Dr. Linda Openshaw
MSW Director, Department of Social Work
I have been married to David Openshaw for 36 years. He is an attorney. I have five adult children (four daughters and one son). Four have graduated from Texas A&M University- Commerce, (two with Master’s degrees), and my youngest is a junior here majoring in Business.
I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and attended the University of Utah where I received my Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Doctor’s degree in Social Work.
My first professional job was as an English teacher in Athens, Greece at the Stratagakis School. I began my social work career at Stanislaus County Mental Health in Modesto, California in the adult partial hospitalization program. The clients with whom I worked were undergoing a severe life crisis. I also was on call for crisis intervention at the emergency room at the county hospital for any mental health admissions during the night. Many of the cases I saw had made suicide attempts or had overdosed on drugs. I then worked at Weber County Mental Health in Ogden, Utah, where I performed the initial assessments and referrals for all new clients.
In 1977, I began work as a school social worker at East High School in Salt Lake City, and later, I moved to Highland High School. I moved to Texas with my family in 1987 and worked for seven years for Mesquite Independent School District, where I was the first school social worker in the district. I worked with students who were in special education behavior classes, grades K through 12. I taught as an adjunct professor for The University of Texas at Arlington during this time.
I have been a faculty member in the Social Work Department since 2001, the year we began the Master of Social Work (MSW) Program. I helped with the initial accreditation of the MSW program and am currently serving as the MSW Program Director.
My research interests center around school social work and children and adolescents. In 2008, my textbook Social Work in Schools: Principles and Practice was published. I also am interested in spirituality in social work practice.
I am on the Examination Committee for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), the group that develops and administers the international social work licensing examination. I previously wrote test questions for the Board’s clinical social work examination, helped establish the blueprint for the advanced generalist social work examination, edited test questions for the examination, and worked on the final formatting of the advanced generalist social work examination.
I serve on the steering committee for the National Association of Social Workers in Dallas. I am the clinical practice co-chair for the Council on Social Work Education. I am on the Faculty Senate, and the COEHS Tenure and Promotion Committee, and have served on the Graduate Council. I am a licensed clinical supervisor for clinical social workers (LCSW), and with a colleague developed and teach the 40 hour supervision course that clinical social workers are required to take before they can become clinical supervisors. I am active in my church, where I work with children under age 12.
Awards and Recognitions:
Texas A&M System Chancellor’s Student Recognition of Teaching Excellence Award Awarded for Spring 2011 in July, 2011.
R.N. Singh Award for Service to the University-Presented by Faculty Senate, October 2010
Provost’s Faculty Research Award, College of Education and Human Services, 2010, Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Neill Humfeld Award for Faculty Service to University, 2010, Texas A&M University- Commerce.
Social Worker of the Year, 2007, National Association of Social Workers, Dallas Branch, Texas Chapter.
Honorary Life Membership in Texas State PTA by Mesquite Council of PTAs in recognition of distinguished service to children and youth (1998).