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Social work program earns maximum reaccreditation

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The Council on Social Work Education has reaccredited the Bethel College social work program for the maximum period of eight years.

As part of the renewal process, faculty and staff engaged in several years of intensive self-study, consulted with the program’s Professional Advisory Council and hosted a site visit in October 2009. The CSWE announced the reaccreditation late last month.

Initially accredited in 1974, Bethel’s social work program was one of the first accredited baccalaureate programs in Kansas. During those 36 years of continuous accreditation, more than 330 graduates have entered the social work profession, said Larry Friesen, Bethel professor of social work and program director. Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, professor of social work, is the other faculty member in the department.

Many Bethel social work graduates are attracted to positions in family and children’s services for their first professional experience, Friesen noted. However, he added, they can be found working in a wide variety of areas, including mental health, community corrections, probation and parole, services to the elderly, victim-offender reconciliation programs, public schools, hospitals and hospice organizations.

According to the findings of the most recent self-study, more than 60 percent of Bethel social work graduates go on to complete a masters degree in social work or a related field.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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