Online MSSA Info Session – Direct Practice Concentration
Thinking about applying to the Online Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA, equivalent to MSW) program? Check out this Information Session for an overview of the online program, the Mandel School, our rankings and accreditation, application tips, financial aid and scholarships. This session also includes an in-depth review of the Direct Practice – Children, Youth and Families and Direct Practice – Mental Health with Adults specializations and the potential career paths graduates can pursue.
Richard Sigg, Director of Recruitment and Enrollment
Kathleen J. Farkas, Ph.D., LISWs, Associate Professor
Robin Nathan, Lead Enrollment Advisor
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you’re for joining us today for the Case Western Reserve’s University’s Mandel School Online MSSA information session. We appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules today to find out more about this program. My name is Christina and I will be your host today. Before we begin, I’d like to cover a few housekeeping items. At the bottom of your audience console are multiple application widgets you can use. If you have questions during the webcast, you may submit your question using the Q and A widget. We will answer as many questions as time allows at the end of the session. If you have any technical difficulties, just click on the help widget for answers to common technical issues. An on-demand version of this session will be available tomorrow and can be accessed using the same link that was sent to you earlier. You will also receive an email with a link to view the session on-demand.
Joining us today are Richard Sigg, Professor Kathleen Farkas, and Robin Nathan. Our first speaker, Richard Sigg, he is the director of recruitment and enrollment for the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University. Richard has over 10 years of experience working in higher education to help students realize their graduate school goals. He is past chair of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work Admissions.
Our next panelist is Dr. Kathleen Farkas. She is an associate professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has extensive clinical and research expertise in assessment, diagnoses, and treatment of mental health and Substance Use Disorder. Dr. Farkas teaches in both the master’s program and the doctoral program at the school. She holds an Ohio independent social work license with supervisory designation. She has been the recipient of a National Research Training award from the national Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, a faculty development award from the NIAA, National institute on Drug Abuse and a center on substance abuse prevention. As well as, research grants from NIDA. Dr. Farkas was one of 60 professionals invited to participate in the 2013 national conference to develop training competencies in trauma informed practice. Her current projects, funded by the Department of Justice and the Ohio Department of Mental Health, include a randomized control intervention using a [gel/jail 00:02:58] based integrating dual disorders treatment and an enhanced case management model and an adaptation of a cognitive behavior changed curriculum for use with persons who have serious mental illness and are involved in the justice system.
Our final speaker is Robin Nathan, the lead enrollment advisor for the online MSSA program. She has worked as an enrollment advisor for over four years assisting MSSA applicants thought the application process. Prior to her current role, Robin worked for four years as an enrollment advisor on other university graduate programs and has also garnered eight years of experience in the non-profit and fundraising industries. She graduated from Bradley University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Here is quick look at today’s agenda. We will start with Richard who will give us an overview of the Mandel School, the online MSSA program, and field education. Next, Dr. Farkas will dive into the direct practice concentration and provide insights into learning outcomes, the curriculum, and potential career paths for graduates. Robin will then talk about the application process, including some helpful tips and also review scholarship information. Following our speakers, we will have a Q and A session to answer any of your outstanding questions. Without further ado, I will hand things of to Richard.
Thank you and thank you all for joining us today. We definitely look forward to working with you as you explore graduate social work education. We’ve built a great model both on campus and online for our students. This is really empowered by the history of our university and our school. Our university actually dates back to the early 1820s in 1826 when Western Reserve college was founded. Our school of social work, which we’ve actually titled A School of Applied Social Sciences was actually established in 1915. It was actually established as the oldest university affiliated professional school of social work in the US. One of the unique distinctions that students and graduates have being part of our community that is the graduate of our social work program, your degree distinction will actually be identified as a Masters of Science and Social Administration. One of the reasons for that distinction was in the early 1900s when our program was established, social work itself was not actually considered a profession. When the community came to the institution and the program was developed, the school decided to establish it as a professional graduate school, therefore, distinguishing our degree as a Masters of Science in particular in Social Administration. We were fortunate to be accredited among the original group of social work schools accredited in 1919 and currently our accreditation with the main accrediting body for schools of social work, which is the Council on Social Work Education.
