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Social Work Program's Accreditation Reaffirmed

Posted February 19, 2001

HOLLAND -- During its February meeting, the Council on Social Work Education reaffirmed the accreditation of the Hope College Social Work Program.

The program was initially accredited in 1997. The reaffirmation will stand for another eight years.

"We are very pleased with the reaffirmation. It indicates that we have met and are continuing to meet a series of rigorous standards designed by leading social work educators and practitioners to ensure that students are adequately prepared for professional practice. Our students are capable and deserve to have their hard work recognized," said Dr. James Piers, who is director of the Social Work Program.

The Council on Social Work Education is the accrediting agency for undergraduate and graduate social work programs throughout the country. It has established stringent guidelines that are required of all accredited social work departments. The CSWE, through its commissions, establishes standards for the accreditation of social work programs and reviews baccalaureate and masters programs and examines their preparation of students for social work practice.

"I am proud of our students. The CSWE accreditation is also very important to our students because many social work agencies only hire graduates from accredited programs and only these students are given the opportunity of Advanced Standing and reduced courses in MSW programs," said Dr. Deborah Sturtevant, who is director of field education.

The college's social work program grew out of the department of sociology and social work in 1992, and is descended from a psychology-sociology composite major that Hope had offered for more than two decades previously.

The program's emphases include social welfare policies and services; human behavior in the social environment; social work practice; and social research. A final and central component of the program is a year-long, carefully supervised placement in a social service agency.

Approximately 45 students are majoring in the program at any given time.

Piers has been at Hope College since 1975 and is a full professor of sociology and social work. Sturtevant has been on the faculty since 1988 and is an associate professor of sociology and social work.

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