Inaugural KSU Salina Social Work Wildcat Conference Trains Industry Professionals

Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus hosted nearly 90 participants from three states in its inaugural Social Work Wildcat Conference.

The focus of the Oct. 18 virtual conference, organized by K-State Salina’s social work faculty and professional education outreach, centered on substance and behavioral addictions. Presenters led discussions around the link between addiction, trauma and suicide; health care’s response to addiction; and brain function and addiction recovery. Four different presenters — Shane Hudson, CKF Addiction Treatment; Danielle Blea, Smoky Hill Family Med Residency; Jeremy P. Elledge, NewView Healing Solutions LLC; and Jana Hinz, Architect Counseling Center — led the discussions with the attendees.

The attendees, from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, watched and took part in the discussion to build upon their professional skills. Those participating included social workers, counselors, behavioral health consultants, substance abuse professionals, school professionals, therapists and others involved in the social work industry.

Also, a part of the Salina Social Work Wildcat Conference were two Salina-area businesses, First Bank Kansas and CKF Addiction Treatment. Director of professional education and outreach for K-State Salina, Kirsten Zoller, says that the support from both organizations was critical for the success of the conference and shows the value that these types of training programs provide to the region.

“K-State Salina is steadfast in nurturing a talent pipeline for the industries we serve as part of our campus vision and mission,” Zoller said. “The generous support of CKF Addiction Treatment and First Bank Kansas also shows that local employers recognize the value of partnering with our campus and encouraging the continuing education of professionals in the area. We are looking forward to growing and hosting this program as a new outreach tradition.”

The goal of the Social Work Wildcat Conference was to create a learning opportunity for professionals, alumni and students, and to demonstrate how the K-State Salina social work department serves students across their lifespans. K-State Salina wants to make conferences like this for working professionals a regular event.

K-State Salina has offered continuing education unit courses — like the Social Work Wildcat Conference for social workers — for professionals since 2015. Deb Marseline, assistant dean of diversity, equity and belonging and social work faculty member at K-State Salina, said that the program has grown over the past six years to over 50 courses serving more than 1,100 professionals.

“As the CEU training program has grown over the last several years, we have continually seen the value in providing an opportunity for skilled practitioners to gather and learn from each other,” Marseline said. “This conference is an extension of that, providing an important outreach from the campus to the community. Particularly important to us is the ability to stay connected to our alumni and connect our current students with industry professionals.”

Learn more about social work and helping professional training at K-State Salina is a pre-approved continuing education provider approved by the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.