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Published 12:00 am Friday, September 14, 2007

Ohio University Southern has a new classroom offering this year.

A bachelor of arts degree in social work is now available to students.

Dr. Peggy Proudfoot McGuire has been hired to run the program.

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“We’ve wanted to have this program for many, many years,” she said. “Because there is a need in this area for licensed social workers. And in order to become a licensed social worker you have to have the proper education.”

One important facet is that the program is fully accredited by the Counsel on Social Work Education.

“That is a really important factor in what kind of a program a student picks,” McGuire said.

Most organizations that employ social workers bill through Medicaid and Medicare, so those that provide the services need to be licensed by the state.

“It is really important that the social worker has a really strong, rigorous background in human development,” she said. “That’s why we want this program here. There is a need and we need people who are qualified to provide the services.”

The program is a four-year course of studies.

“We are going to have three years at OUS and if we have enough interest, that being 10-15 students, we are going to have the full four years here,” McGuire said. “It’s something students have wanted here for a while. It’s a pretty hard drive to Athens.”

The classes are geared toward working professionals with night and weekend classes. The class will be on Tuesday evenings and all day Saturdays.

“That way folks who have jobs won’t miss any work,” she said.

McGuire said that the school would like to have a master’s program in social work at OUS.

“That is the next piece we are going to work on,” she said.

For anyone interested in the social work program, there will be an open house Wednesday at 6 p.m. that will last about one hour. McGuire will greet people at the main entrance to the Collins building and a sign will direct anyone interested.

McGuire has over 30 years of experience and still works in clinic practice. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work Doctoral Program.

She has lived in Lawrence County for 13 years and has been an adjunct professor at OUS since 1997. She has also been the coordinator of the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program-University Partnership Program at OU’s Athens Department of Social Work for the past four years.