Bachelor of Social Work Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jodi Whitted

Dr. Jodi Whitted, an esteemed leader within the University of Cincinnati Online’s Bachelor of Social Work program, brings a Dr. Jodi Whitted rich and diverse background to her role as the Bachelor of Social Work Distance Learning Program Director, which has shaped her deep commitment to the program’s success.

A Rich and Diverse Background

Reflecting on her educational journey, Dr. Whitted shares, “I have a BSW from Indiana State, a MSSW from the University of  Louisville, and a DSW from the University of St. Thomas. I am most proud of my BSW from Indiana State because this is where I really gained a strong appreciation for social work practice and especially an appreciation for working with diverse clients.”

Her early career saw her in the field, where she made a significant impact. “I have a background in direct social work practice,” she explains. “I began my career as a home-based therapist working with children and adolescents who were court ordered to services. I have also worked in community mental health and the schools. Most of my clients were teenage girls with a history of self-harm. After working in mental health, I transitioned to working in the medical setting where I worked in home health and a hospital. My practice was centered around reducing readmission rates for chronically ill patients who had diagnoses like Congestive Heart Failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Acute Kidney Injury. The beauty of choosing a career in social work is that you have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of client populations!”

Now, as part of the UC faculty, Dr. Whitted assumes the role of an Assistant Professor on the Educator Track and serves as the BSW-DL Program Director.

Setting the UC BSW Program Apart

What sets the University of Cincinnati’s Bachelor of Social Work program apart, according to Dr. Whitted, is deeply rooted in the faculty and their approach to education.

“I think our program is unique because we have unique faculty and team members who care about the individual success of our students,” she emphasizes. “UC BSW-DL students aren’t just a number in a cohort, but unique students with unique learning needs. We care about their success. Personally, I love developing relationships with students through both my work as a Program Director and an instructor for the courses that I facilitate.”

Dr. Whitted also values the program’s ability to be shaped by the student, recognizing the importance of accommodating diverse schedules. Our program also offers flexibility for a broad audience of learners. Because the majority of course work is asynchronous, students can adjust their course work around their busy schedules. Education accessibility is important to me, and I believe that our program allows for this.”

Setting UC Online apart is its commitment to experiential education, a core element of the program that ensures students, regardless of their geographic location, are seamlessly placed into internships.

Dr. Whitted underscores the centrality of the internship portion of the program during a student’s final two semesters in the field of social work, emphasizing its integral role within the UC BSW-DL program.

During these critical semesters, students are actively placed in social service agencies, engaging in a hands-on experience where they spend 16 hours per week. UCO has a proactive approach to address the logistical challenge of students being dispersed across various states, and the program goes the extra mile to facilitate internship placements tailored to each student’s location, ensuring that the essence of experiential learning is not compromised. This approach is not just about meeting a requirement; it’s a testament to UC Online’s dedication to providing a rich, practical learning experience to every student, regardless of where they call home.

This immersive internship experience is a pivotal moment in the students’ academic journey. It’s not just a box to check; it’s a transformative phase where theoretical knowledge is actively translated into real-world practice. Dr. Whitted mentions, “This is an exciting time for students and the beginning of their professional identity as a social worker.”

Connections and Impact

Fostering a sense of community and collaboration among students is also a top priority for Dr. Whitted and the program. “Feeling like a part of the UC community as a distance learner is very important,” she says. “The BSW-DL program strives to provide multiple avenues of communication and belonging for our students. The use of an online learning community in Canvas helps to provide connection between students, faculty, and staff.”

Moreover, Dr. Whitted makes it a point to be accessible to students, stating, “As the Program Director, I pride myself in making myself available to students who wish to connect. My hope is that every student who graduates from our program will feel a strong connection to the University of Cincinnati and will feel proud to be a Bearcat!”

To facilitate student connections, the program encourages students to connect with each other through online platforms. Dr. Whitted explains, “Students are encouraged to connect with one another through the use of online platforms. The use of our Canvas community also allows for a centralized location for student connection.”

Reflecting on impactful moments in her role, Dr. Whitted shares,

“As a director of a completely online program, I work hard to make connections with my students. I view the professor-student relationship as mutually beneficial, and I strive to develop professional and lasting connection with the students who enroll. It is important that I know my students, their motivations for seeking a career in social work, and their career aspirations.”

She also finds inspiration in the success stories of program graduates. “An impactful moment was hiring a former student to teach as an adjunct in our program. Maintaining those connections, seeing full circle moments, and learning about the impact our graduates are having in the community are why I am in education.”

Advice for Prospective Students

Dr. Whitted offers valuable advice to prospective students, saying, “For anyone who is interested in starting this program, I would suggest taking that first step and reaching out to discuss if you might be a good fit for the BSW-DL program at UC. If you have ever pictured yourself in a rewarding helping profession, it is likely that social work is for you!” Dr. Jodi Whitted’s dedication and passion shine brightly, making her an exemplary leader within the University of Cincinnati’s Bachelor of Social Work program, where students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact in the field of social work.

Are you ready to join a collaborative network of like-minded individuals all working to make an impact? Learn more about UC Online’s Bachelor of Social Work program or apply now to continue on your journey to becoming a catalyst for change.

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