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West Liberty University observes Social Work Month

PROCLAMATION — Celebrating Social Work Month, students join West Liberty University President W. Franklin Evans and Sylvia Hawranick Senften, director of the university’s social work program, with the official proclamation. Students include, from left, Megan Maus of Weirton, Jenna Oliver of Washington, Pa., Maddisson Perdue of Parkersburg, Jessica Horn of Martinsburg, Abigail Milliken of New Martinsville and Jailyah Green of Tiltonsville. -- Contributed

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University has much to celebrate with its growing social work program during Social Work Month 2021.

“March is the national observation of Social Work Month and we have so much to be proud of here at West Liberty University. We are one of only six state institutions in West Virginia that has an accredited BSW degree,” said Sylvia Hawranick Senften, director of West Liberty’s social work program.

President W. Franklin Evans presented Senften and students with a formal proclamation marking the start of Social Work Month and congratulated her on the success of the program.

“I congratulate Senften, her faculty and our students who are working hard in this important field of study. Social work is a big part of daily life in the United States and serves people of all ages and lifestyles. Our students can be assured that the field offers many paths to success in their future,” said Evans.

Senften expressed her confidence in the professors in the program, stating “that the three faculty members have a combined 40 plus years in social work education, so our students are taught by experienced professionals.”

These include Miranda Blackburn, Brenda Rinkes and Eveldora Wheeler.

In addition to required coursework, students must complete 400 hours of internship required during an undergraduate’s senior year.

Classes in WLU’s program average 16 students and there are two active student organizations, the Social Work Club and the Social Work Honor Society Phi Alpha that give students additional support.

“Social work is a growing field and one that offers a professional great personal satisfaction,” she added.

The theme for 2021 observation of Social Workers Month is “Social Workers Are Essential.”

The professional organization, the National Association of Social Workers utilizes this theme to promote the profession and the contributions that professionally educated social workers make in society.

A BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education allows for graduates to apply for social work licensure.

“Our program is getting stronger all the time and we now award more than $12,000 in scholarships annually. Many of these awards include stipends for interns, as well as financial support for students that qualify,” she said.

In addition to the BSW degree, the program offers an addiction studies minor which is open to undergraduate students in any major at West Liberty University.

“The program faculty are committed to being responsive to broader community needs,” stated Senften. “We are working with graduate MSW programs in West Virginia in order to facilitate students who are planning on starting their MSW immediately after graduation. Having the BSW degree allows the students to apply for advanced standing in a MSW program. This will give our undergraduate degree students a strong path to a successful career.”

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