Loras College received full accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission On Accreditation (COA) during its June meeting. This allows graduates from Loras College to qualify for social work licensure and go on with advanced standing to an accredited master’s program and graduate in as little as a year. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation accredits institutions in which the program is in compliance with all educational policy and accreditation standards. Loras is now one of 489 accredited baccalaureate social work programs in the nation.
The social work program at Loras is very experiential and most courses involve some type of work with the Dubuque community. Loras students engage and participate in many volunteer opportunities, in community agencies and initiatives such as Circles, Riverview Center, lobby legislators at the state level on social policies that affect vulnerable populations. All the social work courses at Loras offer an experiential component to give students an idea of what social workers do. Students also complete a grant writing assignment each semester and write real grants for community organizations and have helped agencies receive more than $90,000 in grant funding in total.
“The Dubuque Circles Initiative has been partnering with Loras College in a variety of ways for several years now. One of the greatest contributions has been the service learning projects provided by professor that enrich the learning process of the students and the Circles participants as well,” Ermina Soler, Circles Coach for the Circles Initiative. “The Circles Initiative also offers internship opportunities to students where they can gain some hands on experience as they move toward their future career paths. As a staff member I learn just as much from the students and they learn from me.”
In addition, Loras College has received a social work endowment from a long standing social worker and advocate from Dubuque, which will be used for social work field students in their senior year. Loras Associate Professor of Social Work, Michelle Bechen
, states, “This is an exciting time for the Loras College social work program. Between accreditation, our new endowment opportunity, and opportunities for experiential learning, we are seeing dynamic growth.”