Dr. Jane Roberts and Silvia Blanco, instructors of social work at USFSM.

Master of Social Work program to launch at USFSM

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: June 13, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 13, 2016)USF Sarasota-Manatee is now accepting applications to a Master of Social Work program to prepare students for an impactful profession working at social service agencies, schools, hospitals and a variety of other clinical settings.

The program, overseen by the School of Social Work at USF in Tampa, will be hosted by USF Sarasota-Manatee with classes held at its campus at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, as well as online.

“This will be an evening program designed for working individuals,” said Silvia Blanco, a USFSM instructor of social work.

Students will work toward their master’s degree over a 2½-year period, or eight semesters.

The program involves clinical internships assigned after the first semester. Students will work under master’s-level social workers at agencies, hospitals and schools at least 10 hours per week, performing psychological assessments, observational reports and limited counseling, in some cases.

“The program’s overall aim is to produce graduates with a well-rounded yet deep understanding of social work,” Dr. Jane Roberts, an instructor in the program, said.

Classes are set to start in Fall 2017, however the registration deadline is Feb. 15, 2017.

Only 25 students will be admitted to the program. Upon acceptance, each will be assigned a USFSM faculty member as a mentor. The program is not restricted to professionals already employed in social work or undergraduates studying social sciences.

“People often come to the Master of Social Work program from a variety of backgrounds,” said Dr. Roberts. “You do not have to have a social work background. The common denominator here is that social workers want to help people.”

Social workers often work with young people, elders in hospitals or hospice programs, veterans, families in crisis or grieving and, in some cases, people struggling with drug, alcohol or mental health issues.

They can be involved in individual or group counseling sessions and may assist couples, young families or students having trouble adjusting to academic life. Additionally, they work with other professionals in clinical settings.

Classes will include instruction in understanding human behavior, diversity and social justice, social welfare and policy, one-on-one counseling and group therapy, and health, illness and disabilities, among other studies.

“Social work continues to amaze me after 24 years in practice,” Blanco said. “We are a value-driven profession that honors the strengths and diversity inherent in all individuals.”

The profession is expected to grow with higher-than-average employment demand nationally. Labor experts say hiring in all social work occupations will increase an average of 12 percent through 2026, to 650,000 jobs.

To learn more or to apply to the program, contact Graduate Admissions Officer Aaron Reecher at areecher@sar.usf.edu or (941) 359-4333.

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