Western Kentucky University
A MESSAGE FROM SOCIAL WORK
Good afternoon WKU Social Work Community,
Sexual assault severely undermines the safety and well-being of women in our community. Significantly, sexual assault not only traumatizes the victim but even allegations of assault may cause vicarious trauma to those who have previously been victimized or fear being victimized.
As social workers, we must do more to eliminate this scourge in our communities. More than 1 in 3 women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes. The CDC describe the scope of the problem, and we encourage each of you to become knowledgeable about these statistics.
With reports of sexual assault, many may feel anxious, upset, or vulnerable as they hear a recounting of the trauma, and many of those serving as supportive significant others may also need assistance. Together we can offer acknowledgment of the impact of sexual violence.
As social workers, we understand the importance of speaking out and taking social action to challenge injustice. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) advocates active participation in Sexual Assault Awareness month, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center offers specific assistance if you would like to participate. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a very active policy agenda. The RAINN Policy Action Center provides up-to-date information on proposed national and state legislation surrounding sexual assault as well as ways to contact legislators directly. Actions such speaking up when vulnerable people are being silenced, contacting your legislators, and voting are demonstrations of your personal power. It is particularly important that men ally against sexual assault, an issue that has typically been understood as a “women’s issue.” Working together, we can challenge the status quo through educating the public and building resiliency.
When a sexual assault impacts our community, the importance of self-care w cannot be underplayed. Whether you are coping directly with negative impacts related to this or you are supporting someone who is, you must take steps to care for the well-being of yourself and others. This can be as simple as taking breaks from social media and news or as complex as seeking help. RAINN has some suggestions about this as does the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). Together we can encourage each other to be supportive and understanding of the stress of others.
If you would like to be part of the solution, go to the WKU Sexual Assault Prevention Month page to view and register for events that will be held throughout April to bring awareness and healing to those impacted by sexual assault.
The following is a list of campus and community resources that are available to anyone seeking assistance related to sexual violence.
Students WKU Counseling and Testing Center
Faculty & Staff Anthem EAP (Company ID: WKU)
Local and Kentucky Resources
Sexual assault victims (free) Hope Harbor, Bowling Green
New Beginnings, Owensboro
People in Crisis Life Skills, Inc.
Sexual assault victims Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs
Interpersonal violence victims Barren River Area Safe Space
All victims Kentucky Commission on Women
National Resources for Sexual Assault Victims
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
NASW Therapy Referral Service
Please forward this message as needed to support sexual assault victims in order that they may get the support they need. Please offer your support to those in need. Please educate those that don’t understand the facts. Please support your friends and family. Together we can offer care to those in need.
WKU Social Work Statement on Capital Violence
The WKU Department of Social Work stands with the social work profession in condemning the seditious attempt of insurrectionists to disrupt our democracy on January 6th at our nation’s capital. NASW strongly condemns the pro-Trump riots at the U.S. Capital (Jan. 6, 2021).
We condemn these acts because they are in direct opposition to the very values we uphold Integrity, social justice, and the importance of human relationships are fundamental to social work, and should drive our discourse and our actions – not just as professional social workers, but as Americans.
Glaringly, this was not revealed in the disproportionate and slow under-response to the predominately white insurrectionists storming the capitol building. The response was in stark contrast to last year’s violent overreactions to Black, brown, and other peaceful protestors who were legitimately calling for racial justice and police reform.
Black Lives Matter.
It is easy to feel powerless as we watch events like these play out. Yet, we do have personal power. We can speak out and advocate for change. Emails, letters, and phone calls to our elected officials can make a difference and influence their votes. We can join peaceful protests to let our communities know that we will not tolerate misinformation and hateful rhetoric and behaviors – and that we are committed to an America that values the common good and celebrates its diversity – not vilifies it.
Particularly in the midst of a crisis, we need to be vigilant in verifying the accuracy of information. We cannot rely on social media as our sole news source and must resist sharing information that has not been verified as accurate. Remember that we reflect and build the society we want with every tweet, post, and comment we make.
Take care of yourselves. WKU students have access to low cost and free counseling and support services at WKU. The WKU Counseling Center has several ideas about coping during crisis. Go here to read more about these ideas. WKU recently launched the My Mental Health #WKU Blackboard site. Students can self-enroll, complete a screening, and learn coping strategies for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Take advantage of every opportunity for self-care and support.
