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College Will Offer Master of Social Work Degree

Starting this fall, Keuka College will offer a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, in two formats, at the Keuka Park home campus and in the Syracuse region. The MSW program is a 65-credit, clinically focused program designed to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective psychotherapy and psychosocial services to clients at an individual, family, and group level.

The MSW also prepares graduates to act in an administrative and supervisory capacity, and to serve as leaders in dynamic communities and organizations. Students with an MSW degree are eligible to take a state licensing exam after graduation, and can then begin serving diverse client populations in settings including schools, community-based agencies, health care systems, legal systems and more.

Recently approved by the New York State Board of Education Office of the Professions, the Keuka College MSW program will be offered in two formats. Roll-out of the program will begin this fall, with two cohorts of advanced standing MSW students.  One cohort of full-time students will study weekdays at the Keuka Park campus near Penn Yan, and will complete the program in May 2016, while a second cohort of part-time students studying in the Syracuse region, will complete the degree in 21 months of primarily evening classes once a week. Both advanced standing formats include clinical practicum work, similar to an internship. A first-year foundation program for applicants with a non-social work bachelor’s degree will begin at the Keuka Park campus in the fall of 2016.

Stephanie Craig

Stephanie Craig, chair of the Keuka College Division of Social Work and associate professor of social work, is thrilled to see the MSW program launch after nearly 10 years of dreaming and planning.

“It’s so exciting to see the vision come to fruition,” Craig said, adding thanks to the many faculty members and administrators who’ve invested time and labor over the past several years to support the College’s efforts to add the new degree. “I see growth ahead and an outstanding MSW program at Keuka College.”

After the initial launch year, the College will begin offering the advanced standing MSW program at select off-site locations in full-time or part-time formats. Students have the opportunity to personalize the focus of their studies through the selection of different electives. According to Dr. Doyle Pruitt, a licensed, certified social worker, MSW program director and assistant professor of social work for Keuka College, the College has offered bachelor’s degrees in social work to adult students at multiple community college locations across upstate New York through its Accelerated Studies for Adult Program (ASAP) format, and some of those will be considered for expansion of the MSW in future years.

Dr. Doyle Pruitt

Elective courses and initial field work placements have been structured so that students will be prepared for work within systems such as the Veteran’s Administration, health care settings, prison systems and community agencies, particularly those that may be located in the areas where the MSW program will be offered, Pruitt described. For example, Yates and Schuyler counties have some of the lowest numbers of MSW practitioners in the state, she said, noting that social work is a profession always in demand.

“Our program allows students who are committed to their local communities to receive their education without having to be uprooted and risk not returning,” Pruitt said.

And that will benefit communities across the greater Finger Lakes region, as well-prepared Keuka College MSW graduates provide services appropriate to the unique demands of rural areas and under-represented populations, said Dr. Paul Forestell, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Dr. Paul Forestell

“For 125 years Keuka College has remained true to the vision of our founder, George Harvey Ball, to graduate ‘superior men and women who shall bring strength to the nation and help to humanity,’” he cited. “Our new Master of Social Work program continues that tradition.”

According to Pruitt, an MSW degree can be more marketable than degrees for marriage and family therapists or licensed mental health counselors, due to the structure of insurance billing in New York State.

“We’re preparing graduates to be eligible to provide clinical services, psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and so on. The clinical degree allows them to provide therapy, but they could also choose to take their career in an administrative or service direction, so it’s really setting them up to be competitive in the marketplace,” Pruitt said.

Applications for the new MSW programs have a deadline of June 15, 2015. For more information on the program, please visit online at:, or for more info on how to apply, please contact Admissions Counselor Patricia White at [email protected] or (315) 317-8455. 


Simons a Social Work Success

At the heart of social work is service to others, and in that dimension, Keuka College senior Nakita Simons sets the standard.

Simons, left, with Brenda Barkley, Chair of the NASW Genesee Valley Division chapter

Praised as a natural-born leader, the Prattsburgh resident and social work major coordinates so many special projects for non-profit agencies and organizations between home and school that it can be hard to keep them all straight. For her multitude of service, Simons was recently named one of six student Social Workers of the Year at a regional chapter event for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The NASW award recognizes social work students in the New York State Chapter’s Genesee Valley Division who have made significant contributions in the field.

According to Stephanie Craig, associate professor of social work and chair of the College Division of Social Work, Simons “is versatile, dedicated and one of the most diligent new social workers to enter this field. She’s got a lot of social work insight that has just really blossomed and developed through her experience here.”

Just how much does Simons serve? Well, she delivers holiday food baskets for the needy and serves at a bake sale fundraiser for the Howard Union Church. She coordinates Christmas gift deliveries through the Angel Tree project and runs twice-monthly volunteer support at Milly’s Pantry in Penn Yan for the College’s Association of Future Social Workers (ASFW) chapter. The ASFW members also host an annual Hunger Banquet to raise awareness of poverty, and assist the Branchport-Keuka Park Fire Department with their annual Halloween party for local children.

