SF State social work program places first in the nation
April 15, 2009 6:34 PM
SF State masters of social work program was ranked best in the country by the Council on Social Work Education.
An article in the winter issue of the Journal of Social Work Education, ranked 128 schools nation-wide based on more than a decade of student admissions records.
"We value each applicant for who they are, and of course there are requirements like GPA and stuff like that which that can sometimes affect who gets in," said Liz Knox, assistant professor of social work at SF State. "But the selectivity really speaks to the fact that we embrace diversity."
In its first semester, the program accepted 41 students out of 180 applicants. Today, the school educates roughly 130 graduate masters of social work (MSW) students and 58 undergraduate students.
"We place a lot of emphasis on social action, justice, and really recognizing advocacy for those populations who are oppressed and marginalized," Knox said, alluding to the programs mission statement. "We make sure that we are always inclusive, not exclusive."
The authors of the article based the survey around "the extent to which social work graduate programs are selective in admitting full-time students and then compares ranking by selectivity with existing rankings that rely on different criteria."
SF State admissions office reported only 17.4 percent of students applying to MSW programs were admitted. Of the students lucky enough to get past admissions, 87 percent received MSW degrees.
"I think they see whether you're really interested or not, they can tell if you're serious," said Walter Rich, a junior in the social work program at SF State. Rich plans to apply to the MSW program after finishing his undergraduate coursework.
Students applying to SF State's MSW program should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 accumulated in their last 60 units completed and extensive work experience in the field, according to Knox.
"In this [economic] climate, it is important to have social workers," said Rich. "Some people will be out of work for 2-3 years and we need to expand on social programs like welfare and unemployment."
More then forty years after its inception at SF State in 1966, the fully accredited masters of social work program has increased selectivity, raising standards for prospective students to the most stringent of expectations.
The authors conclude that SF States "pickiness" for MSW students is a product of student body size restrictions, resources, and competition from other schools. "Berkeley had a comparatively small program, and San Jose State university is some 40 miles distant," wrote the authors.
UC Berkeley and Brigham Young University maintained their academic excellent in social work, posting numbers impressive enough to earn them second and third place honors. SF State was the only CSU to rank within the top 10 graduate social work programs.
"Being able to admit only a few of the most highly ranked certainly indicates the high quality of our students, which is an important part of graduate education," said Lemmon, the newly appointed administrator for SF State's College of Extended Learning (CEL) MSW program.
The addition of the CEL program downtown was to increase accessibility of the SF State community. The program is part-time, meaning it is held to nights and weekends to allow students to maintain full-time employment concurrently.
"The CEL MSW offers a 50% increase in the number of students who can earn their social work graduates degree at SFSU," Lemmon boasted.
MSW Administrators think the new part-time formatted program will encourage students under the commitments of work or family to enroll and further their education.
MSW classes at SF State's downtown campus are expected to start this summer.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University