We are living in tumultuous times. We must choose to fight. We should not and cannot remain silent. We have an opportunity to participate in building a more just FUTURE! WE CAN DO THIS! WE MUST!
WKU Social Work Administration
Dr. Patricia Desrosiers, Dr. Saundra Starks, Dr. Simon Funge, Dr. April Murphy, and Kellye McIntyre, MSW
STUDENT SUPPORT MESSAGE FROM DR. DESROSIERS
Dear Social Work Students:
Understandably, in light of the recent COVID-19 Pandemic, some of you might be concerned about the potential impact on you, your families, and your college experience. I want you all to know that we value you. As educators, we are here to support our students. As social workers, we are committed to self-determination and we want to help you graduate on time with the skills you need to be an effective social worker. This demonstrates our commitment to you and the to the principle of social justice. If you graduate on time with the skills you need, not only will you be well served, but also your future clients will be.
Because of COVID-19 social distancing requirements, in consultation with WKU administration, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Kentucky Board of Social Work (BSW), and the Kentucky Association of Social Work Educators (KASWE), the department has done the following to support students, faculty, and staff:
Temporarily moved all coursework online with much support to students and instructors. See resources for WKU students below.
Temporarily required field to be completed via virtual activities. See detailed message from Field Director McIntyre below.
Temporarily required all faculty and staff to work from home. You may contact them via email and phone, but please be patient with response times. Many have young children currently at home due to school closures.
Shared resources and information with students, staff, and faculty as clearly and quickly as possible.
Extended BSW (May 15-details found below) and MSW (May 1) program application due dates.
Please let us know if you have questions about any of these temporary changes. All have been communicated via email; however, there has been a lot of information shared in the past two weeks. Please take advantage of all of the resources available to you as needed during this pandemic event.
Click here for a VIDEO MESSAGE for students from Dr. Desrosiers, Department Head of Social Work.
RESOURCES FOR WKU STUDENTS
Blackboard Help – You can access Blackboard help here or by calling IT at (270) 745-7000. My rule of thumb is after 5 minutes of struggle, I call IT. You know your own limits.
Coping with Stress - The Counseling Center at WKU has several ideas about coping during crisis. Go here to read more about these ideas.
Emergency Student Assistance - If you have experienced a significant hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to explore possible financial relief. Information about the WKU Opportunity Fund is found here.
Technology Access – If you do not have broadband or laptop access. Be aware that some internet companies in our region are offering free broadband access to students during the pandemic. Students who need laptops should contact TopperTech via this request so that they can provide information about our no-cost laptop checkout program.
Zoom Help – You can access Zoom help here or by calling IT at (270) 745-7000.
FIELD PLAN FROM FIELD DIRECTOR MCINTYRE
Dear WKU Social Work Field Community (Field Liaisons, Field Instructors, and Task Supervisors),
I am following up on the email I sent to you on March 13th. As you are all aware, COVID-19 continues to progress, with new information received daily. The WKU Department of Social Work has made the very difficult decision that as of end of the day tomorrow, March 24th, all WKU social work field students must cease going to their field agency site. All field practicum work will move to a remote format for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Students who are at approved worksite placements and those at paid placements will be permitted to continue on-site if their work requires it and safety precautions are in place. Students with approved worksite and paid placements must check in with their field liaison to provide an update on agency safety precaution protocol during this pandemic in order to continue accruing field hours on-site.
Many of you have already ceased students on-site at your agency and have worked with the student on alternative tasks to complete remotely. For those of you who have not ceased students on-site, the student will reach out to you as we are notifying them today that for the remainder of this semester they are to complete field placement hours remotely. Students may assist agencies with tasks and projects remotely throughout the spring semester. If you have tasks that students can do remotely to assist you or your agency, please feel free to work with the student on tasks they can do from home; however, if you are unsure or unable to assign them tasks, their liaison will work with them on a list of options they can do to earn field hours.
For those of you who have been able to allow students to continue on site, I know this may be disruptive to your plans for providing services during COVID-19. We understand and sincerely regret the disruption this decision is likely to have on your agency, vulnerable clients, and direct service opportunities. Assessing all factors, we made this decision with heavy hearts knowing that it is not without consequence. We appreciate your patience, your flexibility and your care for each other as we navigate these challenging days! Faculty field liaisons will be reaching out to their students to let them know that on-site hours must cease after March 24th.
