care is probably one of the biggest things we need to consider post-COVID,” said Garren, who earned a minor in addiction studies from Spalding.

Garren said she “can’t gush enough” about the support she received from the professors in the School of Social Work, who were flexible with students during the pandemic.

Garren said her cohort was a close-knit group who supported each other when a classmate passed away last year. Garren’s father also died in the past year.

The small class sizes and the supportive network were among Garren’s favorite aspects of the Spalding program. She envisions staying in touch with all her classmates and instructors and expects that they will be valuable resources to each other, offering perspectives from their respective social work specialties.

Garren said finishing at Spalding is bittersweet because she will miss the interactions with her classmates and teachers. She is eager to get in the social work workforce, but she expects that she’ll eventually come back for her Master of Social Work degree.

Commencement has represented a time for Garren to reflect on her accomplishments.

“Things happen and you may feel like you’re never going to be able to attain that degree that you always wanted because life kind of gets in the way,” she said. “Then you take a chance and you make lots of sacrifices. You end up telling people no to a lot of things because you have to write a paper, you have to study, you have to (prioritize) what’s most important, and it’s to get that degree. I made the choice to make it my priority, and I’m glad that I did.”

The stress of attending college during the pandemic and the national upheaval over racial injustice made for a heavy final year for Jaz’Myne Ware as a Bachelor of Science of Social Work student at Spalding University.

But Ware and her classmates persevered, celebrating the completion of their degree at Commencement on Saturday, June 5.

“All the hard work has paid off,” she said. “It’s been a lot of work.”

Through the struggle, Ware learned about herself and her desire to advocate for social change. She established herself as an exemplary student and student leader, and she was recognized at Commencement as the recipient of one of the university’s two highest undergraduate honors – the Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award.

“I really just support the belief that everyone deserves the right to happiness and dignity of self, no matter their nationality or gender identity or race or where they’re from,” Ware said. Over the past year, “I learned this is where I need to be. This is what I’m meant to do.”


During her undergraduate career, Ware was a seven-time Dean’s List selection who was praised by faculty and staff for her intellect, contributions to class discourse and involvement in campus organizations and activities. Additionally, she proudly became a participant in the demonstrations for racial justice that took place in downtown Louisville last year.

She said the fact that the protests often took place near Spalding’s campus was an “eye-opener,” especially as a social work student.

“When everything first happened last year, I kind of felt a calling to protest,” Ware said. “Instead of ignoring that – I was very nervous and anxious because it was my first time protesting – I took that big leap. That kind of opened me up a little bit because I’d seen how a community can come together. Seeing that power and feeling that energy really kind of fueled me and my social work side. I was like, ‘OK, people care. It’s just a matter of getting people out there.’”

*Home page for info and links to ceremony replays and programs
*Bios of all university award winners
*Read President McClure’s Commencement address and top 10 list
*Tons of photos on Spalding’s Commencement Facebook album
*Graduate features and Q&As

Spalding has truly been home to Ware, who has lived in the residence halls year-round for four years. She excelled as a work-study in the Spalding Library, and she was a leader in Spalding’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance student organization, among other leadership positions on campus.

Ware’s social work practicum at Family Scholar House, which supports single parents who are pursuing their educational and career goals, was so successful that it landed her a job with the organization as a case management specialist.

Ware plans to remain at Spalding through next year as a student in the Master of Social Work program. After gaining the one-on-one client experience at Family Scholar House, Ware said she would like to placed in a macro-level practicum in her master’s program.

Ware eventually hopes to work in development of low-income communities of color. She also wants to educate young people about the profession of social work and spread awareness about the need for more social workers as a way to bring about positive social change.

“At the heart of being a social worker is seeing problems, and one of my (CliftonStrengths themes) is restorative, so I see problems and want to fix them,” she said.

