Nov 4 2017

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UND to offer online bachelor’s degree in social work

Program aims to decrease the shortage of social workers in rural areas, in part through collaboration with Cankdeska Cikana Community College.

The University of North Dakota will begin offering a part-time, online Bachelor’s in Science in Social Work (BSSW) for the fall 2015 semester. The degree includes online, semester-based courses, a 450-hour field placement and a four-day required visit to UND’s campus in Grand Forks.

The 39-plus-credit degree was developed for individuals with undergraduate college credits, an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in another field (e.g. psychology or sociology). UND offers additional online courses for individuals interested in obtaining their social work degree online; however, the initial offering of this degree is on a part-time basis.

“After years of offering our master of social work degree at a distance, we’re delighted to add this part-time, online degree to our department,” said Dr. Carenlee Barkdull, associate professor and chair for UND’s Social Work Department. “The need for social workers is projected to grow, especially in rural communities. We’re proud that UND can be on the forefront of developing these young professionals.”

According to the United States Department of Labor, overall growth for social workers is expected to grow 19 percent from 2012-2022, including 27 percent growth in healthcare, and 23 percent growth in mental health and substance abuse. The numbers in rural areas may be higher.

“There has been a serious shortage of child welfare social workers in rural communities. The BSSW distance program is a way to help address that shortage. People from all over the state interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social work will have more options, which means more social workers,” said Shari Doe, director of Children Family Services at the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Another way UND is helping to alleviate the shortage of social workers is through its collaboration with Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), located in Fort Totten, N.D. Starting this fall, UND faculty will teach several students from CCCC. This group of students will combine with UND’s cohort in January to continue working toward their degrees.

“There are many potential and local opportunities for UND/CCCC BSSW graduates. From my perspective, the Spirit Lake Tribal Social Services program and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Social Services both need trained tribal members to handle the existing workload, particularly for child services, but also for family and child services. In addition, at CCCC, we need help for our childcare center and Head Start program, as well as for faculty positions,” said Dr. Cynthia Lindquist, president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College. “The goal of our collaboration is to create a pathway for tribal members to obtain their BSSW, become trained and then work for a local program that serves members of the Spirit Lake community.”

The degree requires a four-day on-campus visit, which is tentatively scheduled for summer 2016. The on-campus visit integrates, extends and applies the knowledge learned in online courses and readings.

Another aspect of the degree is the 450-hour field placement. The placement can be taken part-time over two semesters, but it must be completed within one of these areas:

  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • eastern Montana
  • southern Manitoba, Canada

About Online Distance Education at the University of North Dakota:

  • UND has a strong history in distance learning, beginning with offering mail correspondence courses since 1911. Today, more than 7,000 enroll in UND’s off campus and online courses each year.
  • UND offers more than 50 online and distance degrees and graduate certificates, 60 enroll anytime college credit courses and 100 semester-based online credit courses.
  • In 2014, UND ranked in the top 30 Online Colleges, according to .
  • UND is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • UND enrolls more than 14,750 motivated and academically prepared undergraduate, graduate and professional students in more than 200 programs of study from every state and more than 50 countries.

The new UND online Bachelor’s in Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree, starting this fall, includes semester-based courses, a 450-hour field placement and a four-day required visit to UND’s campus in Grand Forks.

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