College of Liberal Arts introduces Master of Social Work degree
TNE Editor
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College of Liberal Arts introduces Master of Social Work degree

Published 2/22/2018

Caleb Eutsler

TNE Writer

In the fall of 2018, the College of Liberal Arts social work department will be offering a Master of Social Work. This degree will prepare students with a Bachelor of Social Work with more abilities and knowledge that will advance them in all of their general levels. With the master’s program coming forward, students who undergo the curriculum will focus their studies on one of four areas: indigenous and rural communities, behavioral health, children and adolescents or older adults.

Faculty members of the College of Liberal Arts and social work and community members recognized the need for master level social workers in the region,” said Dr. Kathlyn Shahan, social work department chair and associate professor.

“There was a sense that many of our students graduating with their Bachelor of Social Work at NSU did not want to leave the region to gain their Master of Social Work. The most common expression from our community about the forthcoming MSW program is ‘We really need this!’”

NSU’s social work program follows the curriculum presented by the Council on Social Work Education, which is the the national program that represents over 750 baccalaureate and master's degrees when it comes to social work. Through teaching the ethics from the CSWE, this prepares students and graduates to work in a variety of social jobs. As the Bachelor of Social Work education combines liberal arts with professional social work, it introduces and prepares students to move ahead in their selected careers.

“The NSU Social Work Department prepared me for my current job by giving me continuous support and guidance from instructors who have done the same work,” said Shelby Smith, Oklahoma Department of Human Services permanency planning welfare specialist. “Their knowledge provided me with a realistic idea of what to expect in my career, how to deal with many of the issues I may encounter and ways to care for myself to provide quality service my adult and child clients deserve. I learned quality skills that I actively use in my work daily and have been able to improve on as I progress in my career.”

Part of the social work program offered at NSU is called the Senior Practicum, which puts students in the field for 440 hours.

“Practicum was a great way to establish some skills, gain understanding of the different areas of social work and apply knowledge to practice,” said Smith. “In addition, this department provided me with a great source of support from the instructors, but also from my cohort. Many of us work in child welfare and rely on each other for resources, ideas, and self care.”

After completing both programs, graduates will be able to find careers in anything from child care administration, social welfare administration to marriage and family therapy and camp directing.

Any new program in social work must be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education,” said Shahan. “We are presently submitting candidacy documentation to the CSWE to begin the accreditation process.  We are all very excited about the new MSW program that is planned to begin in the fall 2018 semester.”

With the department of social work offering a master’s degree in the fall of 2018, priority applications have already been submitted.

“I know a lot of people are excited about the master’s program,” said Jacee Dailey, Preston junior. “I decided to go through the career early in high school when I was going through foster care and saw a little how social work worked. Social work has taught me not only about others, but so much about myself.”

Applications will be accepted until April 15. Classes will begin on Aug. 15 in the fall of 2018.

For more information about NSU’s Bachelor of Social Work and master of Social Work, visit the department of social work webpage.

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