News - Social Work Accreditation Opens Doors as Students Embrace the Future

Social Work Accreditation Opens Doors as Students Embrace the Future

by Rachel Heston-Davis Social Work Accreditation Opens Doors as Students Embrace the Future

Junior Lauren Masten follows a path she can’t see the end of, but it feels right.

While studying at a community college, Masten felt a tug in her heart to try GC, where her sister already attends. After enrolling, the idea of a social work major stayed forefront in her mind. One week before classes started, she stepped onto the path and determined to declare that major.

“When I finally let myself do it, it was a good decision,” Masten says.

Like many before her, Masten comes to the College’s social work department with the desire to serve. “I like that there are so many different options [with this degree]…I could work in schools, with the elderly, in hospitals, with immigrants, with anybody.”

Assistant Professor of Sociology Greg Pennington affirms this connection between social work and service. “When social work was first developed, it was all about caring for people on the margins and investing yourself in serving the community,” he says. “There’s a really strong connection with ‘love your neighbor’.”

Masten knows this degree could take her any number of directions. The future may be wide open, but one thing's for sure: GC’s social work program is the place for her.

Anticipated Accreditation in 2017: Popular Program Gets Even Better

Masten sees several benefits of GC’s social work department.

“I like my professors,” she says. “They’ve been practicing [social work] for 20 years or so; it’s good to get that personal experience.” She appreciates that they discuss their own careers in class. “They’ve done multiple career paths, too, so they have a wide variety of experience.”

Masten will also benefit from GC’s pursuit of accreditation for its social work program, currently taking place through the Council on Social Work Education(CSWE). Accreditation will allow GC graduates to complete a masters degree in social work more quickly, saving time and money. This is good news for Masten. Accreditation will also expand the internship network and enhance the internship experience for GC social work undergrads.

Students Benefit Now

The accreditation process officially began last year. The College documented the social work department’s compliance with CSWE standards and welcomed a CSWE on-site evaluation. This spring, GC hopes to be named a candidate for accreditation. If all goes well, the College might achieve accreditation by fall of 2017.

Masten plans to graduate in spring 2017. Happily, she can benefit from accreditation even before the process finishes. Many of the perks—such as a shorter grad school track for social work majors—kick in as soon as GC is named a candidate.

In the short term, Masten plans to pursue a practicum with either a nursing home or the Bond County Health Department. Beyond that, she hasn’t nailed down her future. It’s about “being patient and waiting for the next step. There’s a lot of possibilities,” she says.

She adds that, although she doesn’t know every bend in the road ahead, “I think God’s kind of paving the way.”

And, when it’s time for Masten to enter the working world, Greenville College’s accreditation in social work will provide yet another benefit. The accredited program on her transcript will help her secure a professional social work license.

Read more about service opportunities and social work at GC:

Good News for Social Work Majors - Accreditation Process Underway

A “Good Fit” Internship

When Disaster Strikes: The Curious Appeal of Crisis Response

Beyond the Badge: Dual Internships Profit Problem Solver, People Helper

The programs and faculty salaries that make these experiences possible for students like Lauren Masten are funded in part by the Fund for Educational Excellence. Click here to give

This story was published on January 11, 2016

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