May 15, 2001
Dr. Joyce Scott, Deputy Commissioner
Academic and Student Affairs Committee
Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education
P. O. Box 203101
Helena, MT 59620-3101
RE: Item 110-1003-R0301
March 22-23, 2001 Level II Proposal
The University of Montana
Department of Social Work
Master’s of Social Work
Dear Dr. Scott:
The above proposal that was posted on the University of Montana’s website on April 27, 2001 contained a number of inaccurate data and misleading statements regarding Walla Walla College’s Master of Social Work Program in Missoula.
The purpose of this letter is:
1. To advise you of the rationale for our school’s involvement in providing advanced social work education for the students in your state,
2. To commend the University of Montana’s Department of Social Work for developing a Master of Social Work Program in a state university,
3 And to clarify some ideas within the proposal and correct the misinformation regarding the Walla Walla College Graduate Program in Social Work that has responded to the assessed needs of the State of Montana for the past four years.
To give a larger picture of the factors that surround the University of Montana’s proposal and our concerns about the data presented, a history of the Walla Walla College Graduate Program in Social Work along with the collegial and supportive relationship with the Montana Social Work Department is needed.
Walla Walla College is a private, liberal arts college in Southeastern Washington which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. It has been in operation since 1892 and is fully accredited by Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition to its strong liberal arts program, it is well known for its quality engineering, social work, and nursing programs. The Bachelor of Social Work Program (BSW) was established in 1975 and the Master’s of Social Work Program (MSW) began in 1988. Both are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The college does not discriminate against students on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or age.
We began offering the MSW Program in Missoula in 1997 with the approval of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and the Council on Social Work Education. At that time, Montana had two schools (Carroll College and the University of Montana) that offered CSWE accredited Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work, which prepare students for entry-level positions of “generalist” practice in the field of social work. Although we had had many students from the University of Montana attend the WWC Graduate Program in Social Work, they moved to College Place for their graduate studies rather than commute. In 1995 three students from Helena, Montana, commuted weekly to Walla Walla to obtain the MSW degree from our program. Our faculty liaison visited their field practicum sites in Helena and Butte and got acquainted with several Montana social workers. Those social workers and the students continually requested that we bring our program to Montana because there was not one in the state to meet the needs of those desiring advanced social work education.
In order to ascertain the interest for an MSW Program in the state, the Dean and Director of the Walla Walla College School of Social Work, Dr. Wilma Hepker and Dr. Standley Gellineau, arranged several visits to Montana which included the two Montana schools that have BSW programs in social work, agencies that could serve as potential field practicum sites, state educational personnel in Helena, and many interested social workers in the state as well as prospective students for an MSW Program. In addition, the Montana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers conducted a comprehensive state-wide needs assessment, the results of which were sent to WWC along with numerous letters from agencies and prospective students requesting that we bring our program to Montana. All of the data statistically supported the conclusion that there was a need for an MSW Program in the state which would provide these professionals with advanced education and training in social work.
The above accounts indicate that we were invited to bring our MSW Program to Montana and we are humbled to have a small part in bringing advanced social work education to this State.
The following are our specific responses to the misinformation (in the University of Montana’s Proposal) about Walla Walla College’s MSW Program in Montana. Our brief response focuses on four main areas:
1. Cost of the program
2. Number and quality of faculty
3. The inappropriateness of the curriculum for Montana
4. Utilization of UM resources
The enrollment figures are quite inaccurate as presented in Montana’s proposal. We have never admitted 80 new students in a year, we do not plan to have an enrollment of 100 in Missoula, and the income generated is overstated by more than two million dollars. The Title IV-E money (as reported in p. 4 of the UM document) that goes directly to the student cannot be included in total revenue. If the student uses it to pay tuition, it is then included in the total tuition numbers. The tuition per quarter hour of $399 does not apply until 2001-2002 at which time there will be a significant increase in financial aid.
