BY MacKenzie Rizzo
Sacred Heart University’s Social Work Department has established a new school within the College of Arts and Sciences, located on West Campus. The Board of Trustees approved the new school during their September 2019 meeting, said Dr. Robin Cautin, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Cautin said that there are approximately 40 undergraduate majors and over 300 graduate students studying social work at Sacred Heart.
“I certainly hope this change will attract more students to attend Sacred Heart. Our social work programs are top-notch, and I’m hoping that the establishment of a School of Social Work will increase the visibility of this distinctive set of programs,” said Cautin.
Junior Margaret O’Connell, a social work major, said, “The announcement of the establishment of the School of Social Work at Sacred Heart is one that I am extremely excited about.”
“Being a social work major myself, I have had the experience to make bonds with all of the amazing professors within the department. You can really tell just how passionate they are about the career and how much they want for all of their students to thrive in class,” said O’Connell.
Junior social work major Katie Sullivan said, “It is incredibly exciting that a School of Social Work has been established. I hope the new School of Social Work will draw prospective students’ attention to all of the great education the social work department has to offer.”
Junior Lily Daneman, another social work major, said the students in the social work program are like a small community. She said that the class sizes are small, with approximately 12 students in each of her classes.
“I feel that the new school is a great idea! We always need more social workers, so being able to expand the program would be great! I think it would get more people interested in studying social work at Sacred Heart,” said Daneman.
Social work can be used in a wide variety of different fields, allowing students to pursue many types of jobs after graduation. Sullivan said she plans on going back to school to get her master’s in social work, then become a clinical social worker in a hospital wing.
Daneman said that she plans to pursue a career as a therapist. “I hope to help young adolescents with their issues,” she said. “We take a lot of social classes; classes that have to do with interacting with people and learning how to help people the best way we can.”
Such classes include Human Behavior / Social Environment, Social Welfare Police, Social Work Practice, along with numerous others.
Sullivan said, “The second semester of our junior year, we are placed in the field, then we are placed somewhere different for our senior year. This gives us true field experience that we can learn from for our jobs down the line.”
Rupendra Paliwal, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in an email to the university that the School of Social Work will be brought to action immediately and the social work department is actively working to find an associate dean for the new school.
“The social work program at Sacred Heart allows for you to not only learn more about the career and what it’s all about, but it also allows for you to learn about yourself and why you’ve chosen to major in social work. I cannot wait to see how well the School of Social Work turns out. I look forward to seeing so many more opportunities come out of it,” said O’Connell.