Minister to launch Social Work degree program

Published 12 March 2009

myfanwymaple.jpgThe University of New England’s Bachelor of Social Work degree program will be officially launched next Monday by the Hon. Phillip Costa MP, NSW Minister for Regional Development.

Teaching in this innovative, four-year undergraduate degree program began last month, with 63 students enrolled in its inaugural year. The course coordinator, Dr Myfanwy Maple (pictured here), a Senior Lecturer in UNE’s School of Health, said that 42 of the students were studying full-time, and that about half of those were studying on-campus.

The Bachelor of Social Work program builds on UNE’s strengths in providing rurally-focused professional training in related and complementary areas (including medicine, nursing and criminology), grounded on the philosophy that those who are trained “in the bush” often stay “in the bush”. The program includes 980 hours of fieldwork practice.

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) officially endorsed the program last September. The independent report to the AASW Board, on which it based its endorsement, noted that local social work practitioners had had “considerable input into the detail of the program”. “There is evidence of a wide range of social work practitioners in central and northern NSW committed to UNE social work conceptualisation, and to the integration of social work practice and education,” the report continued.

Monday’s launch will be in the courtyard adjacent to UNE’s Pat O’Shane Building (or in the building’s upstairs foyer in the event of wet weather), beginning at 10.15 am. The launch by Mr Costa will be followed by responses from the Chancellor of UNE, the Hon. Richard Torbay MP, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Pettigrew, and the Head of Hunter New England Health’s Social Work Discipline, Ms Susan Gould.