Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pierpont Community & Technical College of Fairmont State University and the Division of Social Work at West Virginia University are pleased to announce an affiliation agreement that will provide Pierpont C&TC students with the opportunity to prepare to earn a bachelor's degree in social work from WVU.

Students may complete a two-year pre-social work concentration at Pierpont C&TC, then finish their final two years at WVU to earn the BSW degree. This arrangement is known as a '2 + 2' program.

"We're very pleased to participate in this wonderful collaboration with West Virginia University," said Blair Montgomery, President of Pierpont C&TC. "Our students will greatly benefit from this new 2 + 2 program."

Officials from both institutions signed the agreement on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Those attending were Montgomery; Jean Bolyard, Chair of the Pierpont C&TC School of Academic Studies; Joe Larry, Associate Professor of Sociology; Virginia Majewski, Chair of WVU's Division of Social Work; and Linda Ferrise, WVU's BSW Program Director.

The Division of Social Work is one of three divisions in the School of Applied Social Sciences in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at WVU, and is nationally-recognized in the areas of rural social work practice and non-profit management.

"In West Virginia, there is a need for social workers, primarily in the Department of Health and Human Resources, with the state's loss of jobs and the growing number of families in need of help," Ferrise said. "With the war in Iraq and so many of our armed forces coming back home and needing help to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of war, and with West Virginia's ever-growing population of older residents, the field of social work is growing. Social work is a profession. Licensure is required, which only adds to the credibility of the social work degree."

Because entry into the social work major at WVU is competitive, Pierpont C&TC students will need to have an overall GPA of 2.25, 100 hours of documented paid or volunteer experience in social service-related activities, a written personal statement and one letter of reference. Students who qualify will compete with other West Virginia students and transfer students for 60 slots.

"We looked at our Liberal Studies Associate of Arts degree and tailored it to fit with West Virginia University's four-year program," Bolyard said. "By completing their first two years of core classes at Pierpont, our students will become strong candidates to enter the four-year program at WVU. This is a great opportunity for our students."

"Completing this 2 + 2 program will make it easier for Pierpont students to obtain social work licensure," Larry said.

Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, Dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at WVU said, "We are pleased to enter into this arrangement with Pierpont Community & Technical College. At WVU, we maintain a strong commitment to our identity as a land-grant college, which includes a mandate to serve the residents of West Virginia. Not only are we serving by making the BSW more accessible, but we are also serving by making it possible for West Virginians to have greater access to social work services."