Please reach out to your student’s field liaison or me if you have any questions. Please know how grateful we are for our agency partnerships and the excellent training opportunities you provide our students! I know that our students will continue to learn much as they participate in the responses to this time of crisis. The learning will look different, as does the day to day for each of us currently.
Thank you for your patience and for your support of field students during these ongoing challenging times!
Kellye McIntyre, CSW
Social Work Department
Western Kentucky University
Direct Office Line: 270-745-5049
Council on Social Work Education Accreditation Updates
CSWE and Commission on Accreditation Statement
March 25, 2020, Alexandria, Va.
The following statement is being shared with you in advance of a full statement from CSWE that is coming later today:
The safety of students, educators, social workers, and their clients and communities are paramount to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and its Council on Accreditation (COA). In response to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to supporting social work education programs as follows:
1. Student safety. AS 2.2.7 requires that field education programs specify policies for supporting student safety in field. Programs are encouraged to safeguard student safety during the COVID-19 pandemic to the greatest extent possible, including suspending or delaying field education placements when necessary for student safety.
2. Reduction in field hours. Under AS 2.2.5, field education programs provide a minimum
of 400 hours of field education for baccalaureate programs and a minimum of 900 hours
for master’s programs. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, students who have
completed 85% of the required placement hours (i.e., 340 hours for baccalaureate programs
and 765 hours for master’s programs) to a satisfactory level may, at program discretion,
be evaluated as having met the field placement requirements. This option for reduced
hours is for students whose field
completion dates occur by December 31, 2020. Students whose field placement completion dates occur after December 31, 2020 will be expected to complete the full 400 or 900 hours in compliance with AS 2.2.5. Remote field activity, as well as field supervision and field seminar hours, may be counted toward the accrual of field hours.
3. Remote field activity. Although AS 2.2.4 requires field education through “in-person
contact,” the Commission on Accreditation will broaden its interpretation to include
remote-based field activity. Remote field activity can include engagement such as
field related assignments, trainings, and virtual meetings. Client-related virtual
should be in accordance with field site policies for secure communications.
4. Candidacy or reaffirmation materials that are due in spring or summer 2020. Extensions will be granted for programs whose submission of materials has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your program needs an extension, please request an extension by email to MKurfess@cswe.org and copy your accreditation specialist. Please include a brief description of the program’s situation. The accreditation specialist will respond with the approved extension date.
5. Program site visits. Reaffirmation and candidacy site visits will be conducted through virtual meetings, instead of on-site meetings, through December 31, 2020. The virtual meeting directive may be extended as the COVID-19 situation warrants.
6. Assessment. Programs are encouraged to continue with their assessment plans to the extent possible. The Commission on Accreditation recognizes that assessment outcomes will likely be impacted by disruptions to class instruction and field. Programs who are in the process of reporting assessment outcomes as part of their candidacy or reaffirmation self-studies are encouraged to provide context relative to the impact of COVID-19. Programs may also address the impact of COVID-19 in implications for program renewal and program changes explicit curriculum assessment and implicit curriculum assessment.
We recognize these are extraordinary times and we will remain vigilant in supporting social work education programs and providing additional guidance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.
Deana F. Morrow, PhD, LICSW, ACSW
Chair, CSWE Commission on Accreditation
Mary Deffley Kurfess, MSSW, LCSW-C
Director, CSWE Department of Accreditation
Department of Social Work Accreditation Team:
Sheila Bell, Site Visit Coordinator
Katie Benson, MSW, Accreditation Specialist
Marilyn Gentner, LMSW, LICSW, Accreditation Specialist
Katie “Kat” Gibson-Ledl, LLMSW-Macro, Accreditation Specialist
Anna Holster, MSW, MPhil, Accreditation Specialist
Spencer Middleton, MSW, Accreditation Specialist
Monica Wylie, Department Manager / Director’s Assistant
More COVID-19 Information
- 1906 College Heights Blvd.
Academic Complex Room 110
Bowling Green KY 42101
- (270) 745-5312
- (270) 745-6841