Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

Review of Existing Instructional Programs

 

Institution: _____Chadron State College_______                         Program: ______________Social Work

I certify the following:

-the information provided regarding this program is accurate

-the above named institution has in place a procedure for reviewing instructional programs              

and a copy of the procedure has been provided to the Commission

-such review took place on or about _____________________________________________

-such review was presented to the institution’s governing board on _____________________

-the governing board’s action was: _______________________________________________

 

Signed: ___________________________________________                      ____________________

(Chief Academic Officer or designated representative)                    (Date)  

Evidence of Demand and Efficiency

 

 

01-02

02-03

03-04

04-05

05-06

5 yr avg

Student Credit Hours (SCH)

    599

417

236

233

264

350

Faculty Full-time Equivalency (FTE)

2.23

1.45

.91

.62

.79

1.2

SCH/Faculty FTE

268.61

287.59

259.34

375.81

334.18

305.10

Number of

Degrees and Awards

 

(list degrees/

awards

separately)


BA

 

6

 

7

 

8

 

6

 

2

 

5.8



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

Evidence of Need (provide a statement below or attach document)

 

 

 

Justification if the program is below CCPE thresholds (provide a statement below or attach documentation)

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

For CCPE staff use only                                                                    Reviewers & Date:


                        2001-2002               2002-2003               2003-2004               2004-2005               2005-2006               5 Year Avg

Student Credit     

Hour Production     599                           417                          236                          264                          529                          349.8  

Faculty Full-time

Equivalency             2.23                          1.45                         0.91                         0.62                         0.72                             1.6

SCH/Faculty FTE 268.61                     287.59                    259.34                      375.81                     334.18                       305.10

 

Number of Degrees

And Awards

                               

                                BS                6                              7                              8                              6                              2                              5.8

 

Majors

                                Fall              40                            28                            26                            20                            22                            27.2

                                Spring        35                            29                            18                            24                            26                            26.4

                                Summer     18                            31                             8                              5                              7                             13.8

                                Totals         93                            88                            52                            49                            55                            67.4


Evidence of Need for a Social Work Program at Chadron State College

 

            Between 1999 and 2004, Nebraska saw an 108.9 percent increase in the number of child abuse or neglect cases investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, going from 6,362 in 1999 to 13,291 in 2004 (Nebraska Child Abuse Report 2004, November 28, 2005, Nebraska Health and Human Services System, Office of Protection and Safety).  This trend toward more reported cases is typical and more-or-less in line with the trend nationally.  Of the total number reported in 2004, 1,101 were from the western Panhandle region of Nebraska, the area typically seen as the primary employment area for Chadron State College bachelor social work graduates.  The number of children involved in these reported Nebraska cases in 2004 was 4,896 compared to 3050 in 1999, a 60.5 percent increase.  According to the Nebraska Governor’s Children’s Task Force Study, domestic violence was a direct factor or part of the family’s history in 46 percent of the reported child abuse and neglect cases which resulted in the death of the children.  These are alarming statistics, and the faculty of the Department of Social Work at Chadron State College believes it is incumbent upon them to educate and graduate bachelor level social workers who can enter the Western Nebraska workforce, especially in the area of human services, to become a part of the change system that is needed for the sake of thousands of abused and neglected children.

The Department of Social Work at Chadron State College believes unequivocally that the most important commodity the state of Nebraska has is its children, believing that their healthy physical, mental, and emotional development is critical to the future of the state.  It is the intent of the Social Work Department to educate social workers who will embrace the importance and significance of the states’ children, recognizing, accordingly, that children from healthy families are much more likely to grow, prosper, and make a significant difference in the communities in which they live.  Certainly, social work graduates from the program at Chadron State are able to work expertly and efficiently in many diverse areas related to the human condition, but it is their specific recognition of the importance of healthy and strong family development that causes them to be able to work in a wide variety of settings in the Panhandle of Nebraska, as well as in the southwestern part of South Dakota and the northwestern part of Wyoming.  So it is that the Social Work Department at Chadron State prepares social workers to recognize, to acknowledge, and to advocate to sustain the family unit.      

            According to the United States General Accounting Office, the federal government allocates approximately $7 billion every year to states to provide funding to investigate abuse and neglect, to provide placements for children who must be removed from their homes, and to deliver services designed to keep families together.  Along with this funding, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) monitors states’ compliance with key federal goals which are specified in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997, to keep children safe and provide stable home environments in which to place them.  According to the United States General Accounting Office, “A stable and highly skilled child welfare workforce is necessary to effectively provide child welfare services that meet federal goals.  Many child welfare caseworkers have degrees in social work; however, this credential is not always required and many practicing in child welfare have undergraduate degrees in seemingly unrelated fields” (GAO-03-357, Child Welfare Staff Recruitment and Retention).

