Workgroup hears about social services program

Analicia Haynes, Online Editor

A member of Workgroup no. 8, Academic Visioning I, presented a potential new program to the Workgroup at its Friday meeting.

Renee Kidd-Marshall, director of the nursing program, talked about incorporating a bachelor’s degree that would follow a social services track.

“There can be a sociology degree with a social services track,” Kidd-Marshall said. “Our surrounding community colleges offer an associate’s degree in social service, so why don’t we complete that degree?”

Kidd-Marshall said the idea came to her after finding out that an 18-year-old student with a GED certificate could be a community liaison or a coordinator of care after completing 8 weeks of training for a social services certificate.

“(If) someone is making decisions about me about my healthcare, my food, if I choose to live in a refrigerator box or a mansion I would rather have someone with a degree other than a GED and eight weeks,” Kidd-Marshall said.

At Eastern, Kidd-Marshall said it seems like psychology, sociology and family and consumer sciences are just meshed together to provide this sort of track, but she wants to focus on offering a specific degree.

However, after Nora Pat Small, the interim chair of the history department, asked whether the Workgroup would be looking at a social services track or a bachelor’s program in social services, Kidd-Marshall said it would be a bachelor’s in social services which could also be offered as a completion degree offered online or a as minor.

Ryan Hendrickson, the interim dean of the graduate school, said there are programs on campus such as non-profit administration offered by the political science department that speak to social services.

He said though the university may not offer something similar to the examples Kidd-Marshall talked about, it does offer something similar that could be tweaked to reach a wider group of students.

“Maybe we’re just not loud enough in what we provide,” Hendrickson said.

He said these titles speak to what other universities call social services programs.

Workgroup Chair Jeff Stowell, a psychology professor, asked if the degree program would be primarily for careers where a bachelor’s degree is expected rather than a stepping stone for a master’s in social work.

Kidd-Marshall said it could be a stepping-stone toward a master’s degree, depending on how the program would be designed.

“It’s just another avenue,” she said.

Kidd-Marshall said this area of focus could potentially span across different fields such as health studies.

“These people are employed in human resources in hospitals in long-term care in schools,” Kidd-Marshall said.

The Workgroup will host a town hall meeting from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m Thursday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union. It has also added another question to a survey asking participants to elaborate on a potential social media micro degree.

The survey is open until Feb. 15.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]