University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Partnership with Nicolet College
To Benefit Social Work Students

 MAILED:  July 22, 2004

EAU CLAIRE - The road to a degree in social work will be smoother for students in northern Wisconsin, thanks to an educational partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Nicolet College, a public community college serving that area.

The partnership makes it possible for Nicolet students interested in a social work degree to take introductory social work courses from UW-Eau Claire via distance education at the same time they are working on a two-year associate degree through Nicolet. After transferring to UW-Eau Claire, they can complete a bachelor's degree in social work in two years.

In the past, transfer students had to take the four introductory courses once they got to UW-Eau Claire before they could apply to the social work program, which added at least three additional semesters to their time to degree.

The program is an example of the cooperation sought by educators and legislators to make good use of the state's resources, said Steven Tallant, interim provost at UW-Eau Claire.

"Bottom line, this agreement is about students," Tallant said. "It makes it possible for them to earn a degree in social work in a more timely and efficient manner."

The agreement also provides great benefit to the state because there is a need for professionally trained social workers, particularly in the northern part of Wisconsin, Tallant said.

"As an interactive public university, we should be finding innovative ways to help meet the state's needs whenever possible," Tallant said. "We have a quality social work program, Nicolet has students interested in earning social work degrees and that region needs more social workers. This partnership is good for everyone."

Paula Langteau, dean of instruction at Nicolet, said there is a particular interest in the Rhinelander area, where Nicolet is located, for degreed social workers. "A number of Nicolet students had expressed interest in becoming social workers," she said. "We tend to pursue agreements where there is interest on the part of students and opportunities for employment."

"We're excited by this opportunity to work with transfer students from Nicolet and train more social workers for rural areas in northern Wisconsin," said Patricia Christopherson, chair of UW-Eau Claire's social work department. "We hope to increase the number of professional social workers in that region. Our assumption is that many of the students from that area would return there to practice."

The program was piloted earlier this year when six Nicolet students took the first introductory course, Christopherson said, noting that the number of students served through the partnership each year is limited to 15 per year. "We can't absorb more than that in addition to students already here," she said.

Langteau, who has moved to a position at UW-Marinette, described the partnership as a true "two-plus-two" program. The two schools worked closely to align their curricula and to ensure that students could be dually enrolled while working on the two-year associate degree.

"There were many details to work out but the end result shows that both schools are genuinely interested in collaborating for the success of students," Langteau said.



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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: July 22, 2004