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Facundo Valdez School of Social Work


Cristina Durán Ph.D., Dean
Lora Shields Science Annex
FAX: 505-454-3290


The Facundo Valdez School of Social Work has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1974 and is accredited through 2020. The Facundo Valdez School of Social Work has been recognized by North Central Accreditation as an Academic School of Excellence.



Mission of the School of Social Work

The New Mexico Highlands University Board of Regents approved, on December 17, 2015, a change in the name to the School of Social Work to honor the founder of the School, Facundo Valdez. The mission of the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work is to educate students to practice social work competently with the diverse, multicultural populations of New Mexico and the Southwest. This context of cultural and regional responsiveness informs the school’s creation and implementation of all its educational programs.

The School has a primary commitment to Hispanic and Native American people. Our curriculum grounds students in core professional social work values and skills and ethical principles and promotes a focused awareness and respect for cultural differences and how poverty affects the well-being of people in the region.

The Facundo Valdez School of Social Work offers the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at the main campus, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and at the following four campus locations:

  • NMHU SSW at Albuquerque, Albuquerque, NM
  • NMHU Rio Rancho Center, Rio Rancho, NM
  • NMHU at San Juan College (SJC), Farmington, NM
  • NMHU at Santa Fe HEC building, Santa Fe, NM



Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Las Vegas (Main Campus)
Box 9000
Las Vegas, NM 87701
505-454-3563 FAX: 505-454-3290

Administration – Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Las Vegas
Cristina Durán, LISW, Ph.D., Dean,

Faculty – Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Las Vegas
Jeannette Baca, MSW,
Benjamin Bencomo, MSW,
Robert Deacon, Ph.D.,
Jane Gorman, Ph.D.,
Elisabeth Massaro, Ph.D.,
Rebecca Moore, Ph.D.,
Dolores Ortega, Ed.D.,
Debra Rodda, MSW,

Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Albuquerque
5401 Indian School Rd. NE, Suite 100
Albuquerque, NM 87110
505.260.6181 FAX: 505.896.6122

Administration – Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Albuquerque
Cristina Durán, Ph.D, LISW, Dean

Faculty – Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at Albuquerque
Michelle Baca, MSW,
Kevin Barnas, MSW, MPA,
Judith Barnstone, Ph.D.,
Kip Coggins, Ph.D.,
Mark Dyke, Ph.D.,
Amy Messex, MSW,
Maria Munguia Wellman, Ph.D.,
Sam Terrazas, Ph.D., srterrazas@nmhu.eduHamilton Williams, Ph.D.

Facundo Valdez School of Social Work Rio Rancho Center
See: School of Social Work at Albuquerque

NMHU at Higher Education Center (HEC), Santa Fe
1950 Siringo Road
Santa Fe, NM, 87505
505.426.2126 FAX: 505.428.1147

Administration – NMHU at HEC
Jeannette Baca, MSW, Adviser, NMHU Center at HEC
See also: NMHU SSW at Las Vegas

NMHU at San Juan College
Buddy Rivera, Director, NMHU Center at SJC
4601 College Boulevard
Farmington, NM 87402
505.566.3552 FAX: 505.566.3584
Administration – NMHU at SJC

Rey Martinez, LMSW, Ph.D. Program Coordinator
Tori Miller, Field Secretary


New Mexico Highlands University Mission

New Mexico Highlands University is a public comprehensive university serving our local and global communities. Our mission is to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community. For more information about our mission, click here.


Bachelor of Social Work Program (BSW)

The bachelor of social work prepares generalist social work practitioners with the knowledge, skills, values, and ethical principles necessary to practice with Hispanic, American Indian, and other diverse populations of New Mexico and the Southwest.

The curriculum builds upon a liberal arts perspective and prepares students at a generalist level to understand and evaluate the role of the social work practitioner in the delivery of human services.

The program is a 53-credit major, completed in four full-time semesters. Students majoring in social work are not required to complete a minor program of study. Prior to beginning the BSW program, the proficiency, extended core, general education core and general elective courses may be completed at the NMHU – Las Vegas campus or local universities and community colleges. Approved equivalent coursework may be accepted in transfer from other two- or four-year regionally accredited educational institutions.



Prospective students are encouraged to contact the school for pre-program advisement, course sequencing and major requirements. Please note that course sequencing is subject to change depending on program needs.

Academic advisers are available at each site to review and guide students on their progress to transition into the BSW program. It is advised that prospective students address all pre-program coursework prior to beginning the BSW program. Upon matriculation into the BSW program, students are assigned an academic adviser. Although almost all students complete the BSW program within two years of their undergraduate education, the maximum time limit is five years. It is the student’s responsibility, with the assistance of an academic adviser, to develop a program of study that details the semesters in which individual courses are to be taken.