In spite of the fact that the information presented in Montana’s proposal about Walla Walla College is inaccurate, it is true that Walla Walla College’s tuition is expensive. We are a private college and receive no state dollars; however, the students receive substantial grants, stipends, and scholarships which are not reflected in the costs per student presented on p. 4 of Montana’s proposal. For example, this 2000/2001 school year Montana students received over $400,000 in grants, stipends, and scholarships. Also, many students obtain a paid practicum or work study for their practicum which helps provide them extra money for living expenses. Federal subsidized Stafford loans are available for students who need them. Upon graduation, assistance is provided so that graduates are able to access the Federal Loan Repayment Program. There are many employment possibilities in the State of Montana which are approved for Federal Loan Repayment.
Finally, I would like to suggest that much of the money which is generated by the Montana program goes back into the Montana program. Of course, the local employee salaries, rents, utilities, equipment, books, and supplies are purchased in Montana. Additionally, there is overhead which costs Walla Walla College, i.e., Library, which is contributed to the Montana program. MSW programs are expensive, as are most professional programs.
NUMBER AND QUALITY OF FACULTY
The Walla Walla College School of Social Work has twenty-three salaried faculty, six of whom live in Montana and teach on the Montana campus. These Montana employees understand the uniqueness of the state’s social services system and the needs of the diverse populations they serve. Faculty from the main campus program also regularly teach in the Missoula program. Contrary to the assumption in the Montana proposal that we have primarily master’s level faculty teaching in the Montana Program, we have a total of eight doctoral level faculty who regularly teach in Missoula, covering the majority of the classes. In addition, we have a Ph.D. field practicum coordinator who is assisted by a full-time field practicum supervisor based in Montana. We also employ a select set of adjunct faculty from Montana, most of whom have doctorates and years of teaching experience. This is a positive aspect for the program, as it allows currently practicing social workers to bring their knowledge and current practice skills to their teaching, giving them more credibility in the eyes of the students.
THE INAPPROPRIATENESS OF THE WWC CURRICULUM FOR MONTANA
The UM proposal states “Walla Walla’s curricular focus is primarily clinical and fails to address fully the multi-faceted demands of today’s professional social worker and the need for a more diversified social work practitioner in Montana.”(page 4) We would like to correct this error by explaining the requirements for social work education and WWC’s choice of a concentration.
Accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education assure that MSW degree programs provide two years of education. The first year of all accredited MSW Programs must have a broad-based generalist focus, which includes practice skills with individuals, groups, families, communities, and organizations. (This is considered the only appropriate focus for a BSW program as well, and is, therefore, evaluated as equivalent to the first year of the MSW program.) In the second year of the program, the student is to select a concentration, which is clinical practice at Walla Walla College. The University of Montana states that their own model is integrated direct practice (page 1). In social work education clinical practice is another term for direct practice. These terms are often used interchangeably. A close examination of the curriculum will reflect the program’s objectives.
Direct/clinical practice allows the graduate MSW to work successfully with individuals, groups, families and communities within the ecological perspective, utilizing the generalist practice knowledge and skills of the first year as the foundation for the second year curriculum. In the second year, students are able to build upon that foundation and learn advanced clinical practice skills, providing them both generalist and advanced clinical expertise. This combination is very appropriate for a diversified population and the multi-faceted demands of today’s professional social worker. There are many rural areas where there is no psychiatrist or psychologist. The clinical social worker must have the knowledge and skills of working with children and families, the mentally ill, the elderly, problems of youth and delinquency, etc. They don’t always have the luxury of making a referral to someone who has clinical skills.
Students who graduate with the MSW degree from Walla Walla College-Missoula are prepared to provide direct clinical social work services for individuals, families, and groups within a community setting. Direct practice is often confused as preparation for private practice for a limited population. However, the clinical emphasis of the MSW degree at WWC trains students to understand that direct practice is inclusive of social and agency policy, advocacy for clients, diversity issues, evaluation of treatment programs, networking with community organizations as well as theory based understanding of human behavior and treatment skills for effective interventions. The foundation of the MSW is person-in-environment with a strengths perspective. Social work values and ethics for practice are integrated throughout the curriculum.
