||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Social Work Department Receives|
MAILED: July 6, 1999|
Nick Smiar can't stop smiling.
Chair of the social work program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Smiar recently learned his department received a reaffirmation of accreditation.
"We're very pleased with the decision," Smiar said, noting that the department has been accredited every eight years since 1974. "We think we have a very good program."
The accreditation, which lasts until 2007, came from the Council on Social Work Education, a nation-wide standard-setting body in the social work field.
Smiar attributes the council's decision to a number of factors, including a well integrated curriculum, a strong collegial environment, placement rates of students after graduation, a large number of student and faculty collaboration projects, and strong support and recognition from the university's administration.
"We have a 99 to 100 percent placement rate right now and our students in the field or in graduate school tell us they are very satisfied with the preparation they received here," Smiar said. "This is a good indication of the strength of our program."
Before the council made its decision to reaccredit the program, the social work department underwent a two-year self-study that was turned in to the council before representatives from the body came to campus this past March, Smiar said.
The three-volume self-study reviewed and evaluated every aspect of the program, using standards of accreditation, and focused primarily on curriculum issues.
"The council wanted to be sure the program was providing a comprehensive education in social work practice," Smiar said, remarking that each volume of the study is more than 3 inches thick. "A lot of work went into that."
With the self-study in their hands, the two site visitors who came to campus evaluated various aspects of the program more in-depth including the faculty, students, alumni, administration's relationship with the department and the connection between the program and social work professionals in the community. They later submitted their findings to the council, which made the final decision, Smiar said.
Smiar said one of the aspects of the social work program he is most proud of is the strong collegial and cooperative atmosphere within the department.
"People are mutually supportive of each other and make themselves available to students," he said. "Just walk down the hallway and you'll see that the doors are always open. This is a great department."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: July 6, 1999