HSU’s Social Work Online Programs Receive $250,000 Gift - Humboldt State Now

HSU’s Social Work Online Programs Receive $250,000 Gift

Humboldt State University received a $250,000 contribution to support its online Social Work programs and grow the workforce of behavioral health professionals in rural and indigenous communities in Northern California.

The gift from the Superior Region Mental Health Workforce Education and Training Partnership creates an endowment called the Social Work Distributed Learning Endowed Fund, which will provide annual support to the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Master of Social Work Distributed Learning programs.

Endowments work by investing a donor’s contribution long-term, using the income generated each year to provide support in perpetuity.

“We’re grateful to the Superior Region Partnership and its commitment to student success,” says Social Work Professor Ronnie Swartz, who worked with the Partnership to secure the gift. “Our programs can continue making higher education accessible to people who live in remote areas and underserved communities and to mental health professionals already working in their community.”

The endowment will support several aspects of HSU’s Distributed Learning Social Work programs, including financial assistance for students to travel to HSU for on-campus orientations and learning intensives. That personal touch is one of several reasons the online programs have been successful.

HSU’s Distributed Learning programs aren’t just good for students. They ultimately benefit the community. “Mental health professionals who advance their education are more likely to stay in the area and improve outcomes for people who receive mental health services, particularly in the rural parts of our region,” says Social Work Professor Jamie Jensen, the program’s first director.

Social Work Professor Pam Bowers, the current director of Distributed Learning, says, “Online education is most successful when students receive personalized support like we can provide with this backing.”

Organized into five geographic areas throughout California, including the northern “Superior Region,” these regional partnerships were created after passage of the Mental Health Services Act in 2004 to support expansion and improvement of the state’s behavioral health workforce.

Since 2009, the Superior Region Partnership has helped develop, launch, and maintain HSU’s Social Work online programs. Established in 2011, HSU’s online Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work was the University’s first fully online degree. The master’s degree online program launched in 2012.

Ken Crandall, the Coordinator for the Superior Region Mental Health Workforce Education and Training Partnership, remarks, “As a result of the Social Work Distributed Learning Program at HSU, the availability of Bachelors and Masters level Social Workers has significantly increased throughout the Superior Region. Many thanks to the HSU Social Work team for their vision, dedication, and partnership.”

To learn more about giving opportunities and philanthropy at Humboldt State University, visit loyalty.humboldt.edu, call 707.826.5200 or email giving@humboldt.edu.

About HSU’s Department of Social Work

The department maintains an emphasis on working with Indigenous and rural communities. Coursework is designed to decolonize mainstream social work education practices by building reciprocal and dynamic relationships and to support people who are rooted in their communities. The Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work Distributed Learning programs provide access to education that is interactive, locally based, networked, and student-centered. It is education designed around knowledge about effective and transformative adult learning.

Apply to the HSU’s Social Work program at calstate.edu/apply. The application period for the MSW Distributed Learning program is August 1-31. For more details on Distance Learning and specific application deadlines, please visit humboldt.edu/socialwork, contact the admissions coordinator at socialwork@humboldt.edu, or call 707.826.4448.

Note: This story was originally published on August 5, 2019.