Delta State University Department of Social Work’s 14th Annual Margaret Tullos Field Symposium to Feature National Association of Social Workers President and to Focus on Empathy

A previous Margaret Tullos Field Symposium in social work at Delta State.

The president of the National Association of Social Workers will join area leaders in politics, charities, and corrections at Delta State University Department of Social Work’s 14th Annual Margaret Tullos Field Symposium to speak on the theme, “Unity in Silos: Unearthing Empathy.” The daylong event takes place in the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing Hall on Feb. 22 and is open to social work practitioners and students interested in the profession. Registration costs $85 for social work practitioners and $25 for social work students from other universities; Delta State social work students attend for free. Numerous continuing education units (5 CEs) are available.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, president of the National Association of Social Workers, will deliver our keynote address,” said Taylor Skelton, an instructor and the director of field education in social work at Delta State. “Her visit reflects the wonderful work being done throughout the Delta by frontline workers and educators alike.”

Wehrmann, who has received the lifetime achievement award at the district level from the organization she heads, will talk about “The Future of Social Work: What Are Our Roles?” She directs the social work program at Illinois State University.

Kathryn Conley Wehrmann


Other presenters include Errick Simmons, mayor of Greenville, Miss.; Dr. Ora Starks, warden of the Bolivar County Regional Correctional Facility; and Amy Turner, director of children’s services at Catholic Charities in Jackson, Miss.

“This is the premier event for continued education for social workers in the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Jana Donahoe, associate professor of social work and interim department chair at Delta State. “Every year, we gear what we do toward helping local practitioners stay up-to-date with technology, networking, and current practices. The symposium is a great opportunity for new and old friends to come together to improve their practice at an affordable rate.”

The profession of social work continues to evolve, added Skelton, “and Delta State wants to be part of that growth. That’s why this year’s theme is especially significant. We hope to demonstrate that while it may appear social service agencies are working independently in rural communities, there are many concerted efforts rooted in empathy that are making great strides in improving the access and delivery of services to those most vulnerable.”

The field symposium began in 2005 and was renamed in 2009 after Professor Emeritus of Social Work Margaret Tullos, who taught at Delta State from 1989 to 2008 and was the director of field education in social work.

Margaret Tullos

Previous symposium themes have included “Awareness, Advocacy, Action: What Will You Do with Your Seat at the Table?”; “Enhancing Social Justice through Rural Initiatives”; and “Youth and Family Advocacy.” Previous keynote speakers have included Kathryn Boles, president and CEO of Valley Area Agency on Aging; Trina George, Mississippi director of United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development; and William Bell, president and chief executive officer of Casey Family Programs serving foster care.

Shelby (Miss.) Health and Rehabilitation Center is sponsoring the networking lunch at this year’s symposium.

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