Getting social: Catholic social work program expands to second Arizona campus

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Talks among campus leaders within the Maricopa Community College District system and the four-year College of St. Scholastica has resulted in a second partnership.

The agreement allows students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work from Minnesota-based College of St. Scholastica the chance to do so from the comfort of the Phoenix College campus. Classes begin this fall with enrollment underway now.

The partnership is a follow up to the launch of St. Scholastica’s social work program at the Mesa Community College campus during the fall 2015 semester. Students who enroll can apply for the Arizona Social Work Scholarship for 15 percent off tuition costs. An additional $1,000 Study Buddy Scholarship is rewarded to pairs of students who enroll together.

Marcia Runnberg, (courtesy photo)
Marcia Runnberg is the social work program coordinator at College of St. Scholastica (courtesy photo)

Marcia Runnberg, MSW, LICSW, social work program coordinator, will be onsite at Phoenix College and will lead fall semester coursework. Students will benefit from a small class size and a community learning model that provides individual attention and hands-on field experience during both junior and senior years.

Leaders at both campuses agree the program nurtures students to be well-prepared to enter the community and make an impact professionally in schools, shelters, healthcare, addictions, human service agencies and a variety of other settings. A key part of the program is giving non-traditional students real-world experience with internships and other opportunities with many Valley community organizations.

“There is a real need for social workers, especially in Greater Phoenix and around Arizona,” said Maria Laughner, regional director for St. Scholastica. “Phoenix College’s central location is perfect for us to bring more attention to that demand, while providing Arizona students an opportunity for a challenging, purposeful and rewarding career path.”
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St. Scholastica is a Benedictine college that is regularly recognized for the quality of its academic programs. The 2016 “America’s Best Colleges” survey by U.S. News & World Report ranks St. Scholastica in the top tier of Midwestern universities. Money magazine ranks it as a “best value.”

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