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

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

"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.