CSU, Chico News

School of Social Work Creating Accessible Education for the North State

Date: 08-17-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

The School of Social Work at California State University, Chico is developing new programs for the North State that involve traditional classroom learning as well as online and multimedia delivery of material.

The new degree programs for both the current bachelor’s (BASW) and master’s (MSW) are called Distributed Learning programs. They were developed out of a request from and with the support of regional mental health directors and the California Social Work Education Center Child Welfare Training Program to better serve the educational needs of rural Northern California.

Three-year BASW and MSW programs will begin fall 2012 and be offered through blended learning modalities. Students will spend two weekends per semester on the CSU, Chico campus, with the remainder of the course content being delivered through online and other multimedia delivery platforms.

Celeste Jones, director of the School of Social Work, said the school conducted an assessment of the workforce education needs in CSU, Chico’s 12-county service area. The results of the assessment demonstrated a large number of individuals residing in geographically remote and isolated areas who desire to further their education and careers by obtaining BASW and MSW degrees. It also showed great need from mental health, social service and tribal directors for degreed staff.

Jones said the Social Work Distributed Learning program’s intent is to decrease this shortage with professionally educated social workers experienced in working with the economic, cultural and social needs of the region. These communities need social work professionals with the knowledge, values and skills to work in multiple levels of practice, she said.

For the past six years, CSU, Chico’s School of Social Work has offered an MSW in an alternative format for two cohorts of students. One has used onsite weekend courses in Chico, while the other is located in Redding. In addition to being offered off-campus, the Redding cohort included the use of online and videocasting technologies when students were unable to travel due to inclement weather. The cohorts typically include 30-40 students.

In addition to the MSW program delivery in alternative formats, the social work program has been offering the BASW courses in alternative formats due to student and community needs. Currently, all BASW prerequisite courses are offered via online delivery and consistently have full enrollment.

For more information about the programs contact Donna Jensen, distributed learning coordinator, School of Social Work, at 530-898-6668, e-mail Djensen@csuchico.edu.