Letters to the Editor (June 2011)

Faith-Based Degrees Overlooked

The article “Dual Degrees Open New Opportunities” (May News) was interesting and enlightening. However, it was surprising that the article made no mention of a significant dual degree available with the MSW: the MDiv (Master of Divinity), as well as other theologically grounded faith-based degrees.

The dual focus on religion/ theology/spirituality has long historical roots in social work. Many significant figures recognized by social work have had a religious/theological/spiritual foundation.

Today, from independent research compiled through several sources, 26 CSWE-accredited schools of social work offer a total of 39 MSW/MDiv dual degree programs. If one takes into consideration other theological and faith-based dual degrees (MSW and Master of Pastoral Ministry; MA in Jewish Communal Service; MA in Pastoral Studies, etc.), there are 31 CSWE-accredited schools involved in 51 MDiv/Theological/Faith Based dual degree programs. These numbers are significant and equal to or greater than the degree programs noted in the article.

The MSW/MDiv is a vibrant dual degree – however, sadly not adequately or formally tracked by the Council on Social Work Education, the Association of Theological Schools or the National Association of Deans and Directors Schools of Social Work – as well as now underrepresented in the NASW News. This oversight of not mentioning a significant specialization within social work is, we think, amazing for a NASW publication. We hope (and pray) that the NASW does support faith-based dual degree programs and that the oversight was exactly that: an oversight.

Rev. William G. Ressl, MDiv, MSW, LCSW and
Rev. Penny L. Taylor, MDiv, MSW, LCSW
Brookfield, Ill.


Need Focus on Doctoral Degrees

The article on dual degrees was well written and very interesting. It made me think that a joint degree that is virtually ignored by schools of social work is a combination MSW/PhD or MSW/DSW program. I feel this would encourage more MSW students to pursue doctoral studies and add many more doctoral-level social workers to the field. NASW needs to encourage schools of social work to start these programs.

Phillip L. Elbaum, LCSW
Deerfield, Ill.


Survey Says: Political Overstepping?

Thanks for the work NASW does. As a fiscally conservative social worker, NASW’s choice of candidates to support almost never align with my values. I cannot help but note that in the recent survey of members, political action was not a top priority.

I believe this may serve as an indictment of the overreaching nature of NASW’s PAC.

Byron Cordes, LCSW, C-ASWCM
San Antonio, Texas