            Written as a response to Representative Pete Stark and Representative James Greenwood, who inquired on behalf of the House of Representatives about the terribly costly trend in child welfare services for social service workers to leave their positions after only a short period of employment, GAO-03-357 describes the reasons for the poor retention of social service workers.  According to GAO-03-357, “Evidence from a nation child welfare workforce study indicates that fewer than 15 percent of child welfare agencies require caseworkers to hold either bachelors or masters degrees in social work, despite several studies finding that Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master’s of Social Work (MSW) degrees correlate with higher job performance and lower turnover rates among caseworkers.”  In summary, the report submitted to Mr. Stark and Mr. James by the GAO clearly argues that the following needs must be sufficiently met to attract and keep a child welfare workforce that meets federal goals and for states to continue to receive federal child welfare appropriations:

 

1.       The workforce should have professional training.  Ideally, the workforce

would consist of professionally trained social workers who hold BSW or MSW degrees.

 

2.       Recruitment should include, if possible, state and federal incentives that

      would include such things as tuition waivers or incentives for already-

      employed case managers who are willing to return to college to obtain a BSW

      degree.

 

3.       Recruitment should include degreed individuals who already have BSW’s or MSW’s.

 

There is a profound need for bachelor level social workers in the Panhandle of

Nebraska to work with families and children, but the obvious need for professionally- trained staff involvement in child abuse and neglect cases notwithstanding, the field of social work is one that is marketed nationally as a proposed employment growth area.  Employment for social workers is expected to grow in the area of individual, family, community and vocational services as a consequence of “…the expansion of services for the elderly and the aging baby-boom generation.  Services for children, mentally ill, the physically disabled and families in crisis will also grow.  Positions are concentrated in food and housing assistance, emergency relief, recreation, drug prevention, adoption, life skills and social development” (Careerbuilder.com).  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2012.  Employment for social workers is expected to increase 21 to 35 percent between 2002 and 2012.  Furthermore, like the population nationwide, the population of Nebraska is aging.  By the year 2030, the population of citizens 65 and older is expected to increase by 75 percent (Nebraska HHS).  The significance of this cannot be ignored, due, in part, to the fact that the trend nationwide is for more financial emphasis to be placed upon support for less restrictive environments for elderly living.  While this trend is encouraging, especially to the baby-boomer population, it means a need for an increase of all supportive services—home health, assisted living, adult foster care, elderly-specific housing—outside the traditional long-term care environment—and social workers are employed in all these environments.  Of course, there will always be a need for social workers in long-term care facilities, as well as in school systems, in employee assistance programs, and in hospice organizations.  In fact, the need for social workers in hospice, like the need in home health, will continue to grow as more elderly opt to remain in their own homes or in elderly housing.

There is no end to the good that bachelor level social workers can do in the

Panhandle of Nebraska, and in the neighboring states of South Dakota and Wyoming and, likewise, no end to the employment opportunities.  Their professional expertise is needed immediately and always, whether it is by a two year old child who has been abused and needs a safe home, or by an elderly man or woman who finally must leave his or her home and needs the help of a social worker to make that move as painless as possible.  The graduates of the social work program at Chadron State College are ready to make a difference.

 

 

 

Justification

 

The number of graduates from the Chadron State College Social Work Program is currently below CCPE thresholds. Several factors have contributed to a reduction in Social Work graduates. These factors include higher education budget constraints, faculty availability, program leadership, recruitment, curriculum revisions and program requirements for accreditation. In addition to discussion of these factors, we will present several of the ways in which they are currently being addressed. In October 2006,  Chadron State College President Park was notified that the Social Work Program has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education for an 8 year period.

 

Budget Constraints and Faculty Availability

 

The number of graduates can be directly related to the availability of full-time faculty members to provide not only education, but direction and recruitment for the program. During the financial constraints of the time period of 2001- 2003, the Social Work Program at CSC was considered for elimination from the CSC degree offerings.

 

In 2001- 2002 there were approximately 45 full-time equivalent social work students. Two faculty members and an adjunct were teaching. In 2002- 2003 there was a decline in the number of full-time faculty members, and a subsequent reduction in the number of student credit hours.  By 2003- 2004, the Social Work Program no longer had a full-time Director or Field Director.  When the director left the program, community adjunct faculty holding the appropriate degrees stepped in to ensure that the program would continue. Some students were taking upper division advanced social work classes, some were in their field practicum, and all were concerned about completing their degrees. Adjunct faculty members were able to coordinate with the Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies and the students to offer both field supervision and courses needed for graduation by the remaining students

 

In order to meet the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education, a social work program must have two full-time professors holding a masters level degree plus 2 years of practice experience.  In 2004 2005, two full-time professors were hired.  The Self Study for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education was accomplished within two years.  In May 2006 sixteen human service agencies from the High Plains Region met with the CSWE site visitors in support of the CSC Social Work Program.  In November of 2006, Chadron State College received a full eight year re-accreditation from CSWE. For a social work degree to have professional value and transferability into a master's or doctoral program, the degree must come from a Council on Social Work Education accredited school. Chadron State College is now accredited up to the year 2014.

