For students entering the School of Social Work as of September 2009, the baccalaureate program will be four years rather than the current five. At its Dec. 11 meeting, Senate approved the new program. The final class of students in the current five-year program will graduate in 2011.
Revision of the bachelor of social work program from a five-year to a four-year program was a recommendation of the academic program review conducted in May 2005. Memorial University currently has one of only two five-year social work programs in the country, placing Memorial students at a financial disadvantage compared to the cost of social work programs at other Canadian universities.
The reduction in program length required modification to every course in the program in order to compensate for material that was lost in the elimination of some social work and arts and sciences courses. The revised program retains the core content areas of the existing program and the opportunity to complete internships in urban and rural areas remains a feature of the revised program. The School of Social Work consulted widely within the university and the social work practice and employment communities in order to ensure that the revised program remains relevant to community needs and provides a high quality learning experience that addresses the accreditation standards set by the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work.
The proposal for the revised bachelor of Social Work program was led by Ellen Oliver, associate director of the School of Social Work. She explained that in addition to revising the program, the school is also considering increasing the number of graduates each year in order to meet an increasing demand.
“Currently we admit 45 students per year, but we may increase that to 60 students by 2009,” she said. “The longer-term projections also indicate that the School of Social Work may need to graduate 121 students per year by 2020.”