Over 50% of all mental health services are provided by social workers in a variety of settings (i.e., group homes, community-based mental health centers, schools, nursing homes, hospitals). It makes very good sense to make sure that all MSW graduates have studied mental health assessment, diagnosis, and practice. We are confident that this curriculum, combined with an outstanding teaching and research faculty, produces graduates that are in demand in the job market.
In delivering instruction to the Montana MSW students, we developed a schedule that mirrors that of the main campus. Our classes on the main campus are offered on a Monday-Tuesday schedule. In Montana the classes are offered on a Thursday-Friday schedule, allowing students to live at home, commute to the site for their classes and return to their home community to do their field practicum. The entire core curriculum is available in Missoula, along with a wide range of electives. (See the attached curriculum ) School social work credentials also are available through the Montana program.
The reputation of Walla Walla College’s MSW Program is well known throughout the Northwest because of the quality of its program, faculty, and students. Not only do they have abilities in generalist practice, but they also have advanced clinical practice and assessment skills, which are definitely in demand throughout Montana.
UTILIZATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA RESOURCES
We were surprised to see in Montana’s proposal document that our students were making a drain on the resources of the University of Montana. The information the students have given us for the past two years is that they are not using the University of Montana library or computers. We have an on-site computer lab as well as a small on-site library. We have employed a research consultant to work with the students in the Missoula program teaching them to access resources on the Internet. Walla Walla College has an excellent library, with substantial funds provided for graduate holdings for social work students, which is fully accessible through our Walla Walla College Website. The main library (Peterson Memorial Library) also gives prompt service to the Montana students in using Interlibrary Loan.
The following is additional library support provided to MSW students on the Missoula campus.
1. Peterson Memorial Library on the College Place campus provides separate library home pages for the MSW program in Missoula. From these pages, students and faculty have access to a number of databases through the WWC Missoula site library's computers or from their homes or offices via an authentication (proxy) server. They login with their WWC network username and password.
2. The library offers over 70 databases to its students and faculty, including those in the MSW program at Missoula. The three starred databases in the list below offer full-text articles which can be printed off by the students. Databases most important to the MSW students and faculty include the following:
**Academic Search (Full Text)
**ProQuest Direct Abstracts/Full Text
SDA Periodical Index
Contemporary Women's Issues
Social Sciences Abstracts
Social Work Abstracts
Index of Legal Periodicals
Medline: Grateful Med
Idaho Statutes and Constitution
Public Affairs Information Service
Montana Constitution and Laws
3. The list above includes WorldCat, a library catalog with access to all the libraries in the world. using the OCLC system. Students using this catalog may obtain books through the Document Delivery services provided to them by Peterson on the College Place campus.
4. Peterson's librarians also offer phone and E-mail Reference Service five days per week (Monday to Friday), to the students on the Montana Campus. Violet Maynard-Reid, Reference/Document Delivery Librarian, has provided the students with her email address and phone number for the students to use to contact the main campus library.
5. Articles in the Peterson's collection or the Portland School of Nursing's collection are faxed to the Missoula MSW students and faculty, either to their homes, workplace or the MSW office. Books are mailed to students who request them, or sent by MSW faculty who travel to the Missoula campus every week.
6. Interlibrary Loan service from the College Place campus library (Peterson) is provided to the MSW students in Missoula. During the past year students received a total of 95 articles and books through this service..
7. In addition, librarians from Peterson provide instruction sessions to students and faculty on the Missoula MSW site usually once per year or upon request.
