Social work students, faculty taking advantage of renovated, more centrally located space on North Campus
Dean Sharon Johnson, her colleagues and the many students who make up the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri–St. Louis have spent the semester getting acclimated to their surroundings on the fourth floor of the Social Sciences and Business Building.
The school moved out of its former home in Bellerive Hall in 2020, and the building was demolished last summer as part of the university’s ongoing effort to consolidate some campus buildings and reduce deferred maintenance costs.
Johnson and the rest of the faculty started unpacking in their new space in the summer of 2020, but most spent the majority of last year working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Folks had come in, and they’d decorated, but they just hadn’t had a chance to spend much time here,” Johnson said. “I think they’re pleased with their offices. They’ve been really excited to have new desks and furniture.”
The suite located at the north end of the building also features a faculty lounge with amenities such as a refrigerator with an ice maker and a large conference room outfitted with the latest networking technology.
The renovations to the area also created a dedicated lounge social work students have been able to use to relax in between classes or gather for small group study sessions.
But perhaps the biggest benefit has been feeling more connected to the rest of the campus community. Social Work was the only occupant in Bellerive Hall, and it took more of an effort to connect to other parts of campus, particularly those such as the Millennium Student Center on the north side of Natural Bridge Road.
“Just being able to have the library, have the other writing lab, the MSC – some of the resources we refer students to – close by has been nice,” Johnson said. “Before, it was more work for students to come over to utilize the resources. There’s definitely some convenience.
“Even for faculty, if someone’s hosting a lecture, it took more thought and planning if you wanted to get over to North Campus to attend as opposed to, ‘Oh, let me just go down the hallway or go downstairs or go across the bridge to the MSC.’”
Johnson is also hoping it helps the rest of campus and prospective students who might visit for tours connect with the School of Social Work.
“We’re always wanting people to be aware of social work and know what social work is doing, and we do a lot of community programs, a lot of a lot of things that folks on campus may be interested in,” Johnson said. “But again, taking the trek over to Bellerive to support a program or to be involved in that level was difficult. So it’s an opportunity for the campus to become more aware of the great work, research and community engagement that we’re doing.”
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=91608