FLORENCE — Students now can get a master’s degree in social work without leaving northwest Alabama through a partnership between the University of North Alabama and Huntsville-based Alabama A&M.
The presidents of the two universities signed an agreement Wednesday to offer Alabama A&M’s master’s degree in social work at UNA beginning in the spring
UNA President William Cale said the partnership is mutually beneficial.
“We are all looking for ways to take advantage of existing resources in new and novel ways,” Cale said.
Alabama A&M President Andrew Hugine echoed Cale’s comments and said the partnership allows his university to expand its student base.
“This is not about competition,” Hugine said. “This is collaboration and cooperation.”
UNA’s bachelor’s degree program in social work is one of the fastest growing on campus, said Joy Borah, who chairs the department of social work at UNA. She said that in 2007 enrollment was 120 students, but that number has almost doubled to 235. The increase in interest is one reason for the partnership, she said.
Classes in the graduate program, which will be a combination of classroom and online study, will be scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays at UNA to accommodate the schedule of working students. The course will be taught by Alabama A&M and UNA instructors.
Edith Fraser, who chairs the department of social work, psychology and counseling at Alabama A&M, said while there are online options for the degree at other institutions, she believes a classroom-driven program better serves those studying social work.
“Many of us question whether one can learn to work with people more effectively online,” Fraser said.
This is the first partnership for the department, but Fraser said if the UNA agreement model works, more could come for Alabama A&M.
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@TimesDaily.com.