Ware said Commencement felt even more meaningful than usual this year because of what her BSSW cohort went through, including successfully adapting to three semesters of fully online classes. Tragically, her Class of 2021 was traumatized by the death of a classmate last year.

She was elected by her classmates to speak at Commencement on behalf of their cohort.

She said she was “really excited to show appreciation for everyone that, ‘You went through this, you got through this, and you’ll be OK.'”

Spalding safely returned to in-person Commencement activities Thursday-Saturday, June 3-5, 2021 in celebration of the classes of 2021 and 2020. For 2021, Spalding celebrated a total of 585 graduates who have earned or will earn bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. The number of graduates in 2020 was 486.

Spalding also honored five individuals for 2021 with the university’s highest awards for faculty, undergraduate students, and alumni. Two retiring faculty members were also honored with the designation of professor emeritus. Here is a rundown of those awards and honors:

BOARD OF TRUSTEES’ OUTSTANDING FACULTY AWARD – Dr. Donna Elkins, Professor, School of Communication

In addition to teaching a range of undergraduate communication courses at Spalding and being an outstanding instructor, Dr. Elkins has been an invaluable resource to her colleagues on the faculty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and as an expert in online and hybrid teaching, Dr. Elkins was instrumental in helping faculty who needed guidance in suddenly shifting their courses online at the onset of the pandemic. She conducted or arranged for multiple trainings for faculty and has been a constant, available resource over the past year.

Dr. Elkins’ helpfulness, compassion and positivity have earned her the admiration of her colleagues on the faculty, and she has helped build their confidence in learning new ways to teach.

In addition, Dr. Elkins teaches in the Master of Science in Business Communication program, chairs or serves on multiple important faculty committees on campus, and is a dedicated researcher and scholar who frequently presents at conferences and publishes journal articles.

*Home page for info and links to ceremony replays and programs
*Read President McClure’s Commencement address and top 10 list
*Tons of photos on Spalding’s Commencement Facebook album
*Graduate features and Q&As

Jaz'Myne Ware with Tori Murden McClure
Jaz’Myne Ware (blue), with President Tori Murden McClure, received the Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award.

MOTHER CATHERINE SPALDING SERVICE LEARNING AWARD – Jaz’Myne Ware, Bachelor of Science in Social Work

This award is presented to a graduating senior who embodies the spiritual values of faith, hope and charity, which emulate the university’s founder, Mother Catherine Spalding.  Ware was chosen for having made a mark on the Spalding community as well as the greater community of Louisville through her service, intellect, and passion for social justice.

Ware completed her senior practicum at Family Scholar House, contributing more than 460 hours of unpaid service in support of single parents and their children as the parents pursue their educational and career goals.

In addition, she has been a work-study in the Spalding Library and is heavily involved in campus organizations and activities.

Ware has been praised by faculty for her deep critical thinking and desire to make connections and integrate her classroom experiences. She made the Dean’s List seven times while maintaining an excellent GPA.

An advocate for equity and social justice, Ware participated in demonstrations last year in support of racial justice, and she is a leader in Spalding’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance student organization.

Ware has been described as, “cheerfully involved in everything, deeply giving of herself, and a strong advocate for those who have been underrepresented and historically oppressed.”

Ware’s long-term goal is to work in low-income communities of color. She also aspires to raise awareness about the need for social workers and improve young people’s understanding of social work, in order to grow the profession and foster systemic change.

Kristen Garren
Kristen Garren, recipient of the Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award

MOTHER ROSE MEAGHER SENIOR AWARD – Kristen Garren, Bachelor of Science in Social Work

The Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award is presented annually to a member of the senior class who has performed well academically and has a proven record as a mature leader and member of the campus community.

Garren was an exemplary student who earned high praise for the meaningful, diligent work she did during her senior practicum at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute. During 475 hours of unpaid service, she supported patients with spinal cord injuries and illnesses with their cases, helping them attain durable medical equipment and receive appropriate care.

Garren’s practicum supervisor described her as a joy to work with and someone who is kind, respectful and empathetic.