We do teach our program in three unique formats. We have a traditional program that’s taught in a more of a traditional format weekly during weekly based courses. We have a program that’s taught in what’s called the intensive weekend format, which allows working professionals in the field to come to campus one weekend a month over the course of their program to complete the program. We also teach the program online, which allows students throughout the country to have access to our top ranked program. Becoming part of the Mandel School will allow you to become a part of a leading research institution nationally and internationally. The Mandel School itself is a school of Applied Social Sciences is one of nine graduate schools at Case Western Reserve University. Our faculty generate over nine million dollars in externally funded research as well as we are home to five research centers.
One of the points that I do want to emphasize is thought we are a research based institution, the commitment to our students’ education and their experience is really the first and main priority of our faculty. We’re fortunate that much of our reputation is based or comes from the work that our faculty have done and the research and the influence that they’ve had on the profession throughout the profession of social work. At the same time, their focus is on teaching. This is something that’s truly identified through our close student/faculty ratio of eight to one. We actually have about 700 students within our graduate school and about half of those students are actually online students. About half of our 700 students within our community are in the online program.
Despite being in the online program, no matter where you’re located, whether you’re down the street from our campus here in Cleveland or across the country in California, we do provide many of the same resources that we do our on-campus students. You will have access to our [Harris 00:08:39] library which is a School of Social Work library right here within our building. Those in the region can come to campus, connect with the librarians that understand our curriculum, understand and can really support you as you’re researching topics and working on papers.for those across the country can access and utilize the online resources that they provide. Among many other things throughout the campus, there’s a lot of resources that we highly recommend our online students take advantage from things that would be a programming and events on-campus and lectures that happen. Many of our lectures, we live stream so that allows students around the country to have access to the same experiences whether, like I said, you are here in Cleveland or half way around the world.
We’re fortunate to be recognized by US News and World Reports as the number nine ranked social work program in the country. Connecting back to the quality and the strength of our faculty, our faculty have been ranked number eight based on scholarly productivity, which looks at a [inaudible 00:09:55] index. We are, as I mentioned, accredited by the Council for Social Work Education, which is the leading accrediting body or the accrediting body for schools of social work. One of the things to emphasize is the classes that you’re taking online are of the same quality and academic standards as they are in the on-campus program. They are taught by our leading, nationally and internationally, recognized faculty as well as practitioners. They enjoy the opportunity to connect to students and really provide the access of our program to you no matter where you’re located.
As a school of social work, we are truly a mission and vision driven school. Our mission is to advance leadership and social work in non-profit education, scholarship, and service to build a more just world. We do this by putting students at the central of everything we do. As I mentioned with our eight to one student/faculty ratio, we really pride ourselves in the connection and support we provide our students. Ultimately, we hope to transform the work of people and organizations to achieve their full potential. Ultimately our graduates are prepared to be future leaders who turn knowledge into action that furthers health, wellbeing, and social justice. We have over 7,800 alumni. They actually live in all 50 states and just over 40 different countries. It truly is an international network of alumni, which really allows you as both the student as well as graduate to build upon those connections as you advance your career long term.
In thinking about the social work curriculum, the degree itself is dividing into three core area. In our online program, you have generalist courses that really focus on the foundation of social work practice. You have then advanced practice courses, which are connected to the concentration and specialization that you choose. Then you have field education or also called practicum courses that aren’t your typical weekly meetings or connecting with other students, but this the opportunity for you to actually be working at a field placement to really take your experiences and knowledge that you’re learning in the classroom and actually apply it to the field. I’ll actually talk a little more about that on a future slide. For students that have a bachelor of social work from a CSWE accredited program, you’re able to come in with advanced standing, which allow us to count the coursework that you’ve completed as part of the DSW towards those generalist foundation courses so that you can move directly into advanced practice.
The structure of the program for traditional students completing full 60 credit hours is approximately two and half to three years. Essentially the program is divided over eight semesters. Each semester, you typically enroll in seven and a half credit hours. Within those seven and a half, you can really divide it out where six of those hours are focused on academic courses and then one and half hours is connected to your field education. The courses are actually taught in eight week modules. This program is actually really designed well if you’re wanting to work, whether it be full time or part-time or manage other life expectations and requirements as part of the degree because at no time are you taking two academic courses at the same time. Over the course of a, for example, 16 week semester. For example, this fall the first eight weeks of the semester, a student will focus on course A, complete that at the end of those eight weeks and then the second eight weeks of the semester focus on course B. Concurrently throughout the whole 16 weeks, a student is working at their field placement. It is really nice that you really take a deep dive into coursework really kind of intensely for eight weeks. You finish that course and then you move on to the next course all while concurrently working on field.
