KU kicks off new program in western Kansas

Posted on Jun 24, 2013 in Campus News and News

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and a team from the KU School of Social Welfare, the Alumni Association and KU Endowment traveled to Garden City and Hays June 22 to celebrate the launch of KU’s new western Kansas-based master’s in social work. Receptions in each city drew about 50 alumni, students and community leaders.

Through a partnership with Garden City Community College and Fort Hays State University, which host the classes on their campuses, KU began the program June 1 to begin meeting the urgent need for social workers in western Kansas.   Among 4,058 social workers statewide who are licensed as clinicians, supervisors and administrators, only 187 work in counties west of Wichita.

Twenty students began KU master’s classes this summer. “I’m so excited,” said Kellie Henderson, a 2013 Fort Hays graduate who wanted to begin her graduate program immediately and stay in her home community. “This will open up so many opportunities for me. I hope to be a school social worker. Kids need mentors who can help them stay in school and set goals.”

In schools, hospitals and agencies, social workers support families and communities in numerous ways. The KU master’s program, ranked among the nation’s top 20 by U.S. News and World Report, “is a powerful tool to enhance the careers of students in the program and enhance the quality of life for people in this region,” Gray-Little said.

Kendal Carswell, s’04, a KU faculty member, coordinates the new program. As a native of Alton, 50 miles northwest of Hays, he earned degrees from Garden City and Fort Hays before completing his education at KU. For several years he taught at Fort Hays and helped expand its bachelor’s program in social work to Garden City. “I’m very passionate about social work and very passionate about the success of western Kansas,” Carswell said at the two celebrations. “Because I am alumnus of all three schools, I see this as three houses united: Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, Hail to Old Fort Hays State and Go Busters!”

–Jennifer Jackson Sanner

Additional online coverage:

Masters of Social Work degree launched in western Kansas | via ksn.com

New educational program launched in western Kansas | via Hays Post

 

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