In having developed an understanding of trauma-informed care, Garren would like to pursue a career in social work in a medical setting, advocating for patients and families who are navigating the complex health care system. Her effectiveness in social work and understanding of others’ needs is deepened by her background teaching and working in public schools.

Ware, who also earned a minor in addiction studies, is a nine-time Dean’s List selection who has achieved a near-perfect GPA. She has been praised by faculty for her valuable contributions to class discourse.

Her professionalism, helpfulness and proactive approach as a work-study in the Spalding Library and at the enTECH assistive technology resource center have also been praised.

Spalding Alumna of the Year Vicki Hines Martin with Tori Murden McClure at Spalding Commencement
Caritas medalist Vicki Hines-Martin

CARITAS MEDAL (Alumna of the year No. 1) – Vicki Hines-Martin

At a time when the nation and world continue to celebrate the contributions of nurses during the pandemic, School of Nursing graduate Dr. Vicki Hines-Martin, who received the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1975) and Master of Arts in Education (1983) from Spalding, was one of two School of Nursing graduates this year to be presented with the Caritas Medal. It is considered the university’s highest honor.

An educator and researcher who is acclaimed for her work focused on health disparities, access to care and healthcare needs of minority populations, Hines-Martin serves as Associate Dean for the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s Office of Community Engagement and Diversity Inclusion, as well as Director of Community Outreach for the U of L Health Sciences Center’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Hines-Martin has been on the full-time faculty at U of L since 1998. She has also taught at the University of Kentucky, Indiana University Southeast and Jefferson Community and Technical College and served on a range of national journal editorial boards, advisory panels and peer review boards.

In addition, from 2019-20, she was President of the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, and she has served in a variety of roles since 1980 with the Kentucky Nurses Association, including Co-Director of the Kentucky Nurses Helping Nurses Project in 2020.

In addition to her Spalding degrees, Hines-Martin earned a PhD in Nursing from the University of Kentucky (1994) and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati.

Spalding Alumna of the Year Mary Romelfanger with Tori Murden McClure
Caritas medalist Mary Romelfanger 

CARITAS MEDAL (Alumna of the year No. 2) – Mary Romelfanger

The other School of Nursing graduate to be honored with the Caritas Medal was Mary Romelfanger (BSN, 1976), who has been a longtime leader, administrator and consultant in geriatric and senior care who recently became the Director of Operations for Hildegard House.

Romelfanger, who received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Spalding in 1976, has been a longtime leader, administrator and consultant in geriatric and senior care who recently became the Director of Operations for Hildegard House, Kentucky’s first and only comfort care home. Hildegard House provides a home and compassionate care for individuals at the end of life who have no home or loved ones to care for them so that they may die with dignity.

Romelfanger previously served as Associate Director for the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (2013-16), and she was Vice President for Clinical Services for Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky (2008-09). From 1994 to 2005, Romelfanger was Director of the U.S. Office of Health Services for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and before that she spent 14 years as Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Romelfanger’s civic service includes membership on the Board of Directors of ElderServe since 2016. She also served on the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Alzheimer’s and Dementia Workforce Assessment Task Force, the Kentucky Council on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the U of L Department of Family and Geriatrics Advisory Board and the Spalding School of Nursing Advisory Board.

She has recently served as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination volunteer.

DESIGNATION OF FACULTY EMERITUS – Dr. Joseph Maloney, Professor, School of Nursing

Maloney was one two retiring faculty members from the School of Nursing to be honored by the trustees, who deemed that they have left a lasting mark on the university by displaying an intense love of learning and teaching, a powerful dedication to their students and a strong loyalty to Spalding that will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

Maloney served and taught for 18 years in the School of Nursing. In recent years he has taught in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the areas of medical/surgical nursing and pharmacology. His tenure at Spalding followed a 27-year career in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. In addition to teaching, Dr. Maloney has published more than 30 scholarly articles.

