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New MSW degree scheduled for fall

by Kyle Galdiera, staff writer


If things go according to plan, HPU students will be able to earn a master’s degree in social work beginning this fall. The MSW program will be offered to any student with a bachelor’s degree in any field, not exclusively a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW).

“Students who are part of the first cohort will be pioneers in setting the pace and traditions for those who follow,” said Dr. Mary Sheridan, program chair for social work at HPU. “The need for social workers is expected to increase in the future as my generation (baby boomers) retires and needs care.”

Dr. Mary Sheridan


The program will take students, without a BSW, two years to complete. According to Sheridan, the first “foundation” year will allow students to learn what social work is about and the basics of practice with individuals, families/small groups, and organizations/communities. They will also be taught interviewing skills and social policy.

In the second year of the program, students will learn advanced skills necessary for cross-cultural practice. Each of them will be able to choose a cultural group of special interest, and they will focus their second year study on this group. Also, the students will do four semesters of practicum—supervised work at social services agencies.

“ There is a strong need in the community for professionally-trained social workers,” said Sheridan

“Many social work jobs in state agencies are being done by those with as few as three courses in the social sciences. This means they have no training in interviewing, case planning, or ethics.”

Dr. Lori Daniels, assistant professor of social work at HPU, will be one of the full-time faculty members for the MSW program teaching clinical and research courses. She hopes students will gain “the ability to assess and strategize a viable, ethical, and well-suited treatment plan with clients and the ability to provide high-quality psychotherapy and discharge planning for clients in need.”

The MSW degree will allow graduates to become licensed practitioners in the field. “Each of our students needs to be well prepared to work professionally within existing social service agencies and/or independently as a mental health care provider,” said Daniels.

Students interested in the program should call the Office of Graduate Admissions at 544-1135.



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