Beginning in fall 2018, the University of Connecticut School of Social Work will offer a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) program.
The program would allow students to earn a master’s degree in one year, instead of the current two years it takes students who majored in psychology, sociology, human development and family studies or a similar discipline, according to a UConn Today article.
The program was approved by the Board of Trustees last Wednesday and makes UConn the first public university in Connecticut to offer a bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree in social work.
Lisa Werkmeister-Rozas, an associate professor of social work and co-chair of the exploratory committee, said she thinks the School of Social Work, in collaboration with other departments and programs in CLAS, the Neag School of Education and allied health, will be able to build a strong interdisciplinary BSW program.
“Developing a BSW program is a great opportunity for students, particularly as practice-based and interdisciplinary education becomes more critical to students’ future career development,” Werkmeister-Rozas said.
She said by having all three degree programs, UConn will be able to expose students to all of the components of the social work field.
“I think it [will] give students a greater vision of what social work can be, from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. It’s an important thing for people going into the profession to have a better understanding of the opportunities that lie within the overall profession of social work,” Werkmeister-Rozas said.
Werkmeister-Rozas said there are many benefits to having a BSW program, including its ability to enhance the visibility and reputation of UConn’s School of Social Work and respond to a workforce need in greater Hartford and elsewhere in the state.
“It would also expand the pool of undergraduates moving on to graduate-level social work programs, which in turn will provide more graduate assistants and adjunct teaching opportunities for doctoral students in the field. It will also give undergraduates who have taken courses or who have an interest in education, psychology, sociology and allied health the option of majoring in social work,” the article said.
Undergraduate majors would be able to take all their courses at the School of Social Work building located at 38 Prospect Street in Hartford, about a block away from UConn’s new Hartford campus and close to institutions where undergraduates can complete internships and field placements.
“The school is already placing its graduate students in family assistance centers and alternative education programs in Hartford Public Schools. Work is underway to develop new opportunities through the Charter Oak Cultural Center and Hartford Public Library, which provides programs and services to immigrants and refugees,” the article said.
Werkmeister-Rozas said there is an especially large need for social workers in schools and undergraduate students hoping to work in a school could take courses at the Neag School of Education.
Students can also integrate allied health courses through the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources if they want to work in a hospital setting with oncology patients or in a transplant program.
“We’re going to be very aware of the things that these programs offer and we can talk to BSW students about what might be helpful in enhancing their knowledge in a particular area,” Werkmeister-Rozas says.
The program will accept about 25 students in its first year and will add another 25 in 2019, the article said. The School of Social Work currently has around 400 students enrolled in its various programs.
Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.