Huntington, Ind.—The Huntington University Department of Social Work has achieved candidacy status from the Office of Social Work Accreditation & Educational Excellence, a division of the Council on Social Work Education. This benchmark means that next year’s seniors – the first to come out of the program – will graduate from an accredited program.
Prof. Twyla Lee
“Unlike nursing and education, social work accreditation requires courses being offered and evaluated during the process of accreditation rather than having it all in place before students can enroll and begin the program,” explained Prof. Twyla Lee, director of social work.
To become a candidate for accreditation, Lee and Prof. Carla MacDonald, assistant professor of social work, had to design classes and write very detailed syllabi for each. This summer, they will have to review the syllabi with a fine-tooth comb.
The next steps in the accreditation process include establishing a plan to measure goal and objective outcomes, developing a senior practicum, creating evaluations for the practicum, and writing a comprehensive exam to use as practice for the social work licensure exam.
Prof. Carla MacDonald
To assist with these tasks, the Department of Social Work has established a Community Advisory Board comprised of faculty, students, professional social workers, and community members. The board, which includes members from Huntington, Whitley and Allen counties, will evaluate the senior practicum manual once it is finished.
Huntington introduced the social work program in August of 2004, and since then enrollment has grown from 12 to 25 social work majors.
“There is much breadth and depth in the social work program,” Lee said. “It fits with the mission of the school. Students are ready to work after four years. Other than accreditation, there isn’t a huge cost to the program. The majors enroll in classes from other disciplines, which are very necessary. In working with people social workers need to integrate knowledge from a variety of areas.”
Currently, there are 16 accredited Baccalaureate in social work programs in Indiana.
The Commission on Accreditation of the Office of Social Work Accreditation & Educational Excellence meets three times per year. The commissioners are elected by member schools. The COA oversees a multi-step accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits and reviews.
Once Huntington is accredited, the social work program will be up for re-accreditation in five years. Then it will be another eight years until re-accreditation.
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