Marian University Social Work Program Receives Well-Deserved Program Accreditation

by Glendal Jones | Mar 24, 2022

It’s taken a lot of work, reports, research, and follow-up, but the new accreditation process for Marian University’s social work programs is finally a much-welcomed reality. The Council on Social Work Education has recognized Marian’s baccalaureate social work programs exceptional as the Commission on Accreditation voted to grant accreditation through 2030.

 The new recognition now positions Marian to contribute to meeting the growing need for social workers in our communities. Marian’s social work program also compliment’s Marian’s Franciscan sponsorship values and mission to help others, as well as the new strategic plan.

 That’s exciting news for Gracie Halfmann ’25 who comes from a family of social workers. “This endorsement is very impressive because I know a lot of great things will come from this,” she said. “I think the accreditation standing will help me and others not only heading into grad school and obtaining a career, but it shows that Marian has an excellent program for training new social workers.”

 To say Bachelors in Social Work, (BSW) Program Director Michelle Meer, MSW ’81 is ecstatic is an understatement. Meer’s career included working at two other academic institutions: Indiana University’s School of Social Work and the University of Indianapolis before returning to Marian after she says she heard the call to return “home.”  She credits fellow faculty members including Sabrina Straub, BSW field director, and Bessie Rigalos, who originally developed the proposal to add a BSW program back in 2018.

 “This means so much because after originally encouraging Marian to start a social work program years ago and with a three-year accreditation process, I’m beyond thrilled to see this process come to reality,” she said. Meer, also an Associate for the Sister of St. Francis, Oldenburg, IN, adds this means students will have more opportunities. Currently, there are 41 BSW majors. Students say they believe now there will be more as they credit their determined instructors to make the accreditation program possible.

Students like Emily Taylor ’23 says she’s learning a lot in Marian’s social work program and looking forward to one day becoming a social worker in a much-needed profession. “This amazing news means Marian can get more funding and access to resources to make our program even better while also appealing to more students,” Taylor added. “I believe Marian will now be known as an exceptional school for social work with top-notched accreditation which will ultimately serve the community well,” she noted. 

“It also means more jobs for graduates and internships which teach life skills,” said Aurora Carlos ’23. Carlos says Marian social work students already have opportunities to work with under-served junior and senior high school students in Indianapolis Public Schools alongside social work professionals. She believes now there will be more. “There are so many great reasons for students to choose Marian for social work, even more so now with the accreditation and the excellent teaching we receive,” she added.

What’s next students and Meer believe the future looks more promising for Marian University’s social work program which could also mean a master’s program in the future.

 “I’m really enthusiastic about what the future holds,” Meer said. “All of the instructors and I will continue working hard to make sure Marian’s program is well known and one of the best, not only for nursing, medicine, and education but for social work programs as well.”  And from their determination, there’s no doubt that can happen.

News Media Contact

Brad R. Wucher
Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing Communications
(317) 955-6307
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