Simons, in white, with her NSO "mentees"

As president of Phi Alpha Theta, the College honors society for social work students, Simons coordinates all fundraising and community service work for the group. The newest venture, slated for April, will be conducting service work on behalf of veterans at the Bath VA Medical Center, she said. Back on campus, Phi Theta Alpha has also given a presentation on veterans’ issues, including mental illness, homeless rates, and other needs. In addition, Simons has served three years as a New Student Orientation (NSO) mentor, logging extra hours on her own to take new freshmen under her wing and show them skills for success.

In addition, Simons, who also served as a biology tutor, maintains a 3.9 grade point average, said Craig who attended the NASW awards banquet with Simons last week.

And the NASW award is not the only one. Simons boasts another prestigious accomplishment: earning a BSW Child Welfare Scholarship from New York’s Social Work Education Consortium. The scholarship carries a two-year employment contract as a child welfare caseworker with a county Department of Social Services agency and the possibility of earning additional scholarship money for a master’s degree in social work, provided all goes well in an initial semester-long practicum. But once again, Simons stands apart. (more…)

Accreditation of Social Work Program Reaffirmed

The accreditation of Keuka College’s social work program has again been reaffirmed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Keuka offers a bachelor’s degree in social work in its traditional program on the Keuka Park campus and at sites across New York state through the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP).

One reason why CSWE accreditation is critical is that social workers seeking licensure from the National Association of Social Workers must hold a master’s degree from an accredited social work program, according to Stephanie Craig, professor and chair of the Division of Social Work.

“Being accredited by CSWE also allows us to provide a program that is accepted across the United States and permits students to apply for admission to master’s degree programs at an accredited school,” said Craig.

CSWE is a national association that “preserves and enhances the quality of social work education for practice that promotes the goals of individual and community well-being and social justice.” CSWE pursues this mission through setting and maintaining policy and program standards, accrediting bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in social work, promoting research and faculty development, and advocating for social work education.

The CSWE conducted a site visit and review of Keuka’s program earlier this year, but the College spent “two to three years” preparing for it, according to Craig.

“It was much more arduous this time because we added a social work degree through ASAP in 2007,” said Craig. “In addition to conducting a self-study, we rewrote the syllabus, developed assessments, and analyzed how the program fits within the College.”

Social work has been part of the Keuka College curriculum since 1950 and became fully accredited by the CSWE in 1982.

“Our traditional social work program has earned the respect of human service providers across New York state, from Watertown to Binghamton and in between through the service of our students and faculty, as well as the employment of our graduates,” said Craig.

Craig said that “with the addition of the innovative ASAP delivery model—resulting in an increase of 50 to some 300 students—Keuka has provided access to secondary education that would otherwise be unobtainable.”

Community Day Celebrates Years of Service, Dedication to Keuka

Fourteen faculty and staff members were recognized for their service and dedication to Keuka College at Community Day Aug. 20.

Lisa Marciniak, President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera, and Michael Keck.

Five-year service awards were presented to: Brie Deacon, admissions communications manager, marketing, and web; Judy Jones, library acquisitions clerk; Michael Keck, professor of chemistry and chair of the Division of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Physical Education; Marlaine “Sparki” Mangles, associate professor of wellness; and Lisa Marciniak, assistant director of international enrollment in the Center for Global Education.

Jim Blackburn, Carol Grover, President Díaz-Herrera, and Stephanie Craig.

Ten-year service awards were presented to: Jim Blackburn, vice president for student development; Carol Grover, controller; and Stephanie Craig, chair, Division of Social Work, and associate professor of social work.

President Díaz-Herrera and Jen Bates.




A 20-year service award was presented to Jennifer Bates, director of financial aid.

A 45-year service award was presented to Sander Diamond, professor of history.

Merit awards were presented to Dale Mosher, sergeant, Office of Campus Safety; Tom Jackson, marketing and administrative manager for traditional admissions; Dawn Chambry, assistant director of development; Michele “Mikki” Sheldon, administrative assistant for the Division of Academic Affairs; and Doreen Hovey, executive assistant to vice president for academic affairs.

President Díaz-Herrera and Joan Magnusen.

President Díaz-Herrera and Janice Folts.

Presidential Awards for Sustained Outstanding Achievement were presented to Joan Magnusen, professor of biology, and Janice Folts, business office coordinator.

ASAP Student Garners Social Work Award

Bridgett Rosato is a busy mother of three, a mediator for the 10-county Center for Dispute Settlement, and a volunteer with the Ontario County Jail.

She’s also an award-winning social work student in the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) at Keuka College.

Rosato, center, with her three children

The Canandaigua resident was named one of six student Social Workers of the Year at a regional chapter event for the National Association of Social Workers. The NASW award recognizes social work students in the New York State Chapter’s Genesee Valley Division who have made significant contributions in the field.

Stephanie Craig, associate professor and chair of the Division of Social Work, said  Rosato “is an amazing student and person. She represents the profession very well.”

A desire to help people is what drives Rosato to work toward prevention of some of the personal experiences she went through as a child. (more…)