PUC’s Social Work Program Shines in Recent Accreditation Achievement
By Laura Gang on December 7, 2023
Pacific Union College’s social work program recently received approval from the Council of Social Work Education Board of Accreditation, recognizing the program’s commitment to high standards and continuous improvement.
Every eight years, the social work program undergoes a thorough accreditation process involving a comprehensive self-study, strategic planning, and collaboration with various stakeholders.
“The accreditation decision underscores the program's commitment to excellence,” said Damaris Perez, psychology and social work department chair. “It serves as a testament to the program's commitment to maintaining and enhancing quality standards in education, ensuring that it aligns with the best practices in the field of social work.”
The process to prepare for the assessment is a significant undertaking, Perez said. The rigorous self-study must be prepared two years in advance, forming the foundation for an onsite evaluation by an accreditation site visitor.
In response, CSWE’s Board of Accreditation formulates clarifying questions that guide the visitor during their evaluation. The preparatory work, including strategic planning and meetings with stakeholders, is a collaborative effort that highlights the dedication of the PUC administration, faculty, and involved consultants.
Perez said delivering a high-quality educational experience for students is a priority for the social work program. “Our dedication is evident in the relationships we have cultivated with the community through impactful internship programs,” she said. “These connections not only underscore our commitment to our students but also highlight our unwavering dedication to the standards of our profession.”
PUC’s social work majors engage in year-long internships, a distinctive program feature. Perez said this year is particularly notable as all the students actively participate in paid internships, demonstrating the college’s commitment to offering valuable experiential learning opportunities.
Lindsay Hayasaka, vice president for academic administration and academic dean, said that the social work department stands out among all the departments at PUC, actively contributing to the community.
“Our students serve our community through their volunteer and internship work in contexts as diverse as rehabilitation for unhoused people, local schools, foster care, child protective services, mobile showers, Adventist health, and more,” she said.
One significant way the social work team serves the local community is through the Angwin Food Pantry, directed by Perez along with Professor of Social Work Tuwan Ussery and two social work interns. Hayasaka, who has helped several times, admires the care, professionalism, and connections made with community members through students and faculty.
“When our social work majors graduate and receive their commissioning at the end of each year, it's a deeply moving experience because we know their commitment is real and their hearts are for the communities they serve,” Hayasaka said.
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