For those that come in with advance standing, your program is six semesters, which essentially takes two years. That’s going year round, fall, spring, summer. I mentioned that students that have a bachelor of social work are eligible for advance standing. Advance standing students actually can receive up to 24 credits towards the graduate’s social work degree. This allows you then to complete the program in as low as 36 hours. The requirements to be eligible for advanced standing is that you must have completed your bachelor of social work degree within the last seven years. The degree must be from a CSWE Council on Social Work accredited institution.
The grades or the courses that you’ve completed that we’re counting toward your generalist courses, you must have completed of a B or better in those social work related courses. For example, some of the courses that we’re looking at are Research Methods, Social Policy, Human Diversity, Generalist Practice or a more direct practice foundation course as well as a macro-practice course. Your foundational field experience. In the event you have an A or B in all of your courses except Research Methods, but in Research Methods, you received a B minus. If you were admitted to the program in that case, you would then receive 21 credits of advanced standing. For the course or courses that you received at D minus or lower in, then you would just be required to take those as part of our degree. If you had B minus in Research Methods, then we would just require that school of social work part of our program, you take Research Methods with us. In your case, you would complete 39 credit hours instead of 36. Pretty cut and dry process. If you have questions about it advanced standing, we’d be happy to talk with you more about that.
Within the program, I mentioned that there’s the generalist foundation courses within the degree. Beyond that, once you complete those courses, you move into your advanced practice courses. Here, you’re going to select one of three concentrations and specializations. They include: community practice for social change, direct practice with children, youth, and families, and direct practice with mental health in adults. Kathleen’s going to talk a lot more about the direct practice track here. We’d also be happy to connect with you about community practice in the future if you have questions. To provide just a brief highlighted community practice, it really aims to influence policy and practice at a local, state, national, or international level in non-profit, public and/or private sectors. It’s much more of the macro side of social work practice.
The third area of the curriculum is field education. Sometimes individuals will refer to field education as a practicum. Other times it may be referred to as an internship, though really within the social work realm, field education and practicum are the preferred language that used related to part of the experience. Our field education is really designed to be integrated from day one. Field education itself is identifies as the signature pedagogy of social work education. It’s purpose is ultimately to acquire professional knowledge, integrate knowledge skills and values, develop professional identity, reflect values and ethic. I mentioned that our goal is to integrate it from day one. What that means is throughout your whole curriculum, you will be enrolled in some form of field education. For advanced standing students, you will begin a field experience during your first semester. For traditional students completing the full 60 credit hours, your first semester, you are enrolled in a field education seminar course that prepares you for the actual experience itself so that starting that second semester, you will be able to work within a field education agency.
Some examples of different agencies that our online students have worked at. Within the mental health track, students have worked within an addiction research and treatment services division within the University of Colorado. Henry Street Settlement in New York, which focuses on residents through the lower east side, focusing on social services, art and healthcare programs as well as Good Samaritan hospital in Ohio. Within the children, youth, and families track, students have worked at Ohio Guidestone, which is an organization here in the greater Cleveland area. It focuses on community solutions, behavioral health treatment, skill building programs, prevention and opportunities for children and families. Students have also worked with Wolverine Human Services in Michigan, which provide safety, subsidence, nurturing, and therapeutic interventions to children, which is primarily focused on those that have experienced abuse and neglect. [inaudible 00:20:18] family services, adoption, and foster care in California. Within community practice track, students have completed practicum experiences at Organize Ohio, which focuses on really community organizing and progressive change in Ohio. An organization in Texas called Girls Incorporated, which focuses really on high risk youth in really underserved area. It’s a United Way partner agency as well as the National League of Cities in Washington DC, which is really focused on city leadership and community development.
That’s just kind of a sample listing of some of the agencies the agencies that we work with. We have over 350 partners. As a student though something to consider throughout your program, traditional students complete 1,050 hours. In advanced standing, students complete 900 hours. What that looks like throughout you week or day to day experience is throughout a semester, you can anticipate to be working at a field placement about 10-12 hours per week while you’re in the program. Ultimately as a cumulative over the course of the program, traditional students complete 1,050 hours or advanced standing students complete 900 hours. We have an amazing field faculty that will work directly with you to support you through the process. We considered the selection process more of a mutual selection process because we want to make sure the organization that you’re working with in your area really meets your needs based on the interest and skills that you hope to gain.
