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UND Social Work programs receive reaccreditation

Reaccreditation of the degree programs is required for professional licensure, allowing UND grads to continue their work across the state, region and nation

Fall UND scene
Students walk on the University of North Dakota campus. UND archival image.

Two UND Social Work programs have received reaccreditation, allowing for the program and its students and graduates to thrive into the next decade.

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) and the Master of Social Work (MSW) recently received reaccreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE works to ensure that accredited programs provide the requisite quality of education needed for social workers to carry out their duties in service to the public good. The programs are accredited into 2030.

Both undergraduate and graduate Social Work programs at UND submitted independently unique self-studies for the reaccreditation process. In total, the documentation produced by the department’s BSSW and MSW programs resulted in more than 1,600 pages of submitted work. Reaccreditation must take place every eight years and is a two-year-long process. During the process, UND’s Social Work department describes for the CSWE assessment processes and curriculum development to address various core competencies, practice behaviors, professional requirements and attention to diversity and social justice issues. The penultimate action includes multi-volume submissions followed by campus visits, and subsequent responses and documents.

Maridee Shogren, dean of the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines, offered her congratulations to the faculty and staff of the UND Social Work department on their continued accreditation.

“Over the course of my professional nursing career, I have had the opportunity to work with some fabulous social workers, many of whom are graduates of our program,” Shogren said. “They never cease to amaze me with their knowledge, their ability to connect clients to community resources, and their passion for social justice and equity. It is a pleasure to work alongside our social work faculty as they continue to graduate excellent social workers who will serve our communities so well.”

According to Bret Weber, chair of the Social Work department, accreditation for a professional degree program like Social Work allows UND graduates to pursue licensing across the U.S. and Canada. Regionally, that means elderly, abused or neglected children, individuals entangled with addiction or the criminal justice system, those struggling with homelessness or behavioral and mental health issues, and anyone immersed in life’s most trying challenges are likely to be served by licensed social workers who received their education at the University of North Dakota.

“Individuals working in the human services without a social work license are limited in the services they can provide and the reimbursements they can receive,” Weber said. “In a related fashion, there are many schools and universities across North America offering social work degrees without accredited programs, and graduates from those programs are unable to be licensed.”

Weber continued: “Many from those groups, along with all the young people who have a passion for service and a desire to make the world a better place for us all, come to UND to earn an accredited social work degree at either the BSSW or MSW level. Our recent re-accreditation means that we will continue our service to North Dakota and its taxpayers through 2030 and beyond.”

About Social Work at UND

The Bachelor of Science in Social Work program has a history dating back to 1905 when social work courses were first offered at the University of North Dakota. The BSSW degree was formally offered in 1939. The program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1974, when undergraduate accreditation first began. An online BSSW program was first offered in 2016. UND offers both online and on-campus BSSW and MSW program options for students. In service to the state’s rural and tribal communities, UND was an early pioneer in MSW distance education, starting with interactive videos. The establishment of a web-based, synchronous MSW program, began in 2009 and served communities across the U.S. and Canada. It was followed by an online BSSW program in 2016.