PNC Adds New Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work

By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: October 14, 2009

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) has granted approval to Purdue University North Central for the College of Liberal Arts to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work (BASW). PNC students will have the opportunity to enroll in these bachelor's degree classes for spring semester of 2010.

Purdue North Central now offers its students 19 baccalaureate programs.

"Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work will prepare our students to become Social Work generalists to work with the most vulnerable, at-risk citizens in our communities. Our research shows that there is a growing demand for degreed professionals to enter this most essential profession," said PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. "Traditionally, the vast majority of our PNC alumni continue to live and work in Northwest Indiana. The future graduates of our Social Work program will be an asset to our community as they put their Purdue degrees to work."

Currently, PNC students have the opportunity to choose a Social Work concentration offered through the Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Science - a degree that has been offered since December, 2001. Students enrolled in that program may transition to the Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work program.

According to Rex Morrow, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, the PNC Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree will be the first undergraduate social work program provided by a public university in Northwest Indiana.         "Our degree will help to meet the growing needs of community health and human services agencies throughout the region," said Morrow. "The Indiana Workforce Development Commission cites that social work will be one of the fastest growing career opportunity areas in public and private human services. Our graduates will be prepared to assist the multifaceted needs of all Hoosiers from infancy to senior citizens.

The PNC faculty worked closely with local social work professionals and human service agencies while developing this degree. "These professionals and agencies were very supportive and encouraging to us.  In addition they offered to provide assistance in creating social work internships which can lead to a variety of future career opportunities for the students enrolled in this program," said Dr. Karen Schmid, PNC vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook projects employment for social workers to increase by 22 percent during 2006 to 2016,  which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be favorable, particularly for social workers specializing in aging populations or working in rural areas.

The Social Work program and curriculum has been developed to reflect the policies and standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  It will also qualify PNC to seek national accreditation through the CSWE. This accreditation will entitle PNC graduates to sit for state licensing examinations in Indiana and surrounding states.

Outside of the classroom, students may also join the campus Social Work Club which offers a variety of community engagement activities and learning opportunities.

Students earning the PNC Social Work degree may qualify for advanced standing in Master of Social Work programs.

Further information on the PNC Bachelor's degree in Social Work can be obtained by contacting the PNC College of Liberal Arts at 462-4197 ext. 5647 or by visiting the PNC website, www.pnc.edu.