Silver City, NM – The Western New Mexico University graduate level social work program recently earned initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation (COA).
The Master of Social Work degree program is now accredited through June 2017.
“This means that almost all of our graduates can now sit for the licensing exam and be licensed in every state,” said Dr. Beth Walker, Interim Dean for the College of Health and Human Services.
The recent accreditation is the culmination of a seven-year journey by the WNMUDepartment of Social Work.
“In August 2006 we began the process of developing an MSW proposal,” Walker said. “In June of 2011, we entered candidacy for the program with the Council of Social Work Education, so it took two years from that point.”
The MSW program at WNMU offers courses online, nights, weekends, and at four of the five campus sites including Silver City, Gallup, Deming and Truth or Consequences. A student with a baccalaureate degree in social work can earn an MSW degree in one academic year by entering the program in advanced standing.
The commissioner who visited WNMU to observe the program reported several areas of strength including skilled leadership by the program dean, motivated students, dedicated faculty and a strong connection to the community.
“From the beginning our program’s goal has been to prepare our students forculturally-competent generalist practice and to promote social and economicjustice on behalf of the peoples of the southwest region,” Walker said.
Social Workers are in high demand in the Southwest United States. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions projects that the growth in jobs related to social assistance is increasing by several thousand positions through 2020.
WNMU is helping to meet the demand with a growing program. From the fall of 2011 to the fall of 2012, enrollment in the social work program has increased by 17.5 percent.
More information on the program is available at http://www.wnmu.edu/MSWprogram.