Dr. Lisa L. Hosack, associate professor and director of the Social Work program, meets with students at Grove City College.
Grove City College’s Social Work program is a candidate for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). It is a major step forward for one of the College’s newest majors.
CSWE is the national association representing Social Work education throughout the United States. Its accreditation signifies that the College’s program meets the highest benchmarks and ensures graduates are qualified for jobs in the field and eligible for advanced placement in – and less time spent completing – graduate school programs.
The program’s approach, which integrates faith into what has been considered a secular and “progressive” discipline, is oriented to service, particularly to those in greatest need and greatest risk from detrimental societal factors.
The program has come a long way in a short time. Social Work was established as a minor in 2013. Two years later Grove City College was recognized as one of the top Christian colleges to study social work. In 2017 the program was elevated to major status, becoming a partner in the realigned Department of Psychology and Social Work. CSWE accreditation is a multi-year process, but the program is on track for approval in 2020. The program’s candidacy status, however, means that students enrolled in the program since its fall 2017 beginning will graduate with an accredited degree.
Dr. Lisa L. Hosack, associate professor of Social Work, directs the program and is a key architect of the current major. The field is often perceived as a bastion of liberalism and secularism, but, Hosack notes, its roots are in turn-of-the-20th- century Christian activism.
“What many don’t realize is that social work has a rich, faith-filled history. The first social workers were Christians, liberal Protestant women to be specific, concerned about the impact of a rapidly industrialized society on the poor,” she said. The profession’s core values – service, social justice, dignity, human worth, relationships, integrity and competence – are “a constellation of values resembling seminal Christian theological truths,” Hosack said.
Grove City College’s program seeks to find the common ground between ideological schools of thought and models for action that, ultimately, have a shared goal: Improving the lives of people through service. Achieving CSWE accreditation can validate that approach and establish Grove City College’s leadership in social work education.
Students in Grove City College’s Social Work track acquire an extensive background in micro and macro-level social work practice through courses in areas such as human development, child welfare, research methods and social welfare policy analysis. The program also includes classes that are not common to other bachelor’s programs, such as International Social Development, where problems such as human trafficking, public health, and government corruption are explored, and in Administration in Social Work where students develop a social service program and write a grant proposal for its funding.
Social Work majors also complete an internship with human services agencies that address domestic violence, children’s welfare, health services and other needs. Locally, the agencies include: AWARE, Bethany Christian Services, Children Youth and Family, Children’s Aid Society, DCI Dialysis Clinic, Pregnancy Resource Center, Haven Professional Counseling, George Junior Republic and others.