Social work major Melissa Jahnke is among the UW-Stevens Point at Wausau students who may now take advantage of a Master of Social Work program offered at that campus. (Courtesy UWSP)

Master of Social Work program to be offered at UWSP-Wausau

Metro Wire Staff

An advanced degree in social work will be offered locally to Central Wisconsin residents through a new partnership between the UW-Stevens Point and UW-Green Bay.

Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, UW-Green Bay will offer its Master of Social Work (MSW) program on the UW-Stevens Point at Wausau campus.

“This is exciting because it creates an option for students residing in Central Wisconsin to get their master’s degree in social work right in their own community, from a highly esteemed program,” said Amy Zlimen Ticho, director of the UW-Stevens Point social work program. “This will benefit not just UW-Stevens Point graduates, but also others in the region who would like to pursue their MSW and perhaps did not have that option before.”

Under the agreement, the MSW program will offer its same curriculum and areas of emphasis at the Wausau location, with UW-Green Bay instructors teaching courses and its staff advising students.

UW-Green Bay MSW Program Director Gail Trimberger expressed optimism about how the new program can help expand the social services available to Central Wisconsin residents.

“The need for increased social service resources was critical before the pandemic, and has only grown in the last nine months,” she said. “UW-Stevens Point is to be commended for their vision to prioritize this community need and for collaborating to meet the need quickly. This is so important for the future health and well-being of the Central Wisconsin region.”

“Being able to get my master’s locally at the UWSP Wausau campus means that I can follow my dreams,” said student Tanya Lybert, who is pursuing an undergraduate social work degree at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau. “Without UW-Green Bay sharing its program I would not be able to reach my goal of becoming a mental health social worker.”

While a master’s degree is not required for all positions in the social work field, it does assist in pursuing higher salaries and leadership roles. Master’s degrees are required for certain social work career paths, including school social work and clinical social work, which will be offered by UW-Green Bay on the Wausau campus. The MSW program will also offer specialization in child welfare, with grant funding available through Title IVE.

Having an MSW program in Central Wisconsin will also benefit local organizations that host social work students while they fulfill their fieldwork requirements.

“UW-Green Bay will be in need of field placement sites for their MSW students within school systems, mental health organizations, and child welfare settings,” Zlimen Ticho said. “With supervision, these students can assist with providing services and programming, filling vital roles in the community. Hopefully, many graduates will stay in Central Wisconsin to meet the demand for master’s-level practitioners.”

The addition of the UW-Green Bay MSW program is the latest effort in expanding social work education at the UW-Stevens Point Wausau campus. Students may begin their education by pursuing an associate of arts and sciences in human services, a two-year degree that provides a strong foundation for degrees in social work, sociology, or psychology. From there, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in social work exclusively with courses taught at UW-Stevens Point’s Wausau campus.

Leaders of the MSW program anticipate accepting applications for the Wausau location beginning in January 2021 for the 2021-22 academic year. For more information about the UW-Green Bay MSW Program, visit www.uwgb.edu/msw or contact Trimberger at [email protected].