WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., March 3, 2022 — Joining organizations across the country, West Liberty University Social Work students marked the annual observance of Social Work Month with a signing of a proclamation.
“The need for social workers is growing due to the pandemic and so many other social issues,” said Sylvia Hawranick Senften, Ed.D., MSW, who is WLU’s Social Work Program director. “We are proud of our students who are preparing for successful careers that help people of all ages access social services for a better life.”
Social workers work in an array of sectors, including hospitals, mental health centers, schools, social service agencies, community centers and in politics. WLU is one of only six state institutions in West Virginia that has an accredited BSW degree.
President W. Franklin Evans signed the formal proclamation marking the start of Social Work Month and congratulated the students on the choice that they made to be a social worker.
“I congratulate Dr. Senften, our faculty and our students who are preparing to become professional social workers. It is a noble field and one that offers great personal satisfaction to professionals,” said President Evans.
Senften is assisted by a team of three faculty members including: Miranda Blackburn, MSW and Dr. Eveldora Wheeler. Blackburn is the faculty advisor for the Social Work Club.
Junior Kamaria Robinson, who is from Parkersburg, W.Va., is the student president of the club which is planning a game night later in the month to further celebrate Social Work Month.
In addition to required coursework completed through the junior year of the program, students must complete 400 hours of internship required during an undergraduate’s senior year.
“The field agencies and supervisors are critical to the education of our students. We are grateful to the many organizations that have a true commitment to the profession and offer our students a chance to experience hands-on learning,” said Senften.
Another factor that makes WLU’s program strong is the small class size which averages 16 students. The Social Work Honor Society Phi Alpha gives students another supportive boost.
The social work profession has existed for more than a century and It attracts people who have a strong desire to help individuals, families, communities, and our nation overcome issues that prevent them from reaching their full potential, according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website. NASW promotes the profession in a variety of ways including Social Work Month.
“Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and we award more than $12,000 in scholarships annually. Many of these awards include stipends for interns, as well as financial support for students that qualify,” Senften said. This is an important fact since a BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, allows for graduates to apply for Social Work licensure.
In addition to the BSW degree, the program also offers an Addiction Studies minor which is open to undergraduate students in any major at West Liberty University.