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Juniata Social Work Program Accreditation Reaffirmed

(Posted February 25, 2013)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College's Social Work program recently was notified its accreditation was reaffirmed by the Council on Social Work Education's Commission on Accreditation, making the college one of 482 accredited baccalaureate social work programs in the nation.

Juniata's program, officially titled the Dorothy Baker Johnson and Raymond R. Day Social Work Program, will retain its accredited status for the next eight years.

"Accreditation by the CSWE significantly benefits our students in applying to graduate schools and in securing employment after graduation. An accredited social work degree from a college often means a student can complete a master's degree in social work in one year instead of two."
Susan Radis, chair, Dept. of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work

"We are pleased that the council recognizes the unique strengths of a small social work program embedded in the supportive environment of a small liberal arts college," says Susan Radis, professor of social work and sociology and chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. "Accreditation by the CSWE significantly benefits our students in applying to graduate schools and in securing employment after graduation. An accredited social work degree from a college often means a student can complete a master's degree in social work in one year instead of two."

The accreditation process for Juniata's social work program began with a self-study, which asks faculty within the department to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement. The final step of the process is a review by an on-site reviewer.

The rating report identified extensive program strengths:

--Coursework and field experiences focused on vulnerable populations such as senior citizens, schools and people living in poverty.

--An emphasis on community engagement that starts in freshman year through volunteer experiences and internships and culminates in a semester working in a professional agency.

--A dedication from both faculty and students that experiential learning is based on actual client and community problems.

--Teaching the historical, current and socio-economic context for real-world policy and practice is emphasized.

--Juniata has faculty that are engaged in their teaching and maintain good relationships with the surrounding community, which in turn provides significant opportunities for student internships and volunteer experiences.

The assessment report also noted "significant progress" in Juniata's institutional goals of increasing diversity on campus, singling out such multicultural programs as Beyond Tolerance education series, Plexus campus orientation program, PEACE Certificate program and Juniata's extensive study-abroad program.

In addition, the report also mentioned that field instructors praised Juniata students for preparedness, noting, "students often are more prepared to begin engagement, assessment and practice than other bachelor's-level and often master's-level students." The assessment also noted that Juniata students understand and can engage in social work practice at the community, family and individual level.

Finally, the report also credited Juniata's social work department for providing a "clear feedback loop" between faculty and student as each student progresses through the curriculum, community service and professional placement capstone experience.

The council on Social Work Education is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.