Faculty and staff discuss reaccreditation, research projects and other issues at School retreat

The faculty and staff of the School of Social Work from held a retreat recently to talk about the upcoming reaccreditation visit at the beginning of November and to update one another about research and other projects they are working on.

IUSSW Faculty and Staff retreat 2012Dean Michael Patchner took the opportunity to thank faculty and staff alike for everything they do every day. “That puts us on the same path moving in the same direction.” The School of Social Work’s MSW program has been ranked 26th in the nation and while there is no such rankings for the BSW and PhD programs, the dean said “in my heart, I know we are in the top 10.”  I just want to say thank you for all that you do.”

The dean also talked to the faculty and staff about the climate of higher education and the concerns over costs of a college degree. He pointed out that when he started as a freshman, he paid $130 in tuition. The dean explained he was able to pay his tuition by working a part-time job at a grocery store and even had money left over to buy his books and for extras, like a cup of coffee. What he didn’t do was end up with the kind of debt students today face, Patchner explained. “The reason I could do that was there was a lot of state support for education. So, people like me coming from a family that didn’t have anybody in the family that had higher education, it was a ticket out of the coal patch, out of poverty, a ticket to a better life and a career.”

Education still offers those same opportunities, the dean noted. “But people can’t make it with a part-time minimum wage job to pay the tuition. We have seen state support erode year after year and we see some state universities like University of Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State are getting seven percent or less of their costs of higher education from the states they are in.”

As costs go up there has been a push-back by the public over the rising price of higher education, Patchner said. Some fields like law and business have a pay back through higher salaries, but that doesn’t apply to social work profession in most cases, the dean said.

He pointed out that Indiana University is trying to face the issue. The university recently announced a new on-time completion award program that goes into effect in 2013. The initiative will effectively freeze tuition for students after their sophomore year if they are on track to graduate in four years.

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Rob Schneider
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