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front entrance of Siena Heights University's Sacred Heart Hall at night

By Madelyn Birmingham
Content Writer, Siena Heights University

June 15, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – Siena Heights University recently announced the creation and dedication of the Sister Peg Albert Social Work Simulation and Practice Lab, which is set for completion by Fall 2023. 

The space has been dedicated to Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD., given her rich history in both social work practice and at Siena Heights University. Sister Peg is retiring on June 30, 2023, after serving for 17 years as President of Siena Heights University. Douglas B. Palmer, PhD, will become the 11th President of Siena Heights University on July 1, 2023.

The classroom and lab space will house many social work courses, as well as psychology and graduate clinical mental health classes in the future.

The lab, to be housed in the Science Building, has been designed to reflect a realistic practice environment that includes an office/counseling setting, home setting, group space, and classroom. The furniture in these rooms will be moveable to replicate a broad range of agency and institutional settings, and to accommodate work with individuals, families, and small groups. In addition, technology is being installed so the room can function as a classroom as well as a simulation lab.

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Siena Heights is to educate social work students to become competent, skilled, ethical, and purposeful professional social work practitioners who are committed to enhancing the wellbeing of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and/or living in poverty. 

In line with the social work curriculum at Siena Heights University, the space will allow students to acquire and practice the skills necessary to develop meaningful relationships with their clients. These skills involve active listening, questioning, reflecting content and emotion, and the appropriate use of silence. By having an immersive simulation lab, students will hone in on these skills and leave the program better prepared for their future careers. 

"We are very excited for this new addition to our Social Work Program,” said Elizabeth Davis, LLMSW-Macro, Director of Social Work at Siena Heights University. “Graduates of our BSW program have already proven themselves to be well-prepared for immediate employment in social work positions or to successfully complete work at the master’s degree level. This space will now allow our students to further develop their practice skills in a more realistic setting, and practice those skills repetitively, creating a more confident, competent, and engaging social work practitioner."

Over the summer months, the space is undergoing cleaning and construction. The room is being painted and a mural will be put on the wall. The 2023 Homecoming Weekend – October 13-15, 2023 – will include an open house for the community to walk through and experience the completed space.  


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