Some of the highlights of the online learning experience that I really hope to emphasize is no matter what format that you choose to pursue our graduate social work degree, our emphasis is really on the quality and maintaining the same academic standards across all of our three formats. At the end of the day, the decision for online is really based really on what your personal learning style is. It’s an amazing option especially providing that flexibility for you no matter where you’re located in the country. When it comes to connecting, it allows you to collaborate in real time with your professors, classmates, through online discussion, projects. They are both synchronous as well as asynchronous courses. Some of our courses have very few live session. Other courses may have multiple live sessions.it just kind oof depends on the nature of the course and how the faculty member develops that particular course.
An online experience definitely provides a lot on convenience as it relates to really spreading out the program over the course of a longer period of time, definitely for the courses that you’re in, it is intense meaning that a typical 16 week course is condensed into 8 weeks. That’s the same amount of material, same expectations just completed in a shorter period of time. Being that the whole program’s spread out over a longer period of time, it allows you to be able to manage whether it be a full or part-time job as well as, like I said, other life expectations. Field education does allow students to complete field work at their place of employment. There are some requirements and distinctions that need to be set that would be different from what you were originally hired to do, but there is that flexibility for you to complete field work at your place of employment.
At the end of the day, there is a lot of support for our online students. From the very beginning, you’re connected with an enrollment advisor that will really advise you throughout the application process and help you pull together the appropriate documents that are needed. When you’re in the program, you’re connected with a student support specialist that works really closely with you and is really there to help support you complete the program and get through the program. There are the field faculty advisor that you’re connected with. You’re also connected with a faculty advisor. There’s 24/7 technical support if there happens to be technical support related to the technologies that you’ve been using. It’s a lot of great supports and truly a great experience.
What I highly recommend is if you are in the region or not and interested in visiting campus, I encourage that you set up a campus visit with us. We can always talk with you about the online program, the online application process, connect you with a faculty member that teaches in the online program. If you’re in another part of the country and you’re not necessarily able to visit campus, obviously our enrollment advisors can really work with you very closely. However, in particular throughout the fall, my team and I got to a number of different event around the country within the next week or so or by the end of next week, our website should be updated with all the locations that we’ll be throughout the fall semester. If you’d like to connect with us, we’d love to meet with you while we’re on the road. You could either attend the event, whether it be a grad fair or other events that we’re hosting or if not, maybe always just meet up for coffee. Feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to make those arrangements for you.
I will pass off the conversation to Dr. Farkas to talk a little bit more about the direct practice concentration.
Thank you Richard and hello everyone. I’m delighted to be with you today. I wanted to emphasize a couple of things that I heard so far. One is the point about our commitment to teaching in social work education and our commitment top excellence across all formats in our curriculum. I have been part of the Mandel’s schools efforts to move into the virtual world with our curriculum. I can assure you that we are always looking at comparability to be sure that the same course contents and the same experiences are available to our weekly students in the classroom, our intensive weekend students, as well as to the students who join us in the virtual format. That is something that it think that we have done very well and we continue to do as we move forward with curriculum changes and quality assurance issues in our curriculum.
I wanted also to emphasize the commitment to the social work profession and our belief of social workers need both micro and macro skills. Our direct practice concentration builds upon those generalist micro and macro skills and holds true to the social work professions’ commitment to high values in client service. We use the person and environment as well as strength based approaches in all of our courses, believing that our job is not really to fix the problem, but to enhance client’s ability to cope and to develop skills and resources to be able to build the life they would like to have for themselves and their families. We also look at advocacy issues and to link people with resources and services and opportunities and really thinking about not only direct service with individuals and families, but also the context of the agency environment and ultimately the policies and the procedures that are part of those human welfare, social welfare institutions.
We abide by the core principles in social work in our curriculum, holding up high levels of service and social justice. We in direct practice as well as in community practice think about dignity and worth of the person and the real importance of human relationships. In social work, relationship is one of our key tools and key skills. We spend a lot of time with our students, thinking about their own self reflection, the ways that they would like to build their practice career, and then how they can get the competency and the knowledge skills and values that they need in order to go forward. We have a strong history as both Richard and Christina talked about.
