Keuka College Top School for Social Work Degree

During the ongoing pandemic, when the need for social workers is especially pronounced, Keuka College leads the state in the number of bachelor's degrees in Social Work conferred.


Monday, February 22, 2021

At a time when the nation is experiencing an increase in social justice and mental health issues, Keuka College is contributing essential professionals to attack those challenges – in some cases at a clip higher than any college in the state.

The College was first among New York’s private and public colleges and universities in 2019 – the most recent year for which data are available – in terms of the number of graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work. According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Keuka College’s 138 graduates were tops in the state.

“Our Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work is one of Keuka College’s signature programs and with good reason,” says Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Brad Fuster. “One of Keuka College’s goals is to educate graduates who go on to serve and strengthen their communities and a Social Work degree enables them to do that in a myriad of ways. And since the onset of the pandemic, that work is more important than ever.”

Sarah Eddy

I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go with Keuka College. I was the shy one, but the program and my classmates brought me out of my shell. No matter what occurred, there was a sense of support for each other.

Sarah Eddy '14

"Because a bachelor’s degree in Social Work can lead to so many different careers that touch on improving conditions for those facing challenges, the need for professionals in these fields has become more pronounced," says Keuka College Associate Professor of Social Work and Division Chair Dr. Jason McKinney.

“It’s incredible, the number of people who are seeking assistance because of stress, anxiety, and adjustment disorders due to COVID-19,” says Dr. McKinney, citing pandemic-generated challenges ranging from loss of employment to reduced social engagement to parenting strategies while the entire family works and learns from home. “All of these issues can lead to depression and anxiety.”

And it’s not just the pandemic. The ongoing racial justice reckoning and partisan divisions gripping the nation can also take a toll.

“Politics and social justice issues can drive a wedge in relationships and cause family conflict,” says Dr. McKinney, who also manages a private practice. “We’re seeing that, too.”

If the issues are varied, so too is the preparation Keuka College’s Social Work programs provide.

Extensive coursework is complemented by hands-on, practical experience including annual Field Period® internships and a senior-year practicum in which students serve as professionals-in-training at local and regionwide human service agencies including the Willow Domestic Violence Center, the Hickok Center for Brain Injury, the House of Mercy, Restoration Rochester, and the Finger Lakes Area Counseling and Recovery Agency (FLACRA) in Rochester; and Syracuse Jewish Family Service, Contact Community Services, the Salvation Army of Syracuse, YWCA Syracuse & Onondaga County, and the Huntington Family Center in Syracuse. 

The College’s small size ensures students get personalized attention from faculty whether they enter the Social Work bachelor’s degree program, which was reaccredited in October, or continue on to earn a master’s degree in Social Work, which is a clinical program geared toward psychotherapy.

“The quality of education that we get is amazing,” says Malen Moeri ’21. “Probably my favorite part is the close relationships that the students and the professors have with one another. Because we’re such a small school and program, we build relationships from Day One.”

Those relationships are just part of what makes graduates of Keuka College's Social Work programs a key component in helping countless individuals cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic and other social issues.

About The Social Work Program

Field Period®

Complimenting your classroom study, you’ll gain real-world, practical experience as early as your first year through our Field Period® program. For students taking classes full-time at Keuka College, you’ll complete one Field Period® each year you’re a student. This is a great time to challenge yourself and explore the areas of social work that will enhance your foundational skills.

Field Practicum

During your capstone course, you’ll be placed as a professional-in-training in a human service agency. You’ll work side-by-side with licensed field instructors in a safe, supervised environment—paving the way for you to transition from student to professional.

Keuka College’s social work faculty are active scholars and researchers, and offer you the opportunity to partner on projects if that’s where your interests lie. Our faculty understand the importance of scholarship and its ability to enhance our understanding and advocacy for important societal and community-based issues.

Some of their research interests include the treatment of traumatized youth, transitioning to a competency-based education, an examination of local foster care practices, and building social capital.

You’ll take courses focused on research methods, evaluation strategies, and the various policies that govern the social work profession—all to assist you in becoming an active researcher in the areas that matter the most to you. And if you’re interested in pursuing an advanced degree, you’ll have a leg up on knowing the right questions to ask and how to find the answers.

At Keuka College, your social work faculty are more than just great teachers. They’re seasoned professionals and innovative educators committed to your success. With background and expertise in traumatic brain injury, youth and adolescent counseling, women’s rights issues, solution-focused casework practice, advocacy for the disabled and underserved populations, mood disorders, effects of the child welfare system, and domestic violence, each of your professors come to the classroom with real-world, clinical experience.

They serve as role models, leaders, practitioners, and advocates dedicated to helping you achieve your educational goals, paving the way to improve the health of the nation and the world.

Julie Burns

Associate Professor of Social Work

Academic Credentials

Union Institute and University
Ph.D.
Nazareth College
M.S.W.
SUNY College at Buffalo
B.S.

Biography

Dr. Julie Burns began her interest in Social Work as an activist during her teenage years and has been a professional Social Worker for 30 years.

She has participated in community organizing, planning, and leading demonstrations of civil disobedience in her community. She has a passion for working with people with disabilities and has spent the bulk of her career working with people with intellectual disabilities and their families in grassroots organizations.

Her work as direct care staff, educator, trainer, counselor, program developer, and administrator has provided a solid foundation for linking theory to practice. She has always believed that education can change the world and is deeply honored to teach the next generation of Social Workers.

