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Southern Miss School of Social Work Accreditation Reaffirmed

Date 7-27-06

Contact David Tisdale 601.266.4499


WITH PHOTO

Hattiesburg—The accreditation of the University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs were recently re-affirmed for another eight years by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), based in Washington, D.C., said school director Dr. Michael Forster.

Accreditation by CSWE is essential for any academic social work program, Forster said. In Mississippi and other states, social workers must be licensed in order to practice, and in order to obtain the license must have a social work degree from an accredited program.

"The accreditation process involves an exhaustive review of a program's compliance with rigorous standards concerning curriculum quality, faculty credentials and student outcomes, among other things," Forster said. "It's a measure of the School's excellence that it was reaccredited without qualification."

Southern Miss is one of only two schools in the state to offer both the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work. Both degrees are available at the university's Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses.

Forster noted that accreditation site visitors were especially impressed by the School's extensive engagement with the community. "Very, very few schools actually run community programs like our Family Network Partnership, which teams up with the city, the county youth court, the local housing authority and others to prevent juvenile delinquency," Forster said. "That, combined with our work to improve the state's public child welfare system, made a very favorable impression."

Angela Savage, a graduate social work student from New Albany, said she’s been pleased with the program and said it has given her confidence as she prepares to enter the workforce. She also received her undergraduate degree in social work from Southern Miss and is scheduled to receive her master’s degree in December.

“I believe the curriculum has really prepared me for my career,” Savage said. “It also has prepared me to take my licensure exam, as well as to receive my licensed clinical social worker certification.”

Savage also praised the faculty for being accessible and for bringing real-world experience to the classroom.

“The faculty is open and understanding of any issues we may be dealing with as students or through the professions,” Savage said. “Also, many of the faculty have worked in the profession and have experience working in agencies that we plan to work in, such as schools, mental health agencies, and with them having that experience they are able to help us prepare to work in those environments.”

Dr. Peter Fos, dean of the Southern Miss College of Health where the School of Social Work is housed, said the accreditation reaffirmation is an indication not only of the quality of the academic programs, but also of the School’s students and faculty.

“The School of Social of Work has a long tradition in social work education in Mississippi, including presenting the first Master of Social Work in the state,” Fos said. “The accreditation reaffirmation for the maximum number of years is another example of the excellent work that the School of Social Work is doing in educating and preparing social workers for careers in Mississippi and other states.”

For more information about the Southern Miss School of Social Work and its programs, call 601.266.4163; on the Web, visit http://www.usm.edu/socialwork/index.htm.


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Michael Forster

August 1, 2006 10:31 AM

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