I have here some slides of some famous social workers from the past. Some of you may recognize in the upper left hand corner, Jane Adams who was the mother of social work really in a way. Mary Richmond, going across. Charlotte [Tohole/Touhou 00:29:41], Alfred Kadushin, Carol Meyer. Carol Meyer was the person who developed the person in environment framework. Then, in the lower level, Grace Coyle. Grace Coyle was a member of the Mandel school faculty and Grace Coyle is really the founder of group work. Group work being one of the primary interventions that social worker use across all practice settings. Francis Hollings. The woman in the middle in the photograph that gives you a little bit more color. She is a person of color. Ruby Purnell was also on our faculty and is someone whose legacy is still here today. We have many accomplished and dedicated professionals on the faculty and also relationships with many alums and people in the community who are also involved in curriculum development and come into our classes and talk with our students about career paths.
It’s important even at the beginning of your career, as you are now, to think about your career path. Where would you like to be in two, three, four years? What kinds of skills would you like to put together. What it is you really like to do? I think all those things are important to be able to think about your curriculum and to think about the best match for you in making decisions about the future. The direct practice, we really built them on … I’m having a little trouble with my slide here, but I can figure out what’s going on. That direct practice really is reflecting the fact that social work has five levels of intervention. All social workers use these levels of intervention. We can intervene with individuals and families and direct practice social workers do that primarily. We can intervene with groups. We can intervene with organizations, communities, institutions.
I think the thing that distinguishes the direct practice curriculum from the community practice curriculum is that level of intervention. In the specialization year, you will spend most of your time thinking about interventions with individuals, families, and groups. Now, of course they’re all in the context of community and all in the context of different parts of the environment. Our curriculum in direct practice is focused on developing the knowledge, skills, and values that you need to pursue a career with individuals, families, small groups. In direct practice two, we many levels. I can’t see the slides at all so I’m just going to have to talk here. In direct practice, you can see the concentric circles that we have working with individuals, families, groups. I think we have a couple slides that show those different levels of intervention. The coursework will focus on … Our curriculum is developed so every concentration specialization has two methods courses that are required, three additional methods courses that will add to your ability to interact with the group of interest, a research course, and a policy course, and then field. That will be the crux of your work at the school whether you decide to be a children, youth, and families and focus on that population group or mental health with adults and that population group.
Both of those … I might mention that those are … All courses that are most popular, those are our two most popular specializations here at the school. The majority of our students in direct practice are interested in one of those two, so we have a deep network of field and regular research faculty who work in that area and who are part of that whole constellation of folks who build curriculum with us and then build your experience.
This final slide I want to show you is about our direct practice advanced curriculum. Remember Richard had talked about the generalist year. This is the specialist year and our curriculum is counted by CSWE as a specialist curriculum. The two choices you have, children, youth, and families and mental health with adults. All of our direct practice students take two courses and they’re listed a little differently in these, but if you look in the children, youth, and families list, Problem Identification Screening Assessment Diagnosis, Theory Practice Approaches and Direct Practice Social Work. Those two courses are really the building block of all of our direct practice offerings at the school and all students take those courses.
Problem Identification Screening and Assessment focuses in on the most common mental health problems that social workers see regardless of their field of practice. It allows you to interact with the most frequently used assessment package, which is the DSM-5 and will describe and explore the most common areas of mental health problems in children and adults. Of that course also helps you identify screening tools and helps you to develop your interview technique so you, when you are licensed as a social work, will be able to fulfill that license requirement if diagnosis.
The second course that all students take is Theory Practice Approaches and Direct Practice Social Work. That highlights some of the most commonly used interventions in social work practice including: CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, case management, social network interventions, and relation based therapies. That gives you interaction with different types of clients using video. Both of these courses use a fair amount of video to illustrate case situations to highlight skill development and to allow you to really get eh feel of being a practice setting even though you may not have access to all these different kinds of issues in your practice right now.
You can see children, youth, and families then pulls together those courses that are most useful if your practice is going to be focused on children, adolescence, and then the family. Social work with Groups I mentioned, one of the most commonly used interventions in social work, Trauma Informed Social Work Practice with Children and Families, Social Work with Child Abuse and Family Violence are all methods courses. Child and Family Policy, that’s advocacy policy course. Then Adoption Policy and Practice. These are the courses that you would take. I forgot to mention Family Systems Intervention, which is also a key intervention and really way of thinking that social workers use in child welfare and child practice.
