Since the time of its implementation one year ago, the Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) degree program at UC East is proving to be a smashing success.
The program, having doubled in student enrollment since the fall semester of 2014, was established to allow UC Clermont students the convenience of finishing their four-year degree close to home. The job outlook for social workers in all fields is expected to grow by nearly 20% between 2012 and 2022, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, and the BSW program at UC East helps to meet this demand by assisting students in gaining the skills necessary to become a licensed social worker.
The initiative to bring a bachelor’s program in social working to UC East began in 2009 when a group of social work students approached school administration to lobby for creation of the program. Typically, a student enrolled in the social working program at UC Clermont would complete their associate’s degree and then transfer to UC’s main campus to finish out the rest of their bachelor’s program. The proposal made its rounds throughout the department until a meeting with then-Director of Social Work, Jim Clark, was put together to further discuss interest in bringing the program to UC East. During a presentation developed by Jill Gomez, Program Coordinator for Social Work at UC, students from both UC Clermont and main campus made their case for allowing students to complete degree requirements for a bachelor’s program locally at the UC East campus.
“The students were eager to express the benefits of completing their degree at UC East compared to UC Main,” said Gomez. “The argument was strong, as Social Work is one of the largest transfer programs to the uptown campus, and the social work department speaks very highly of the Clermont graduates.” Both Jim Clark and Amy McMahon, Director for the Bachelors of Social Work program, were willing to consider their proposal, according to Gomez. “I met with Amy McMahon at least ten times over the next year to work through details,” said Gomez. “We understood the enrollment would be small the first year but we hoped to double the number the second year.” While the inaugural class of the newly established program was indeed small as predicted, with only seven students enrolling, the Fall semester for 2015 saw that number rise to twenty-two students.
Aside from the benefit of convenience in not having to make the transition to downtown’s main campus, the BSW program offers students the chance to get real-world knowledge and experience. “Currently I have students in practicum at Adams Recovery Center, The VA Home in Georgetown, Clermont Senior Services, The Homeless Shelter, Eastgate Springs, and Clermont County DD,” says Gomez. “Over the summer we had additional practicum placements with UC Research Naloxone project, Easter Seals and Clermont Recovery Center. I am currently developing a practicum with Thomaston Woods to provide prevention services to youth at risk for substance abuse.”
The students who put into the motion the implementation of this program exemplified qualities that make for a good social worker, says Gomez. “It is exciting that the UC Clermont Social Work Students were advocates for their program and worked with the leadership to bring the BSW Program to UC East. Advocacy is an important skill for social workers and they were quite successful.”
If you would like more information regarding the Bachelors of Social Work program at UC, Jill Gomez can be reached at 513-732-5266, or be sure to check out “Social Work” under the Social Sciences Degree Programs portion of the Academics page at www.ucclermont.edu.
Leave your Feedback!