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Social work program earns accreditation

Huntington, Ind.-Huntington University's social work program has earned accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Accreditation.

"Accreditation makes it possible for students to be accepted with advanced standing in a Master of Social Work degree program," said Twyla Lee, director of social work. "They also have met the basic standard to become licensed in any state. An accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree is an entry point."

Carla MacDonald
The accreditation is immediate and retroactive, meaning that all graduates and future graduates from the program will receive the benefits connected to the status. Huntington University debuted its social work program in August 2004, and since then, its enrollment has grown from 12 to 28. The first six students graduated from the program in May 2007.

To earn accreditation, Lee and Carla MacDonald, assistant professor of social work, designed courses, established a plan to measure goal objectives and outcomes, developed a senior practicum, created an evaluation for the practicum and wrote a comprehensive exam to serve as practice for the social work licensure exam.

To assist with these tasks, Lee and MacDonald assembled a Community Advisory Board comprised of faculty, students, social work professionals and community members. The board includes representation from Huntington, Allen and Whitley counties, and its members have given presentations in Huntington's social work courses and met personally with students in the program.

"The partnership with the community has just been amazing," Lee said.

Once the program achieved candidacy status, representatives from the Office of Social Work Accreditation & Educational Excellence conducted a site visit at Huntington in September 2008. Following their report, the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education met this month and voted to grant accreditation to the program.

The Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education & 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.

Huntington University's social work program will be up for reaccreditation in 2013.