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Salisbury classes coming to town

January 31, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - In the fall, Salisbury University will join five other Maryland colleges and universities in offering classes downtown at the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

Classes start next fall, and students will be able to earn either a bachelor of arts degree in social work or a master of social work degree through Salisbury's satellite campus in Hagerstown.

Two to three classes will be offered each semester.

Brooke Harper of Hagerstown attended Tuesday's announcement and picked up an information packet. She wants to earn her master of social work degree to help further her career, and chose social work to "make a difference in people's lives," Harper said.

About 60 potential students have inquired about the programs, said Marvin Tossey, chairman of the department of social work at Salisbury University.

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Salisbury focuses on preparing social workers to serve in "nonurban" areas, Tossey said.

"Our mission is to serve nonurban Maryland," he said.

Hagerstown's location between the urban areas of Baltimore and more rural areas near Cumberland, Md., made it an ideal location for a satellite campus, Tossey said.

"It's an area that needs a program and fits our mission," he said.

Washington County's social workers face ever-increasing caseloads, said David Engle, director of the Washington County Department of Social Services.

During the last fiscal year, the percentage of reported sexually abused children increased 22 percent, Engle said. Social workers investigated 1,600 reports of child maltreatment in the last year, he said.

A master of social work degree is required to enter management within social services, and Engle said he hopes that local social workers pursue the advanced degree.

"I want to train local people to be the management of tomorrow," he said.

Tuition reimbursement is available through the state as an incentive for current social workers to pursue more education, Engle said.

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