The Department of Social Work now offers online opportunities to students who may not be able to receive their degree on campus with the new online Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program that launched Fall Semester of 2015. The program has opened the door to many students who wish to finish their BSSW degrees in rural and tribal communities.
BSSW Program Director, Dr. Melanie Sage stresses the impact of an online BSSW program for North Dakota: “The new distance BSSW program at UND opens social work education across North Dakota and to neighboring states. Designed with working students in mind, the first cohort is comprised mainly of students already employed in social service agencies, in tribal areas, and in oil-impacted communities where workforce recruitment is difficult. Students attend the classes live via webcam, which allows us to really get to know them. We look forward to building partnerships with tribal colleges and child welfare agencies in the coming years to help address workforce needs in those areas.”
There are currently 18 students enrolled in the program, many of whom are working as paraprofessionals within agencies throughout the state and region. Classes are conducted via live webcam and take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9pm. The use of technology has allowed the students, some of whom live hundreds of miles apart, to get to know one another and to collaborate on various projects and assignments.
The BSSW program is ideal for individuals with an associate’s degree, a bachelors in another field, or with earned credits toward a degree. The BSSW program provides students with knowledge, values and skills for generalist social work, with an emphasis on culturally responsive practice in rural communities. The program prepares students for service and leadership within the community and the social work profession, as well as continued professional development opportunities. More information on the online BSSW program can be found here.