The Counsel on Social Work Education accredited the Claire Argow Social Work Program at Pacific on Thursday, Oct. 20.

After five years of visits and constant improvement, the program is now one of five in the state of Oregon to be accredited by the CSWE. Program directors Don Schweitzer and Jessica Ritter have received positive feedback from students and faculty on their recent success as well as people from the community.

“Congratulations. I can tell you first-hand just how proud Claire Argow is. Please accept our pride in your good work from her next-of-kin,” said Keith Argow, son of the social work program’s namesake.

“I’m so happy for everyone in the program. I know this has been a super long process. Congratulations,” said senior Rachel Seibert.

While on campus, the CSWE evaluators studied the program and spoke to faculty, students, administrators and community members to ensure that a quality program was in place.

The process to gain accreditation its upkeep is ongoing, said Schweitzer. All sorts of documents on how well the program works and what it accomplishes needs to be kept and updated for later visits by the CSWE.

In addition to being evaluated every year for four years, a lengthy document called a “Self-Study” had

to be written containing all details of the program and how it was meeting the CSWE standards. The social work program will be accredited for eight years and visited again in about four to be sure that the program is being maintained.

Students headed for master’s programs should benefit from the accreditation, according to Schweitzer.

Both professors Ritter and Schweitzer mentioned how the accreditation will bolster the credibility and quality of the social work program. This also helps students apply for advanced-standing master’s programs in social work and be able to receive a degree in one year instead of two.

“It demonstrates that we are a quality social work program and will hopefully attract more students,” said Ritter.

As of October 2011, there are 472 accredited bachelor’s programs in social work and 213 accredited master’s programs in the United States.

“I’m glad it’s over and I’m really proud of the program for accomplishing this,” said Schweitzer.

Both professors will continue to help the program grow and maintain CSWE’s accreditation.

“We have always had an excellent social work program, but now that we are accredited, our program gains more credibility and students can be assured that they will receive a fantastic social work education at Pacific University,” said Ritter.

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