There have been a number of factors which have persuaded us that we need to continue in our spirit of service to the geographic area served by our Montana campus. As a result of these factors, a small Billings program will start in the summer (June, 2001). The program will be supported through our Missoula campus, main campus, and local Billings faculty. A Distance Learning Program will augment it. For the record, we do not have a compressed video link or an interactive classroom. We plan to teach primarily “live,” traditional classes in Billings just as we do on the main campus and the Missoula Campus.
In conclusion, we are saddened that the University of Montana Department of Social Work has chosen to criticize the Walla Walla College MSW Program and report inaccurate information without any communication with us.
We have had a collegial relationship in the past with the Department of Social Work at the University of Montana, and we continue to support their efforts as they develop an MSW Program at a state university for Montana. We remain dedicated to the objective of providing the opportunity for advanced social work education in Montana and would hope that the University of Montana Department of Social Work will see our efforts as collegial and mutually supportive to that end. If there are questions regarding our program in Montana, do not hesitate to contact me at 509-527-2273.
Wilma Hepker, MSW, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Social Work
Walla Walla College
Walla Walla College
Master of Social Work
Core Courses First Year Credits
SOWK 510 Cultural and Ethnic Perspectives of Social Work 3
SOWK 514 Social Work Policies and Services I 3
SOWK 515 Social Work Policies and Services II 3
SOWK 517 Social Work Practice I (Individuals) 3
SOWK 518 Social Work Practice II (Groups) 3
SOWK 519 Social Work Practice III (Families) 3
SOWK 520 Social Work Practice IV (Communities) 2
SOWK 524 Human Behavior and Social Environment I 3
SOWK 525 Human Behavior and Social Environment II 3
SOWK 530 Field Practicum 6
SOWK 537 Social Work Research 3
SOWK 538 Research Applications in Social Work I 1
SOWK 539 Research Applications in Social Work II 1
SOWK 542 Dysfunctional Behavior in Clinical Social Work 3
Core Courses Second Year
SOWK 508 Social Work and Religion 2
SOWK 540 Adv Clinical Evaluation or SOWK 589 Adv Research Methods 3
SOWK 541 Advanced Practice 3
SOWK 544 Policy Issues for Clinicians 2
SOWK 545 Advanced Clinical Treatment of Families 3
SOWK 530 Field Practicum 12
ADVANCED CLINICAL PRACTICE ELECTIVES
SOWK 500 Clinical Treatment of Sexual Abuse 3
SOWK 500 Attachment Theory 3
SOWK 500 Strength-Based Practice 3
SOWK 551 Family Violence 3
SOWK 552 Clinical Treatment of Children and Adolescents 3
SOWK 555 School Social Work 3
SOWK 556 Play Therapy 3
SOWK 557 Solution Focused Brief Therapy 3
SOWK 558 Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies 3
SOWK 559 Reality Therapy 3
SOWK 560 Clinical Treatment in Addictions 3
SOWK 562 Clinical Skills with Addictive Families 3
SOWK 566 Object Relations Theory 3
SOWK 570 Social Work Practice in a Medical Setting 3
SOWK 571 Aging and Health Care 3
SOWK 572 Clinical Treatment in Mental Health 3
SOWK 573 Advanced Group Work 3
SOWK 574 Social Work Supervision 3
SOWK 575 Clinical Practice of Crisis Intervention 3
SOWK 377 Introduction of Alcohol and Addiction Treatment 3
SOWK 437 Death and Dying 3
SOWK 460 Services to Families with Children 3
SOWK 464 Children at Risk 3
SOWK 466 Comparative Theories of Social Work Practice 3
SOWK 453 Social Work Administration and Management 3
SOWK 500 Grantsmanship 3
SOWK 500 Ethics and Values 3
SOWK 550 Protective and Substitute Care of Children 2
SOWK 553 Legal Aspects of Social Work Practice 3
SOWK 554 Inter-generational Relationships 3
SOWK 561 Physiological Effects and Pharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs 3
SOWK 567 Selfcare for the Social Worker 2
SOWK 579 Directed Research/Project 1-2
SOWK 590 Thesis 1-2