UK Social Work Fills Critical Need, Launches Fully Online Undergraduate Degree


LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 11, 2020) – Helping people in need is more than a career, it is a vocation. Now you can answer that call by earning a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) from the University of Kentucky completely online.

Times are tumultuous and 2020 has brought challenges like never before. From public health crisis to movements against social injustice, communities urgently need continued support. Social workers aim to provide this support by offering services to improve safety and general well-being.

The hope is that behind every person or community that goes through a difficult challenge – abuse, drug addiction, discrimination, poverty – a social worker is there to help tackle it.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

“Now there is an increased need for trained social workers to explore and implement innovative solutions to society’s most pressing challenges,” said Jay Miller, dean of the College of Social Work (CoSW). “By expanding our offering of undergraduate degrees to the virtual space, we are creating opportunities for more people to achieve their goals of becoming social work professionals in their communities.”

Growing cases of child abuse and neglect, the devastating opioid epidemic and complex mental health issues overwhelm social workers with complicated workloads.

Additionally, COVID-19 has created a storm of factors that will almost certainly lead to an increase in unreported cases of child abuse and neglect. While school closures remain in effect, at-risk children are cut off from helping professionals. At the same time, vital parts of the child protection system are still under immense pressure. From mandatory court appearances to home parenting programs, the pandemic is making it harder to serve children, families and communities.

The BASW program is designed for anyone who is passionate about being a catalyst for change. Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in social work and social justice, with a curriculum spanning advocacy, crisis intervention, social policy and more. The program offers a unique lens through which to view individuals, families, communities and society as a whole.

“The profession of social worker has a rich tradition of emphasizing the value of individual experiences and understanding the complexities of inequality,” said Diane Loeffler, Director of Undergraduate Studies. “Our fully online undergraduate program option will prepare students to practice social work in a wide range of settings, with an emphasis on social justice.”

Social work is a rapidly growing profession, and BASW offers students the opportunity to truly engage and learn how to influence change within and between systems. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field is expected to experience continued growth nationwide. Social work practitioners with advanced training are in particular demand. With the addition of the online undergraduate program, the CoSW has created an online path for motivated students to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree.

Social workers play a major role in improving life. Ultimately, graduates of the program will be able to become innovative leaders and participate in the larger conversation about building a stronger society.

Amid unprecedented challenges, Miller hopes that CoSW’s proactive approach will transform communities and the lives of the people who live in those communities. “We know the power of social work to meet the needs of individuals, families and communities,” he said. “This new offering is another way we seek to refresh our commitment to the well-being of individuals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond.”

You can find more information about the BASW program here. To help students become full practitioners, CoSW offers a wide range of degree courses and certificates. To learn more about other programs, you can visit the college’s website.

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