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Social Work Master's Degree Program
Now Available at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Jan. 15, 2009

Ddr. Gloria Fennell
Dr. Gloria Fennell

EAU CLAIRE — Human service professionals in western Wisconsin will soon be able to earn a master's degree in social work by taking weekend classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The UW System recently approved a plan that will allow the UW-Madison's master of social work program to be available on the UW-Eau Claire campus, a program that will help meet the needs of human service professionals throughout western Wisconsin, said Dr. Gloria Fennell, associate professor of social work and the program's co-director at UW-Eau Claire.

"It's particularly exciting to be able to respond to a long-standing regional need during these very difficult times," Fennell said of the program, which will allow students to take classes at UW-Eau Claire but earn their master's degree from UW-Madison.

The part-time master's program was created after years of planning and surveying human service professionals, Fennell said. Those surveyed expressed interest in a program that would not require travel to the Twin Cities or Madison, and in weekend classes that would allow them to remain employed full time, she said, adding that human service professionals as far north as Ashland have said they would be interested in the program.

"All of the courses will be offered on Saturdays, which is intended to better accommodate the schedules of working professionals," Fennell said. "The curriculum will be that of the master's of social work program at UW-Madison. Both UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire social work faculty will have the opportunity to teach in the program as will well-qualified adjunct faculty."

For people who have earned their bachelor's degree in social work during the last seven years, the program will take two years of part-time study to complete, Fennell said. For people who earned a bachelor's degree in social work more than seven years ago and for people who have a degree other than in social work, the program will take four years of part-time study to complete, she said, noting there will be some options to test out of some courses.

Two cohorts of 24 students will be admitted to the program each year, Fennell said. One cohort will be for students who have bachelor's degrees in social work and one for those without a social work bachelor's degree, she said.

UW-Madison's School of Social Work offers three different masters of social work concentrations, but only the "child, youth and family" concentration will be offered through the UW-Eau Claire program, Fennell said.

The program will be self-supporting, with tuition dollars supporting the costs of the program, Fennell said. UW-Madison has secured funding for most of the start-up costs, she said.

People interested in learning more about the program or who want to apply can go to the UW-Madison School of Social Work Web site.

Dr. Gloria Fennell also is available at UW-Eau Claire to discuss the program. You can reach her at 715-836-5101 or fennelgl@uwec.edu.

-30-

JB

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