During the February 2019 meeting for the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COA), Brescia University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program was granted Initial Accreditation for 4 years. Initial Accreditation for 4 years is the common amount of time this type of accreditation is granted. Brescia University’s MSW Program Director, Dr. Laura Gibson, was notified by email on Tuesday. The University was informed that official decision letters from the COA are scheduled to be emailed to all programs the week of March 11, 2019. COA decisions will also be made public on the CSWE website on Monday, March 11, 2019 (30 days after the meeting).
Brescia University’s Marilyn Younger-Conley School of Social Work is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The University has offered a traditional, on-ground Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree since 1994 and an online BSW degree since 2009. The MSW degree was launched in the online format in 2016. The MSW program was granted early approval to offer an Advanced Standing (1-year) cohort and attained candidacy status in February 2017.
“The full accreditation of our MSW is evidence of the deep commitment of Brescia University to serving the needs of our students and our community. The process for achieving this accreditation is incredibly rigorous, and I’m grateful to all those who dedicated their time and expertise to seeing it to its successful completion. Through programs like our MSW, Brescia students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable of our society,” said Fr. Larry Hostetter, Brescia University President.
To date, 31 students, hailing from across the United States, from Connecticut to California, have graduated from Brescia University’s MSW program. Another 28 candidates are expected to graduate in May. The CSWE accreditation retroactively applies to those students who have already graduated so they may declare they have graduated from an accredited MSW program, which is required for state professional licensure in some states.
Dr. Gibson commented, “It’s been my honor to work with a team of professionals here at Brescia who share the same unwavering vision: to graduate ethical, highly competent social workers whom we entrust to serve our society’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations in the spirit of caritas.”
The online BSW program was the first of its kind when approved by the Council on Social Work Education in 2009. The program remained the only accredited online degree program, not only in Kentucky, but in the United States, until 2015. The MSW program was only the second in Kentucky, along with the University of Louisville, to offer a program that allowed students from all 50 states to attend full-time via 100 percent online delivery format program with no residency requirement. The MSW was launched thanks in part to a $500,000 grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation in Louisville.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported in 2014 that the need for social workers will increase by 12 percent before 2024; specifically, the necessity of mental health, substance abuse, and healthcare social workers will increase by 19 percent. In an effort meet the growing demand, Brescia University is currently constructing the C.E. Field Center for Professional Studies which will house the Marilyn Younger-Conley School of Social Work. The extension of the School of Social Work will allow the institution to produce hundreds more qualified graduates annually to address pressing social problems.
Applications are currently being accepted for the fall 2019 MSW cohort. Interested students may visit www.brescia.edu/master-of-social-work/ or call 1-877-BRESCIA.