On Tuesday, October 6, MacEwan University announced the launch of its Bachelor of Social Work.
The degree builds on a two-year diploma program that the university has offered for 43 years. Kathaleen Quinn, Chair of the Social Work program said of the announcement, “A Bachelor of Social Work will provide students with the opportunity to extend their professional education and respond to increasingly complex social needs.”
On the transition from diploma to degree, Quinn noted that the expertise of current faculty and the strong diploma curriculum provides the perfect foundation to build a high-quality social work degree program.
The first students will be admitted to the program in the fall of 2016. Thirty will come from those who have completed a minimum of 60 university level credits, and 30 will come from graduates of MacEwan’s own Social Work diploma or one of the other 10 accredited social work diploma programs in Alberta.
“We have an over-arching theme of sustainability,” said Quinn of the degree. “Building on our current knowledge of sustainability and building on the scholarship of Dr. Peter Vogels, we will integrate social and economic and environment and sustainability into every class. Our second theme is indigenous knowledge.”
The two themes form the framework for the new degree and, Quinn notes, “give direction to our mission and vision.” She went on to outline the program’s three other themes: child and family, health/mental health and community.
Also present at the announcement was Michele Markham of the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (SAGE). She spoke on the value of the degree to the social work industry. “The complexity of issues and circumstances being navigated by the people we work with in the area of social services demands the support of qualified, professional staff,” she said. “Being a well-intentioned compassionate person with a kind heart is wonderful, however, it just isn’t enough in this day and age. This long-awaited degree program will benefit Alberta’s human services sector and the social work profession tremendously.”
University president Dr. David Atkinson remarked that this is the first Bachelor of Social Work offered by an Edmonton-based institution. “This new degree means our students can continue to learn from faculty that they already know and with whom they have worked closely for two years. It also means they can complete their degree on this amazing campus that our students enjoy so much.”
Dorsa Sobhani, a second-year Social Work diploma student, experienced first-hand some of the gaps that exist in the system when she came to Canada as a refugee fleeing her home country of Iran.
Read more about Dorsa's story.
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