Dr. Christine Saladino joining TWU faculty to lead Social Work program
Dr. Christine Saladino will be joining the TWU family beginning in August as the new Social Work Program Director, following the retirement of Prof. Linda Garza after 30 years of service at TWU. Dr. Saladino comes to Athens with an impressive record of experience, both as a social worker and higher education leader.
Most recently, Dr. Saladino served as faculty member in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program at the University of Phoenix. Before that, she served as a social work faculty member at George Fox University and Southwest Baptist University, both of which she also served as the program director. Additionally, she was a part-time faculty in the Master of Social Work program at Capella University.
"TWU is excited that Dr. Saladino is joining the family as Director of the TWU Social Work Program," said Dr. Grant Willhite, TWU VP of Academic Affairs. "Her deep experience leading social work programs, including online programming, sets the stage for the next chapter for Social Work at TWU."
“The TWU Social Work Program will benefit from Dr. Christine Saladino’s expertise in program development and management,” said Dr. Kerry Towler, TWU Chair of Social Sciences. “She brings considerable experience with directing new Social Work programs, having built programs from the ground up in both in-seat and online delivery.”
Dr. Saladino’s practice in social work began in 1997 and ran through 2006, when she began the higher education portion of her career. In that time, she worked with clients of all ages, from a Head Start program, to Life Skills curriculum, inpatient programs, and more.
“I am a social worker, and an educator, and I think it's important to me to say both of those things because no matter what path I go on, I am always a social worker,” said Dr. Saladino of her career path. “That is who I am, as far as a professional.”
With accreditation an integral part of a successful social work program, Dr. Saladino has managed compliance with the Council on Social Work Education at her previous institutions, both in a faculty and consultant role. Before leading social work programs, she also served as instructor of sociology and behavioral sciences majors at Southwest Baptist University.
“Her efforts in developing curriculum based upon the 9 Core Social Work Competencies and her work with the accrediting agency (CSWE) provides essential foundations for leading our program into its next stage of growth,” added Dr. Towler. “We are very fortunate to bring a professional social worker of her caliber to our program and to the University.”
I think being a social work educator, honestly, it's the best job in the world, because you get to help prepare people to go out and be professional social workers. -Dr. Saladino
“What appealed to me about Tennessee Wesleyan specifically, as I was looking at universities, was that the mission aligns with social work, but also who I am as a person,” added Dr. Saladino. “Also, just the opportunity to help the program continue to grow. When I was there, I really did genuinely feel that sense of community, and honestly, that was one of the things that was a really big draw for me. I'm looking forward to participating and being a part of the community at the University.”
"Linda Garza did a masterful job of developing a successful social work program that aligns with the TWU mission," added Dr. Willhite. "Dr. Saladino is the perfect person to continue the good work of growing and expanding the program to serve the region."
A Licensed Master Social Worker, Dr. Saladino earned her Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Central Florida, and a Master of Arts in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Her undergraduate work was completed in psychology and sociology at Southwest Baptist University. In addition to academics, Dr. Saladino has a long record of involvement in her community.
“I really think you join the work that's being done,” said Dr. Saladino about what she plans to focus on after arriving at TWU. “I'm interested to see how I can join the work that's already being done in the community and how I can use my skills and service both to the University and to the community. I have been on boards of directors for (a) domestic violence (organization) before, I'm presently on a board of directors for a social service organization. I've done those things, but I tend to see where God wants me to be in the community and the place He plants me, so I imagine maybe something along those lines, but I want to see what that looks like when I get there.”
“I think being a social work educator, honestly, it's the best job in the world, because you get to help prepare people to go out and be professional social workers. I would say the multiplication effect, think about it, if I train 10 students and then they go out and help 10 people. How cool is that? And I'm just blessed that God's given me an opportunity to do the two things that I really love, which is education and social work.”