Eastern's first master of social work degrees to be awarded
June 5, 2007
By Tom Bosco
An Ohio University graduate program that is less than 10 years old celebrates some milestones at Friday's graduate commencement exercises. The master of social work program will graduate its first class from the Eastern Campus.
Of the 32 students who will be conferred the degree, 22 studied at Ohio University-Eastern. The graduate commencement ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Convocation Center.
The cohort class of master of social work candidates from the Eastern Campus began its work with the 2004-05 academic year. The term cohort refers to a group that takes the same courses and progresses through its studies together.
Susan Sarnoff, chair of the Department of Social Work, said many of the students will remain in eastern Ohio to pursue careers. "The program on the regional campuses targets people who are from the area and who will stay in the area," she said.
The Ohio University MSW program is the only one in the state that specializes in training social workers to practice in rural areas, which, Sarnoff said, requires a wider range of skills and sensitivities.
Graduating students must perform 900 hours of unpaid internship work as part of the program. That experience is leading most of them to jobs in their field after graduation.
"Our grads are really proving themselves out there and making a difference," Sarnoff said.
Friday's ceremony also marks the conferral of the program's 100th degree. Including this year's graduates, 102 individuals have earned Ohio University master of social work degrees since 1999.
"It's really a banner year for the program," Sarnoff said. "It's exciting."
An estimated 600 master's and doctoral candidates will participate in Friday's ceremony. Candidates are asked to assemble under the Convocation Center no later than 8:45 a.m. Tickets are not required for the ceremony. Valerie Martin Conley, associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education, will deliver the commencement address.