Dr. Wayne Paris | MSSW Director

wayne paris

Wayne Paris, Ph.D., LCSW
MSSW Program Director,
Associate Professor
School of Social Work

Dr. Wayne Paris knew ACU was different when he sat down for his first interview, hoping to become the program director for the Master of Science in Social Work program. He found a university that values its faculty member's character as much as their credentials.

As a faculty and staff, we are committed to the ideals of educating future leaders in the social work profession and believe that the rigor of our evidence-based curriculum is the best way of achieving that.

"Not having ties previously to this university, I was surprised that none of the questions at my first ACU interview had to do with 'what' I was as a professional, but rather had focused on 'who' I was as a person," he said. "The process sent a very clear message: who you are as a person and Christian is equally important to one's academic abilities and accomplishments."   

After several years of teaching at Southern Illinois University and earning his Ph.D. from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom, Paris was well prepared to take over ACU's MSSW program.

"Our program is fully accredited nationally by the Council on Social Work Education, and we are one of less than 5 percent of MSSW programs in the country that require a master's thesis, and one of only a handful of programs that also require thesis approval by the Graduate School," he said.

High ambitions

Paris has big plans for ACU's MSSW program. The program focuses on evidence-based practice, and students are engaged in hands-on learning through their internships and clinical work. For Paris, the goal is developing capable social workers who can make a difference.

"We focus on helping students to develop advanced clinical abilities and research skills to enhance and evaluate their clinical work. As a faculty and staff, we are committed to the ideals of educating future leaders in the social work profession and believe that the rigor of our evidence-based curriculum is the best way of achieving that."

Paris wants the MSSW program to become a better place for students to learn and grow - but he can't help but notice he has learned and grown along the way as well.

"I have been challenged every day to identify and continue to break down the barriers that exist between who I am as a professional and what I am as a Christian.  I don't think that I ever fully appreciated, until I came to ACU this past year, how professional training and practice fostered the compartmentalization of my life and work," he said.

"As a Christian and social worker, it is important for me to better understand that what I do does not come from psychological or sociological theory or from professional values, but rather my work is a reflection of who I am as an individual, as I try to live my life in a way that God would have me to live.  I wish I could say that I had arrived to that point in my life, but I must admit that I am a work in progress."


Learn more about ACU's Master of Science in Social Work program 


Featured Video
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MSSW students are able to use their strengths and interests in their experiences at ACU to pursue the best career path.
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The faculty in the Social Work department connect with students on an individual basis and help to prepare them to make an impact in their career fields.
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MSSW students pursue a variety of different areas of the field through internships.
MSSW Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
BSSW Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes