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CMU to launch professionally aligned, socially impactful Bachelor of Social Work degree program

CMU to launch professionally aligned, socially impactful Bachelor of Social Work degree program

Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) is excited to announce the development of a new Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program.

The program will deeply align with CMU's mission and commitments to reconciliation in church and society, as well as Mennonite/Anabaptist traditions of service and community development. This degree will provide students with the skills and abilities needed to help facilitate the health and well-being of vulnerable persons and communities across Canada.

CMU's BSW program will be designed as a four-year program, with advanced entry in year two. Year one, which is already receiving students for September 2023, offers considerable choice to develop a diverse range of competencies in the arts, sciences, and social sciences. BSW-specific courses will be offered starting in September 2024.

This program promises to deliver professional work opportunities and to prepare students for graduate studies. Students will be equipped as creative, constructive, self-aware, critical thinkers, better problem-solvers, mature leaders, and more effective peace builders—making them a sought-after choice for employers.

An extensive BSW feasibility study included broad-based consultation with practicing social workers, social work educators, CMU alumni, current students, parents, and community leaders. There was remarkable and unanimous support in these conversations for CMU developing a distinct BSW program to meet the great and varied social needs of our communities. These consultations also underlined the need and opportunity for this program to reckon with the very real dynamics of systemic harms that both the field of social work and institutions more broadly, including Christian organizations, government, and educational institutions, have historically perpetuated as tools of colonialism.

Demand for another undergraduate social work program in Manitoba is strong, from both a student perspective and from a job market perspective. Acceptance into existing provincial social work programs in the province is very competitive, resulting in hundreds of applicants turned away each year due to limited program capacities. Demand for BSW graduates for a range of entry-level roles in Manitoba is also strong, with job opportunities outnumbering qualified candidates. In addition, workforce demographic changes and an aging population indicate the need for qualified, credentialed social workers will remain strong into the future.

As CMU is a member of Universities Canada, students can be assured that CMU will design a program to meet the highest regulatory requirements for work in a range of contexts across Canada. CMU has initiated the process of hiring faculty and an Indigenous advisor who will coordinate a program development council drawn from the community. These hires will ensure that the BSW program is inclusive and culturally responsive to diverse social needs in Winnipeg and Manitoba. Program development, including accreditation processes with the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) and the Manitoba College of Social Workers (MCSW), will commence immediately once these roles are confirmed.

Uniquely among Canadian universities, CMU has been providing all students with work-integrated learning opportunities since its inception, offering students the chance to gain real world experience as part of their education. Through strong existing networks and capacities to build new partnerships, CMU is well positioned to provide quality placements that meet CASWE and MCSW requirements and ensure that students apply classroom academics to real world work environments.

"We are thrilled to offer this program and to equip students with the character, skills, and knowledge base to enable and strengthen the health and well-being of our communities through social work", said CMU President Dr. Cheryl Pauls. "This program will complement existing programs, building on CMU's mandate to educate for the betterment of society through attention to developing the intellectual, spiritual, physical, and social dimensions of students and communities."

For more information about the BSW program at CMU, please contact:

Media Inquiries
Kevin Kilbrei
Director of Communications & Marketing
Canadian Mennonite University
204.487.3300 ext. 621

Admissions Inquiries
Michelle Nguyen
Director of Enrolment Services
Canadian Mennonite University
204.487.3300 ext. 652

CMU alumni who now work in the social work field were consulted as part of the feasibility study. Here's what they had to say the possibilities of a new Bachelor of Social Work degree program at CMU:

"CMU educates the "whole person". Whole person work—understanding the importance of not just physical and mental dimensions but the spiritual as well—is central to social work practice. CMU will graduate social workers who get this and as a result will go on to make a huge contribution in the community."

"CMU is uniquely placed to draw from a range of disciplines—theology, business, peace, community development, psychology—to ground its social work program. This, coupled with a baked-in orientation towards social justice, service, and community building, means CMU BSW grads will have something needed and distinctive to offer the social services world in Winnipeg and Manitoba. I'm very excited about this!"

"I've always been surprised and a bit perplexed that CMU doesn't already have a social work program. It is such a perfect fit. I would have done my BSW at CMU in a heartbeat."

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