Sally Pelon, Associate Professor of Social Work
Even with the disruptions of COVID-19, Associate Professor Sally Pelon is maintaining her outstanding reputation for fostering student-centered teaching and learning in the Bachelor of Social Work program. Senior BSW student Gerardo Vasquez explains that Dr. Pelon “approaches her students with poise, confidence, and a big smile, even if it’s behind a mask.” Sage Fahey, also a senior, is impressed that Dr. Pelon “finds new ways to make her online class fun and engaging. She makes me want to learn not only in general but from her teachings because I know how much she cares for all of us individually. I know I could go to her for help on an assignment or any type of advice on my career development.”
Among the courses Dr. Pelon taught last year, “Responding to Loss, Death, and Grief,” was an undergraduate social work elective that also serves as a General Education Issues course. “Building Resilience as a Social Work Practitioners” was special topic course developed and taught by Dr. Pelon. It builds the students’ capacity to utilize both internal and external resources for successful coping with challenges and stressors faced by social workers. Dr. Pelon recently wrote about this topic in “Exercising and Building Your Resilience Muscle as a New Social Worker,” which can be found in the New Social Worker magazine (Fall 2020).
One of Dr, Pelon’s stated teaching goals is to facilitate students’ investment in their own learning and to connect this learning to their developing identity as social workers. She hopes that instead of simply going through the motions of taking classes and checking off items from their academic ‘to do’ lists, that her students will come see the professional and personal relevance of what they are learning. To accomplish this, the learning environment in her courses is very important. She says, “I endeavor to learn every student’s name by the end of the second week of each semester. I incorporate into all syllabi and specify often throughout each course that professional behavior is required and kindness and respect toward one another is non-negotiable.”