Creating a Sense of Community in the online MSW Program

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In the field of social work, everything we do begins and ends with the betterment of our community. At Regis College, we place our own unique stamp on the concept of interconnected learning for students enrolled in our online Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Here, students work collaboratively to support each other outside of the traditional classroom and faculty-led experience.


Paying It Forward as Social Workers

The level of student-focused initiatives you’ll find at Regis are both dynamic and innovative. One example of MSW students leading by example is the Phi Alpha Honor Society — the national honor society for social work. Members give back to the community through service initiatives, in addition to a peer mentoring program in which they serve as mentors to every new student in the online MSW program.

Like any traditional mentor-mentee pairing, new students are encouraged to ask questions, discuss any concerns, or seek assistance with school or career planning. It’s this willingness to share that instills trust and facilitates a constructive dialogue.

Other efforts, however, focus on student-faculty relationships and communication. In October 2019, the Regis online MSW community held its first Student and Faculty Meet & Greet with more than 20 students and every faculty member in attendance. During this event, both groups were able to forge a stronger and deeper connection through direct engagement and discussion on a wide range of issues related to social work.


As a member of Phi Alpha, I feel honored to be a part of an organization that teaches leadership and promotes academic excellence…It has been a great experience working with my peers and faculty advisor to implement the Phi Alpha organization for the MSW program.

I am also honored to serve as a peer mentor. It allows me to assist new students to facilitate a smooth transition into the MSW program. I remember my own experience [as a new student] and the challenges I had. It was the help I received along the way that made me confident in my ability to succeed.

-Maryann Kallon, online MSW student

Open forums are an important way to continue focusing on what has worked in the past, shaping the current environment and helping to advance best practices that will impact the future of social work. MSW Student Community meetings, which are held once each semester, serve as one of the hallmarks of this approach.

Here, students are encouraged to offer input and provide feedback on a host of important issues such as the MSW curriculum, course scheduling, electives, and more. Powered by Zoom technology, the open agenda format provides students with a direct and powerful voice for offering suggestions while expressing ideas, concerns, and views on the direction of the program.

MSW student Lesley head shotThis program isn’t just an educational program, it is a family. Rest assured you will get the most out of your education and develop skills you didn’t even know you had.

-Lesley Ayala, online MSW student

Getting Involved in the MSW Program

Building a cooperative and collaborative environment is only the first step toward meaningful outreach within the educational community. Beyond this initial discovery, it’s important to empower those searching for answers with the right information to help them along their educational and professional journey. Regis offers multiple platforms that help address the needs of both current and future students, including:

The Student Advisory Board, where students can take their concerns or ideas to a designated representative, who then meets with faculty on a monthly basis.

Student Ambassadors, who represent the program in an official capacity. Their primary responsibility is to provide information to potential students who are interested in the program.

And with social media a central part of today’s world, connecting to like-minded individuals and resources on-the-go is of increasing importance. The MSW student Facebook group helps to fill this need. It’s a private group, monitored by student volunteers, which allows all students in the program to share information or concerns and connect with their peers.

online MSW student JenniferBetween participating in discussion boards to scheduling optional synchronous video sessions, Regis instructors really work in partnership with students to create a great online learning atmosphere.

– Jen Melanson, online MSW student

Going back to school to pursue your online master’s degree is a huge step toward defining your personal and professional goals. It can be a challenge, but with the support of family, friends, and a vibrant community of fellow Regis online MSW students, the experience can be quite rewarding. Results that you can pay forward — back into your community.

Visit our online masters social work degree page to find out more about the online MSW program, and fill out a form to connect with an enrollment advisor today.