On the mental health of adult side, you see, again, Problem ID and Theory Practice Approaches, but students in mental health will concentrate on courses such as: Social Work Practice in Mental Health and then they integrate a seminar, which is capstone course for that specialization. Take the Social Work Practice in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse course because we know that mental health and substance use are often co-occurring in many of our clients. The policy course is focused on mental health and service delivery. Of course, [inaudible 00:38:13] occurring disorders that highlights the integrated dual disorder treatment approach and then cognitive behavior therapy rather than cognitive behavior. It should be intervention rather than information. You can see that these two advanced curriculum give you some depth and, again, all the time you are taking these courses in the virtual world, you will be rooted in the field experience.
I teach a fair amount in virtual and I know that we talk a lot about field experience and students bring the issues from field into the virtual classroom and we talk about what has gone on in that day or around a case that’s similar or practice principal perhaps around confidentiality or limits of service. All of those things come into that rich discussion that I think really positions people for being in the field now, but also developing their career. Social work is a very flexible career. It allows you to develop with your social work skills a number of different pathways. I can tell you from my personal experience, I started out in gerontology. I worked for a number of years in gerontology. I moved into substance use disorders and treatment of substance abuse and then moved into mental health. It has been my social work training that has allowed me to do that and use continuing education. The idea of lifelong learning. Social work is a degree for lifelong learners.
I think I’ll wrap up my portion right now and hope that I didn’t get too disjointed with my slide issues and move to the next part in the application process. I think Robin, you are taking over now.
I am now taking up time. Thank you so much. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you again for joining us. I’ll echo this all from earlier. We know this a busy time of day, a busy time of the year so we appreciate you taking some time to join us and learn more about the program. As mentioned, my name is Robin and I’m part of the enrollment team. I am fortunate enough to work with a really strong and dedicated team of enrollment advisors. We work with all of our incoming students really from very start, that first initial inquiry into our program all the way up until that first day of class where we hand you off to student support services.
With that said, our initial role is obviously to help answer immediate questions about the program and the application process. Even more, first and foremost, we want tot lean about our incoming applicants. We want to learn about your passion for social work and your interest in the program as well as be the ones to answer your questions that you have about the process and the program itself. We do work with students in terms of compiling their actual application file. As a student does have their application file ready to go, we do a pre-review and make sure that all documents are properly submitted before review by the admission’s committee.
Upon acceptance, our enrollment advisors do have a lengthy and detailed what we call an [unboring 00:41:38] process with incoming students. Over a series of weeks and months, you are introduced more and more to the program itself. We have events like welcome webinars and an online orientation. We want students to feel comfortable and prepared and have several weeks and if not months of preparation and exposure to the online technology, so when you do start class that first day, you’ve already had a few weeks and months of preparation and you feel that much more confident. If you’re not already working with an assigned advisor, we do invite you to contact us. You’ll see contact information of a further slide. Also, we can help facilitate any communication needs that you might have with other departments like student support services, financial aid, or other departments of that nature.
Moving on to the actual application process, we do work with an online application portal. It’s called Apply Yourself. It’s a very user friendly, very streamlined website. All documents are available for students to view online. They’re also available for students to upload documents online. With that said, we require a total of four to five documents for the application file. That would include a students’ professional resume. A personal statement should be there to five pages in length. I will mention that in the Apply Yourself website, there is a very strong outline for students. I know a lot of times feel like they have so much to say. They just want to know what is the [inaudible 00:43:16] part of essay and a springboard to get them started. I really feel that the outline provided in the personal. Statement link on the Apply Yourself website provides a strong framework so students know what is expected to be talked about as part of their essay.
We do require official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. This would include a degree conferral transcript. Any transfer credit, perhaps from another institution that would’ve led to your bachelors degree and any post-graduate work as well. I will note that the admissions committee can review unofficial transcripts as part of the application file; however, upon acceptance, official transcripts are due to start the program. We do recommend that students make plans to have those officials on file well before that deadline. Then again, unofficials can be reviewed in the short term.
Then three letters of recommendation. There is one page form that’s available in the Apply Yourself website. It is possible also for students to provide a formal letter as well or they can do both a formal letter, and the accompanying recommendation form. The recommendations are asked to be professional in nature. That definition of professional is broad. A first group of colleagues to target would be current and past managers or supervisors, any previous colleagues that you’ve had the opportunity to work with, academic references are also looked at as professional as well. If you’ve kept in touch with any professors or field education faculty from your previous schooling, that would be appropriate and any volunteer work or outside social service experience.