Academic and Behavioral Expectations

All social work students are provided with a copy of the school’s academic and behavioral policy upon matriculating into the BSW program. The policy outlines expectations regarding students’ professional behavior and academic performance, sets forth grounds for suspension and expulsion from the social work program, and describes the procedures for disciplinary action. As more specifically detailed in the policy, students must demonstrate the following: suitability for the profession of social work via appropriate and adequate classroom and field performance; ability to appropriately relate to colleagues; and compliance with all other provisions of the academic/behavioral policy. Students must demonstrate that they have read and understand this policy by signing it and returning it to their academic adviser. The School’s policy concerning grade appeals is also provided to students at the commencement of the academic year.


Code of Ethics

All students in social work are required to have knowledge of and adhere to the Social Work Code of Ethics.


Transfer of Credit

Transfer of credit for social work courses will not be considered unless courses have been completed at another school of social work accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Courses must have been completed within five years from the date of enrollment.



Incomplete Grades

Incomplete grades in prerequisite courses must be completed prior to registering for the following semester. Students will not be permitted to continue until the incomplete (I) mark is removed from the official transcript.


Students Holding an Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science Degree

Any student with an associate of arts or associate of applied science (AAS) degree may present an academic transcript to be considered for course credit transfer. Upon verification that the AA or AAS academic transcript demonstrates completion of coursework equivalent to the required University proficiency and core curriculum requirements, the AA or AAS degree will be accepted for transfer and the student will be given credit toward completion of the BSW degree. A minimum of 120 credit hours is needed to complete the BSW degree, which is comprised of 75 credit hours of pre-program coursework and 53 credit hours of social work courses. A student may have to take additional elective courses to meet the University’s 120-credit-hour requirement to complete the degree.

Transfer courses are evaluated on a course-by-course basis to determine whether they meet the general core requirements. Students transferring from a regionally accredited institution of higher education in New Mexico with an earned associate degree will have New Mexico Highlands University proficiency, extended core, and minor requirements waived. Students are encouraged to complete the AA or AAS degree and the 35-hour common core and program prerequisites during their freshman and sophomore years to assure completion of the bachelor’s degree within two additional years.



Field Practicum

BSW students are required to complete 448 hours of field practicum during their senior year, either in a concurrent or a block placement. Students in field practicum must complete all University core requirements and all 300-level (junior standing) courses prior to enrolling in field practicum. All practicum placements require the approval of the director/coordinator of field education.

Students are placed with the same community agency for two days, 16 hours per week, for two consecutive semesters. BSW students enrolled in concurrent practicum placement must also register for one field practicum seminar course each semester. Concurrent field practicums are offered as fall-spring or as spring-summer placements.

Block field practicum placements are only offered during the summer term. Students must complete all required social work courses prior to beginning block placement/practicum. Students enrolled in a block field practicum placement are placed with a community agency for five days, 40 hours per week, for approximately 12 weeks. BSW students must enroll in two field seminars and two field practicum courses the summer they are in block practicum.


Student Stipends

The Facundo Valdez School of Social Work, in partnership with the Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), offers stipends to students who wish to pursue a career in child welfare under the Title IV-E stipend program. All undergraduate students ready to enter senior-level coursework are eligible to apply for the stipends. Students must conduct their field practicum with a CYFD office for one academic year.

Stipend recipients are required to take the SW 400 Children’s Services course. The average stipend amount awarded to students is $11,000 per academic year. Amount of stipend award is subject to change.

Upon completion of the BSW program, stipend recipients must work for CYFD for a period of 18 months for each academic year a stipend is received. Stipend application information is provided to all students during the second semester of their junior year.


Student Association

Students are encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Social Work Student Association (UGSWSA) and other University student associations.


Student Responsibilities

Students are responsible for knowing and following the correct procedures and for meeting the conditions established for their academic programs. This includes completion of all University and school course requirements.



Grade Point Average

A grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 is required for admission to the bachelor of social work major program. Additionally, the student must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to continue in and complete the program.


SW Student Learning Outcomes Data (Social Work Competencies)

NMHU BSW Outcome Assessment Data, Spring 2017 (CSWE form AS4 B)(PDF)



Application and Admissions Process for Entrance to the Social Work Major

Students majoring in social work must declare their major during their sophomore year. Students interested in pursuing a BSW degree at New Mexico Highlands University must:

  • Apply for admission to Highlands (this applies to students who have not previously attended NMHU).
  • Have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA.
  • Complete lower division coursework that meets the University proficiency and liberal arts requirements.
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours is required to complete a BSW degree. This includes the 75 credit hours of pre-program coursework and 53 credit hours of BSW courses for the major. A student may have to take additional elective courses to meet the University’s 120-credit-hour requirement to complete the degree.






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