Professional Interests

Public Policy and Social Change, Women's Healthcare, Reproductive Justice, Intellectual Disabilities, Human and Civil Rights, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Narrative Inquiry and Critical Theories.

Stephanie Craig

Professor of Social Work

Academic Credentials

University at Buffalo
M.S.W.
Nazareth College
B.A.

Biography

Associate Professor Stephanie Craig has been a social worker for nearly 35 years. She is a Licensed Registered Certified Social Worker which is the highest clinical social work degree. Stephanie has been a practicing clinician for Not-for-Profit agencies such as Pathways, Inc. and Family Service Society, Inc. She is the owner of a private practice in Bath NY, Professional Counseling Services, since 1994. Specialties include mood disorders, forensic social work, developmental disabilities and child and family issues. Craig came to Keuka in 2002 as an adjunct instructor and began her full time position in 2003 in the Education and Social Work Division. She has taught most of the courses in the curriculum. According to Craig, the excitement is in teaching the Introduction to Social Work class, awakening the passion, and teaching the history of social justice." One of her favorite experiences was taking a group of students to New York City to participate in a Peace march. The passion and heart of the profession is what Craig imparts to all of her students. In 2004 and 2007, Craig led group Field Periods to Poland for a cultural immersion experience for one month. Craig received the Excellence in Experiential Teaching Award for the 2005-2006 Academic year.

Professional Interests

Advocacy for the disabled, improving the distribution of benefits and creating awareness of the large minority, creating greater awareness of the importance of children's rights in many areas, gay/lesbian rights with regard to parenting. Treatment of mood disorders, couple's therapy, and youth and adolescent counseling.

Dr. Melis Kural

Associate Professor of Sociology

Academic Credentials

University at Buffalo
Ph.D.
University at Buffalo
M.A. in Sociology
SUNY Geneseo
B.A. in Sociology

Dr. Jessica MacNamara

Associate Professor of Sociology

Academic Credentials

University at Buffalo
Ph.D.
SUNY Albany
M.A.
SUNY College at Buffalo
B.A.
Finger Lakes Community College
A.A.

Dr. Rich Martin ’05

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

Academic Credentials

Regent University
Ph.D.
Boston University
M.S. in Criminal Justice
Keuka College
B.S. in Criminal Justice Systems

Dr. Jason McKinney

Division Chair
Associate Professor of Social Work

Academic Credentials

University of Rochester
Ph.D.
Roberts Wesleyan College
M.S.W.
Roberts Wesleyan College
B.S.W.

Biography

Dr. Jason McKinney earned a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College and a PhD in Human Development from the University of Rochester. Dr. McKinney has authored articles in peer reviewed journals, including Child and Family Services Review and The Journal of Critical Social Work. He has also published articles in The New Social Worker. His research interest is in the developing self across the life span, and most recently within caregiver-child interactions. In 2006, Dr. McKinney received the Scandling Scholar Award from the University of Rochester. Dr. McKinney's practice experience includes family therapy, parent-training curriculums, and the design and implementation of a successful therapeutic foster care program in Rochester, NY. Prior to joining Keuka College, Dr. McKinney taught at Ashland University as an Assistant Professor of Social Work and adjunct at The Greater Rochester Collaborative, State University of New York (SUNY, Brockport) and Nazareth College, and also at Roberts Wesleyan College. He places a strong emphasis on the need for research in social welfare and enjoys providing students with opportunities for meaningful research.

Professional Interests

Research in Selfhood and Identity Development within Cultural Categories Across the Lifespan Using Socio-Linguistic and Discourse Analytic Methodology, Effects of the Child Welfare System on Children and Families, Community-based Action Research on Aging Well.

Dr. Philip Miller

Assistant Professor of Social Work
Interim MSW Field Director

Academic Credentials

Rutgers University
D.S.W. in Social Work
Washington University in St. Louis
M.S.W. in Social Work
Greenville University
B.A. in Psychology

Biography

Dr. Miller is a licensed clinical social worker with 25 years of social work experience. He completed a Doctorate of Social Work from Rutgers University and a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a concentration in mental health and specialization in family therapy. He is passionate about marriage and is a certified Gottman marital therapist from the internationally acclaimed Gottman Institute in Seattle, WA. He spent eight years as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force as a clinical social worker.

Dr. Miller has extensive experience working with varied client groups ranging from children to the elderly as well as living and working in unique settings such as Japan, rural Appalachia, and the inner city. Research interests include military social work, marriage, and experiential learning.

Dr. Vikki O'Connor

Professor of Social Work
MSW Program Director

Academic Credentials

Syracuse University
Ph.D.
Syracuse University
M.S.W.
SUNY Empire State College
B.S.

Dr. Sekai Turner

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Academic Credentials

University of Maryland
Ph.D. in Human Development
University of Pittsburgh
M.S.W. in Social Work
Cornell University
M.P.S. in Africana Studies
Spelman College
B.A. in Psychology

Melissa Whipple ’16

BSW Field Director and Program Coordinator

Academic Credentials

New York University
M.S.W.
Keuka College
B.S. in Social Work
Keuka College
B.A. in Psychology

Keuka College’s bachelor’s in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Our students are prepared for, and encouraged to, pursue master’s-level social work education and training, and because of our accreditation, graduates may apply for advanced standing in these programs.

MSW programs around the country accept a percentage of applicants in advanced standing, which allows students to graduate with their master’s degree in one year as opposed to the traditional two years.

Learning Outcomes

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) requires all programs to measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of CSWE.

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