This past weekend, Texas A&M International University graduated its first five recipients of the bachelor of social work (BSW) degree. Those graduates have one more reason to smile as the program has now received candidacy status by the Commission on Accreditation for the Council on Social Work Education.
The first student graduates are Elizabeth L. Martinez, Leticia Arely Merla, Nancy J. Nicholson, Josefa H. Pena and Doris Elizabeth Vasquez.The candidacy status places TAMIU's BSW program one step ahead in the process for full accreditation by the Council.
Dr. Marian Aguilar, associate professor of social work and chair of the department of psychology, sociology and social work, explained that candidacy is granted to programs which, in the judgment of the Commission, have the potential to be awarded full accreditation.
"What this means is that with the candidacy status, our graduates will be able to go on to master's programs in social work in other institutions and have their TAMIU coursework fully recognized by them. Also, those who have bachelor's degrees in social work will be eligible to take the state licensure exam for social workers," Dr. Aguilar said.
In Spring 2003, Commission representatives will visit TAMIU to verify that the BSW curriculum is developed and organized, with program goals and objectives clearly defined, Dr. Aguilar said.
"Once that happens, the Commission will review the representatives' report in October. At that point, it will be determined if we can proceed to our next step, which is application for accreditation," Aguilar said.
TAMIU's BSW program expects full accreditation by the end of 2004, she said.
Aguilar said having the BSW program recognized as accredited is extremely important since those in the community have expressed interest in pursuing a University degree in social work.
"There is interest in the community for this program," she said, "There are nurses and teachers who are choosing to study social work because they have seen in their workplaces that patients and students need assistance in this area."
She said the program currently has 56 students enrolled.
Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said that the BSW program addresses the community's dire need for social workers and that it sets a prelude for a future master's in social work program at TAMIU.
"Dr. Aguilar has started working on developing plans for our future master's in social work program in collaboration with Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Tarleton," Dr. Momayezi said.
For further information, please contact Dr. Aguilar at 326-2644, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 431A. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Registration for the Spring Semester is Friday, Jan. 10, from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.in the Student Center. Classes begin Monday, Jan. 13.