Montclair State University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program has earned accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), making it one of seven programs in New Jersey to earn the designation from the United States’ national association representing social work education.
In its third year of existence, the program has now become one of just 288 programs in the country to earn the accreditation.
“It’s very exciting that our Master of Social Work program has been accredited,” says Emily Douglas, chairperson of the Social Work and Child Advocacy department at Montclair State. “This will have an impact on both preparing future social and/or mental health service providers and on people receiving those services.”
“Since our students primarily come from this region, most will finish their formal training here and stay in the region – meaning they will serve in and give back to their own communities, which fulfills the social justice mission of the University,” says Douglas. “No one expected this program to be formally launched and accredited during a pandemic, but even in these difficult times, our students are moving forward, our faculty are teaching, and our agency partners in the community are continuing to work with our students, for which we are endlessly grateful.”
Montclair State’s MSW program prepares leaders in social work practice with children, youth, and families in a diverse and global society. Based on a unique, cohort-based model, the structure allows students to receive individualized attention and mentoring while developing the necessary knowledge and skills to emerge as change agents in professional social work practice.
Students receive comprehensive training in generalist social work practice with diverse populations, as well as specialized training in clinical practice with children, youth and families. In addition to classroom learning, they receive comprehensive field training at one of more than 125 partner human service agencies in the region such as mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, child welfare agencies, substance abuse clinics, and correctional facilities.
CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) is responsible for developing accreditation standards that define competent preparation and ensuring that social work programs meet these standards.
The accreditation process is a rigorous, multi-year process which requires programs to meet specific benchmarks throughout the candidacy period. Programs have the flexibility to develop curriculum consistent with the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards and to deliver a program that meets the unique needs of the populations that its graduates will serve.
“Accreditation is important because it ensures that graduates of the MSW program are qualified professionals who provide ethical and effective social work practice often to vulnerable and marginalized members of society,” says Lynette Reitz, an associate professor of Social Work and Child Advocacy at Montclair State and the MSW program director. “It impacts every area of the program: students are now eligible for different levels of licensure in New Jersey, and faculty are eligible to apply for federal grant funding for their research. It will only elevate our program further both now and in the future.”
“We’re very excited about this new accreditation,” says Peter Kingstone, dean of the University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “This program has quickly become a big success, and earning our accreditation so quickly and smoothly is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our terrific faculty and staff. We’re excited to see how this program continues to grow and prosper.”
For more information on Montclair State University’s Master of Social Work program, visit montclair.edu/social-work-and-child-advocacy/.