WMU to offer BSW program in Benton Harbor

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of WMU's regional location in Benton Harbor.

WMU's regional location in Benton Harbor

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University is launching a Bachelor of Social Work degree-completion program at its location in Benton Harbor this fall to meet the need for highly trained social workers in southwest Michigan.

Applications are due Friday, May 1, for classes that will begin in September. 

Community college graduates and students with an associate degree or equivalent credit hours can complete the final two years of the BSW degree at WMU-Southwest. Reflecting the mission of WMU's School of Social Work, to "educate social workers to advocate for social and economic justice and personal well-being," the degree includes a 400-hour internship at a human service agency or nonprofit organization, providing students an opportunity to work with individuals, families, groups and organizations in the community.

"The students in the Bachelor of Social Work program at WMU-Southwest will reflect the diversity of Southwest Michigan," says Marian Tripplett, program coordinator at the WMU School of Social Work. "It's designed to train social workers for a variety of human service work environments, and includes an opportunity to focus on issues that are important to people who live in this region."

This unique hybrid program features online learning, limited face-to-face sessions and evening classes that are ideal for working adults and part-time students. The bachelor's degree prepares students for general social work practice and for graduate training in social work and related professions.

Graduates are eligible for licensure in the state of Michigan, so they can enter the workforce after graduation. Or they may choose to continue their education toward the Master of Social Work degree, which also is offered at WMU-Southwest.

Job prospects for those who earn a BSW are good. The Affordable Care Act has expanded treatment options in social work settings for large numbers of people across the country, which has created a need for more highly trained social workers.

About WMU's School of Social Work

"The College of Health and Human Services and the social work program at WMU are very highly respected nationally," says Luann Harden, WMU-Southwest regional director for Extended University Programs. "We're very happy to bring this degree to our Benton Harbor location to address the growing need for qualified social workers here in Southwest Michigan."

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.

WMU's College of Health and Human Services students provide more than 300,000 hours of service annually to children and families in the Kalamazoo and southwest Michigan region. For more than 40 years, the School of Social Work at WMU has been one of the premier schools of social work in the country, educating thousands of students for careers in human services throughout the state of Michigan and beyond.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/southwest.