Honoring 100 for the 100th: Patricia Albaugh

Photo of Patricia AlbaughPatricia Albaugh, Professor Emeritus at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, was the first social worker to teach on campus. Beginning in 1977, her coursework included social work, sociology, and anthropology in the Department of Social Sciences. Additionally, she was the practicum coordinator for social work, gerontology, chemical dependency, and criminal justice. Without a social work program apart from the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work in Norman, there were very few BSW or MSW graduates in the western half of Oklahoma, as well as a professional shortage for regional social service agencies. Professor Albaugh recognized and addressed that situation by developing a nationally accredited BSW program at Southwestern. She developed curriculum, enhanced student enrollment, gained institutional support, collaborated with agencies statewide for field placement sites, wrote HHS grants, added MSW faculty, and maintained strong ties with the University of Oklahoma’s MSW/BSW faculty. Under Professor Albaugh’s direction, the Southwestern Oklahoma State University’ Social Work Program achieved CSWE national BSW accreditation. Numerous graduates continued onto the University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Placement MSW program. In turn, these graduates mentored and hired subsequent generations of BSW graduates. During her tenure at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Albaugh continued to direct the social work program until her retirement in 2004. Additionally, she was President of the Faculty Senate, was the sponsor of both Student Senate and Social Work Club for many years, and on numerous interdepartmental committees.

Albaugh holds two degrees from the University of Oklahoma, a Bachelor's in Sociology, 1967, and a Master's in Social Work, 1977. She became an LCSW in 1985. Statewide committee memberships included: Women's Advisory Committee (Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, 1980-93), Oklahoma Health and Welfare Association, Oklahoma Chapter of NASW, and the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work Board of Visitors. Albaugh was co-investigator of the New Horizons Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center Demonstration Grant in 1979, which has now become the Red Rock Behavioral Health Services. Earlier in her career, she worked for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DISRS) in Adult Services in Norman, followed by directing the Youth Service Center in Clinton.

From 1967 to 1969, Albaugh served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ha'ano, Ha'apai in the Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific. It was a transformative experience living for two years in a small village on a remote, two-square-mile island accessible only by canoe and locally built sailboat. It was a subsistence culture, no electricity, which was dependent on fishing, gardens, and rain catchment. Traditional societies became her research interest. She presented papers at multiple international conferences, and became a reviewer for textbook publishers. She co-authored a chapter in a rural social work textbook, and also developed and directed "Central American Eco-Tour," which provided cultural an environmental experiences in Belize, Guatemala, and Costa Rica from 1992 through 1996. She has numerous publications in academic journals, such as the International Journal of the Addictions.

Albaugh was inducted into the Hall of Fame as Social Work Educator of the Year at the University of Oklahoma’s School of Social Work, 1999. Other honors include Who's Who and Who's Who of American Women.

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