Samford University’s School of Public Health has received full accreditation for its Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) from the Council on Social Work Education. The process, which has spanned three and a half years, included three site visits and a final 855-page self-study.
Faculty and staff within Samford’s Department of Social Work are proud of this accomplishment, but their celebration is focused on the impact this accreditation will have on past, current and future students.
“This news is so important for our students,” said Ken Stoltzfus, professor and chair of the department. “As an accredited program, our graduates will now be able to earn a license in social work outside the state of Alabama.”
In almost every state in the United States, graduates cannot receive a license in social work unless their degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Prior to the establishment of Samford’s M.S.W., Alabama passed a regulation that allows graduates from programs in candidacy status—which Samford received after its first site visit—to earn a license within the state.
“This accreditation means our students are eligible for a social work license in all 50 states and the District of Columbia,” Stoltzfus said. “Many of our graduates and students demonstrated great faith in us, knowing that we would work diligently to receive accreditation, and I’m proud that we are now able to tell them that it has been accomplished.”
Samford’s M.S.W. program was established in 2013, and its mission is to offer a distinctively Christian learning community that prepares graduates for lives of service as advanced social workers who promote wholeness, healing and reconciliation.
“This is a great step forward for the Department of Social Work and the School of Public Health,” said Keith Elder, School of Public Health dean. “Our program is unique because of its focus on two concentrations, clinical social work and global community development, and our faith-based mission. The full accreditation is an indicator of the high quality of our students, alumni, preceptors, curriculum, faculty and staff.”
While the department currently offers a single degree, Master of Social Work, multiple dual-degree programs are available as well as fast-track programs for undergraduate students.
“I am especially proud of our Department of Social Work,” said Nena F. Sanders, College of Health Sciences vice provost. “The accreditation of its master’s degree provides further evidence of the program’s excellence. I applaud the efforts of all of our social work faculty and staff for working toward this accomplishment with great dedication.”
Sarah Waller is coordinator of marketing and communication for the College of Health Sciences.