 

By the academic year 2005-2006, there were thirty-one declared social work majors in the pre-professional and professional Social Work Program. The new Social Work Program Director and Field Director engaged in active recruitment for on-campus and the distance education social work cohort in Alliance and Scotts Bluff. The next cohort of social work students is expected to complete the revised curriculum and graduate in Spring of 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Curriculum Revisions

 

During the 2004-2005 academic year, the Social Work faculty proposed major changes in social work curriculum. These revisions were proposed in response to new CSWE accreditation standards, results from learning outcome assessments, and an eight year longitudinal evaluation of student graduates and employers. The Social Work faculty altered pre-requisites, restructured course sequencing, expanded the number of required courses in order to enter the Social Work Program, and added, integrated, and deleted Social Work courses. In addition, the Social Work faculty revised admission standards and processes for admission to the Professional component of the Social Work Program. The faculty initiated major changes within field instruction. These revisions were designed to provide students with a logical sequencing of courses that lead to a BSW degree in four years if pursued full-time. 

 

 In 2004-2005, the Social Work faculty submitted extensive proposed curriculum revisions to the Chair and CPSW Department. With their approval the program revisions were then forwarded through the Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies to the Faculty Senate’s Academic Review Committee (ARC) which approved the curriculum revisions. The ARC did require students who were taking the proposed 3-credit Anatomy and Physiology course to register for the 1-credit lab as a co-requisite. The Academic Review Committee submitted the approved the Social Work Program revisions to the Vice-President of Student and Academic Affairs for final approval. In Spring 2006 in response to the CSWE site visitors exit interview, the Social Work Program requested additional revisions.  The program received approval for a requirement of Survey of Economics within the general studies, an additional level of Human Behavior in the Social Environment and a specified Behavioral Science Statistics course.

 

Four courses have been designated as "pre-professional" in order to allow students to explore the discipline and evaluate the fit between their values and those of the profession. In order to facilitate articulation between the community colleges and the four-year program at CSC, these classes are offered by ITV to distant sites as well as on-campus.  After students have completed all of their general studies requirements, the Social Work Program prerequisites and the four pre-professional courses, they apply to the Professional Social Work Program. This portion of the curriculum is completed in three semesters of the junior and senior years prior to graduation. 

 

For Fall 2006 the SW 231Professional Social Work course had 12 students enrolled. Of those new students, eight have declared Social Work as their major.  As of September 2006, 11 social work students were taking other pre-professional courses.  Seven students were eligible to apply and accepted into the Professional Social Work Program. They will graduate in Spring 2008.

 

Program/Advisory Committee:

 

 The CSC Social Work Program believes an active community investment in the program will best serve the region and facilitate an increase in enrollment. Over the last several years the Social Work Program has maintained a Program Advisory Committee. Between 2002-2004, the Advisory Committee did not formally retain an active role in the Social Work Program. However, during the period from 2002-2004, individual members of the past Advisory Committee did take an active role in meetings with the School and College administration to advocate on behalf of social work students and the social work program. In addition, several community members contacted members of the Board of Trustees to affirm the need for a social work program. In the Fall 2004, the Field Coordinator developed a Field Advisory Committee that reviewed the proposed curricular changes in the social work program and provided feedback to the program.  Currently, there is a single Program/Field Advisory group.  The Social Work Program has rewritten the objectives of the advisory group in order to provide the committee members with greater opportunities to participate in the ongoing development, assessment, and promotion of the Social Work Program within the region.

 

The Social Work Program schedules classes in a way that will facilitate participation by non-traditional and distant site students. The program has a high number of these students. Many of them are currently practicing in a human service field and need their degree to meet requirements for advancement and leadership. The Advisory Committee and Social Work faculty are actively recruiting at the community college level, within agencies and for entering freshmen as they enroll at CSC.

 

Conclusion:

 

The Social Work Program has developed a rigorous and comprehensive program that will prepare students for generalist social work practice in this region. It is recognized by the faculty that professional social work practice has a profound impact on the lives of individuals, families, communities and legislative policy. Due to a shortage of human service providers who hold a degree in social work, Chadron State College BSW graduates often find themselves in positions as supervisors and leaders very soon after graduation.  For this reason, it is extremely important that students graduate with a solid knowledge and skill base from which to practice. While it will require a number of years to develop the program, and for students to progress through the curriculum, we anticipate an ongoing increase in the number of graduating BSW students.