Spalding Faculty Emeritus Brother Ignatius Perkins and Tori Murden McClure
Faculty Emeritus Brother Ignatius Perkins

DESIGNATION OF FACULTY EMERITUS – Brother Ignatius Perkins, PhD, Chair and Professor, School of Nursing

Brother Perkins has been a key figure in nursing education at Spalding during its century-long history in downtown Louisville, having served two separate stints as Nursing Chair during more than a decade of total service on the faculty. In addition, Brother Perkins is one of the country’s leading scholars on bioethics and medical ethics, as well a leader in Catholic health care who has held numerous leadership roles within the Dominican Friars. Brother Perkins was Chair of the School of Nursing from 2003 to 2005 while dually serving as Dean of the College of Health and Natural Sciences. He returned to the role of Nursing Chair in 2019. Brother Perkins, who is a graduate of the nursing school and the College of Education, is a past recipient of the Caritas Medal as Alumnus of the Year.

At Commencement, it was also announced that the conference room in the Republic Bank Academic Center will be renamed in honor of Perkins.


In 2020, the Caritas Medal was awarded posthumously to the late Dr. Perry Sangalli (Doctor of Education, ’98), who was the longtime President at St. Xavier High School and a longtime Spalding trustee. Last year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient was Dr. Brenda Nash of the School of Professional Psychology. Psychology Professor Dr. Kenneth Linfield, who retired last year, received the designation as Faculty Emeritus. The undergraduate student award winners were Sally Rother, BFA in Creative Writing, Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award; and Kasim Alsalman, BS in Business Administration, Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award.

MORE | Learn about 2020 honorees

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. In recognition of March as Social Work Month, this week’s featured faculty member is Glynita Bell, Assistant Professor in Spalding’s School of Social Work. Professor Bell has been on the fulltime faculty at Spalding for three years and teaches in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Master of Social Work programs. Professor Bell is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who earned a master’s from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s from Ball State University and who is currently pursuing a doctorate from Ashford University. Professor Bell is co-chair for Louisville’s Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. Outside of Spalding, she is the founder/owner of Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center in New Albany, which provides quality mental health therapy in a holistic approach with the center offering yoga and massage amongst other services.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

The best part of working and teaching at Spalding is being able to collaborate with my colleagues in the School of Social Work. The commonality of being committed to being, teaching and creating – all geared towards radical changes to improve the world around us – is inspiring. The enthusiasm of our students is motivating to keep working toward our connected goals as social workers.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

My academic specialty is mental health and clinical social work. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Indiana and Kentucky. My research interest currently surrounds educators’ own mental health and how that impacts classrooms.

*Program Overviews | BSSW | MSW | DSW
*Faculty Bios | Info on all our professors
*Chair Q&A | Faculty Focus Friday with Dr. Shannon Cambron

Why is social work a good option for students to consider?

For any student that is dissatisfied with the current state of the world, social work as a discipline equips students with a skill set to create change at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. Understanding how each of those elements impact one another, allows students to genuinely target where changes are needed strategically. Even students wht are interested in other careers would benefit from at least a social work minor to be able to better understand the world around them and be a change agent within their profession.

What is an example of a discussion topic, lecture, assignment, project, etc. in your class that you enjoy presenting or working with students on and that they have found engaging?

My favorite course to teach is SW 630, Integrative Practice, which is a course that is all about mental health. In this course, my students have the opportunity to do a practice clinical intake evaluation with their mock client being a licensed therapist from our community, so the students get invaluable feedback into their clinical assessment skills.

What is an interesting thing you have in your office?

I have a full-size red, old-school popcorn machine with glass doors on wheels in my office that I used during the first week of classes for students.

