The Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions (DRSWA), originally the Center for Rehabilitation Studies (CRS), was founded in 1967 as a federally-funded program to provide continuing education in rehabilitation facility/workshop administration in this five-state region.
The first director was Mr. Delwyn Lindholm. Following Mr. Lindholm's death in 1972, Dr. Clinton O. Wainwright became director and guided the subsequent growth and development of the Department's academic programs and expansion of the regional continuing education programs.
The Center for Rehabilitation Studies, along with the Center for Studies in Aging and the Institute of Applied Economics, was one of the original units of the School of Community Service, under its founding Dean Hiram Friedsam.
The School was located during its first sixteen years in Oak Street Hall, where CRS comprised over half of the first floor of the building.
This space included the Vocational Evaluation Unit, established in 1975, and the Work Adjustment Unit, added in 1979, both with funding from the Texas Rehabilitation Commission.
These units provided client service laboratories for training CRS students and served as sites for applied research projects. By the late 1980's the undergraduate enrollment in CRS had reached 100 and the graduate enrollment about 40 students.
The continuing education and technical assistance programs of the Center had expanded to include regional training in supported employment and community integration. The latter emphasis was spearheaded by the Texas WorkNet Project that was part of the Center from 1987-91.
The emphasis of the Work Adjustment Unit also shifted to community integration during these years, assisted by funding from the Texas Council on Developmental Disabilities, and continuing in the early 1990’s with a Projects with Industry (PWI) grant for job development and placement of older workers.
In 1991 the School of Community Service moved into the newly renovated Chilton Hall in the heart of the campus. In that year, the third of the on-campus practicum laboratories was added, the Rehabilitation Counseling and Neurofeedback Lab.
By 1995, the Center had added the Institute for Studies in Addictions and the undergraduate program in Social Work, combining to form the Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions (DRSWA).
In 1997 the on-campus client service facility was renamed the DRSWA Research and Training Laboratory, consisting of employment, rehabilitation counseling, and neurotherapy lab components.
During its thirty-seven years of operation, the Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions has obtained in excess of three million dollars in external funding for training, innovation and research grants, primarily from the Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Rehabilitation Commission and the Texas Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities and the Texas Commission on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
DRSWA is one of the leaders within the University in the amount of external funding it attracts. Such funding has supported the Department's on-going commitment to "develop and disseminate innovative and interdisciplinary practices which enhance opportunities for all people to live and work in their communities." (DRSWA Mission Statement, 1995).
DRSWA currently offers three academic degrees: a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Studies, a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In addition, the Department offers a minor in Chemical Dependency and Addiction Studies at the undergraduate level.