Moving on to the field education documents that are required for students. Our traditional track, or non-BFW students are required to submit a field education questionnaire as part of their application file. You’ll fin that questionnaire prepared for you in the Apply Yourself website, you just need to log in and answer those questions. For our advanced standing applicants, they are required to submit a complete field education proposal. I will note for you that this proposal does not need to be submitted at the time of acceptance. You’ll see that we have a different deadline for the field proposal for advanced students.
We do advise advancing new students to treat their application process really in a two part manner. Part one would be all of your academic documents. That’s the resume, the essay, the transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Upon their conditional acceptance, field proposals can be submitted, obviously prior to the deadline, but they can be submitted upon your conditional acceptance to the program. That would include the actual application itself, which should detail all of the roles and responsibilities that you’re going to do for your field placement. If competing field at your employer, you should go into extra detail about how your field work will be different than your regular full-time job. Then the other required documents are a copy of your field instructor’s resume detailing their MSW and post-graduate experience and then a field agency agreement form that we do provide. It just requires signatures.
I will mention an online tutorial that we do offer for applicants who have submitted an academic application. It’s called SOFE, which stands for supporting online field education, for any advanced standing or transfer student that will be requiring assistance with field placement. We do offer the opportunity for those applicants to be connected with a member of our field education faculty. It is an online tutorial that does provide you the opportunity to work with them for placement assistance. Do speak to your enrollment advisor if you would like more information on this opportunity. It is available through our learning platform.
Moving on to tuition and fees, we do have our academic fees for the 2017/2018 academic year, you’ll see 1,450 a credit hour. I will note that this is true for both a traditional track, the advanced standing track and we don’t make a distinction for an instate or out of state. All students do pay the same rate for credit hour. You’ll also note there is an additional activity fee of $18 per credit hour for each of the tracks and then a one time $100 confirmation fee upon acceptance to the program. I will also notice that there is no application fee for our program. In our tradition track is a total of 60 credit hours over the two and a half years and the advanced standing is a minimum of 36 credit hours over the two years.
Moving on scholarship opportunities. We do provide our Centennial scholarship. We develop this in the past to recognize students based on their academic merit and also those that want to make a positive difference in their community. We look into this as an investment to really in our future students. Review of the scholarship. The Centennial scholarship is based on academic merit. All students are reviewed for scholarship. Students that are accepted into our program with an undergraduate cumulative GPA above a 3.0 are reviewed and can be awarded at the time of acceptance. Information on their scholarship would also be noted as part of their admission’s letter. For students that have an undergraduate cumulative GPA below a 3.0, those students are reviewed at the end of their first semester in the program. Provided they are in good academic standing, they’ll receive that Centennial scholarship then moving forward. The Centennial scholarship is a 15% Centennial scholarship, so 15% towards the cost of tuition. That does stay with the student throughout the lifetime of the program. Again, provided that they are good standing. On average, 90% of our students do receive that Centennial scholarship while in our program. I should also mention that students don’t need to submit any additional documentation or application. It’s an automatic review based on GPA.
Moving on. This is a busy time of year for us, so a couple of deadlines for everyone to keep in mind. We are currently recruiting for our January 8th spring semester. I would also mention that we do have two additional start dates coming up in 2018 as we do start the program three times a year. We do have a summer start that begins in May and a fall semester that begins in September. To focus on our more immediate intake, the spring semester, the January 8th start date. Our application deadline is Friday, November 3rd. That would include all academic documents and then the field education questionnaire for our traditional track students. Would also highlight our field education proposal deadline for advanced standing students only. That is two weeks later, Friday, November 17th. Then our classes start in, as mentioned, Monday, January 8th, 2018. It is here already. As I mentioned before, you will see contact information for our recruitment service office. You can always dial our toll free line. Then we have a general email that is checked as well.
Before we turn it over to a Q and A, again wanted to thank everyone for their time today. I will pass the baton back to Christina as we enter into our question and answer session.
Christina Walsh: Thank you, Robin. We’ve received a few questions so far. Anyone that has a question that hasn’t submitted it, go ahead and do so and we will see how many we can get through in the last few minutes we have today. Any questions that we are not able to get through will be handled directly via email or phone call.
First question, “Robin, you mentioned the fall start. Can you say what the application deadline is for that please?”
Sure, yeah. The actual start date for fall of 2018 will be September 3rd. The application deadline will be Friday, June 29th, 2018.
