Bachelor of Social Work Faculty Spotlight: Ana Banos

What is your background? What is your role with the college and BSW program?

My background is in clinical social work. I spent time working in primary care as a mental health provider before transitioning to my current role in corporate healthcare as a high-reliability culture architect. Additionally, I teach part-time as an adjunct professor for UC in the BSW program online.

What is your position within social work? Do you have a specialization?

While I am not in a current traditional social work role, I do teach, and provide part-time therapy services in private practice and while my focus is mental health/clinical social work, I also specialize in leadership development.

Why was social work your chosen path?

I like to think that social work chose me. As far as I can remember, I have been advocating for those who do not have a voice. I love community work, and advocacy and spent quite a bit of time engaging with local leaders to create programs that benefit the community. In every volunteer role that I ever held, I found myself being a change agent and helping people recognize and maximize their potential. Social work supported all the things I am passionate about as well as my skill set and interests. I love this field and feel that we truly are superheroes making a difference every single day!


What are some impactful moments from your work experience?

Being able to see empowered people become better versions of themselves and seeing lives changed because of my influence, advocacy, and support.. I get to experience this everyday in my current roles.

What do you believe sets the University of Cincinnati’s Bachelor of Social Work program apart from other similar programs?

UC school of social work does not sacrifice quality education. They are committed to comprehensive education, providing students opportunities for practical experiences, and encourages community involvement. The curriculum truly prepares students for the everchanging demands of the social work profession.

What is the interaction between students look like for the student and the professor and how do you foster a sense of community and collaboration among your students, both inside and outside the classroom?

My experience as a student at UC was unique because I went through the online program. However, that format never got in the way of me connecting with my professors and developing trusting relationships with them. Now, as an adjunct professor, I take the same approach and do not let online format get in the way of being available for my students to guide and mentor them through challenges. The school of Social Work leadership encourages professors to support their students and provide them with resources, and the tools they need to succeed. Additionally, I intentionally create opportunities for students to collaborate and support each other.

What kind of experiential learning opportunities, such as internships or field placements, does the program offer to its students?

The list of community partners are endless. The program works hard to help the students find a field placement that meets their needs, interests, and skills. There are local and national partners in the list of field placement providers and each student is encouraged to contact from the list provided or find a local agency. The field instructors are supportive to the students and their field instructors.

In what ways does the program emphasize the development of essential skills like communication, empathy, and cultural competence?

The program provides interactive learning opportunities like classes that include role playing, group discussions, and simulations. Additionally, the field education provides real world opportunities for the students to practice the good communication skills. There are case studies, service learning projects, and client interactions that encourage the learner to self-reflect and learn about biases and how they influence their perspective.

The program also explores various cultures, ethnicities, and social identities through classes and projects which allow students to engage with other disciplines. There is a strong focus on providing feedback for continuous improvement and addresses ethical considerations for decision making.

Is there a particularly memorable or impactful teaching moment or student anecdote you’ve experienced while working with students in the program that you can share?

I had a student that struggled with a learning disability and she was very worried about one portion of the class. She would reach out often and worried that she was becoming a bother to me because she had questions often. I kept reassuring her that my job was to guide her through the challenges and ensure she had all she needed to be successful. I provided support and feedback and I saw her bloom through each week. I challenged her to push herself because I knew she had the capabilities. She became so much more confident in her abilities through mentorship and she shared that she was so thankful for that experience because she felt more empowered and more prepared to work with people after our class.

What do you believe are the most critical qualities and characteristics that a successful social worker should possess, and how does the program cultivate these traits in its students?

Empathy, good communication skills, cultural competence, ethics, problem solving skills, resilience, self-awareness, collaboration, advocacy, organizational and time management, strong leadership qualities. The program creates immersive experiences for the student and provides course work that focus on strengthening each one of the qualities needed to succeed. By focusing on integrating supporting strategies into the curriculum, the program ensures that students graduate with robust sets of skills they will need to succeed in the field.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering social work based on your experience?

This field prepares you to do a multitude of jobs. Social work helps the person to understand broader societal factors that impact well being and prepares the person to proactively address and prevent issues and recurrences. Social work also provides diverse specializations that go beyond clinical practice. There are social workers in many industries and they make lasting impacts. Social workers are not just fixing problems, we are preventing them from coming back. Lastly, social work is a calling with a strong sense of purpose. This field is about understanding the person, their journey, and supporting people through their journey. It is truly the best profession.

Anything else you think would be valuable for potential social work students?

Entering this profession is a journey of compassion., advocacy, and making a difference. Embrace the challenges, be comfortable with discomfort, cherish all the little victories, and strive to improve both as a person and as a professional. Remember your calling when life gets challenging and know that your impact is profound.

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
Corporate Taxation professionals having a meeting
Helping You Build a Better Business Through Continuing Education
Employee recruitment and retention is crucial for the growth and profitability of an organization and should be a high priority for every business. At the University of Cincinnati Online, we want to help develop and retain your employees through our Business Partnership offering.

Sign up for updates from UC Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.