On Nov 21, a ceremony was held in the Wilkinson Alumni Center to celebrate the new collaborative program between the University of Kansas (KU) and Pittsburg State University. The new program is offers a master’s degree in social work because of the need for mental health workers. Previously Pitt State only offered a bachelor’s degree in social work. Faculty will come to Pitt State on Saturdays to teach the course. The program will begin in June.
“I am looking forward to my students and the people who graduated from the program being finally able to attain their goal of having a master’s in social work (MSW),” said Kristen Humphrey, associate professor and director of the social work program.
Pitt State has been trying to incorporate a master’s degree in social work for many years. Humphrey is working with Michelle Carney, KU’s dean of social work.
“Most of the counties in the state of Kansas have struggled with some kind of social problem, whether its mental health, substance abuse, poverty, a whole range of things, and the social work profession is really designed to work with induvial to empower them, to help them identify their strengths, to help them get the support that they need to be successful,” Carney said. “The more social workers at the master’s level you have around the state of Kansas, then the better off folks are in the state of Kansas, and so we just think that it will really be a benefit to this state.”
A master’s degree in social work is needed to become a clinical social worker.
“I’m looking forward to it because I want to (work with) substance abuse, I want to work with the incarcerated, when they’re just starting to get released, that way they have something to look forward to besides just going back to their same old routine,” said Robert Armstrong, senior in social work. Armstrong is planning to get a master’s in social work.
KU faculty will come to Pitt State campus every other Saturday to teach the courses.
“What we have done with our partnership with KU is brought KU’s MSW program down to our campus, so that once the students graduate from our program, there are people already working out in the community who always wanted a master’s degree and it wasn’t accessible to them, and they can come to our campus and get the KU degree and have a MSW from their program in one year,” Humphrey said.
The master’s social work program will start in June 2020.
“There are people who are going to be able to get an MSW from this program that wouldn’t have been accessible to them otherwise it’s going to help our area, Pittsburg in particular but also the surrounding areas to have more master level social workers available in their agency,” Humphrey said. “Specifically it will help community mental health centers and schools that need to hire more school social workers.”