Sacred Heart University adding master of social work degree

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Sacred Heart University’s (SHU) College of Arts & Sciences plans to launch a new master of social work degree in the fall 2017 semester.

“The values and the principles of social work are so related to Sacred Heart’s mission that it’s a fantastic fit for our campus,” said Bronwyn Cross-Denny, assistant professor and chair of SHU’s Social Work department. “We’ve had a strong and rigorous bachelor of social work degree since 1981, so the structure for a successful master’s program was already in place.”

Based at the university’s main campus in Fairfield, the 60-credit program is designed to integrate micro and macro practice within a social justice and Catholic intellectual tradition framework.

“Micro practice is working with individuals and macro practice is working with larger systems such as large groups, organizations and communities,” Cross-Denny said. “We frame our work with what we call ‘the person in environment’ or ‘the person in context.’ Our clients tend to be combating a complexity of issues often involving larger societal problems, such as poverty, housing or family issues.”

Two specializations will be available in the program: direct clinical practice and direct community practice. Each will contain elements of the other to provide a balanced educational background for the students.

The program will also feature an “advanced standing” component, wherein any student who completes a bachelor of social work degree can apply to the program and, if accepted, can proceed directly into the second year of the master’s program, with the benefit of potentially earning both degrees in only five years. Due to state licensing regulations, that option will be available in fall 2018.

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