ABAC and VSU Create Bridge for Social Work Careers

Staff Report

Friday, November 13th, 2020

A new articulation agreement between Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Valdosta State University gives ABAC graduates who complete the bachelor’s degree in Rural Community Development fast-track consideration for VSU’s Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program.

Dr. Matthew Anderson, Dean of the ABAC School of Arts and Sciences, recognizes the need for social workers in rural Georgia.

"The U.S. is facing a shortage of social workers, particularly in rural areas,” said Anderson. “We are excited about this new agreement, which will help facilitate our students receiving the graduate training necessary to enter this growing profession." 

VSU’s M.S.W. is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is designed to prepare students for a career in professional social work practice. The curriculum provides students with the knowledge, values, ethics, and skills to engage in multi-level practice with individuals, families, organizations, and communities. 

Dr. Adrian Israel Martinez-Franco, who heads ABAC’s Rural Studies Department, said a highly skilled labor force in rural areas is required more than ever to continue being competitive in a global economy.

“Social workers have different areas of action; they are responsible for helping individuals, families, and populations cope with problems and improve their quality of life,” Martinez-Franco said.  “Securing a good job is one of the main goals of students attending college. With this agreement, we support students with different options after graduating from ABAC and contributing to developing rural areas that need a more highly skilled workforce every day.”

ABAC graduates with bachelor’s degrees in Rural Community Development with a minimum 3.0 grade point average in their junior and senior years and an overall grade point average of 2.5 who complete a M.S.W. supplemental application can be considered for the program.

ABAC Rural Community Development major Bailey Gebhart wants to purse the M.S.W. because of the experience and knowledge she has gained in fostering individual and community growth at ABAC’s campus.

“I want to seek further education at VSU by obtaining my master’s degree and continuing to better equip myself to help my community,” Gebhart said.

“We are thrilled to provide a pathway for ABAC graduates to stay in the area by pursuing their graduate degree at VSU,” Dr. Heather Kelley, Interim Department Head and Associate Professor in the VSU Department of Human Services, said.  “Ultimately, at the conclusion of the M.S.W. program, we hope that these new professionals will stay in South Georgia to enhance and build our local communities.” 

For more information about the articulation agreement, interested persons can contact Anderson at matthew.anderson@abac.edu