Tell us more about your work outside of Spalding and the Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center

At Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center, we believe that a holistic approach to self-care is the key to living your best life. Self-care comes in many forms, and we specialize in mental health therapy, therapeutic yoga, healing touch massage and holistic healthcare services.  Heart 2 Heart was cultivated to exude a warm energy that is inviting and refined. Our wellness center has a comfortable, spa-like atmosphere rather than a sterile office setting that is uplifting for working professionals and community members alike.

Spalding’s mission is to meet the needs of the times, to emphasize service and to promote peace and justice. What is an example of how your teaching style, your research, your class or your curriculum is supporting the mission of Spalding?

Because I’m an active practicing clinician, I directly infuse the trends of practice into my course. For example, telehealth very quickly became the infrastructure of mental health, and that was quickly incorporated into my courses ranging from ethics of telehealth to best practices to engage with clients virtually.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our previous professor Q&As


Consistent with its mission of promoting peace and justice through education, Spalding University announced on Martin Luther King Jr. Day that it is launching an online training and professional development program in antiracism.

Available nationally to individuals and groups from public-sector, corporate and nonprofit organizations, the range of half- and full-day online courses – collectively titled Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey – will teach concepts of cultural humility and restorative practices as a means to bring about positive social change.

Enrollment is open now for Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey with live virtual sessions set to start in late January. It is the first featured offering of a reorganized interdisciplinary institute of social justice-themed training at Spalding – called The Well – that will be housed in the School of Social Work. Visit to register.

Spalding’s Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is designed and facilitated by faculty and staff leaders of the university’s Center for Peace and Spiritual Renewal, School of Social Work, School of Professional Psychology and Collective Care Center, which is one of the nation’s only behavioral health clinics to specialize in treating race-based trauma and stress.

REGISTER | Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey courses now available on The Well

The faculty and staff serving as facilitators for the program are among Louisville’s leading scholars on matters of restorative practices and dialogue, conflict resolution, polarity management, cultural humility, institutional oppression and racial trauma.

“This program is designed for individuals and groups who are interested in meaningfully and constructively addressing and healing race relations in their professional and personal lives through self-exploration, truth-telling, difficult dialogue and action,” said Spalding Executive Director for Peace and Spiritual Renewal Chandra Irvin, who helped lead the Charleston (South Carolina) Illumination Project of community conversations and healing following the tragic shooting of nine Black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in 2015. “The Spalding faculty and staff who have collaborated to create this program have a great deal of experience in these spaces and bring a diverse set of perspectives. Organizations that participate in this training at Spalding will be making a valuable investment that demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Certified in 2011 as the World’s First Compassionate University, Spalding is a historic, private institution that has been located for 100 years in downtown Louisville – which, as the hometown of Breonna Taylor, saw months of demonstrations last year in the name of racial justice, including several that took place on or near Spalding’s campus.

“Spalding’s mission states that we are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times by promoting peace and justice through education and service,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “As the past year has shown, pain and suffering from racial injustice and inequity remain prevalent in our society. Offering the Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey training program is an example of Spalding meeting the needs of the times by using the experience, wisdom and teaching skills of our faculty and staff to help promote a more equitable world.”

Upon completion, participants in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey will be awarded three tiers of certification badges by Spalding – Bronze, Silver and Ebony (highest level) – based on the number of sessions completed, and these credentials will be appropriate to share on resumes and online professional profiles. Completed hours in the program can be applied to continuing education requirements for social workers, and Spalding plans to seek approval for continuing education credits from other professions’ governance boards in the future.

“Spalding’s School of Social Work has a rich tradition of providing quality continuing education for practitioners and community members throughout Kentucky,” School of Social Work Chair Dr. Shannon Cambron said. “The Well is the next chapter for us. It’s a reflection of our commitment to meet the needs of the times by co-creating an interdisciplinary space of training and engagement with a justice and equity lens – a space that equips people with the skills to begin the work of dismantling white supremacy and injustice. Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey is evidence of that commitment, and we are excited about this new chapter.”

For more information on participating in Restorative Practices for the Antiracist Journey, visit