Alright. Next question, “Can social workers work in the university counseling center?” Your turn, Kathleen, you want to take that?
If they … It depends. The university counseling centers are set up different ways in different schools. For example, at Case Western Reserves University we have a number of licensed independent social workers who are part of that staff. We also place students in the mental health with adults’ specialization there for field.
Great thank you. The next question, there’s a question about the activity fee for online students. Robin, can you go over what that fee if for?
I’ll actually defer that to Richard Sigg if you don’t mind. Thank you.
The activity fee for online students supports two primary things. Some of the technology costs associated with the technologies related to online education and then secondary to that, all of our students, we provide the connection to become members of NASW, the National Association of Social Workers. The piece to pay for that is we use part of that activity fee to cover the expense related to you becoming a member within that organization. We value beginning that professional relationship with NASW, which is the professional association within the field. To begin that relationship, we’ve built that in to ensure that all of our students become member of NASW.
Great, thank you. Question, “Which avenue would be best for a student wishing to work in a hospice organization as a social worker?”
I’ll can jump in on that and talk about hospice as a … You can do it two ways because certainly there will be roles in hospice for people who have mental health skills and also for people who have skills in working with families in intergenerational issues. I would think that either one of those, perhaps mental health might give you a little more depth in the coursework, but children, youth, and families, there are certainly hospice programs that are devoted to palliative care and hospice care for families of young children. Either one would work. I think this is an example of thinking through your career goals and looking at the coursework and asking yourself about where the skills and the knowledge, how’s that going to fit into my long run career plan. I could see either one of those working depending upon how you wanted to emphasize your skill development. Sometimes it’s helpful to talk to social workers who are already in practice and ask them about their opinions as well if you have the ability to talk with staff at a hospice and see what their view might be.
Great, thank you. This next question, “Do students have the ability to switch concentrations during the program?”
Students do have the opportunity to switch concentrations. It’s best that they declare or finalize their concentration by the time they complete their generalist courses. For most students, that’s about the first year/year and half of the program that they’re going to be enrolled in generalist courses. When they move into the advanced practice courses, that’s when ideally, they’ll have solidified the track that they’re pursuing. They kind of have just over a year to make that decision.
And I might add to that, Richard, too that you could see that there are a couple of courses within the direct practice that would give you a little bit more time because you would take those courses regardless of whether you were choosing children, youth, and families or mental health practice with adults.
Great. Thank you both. Next question, “Are there any scholarships available for military veterans?”
With regards to scholarships for military veterans, we do participate in the Yellow Ribbon program as well as supporting students that have veterans’ benefits. There’s not necessarily additional, say similar to the Centennial scholarship, that all students are eligible for. There’s not others that are targeted just to veterans. However, because we do participate in the Yellow Ribbon and some of the additional support that the institution provides through those programs. If you’re eligible for one of those, then it is very worthwhile. A lot of the post 9/11 GI benefits provide quite a bit of support both for tuition and in some cases, can even help with some of the living expenses and basically students then would be eligible to receive money through the program to help support some living expenses while pursuing the graduate degree.
I would just touch on that, that we would have the opportunity to connect that students with both the financial aid department and the registrars’ office. They not only work with all of our incoming students, but in terms of any student who wants to use military benefits, we would have specific context within our campus that we could direct that student to.
Great. Thank you both. Looks like it will probably be our last question today due to time. Want to be conscious of everybody’s time today. Robin, would you be able to … we had a question about the summer application deadline and field proposal deadline if you can. We’ll do that and then we’ll wrap up.
Sure. For summer, that semester will begin on May 7th, 2018. Two deadlines for you, the academic application deadline is Friday, March 2nd. That field education proposal deadline for advanced standing students is two weeks after that Friday, March 16th, 2018.
Great, thank you. Alright, thank you everyone. That completes our session for today. Any questions that we were not able to get to, again, we will follow up with you directly via email or phone. On the screen here … Let me … you have the contact information for our recruitment team and also on this screen here. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to give your advisor a call. If you are ready to apply or would like to schedule an appointment to speak with your advisor, links to do so can be found within the resources’ widget on your screen. Additional program information links are also available to you there.
I’d like to thank each of our presenters for sharing their expertise and thank you to everyone who was able to join us and participate today. We’re really glad you could join us and hope the session was helpful for you. Again, thank you everyone for attending and enjoy the rest of your day.
Thank you everyone. Have a great day.