Asbury Professor Named to U of L Alumni Council

Sharon Bryson
Sharon Bryson

Sharon Bryson ’71, assistant professor of social work at Asbury University, has been named to the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work Alumni Council.

Bryson is the director of field education for Asbury’s Master’s of Social Work program and graduated from the University of Louisville in 1990. With experiences ranging from ministering in South America to teaching in the Pacific islands, her perspective on meeting families’ needs is rooted in interacting with people in a wide variety of settings.

Q: What do you hope to learn or accomplish in this position?

Bryson: Sometimes as the director of field education for Asbury’s M.S.W. program, I feel like the CEO of a small company! The social work accrediting agency, CSWE, wants the field practicum to be the “signature pedagogy,” which creates high expectations of the entire faculty for an excellent field program. A major part of building the program is networking with other professionals and agencies to expand our base of quality field sites. Being on the council will allow me to represent Asbury University and meet people who have the potential to become a part of our program at Asbury.

Q: When you first became interested in social work, what drew you to the field?

Bryson: When my husband and I were missionaries in Ecuador, we pastored an English-speaking church. Just because we spoke English and were the pastors, our congregation, which was made up of many nationalities, thought we knew a lot more than we did. They were constantly coming to us with counseling issues. So when we returned to the U.S., I enrolled at the University of Louisville. Our understanding of the M.S.W. degree was that it is the best and most efficient way to engage in clinical work. That has proven to be true, since it looks holistically at people, and their problems transfer to any culture.

Q: Has that interest changed since you started?

Bryson: It has changed as it has been reinforced in ways I never imagined! I spent two weeks in the Philippines teaching pastors in Light and Life Bible College. I taught a class in pastoral counseling. However, some of the students were starting a ministry for street children. Others were dealing with financial issues for themselves and others. We even distributed bags of food and first-aid kits to some of the pastors. I knew the M.S.W. program dealt with more than the clinical issues, but over the years I’ve been amazed at how broad a scope the M.S.W. covers.

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