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Shepherd’s social work program reaccredited

By Staff | Mar 9, 2012

Shepherd University’s social work program, one of the first programs in the state to be accredited in 1976, recently received its reaccreditation for the next eight years from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Dr. Doug Horner, chair of the Department of Social Work, said that the accreditation is important to the institution and critical for students in order to sit for licensing exams.

The accreditation process includes a two-and-a-half-year self-study and is based on 10 competencies and 41 practice behaviors for graduates, which include attending to professional roles and boundaries; recognizing and managing personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice; and distinguishing, appraising, and integrating multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom.

The site visit took place Oct. 17, 2011; representatives from the CSWE met with community members, the social work advisory board, and students and examined the mission, goals, objectives, assessment and diversity within the program.

“We have received excellent support from President Suzanne Shipley and Dr. Richard Helldobler, vice president for academic affairs. They have always been complimentary of the program,” said Horner.

Numerous faculty and staff on campus provided data for the study.

“It’s very gratifying to be able to meet these high levels of expectation of our profession and to have the support of people at the institution and ongoing support over the last almost 40 years,” said Horner.

According to Horner, graduates of the social work program staff regional agencies, serve as field instructors and mentors for students in the community service learning class, and serve on the program’s advisory board.

“It’s been a strong community as many people move from student to practice,” Horner said.

Karen Green, associate professor of social work, said that the self-study is a good opportunity to examine the department’s stregnths and weaknesses.

“A lot of good discussions and positive changes came as a result of the reaccreditation,” Green said. “It’s an important and worthwhile task.”

“Our graduates make us look good,” said Dr. Geri Crawley-Woods, professor of social work. “It’s their work in the community and the agencies that really make us look good.”

The social work faculty will make a presentation on tools for assessment of student learning at the 29th annual Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors meeting in Portland, Ore. on Mar. 14-18.

The next accreditation visit for the social work program will take place in 2019.