Etownian News Article

Social work dept. changes degree title

The social work department at Elizabethtown College recently introduced its change in degree from a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in social work to a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). This modification will help graduates become more notable in the job market, according to Associate Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department Dr. Susan Mapp.

Senior Eileen Kroszner said, “The obtainment of a BSW shows a special concentration of undergraduate experience in the field of social work. It adds legitimacy to the degree and recognizes the strong foundation students with a BSW have as they pursue jobs and higher education opportunities.”

All currently-enrolled first-year social work students will earn a BSW degree rather than a BA upon completion of the program; however, seniors, juniors and sophomores have the option of receiving either the BA or the BSW.

“I personally chose to have the BSW identification on my diploma,” Kroszner said.

The degree does not change the requirements of the major, but it gives the students more recognition. “People are very familiar with this social work degree (BSW), and what we’re required by accreditation to offer,” Mapp said. “People look at the BSW, and they know what that means.”

Senior social work major Candace Valteau is also excited about the change in her degree’s title and has opted to graduate with a BSW. “[Employers] will notice the prestige of this title and take that into consideration when considering me as an employee.”

According to Mapp, another reason for this change is that there is extra hassle that alumni face due to the lesser-known BA degree. “There are a number of jobs that are only allowed to be done by a social worker, and when they are billing an insurance company or the federal government for those services, it needs to be documented that they were performed by a social worker; that’s often done by the credentials,” Mapp said.

Since this degree is not as well-known as the BSW, many alumni were forced to complete extra paperwork in order to verify that they are qualified to complete such tasks with a BA. “With the BSW degree, graduates will now be able to bill more easily for services rendered, and their overall jobs will be made simpler,” Mapp said. “We think it is an excellent idea and we definitely advocated for it on behalf of our students.”

Although the BSW is the better-known degree in social work, the degree title varies throughout colleges in Pennsylvania. As listed on their college websites, both Millersville and Temple University offer the BSW degree; however, York College offers a Bachelor of Science degree for social work.

 “With the foundation of the social work classes and commitment of professors, I have found that I am beyond prepared for fieldwork opportunities and new experiences,” Kroszner said. “The social work department has truly allowed me to pursue my passion for social work and community organizing through its service learning requirement and course curriculum.”