Cal State Fullertonâ€™s Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program received its initial accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the fieldâ€™s national accrediting agency.
â€œTalk about starting a Master of Social Work program at Cal State Fullerton began almost 20 years ago,â€ said Mikyong Kim-Goh, acting associate vice president for International Programs and one of the founding members of the MSW program on campus.
Kim-Goh said when she began working at CSUF in 1992, the idea of the MSW was already on the minds of many.
The accreditation was received Monday, Feb. 14, making Cal State Fullerton the only public school to have a MSW program in Orange County and one of the 10 accredited universities in Southern California.
Kim-Goh and Ellen Junn, both founding members of CSUFâ€™s MSW program, took the plan forward.
The first step was to try establishing approval and acceptance from the university as a recognizable degree program on campus.
â€œThe universityâ€™s support is essential for the programâ€™s success,â€ said Christine Ford, MSWâ€™s director of field education.
Beginning in 2005, the department gathered self-studies, research and a curriculum to support development of the program and presented the documentation to the Academic Senate.
What initially drove the program, in terms of development, was the community.
A Community Advisory Board was held where executives and directors from various social work and non-profit agencies gathered to discuss the need of a local social work program.
â€œIt was the Community Advisory Board that advocated the initial need to offer a MSW program at Cal State Fullerton,â€ Kim-Goh said.
Preparation for the accreditation spanned two years. A thorough self-study of every aspect of the MSW program was conducted. After receiving final approval and support from the university, the program became a candidate for accreditation in 2007.
It took four years for the graduate program to be accredited by the CSWE. The accreditation is applied to all MSW program graduates, retroactively from the first cohort class of fall 2007.
â€œIt is really nice to know we accomplished something. We are the only accredited MSW program in North Orange County,â€ said Jeanie Weir, the department of social workâ€™s administrative support coordinator who has been helping with the accreditation process since 2006.
Cal State Fullertonâ€™s MSW degree requires a completion of 60 units and a total of 1,150 internship hours. It is a degree that includes a lot of fieldwork so students are provided with an interface between classroom education and actual practice.
The programâ€™s goal is to prepare students to enter professional, multicultural social work practice. Their focus is two-fold: child welfare services and community mental health.
Although they received their initial accreditation, Ford admits they plan to keep the program small with no more than 45 students per cohort.
â€œThere is an intimacy in our program. The students and faculty have close interaction and a close bond,â€ Ford said.
Kim-Goh agrees with keeping an intimate program.
â€œWe donâ€™t want a huge program but hopefully weâ€™ll prosper,â€ Kim-Goh said. â€œWe are hoping for strategic, controlled growth.â€
The maximum accredited years for first time accreditation is four years. All re-accreditations can earn a maximum of eight years, which is what the program is hoping for in 2015.
As of February, the social work program at CSUF is one of 208 accredited Master of Social Work programs in the U.S.
For more information about CSUFâ€™s MSW program, visit Hhd.Fullerton.edu/msw/
or you can contact the Prospective MSW Student Adviser at [email protected]