Shot of Constance Brooks

Important role of social workers

In an increasingly diverse America and global society, the coexistence of individuals and groups is very important. Each day, the news covers stories focusing on issues that can often divide a society including immigration, family dynamics, healthcare, freedom of speech, and equality.

Individuals in the workplace must be ethical and have compassion for those they serve. This is true for all professions, none more so than for social workers. “Social work is the one helping profession whose revered code of ethics is clear about its moral mission to empower clients and address both private troubles and public issues, particularly for those who are the least advantaged,” writes Frederic G. Reamer, Ph.D., in the latest edition of Social Work Today. In fact, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) reports these professionals are recognized by the National Institutes of Health and federal law as one of five core providers of services to individuals, families and communities.

Social work education

Social workers are prevalent in several workplace settings including child welfare and human services agencies, hospitals, mental health clinics, and in private practice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in their Occupational Outlook Handbook that “although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and two years of post-master experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.”

At Lourdes University, social work students are compassionate individuals dedicated to improving the quality of life of those they serve today and in their future careers. In recent years, social work majors have traveled to Ireland and created a non-profit group to help the townspeople of Tullycross, Ireland. They have also assisted in raising awareness and needed funds for child abuse prevention.

Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) through 2021, the Lourdes social work program provides the knowledge, values and skills necessary for students to engage in generalist social work practice. As a social work major, students learn how to view ethnic, sexual, racial identity and differing abilities from a culturally competent, strengths-based perspective. Quality field education requirements allow them to choose from a variety of sites including social service agencies, domestic relations court, hospitals and other health care organizations.

A shining example

Lourdes graduate Constance Brooks is a role model to many. As program director at Harbor House/300 Beds, Inc., she works with homeless and chemically dependent women to sustain their recovery, gain self-esteem, self-sufficiency and permanent housing. Her own story of transformation inspires these women to secure a place in society as productive, working citizens and oftentimes, to reunite with their children and loved ones.

“One of the reasons I pursued a social work degree was to help people turn failure into achievement rather than letting their obstacles overcome them. My own personal struggles and triumphs inspired me to uplift others, to provide and give them examples of how to achieve their dreams,” says Connie.

New MSW degree offered

In July, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents) approved the collaboration of Lourdes University and Saint Louis University to offer a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program at Lourdes.

“This MSW program aligns with the Franciscan and Jesuit mission of serving humankind with compassion. The program also allows professionals in this region to pursue their degree at a private accredited institution,” says Lourdes Social Work Chair Terry Keller, A.B.D., M.S.W., M.B.A., L.M.S.W., A.C.S.W.

The MSW program has two tracks – one for graduates of an accredited bachelor’s degree program in social work and one for those who have achieved their bachelor’s degree in other disciplines. “St. Louis University is pleased to join Lourdes in offering the MSW to individuals and practitioners in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan,” adds Donald Linhorst, PhD, MSW, Interim Dean, Professor, Director of the School of Social Work, Saint Louis University.

Constance Brooks has just achieved a MSW through the Lourdes University and Saint Louis University partnership.