LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Indiana University School of Social Work is expanding its programming to address an increased need for graduate-prepared social workers in the city of Lafayette and surrounding communities.
Beginning in summer 2024, the IU School of Social Work will offer its Master of Social Work program on the Ivy Tech Lafayette campus.
“We know there is a need for more mental health and addictions social work professionals in this area of the state,” said Jeffry Thigpen, interim dean of the IU School of Social Work. “As the largest school of social work in Indiana, IU provides the vast majority of the state’s social work workforce. This program option extends our reach to a new region, bringing new options for employers in the Lafayette area and surrounding communities, but also for students wanting to further their studies in this arena. We are excited to partner with our colleagues in Lafayette to bring our graduate program here.”
The IU School of Social Work currently has programs in seven locations: the Indianapolis campus, the Bloomington campus, IU Northwest in Gary, IU East in Richmond, IU South Bend, IU Southeast in New Albany and IU Fort Wayne. It also offers a fully online MSW program.
The school will collaborate on this new program in Lafayette with the Purdue College of Health and Human Sciences and other community partners, including Ivy Tech Lafayette and North Central Health Services. The program is funded for three years by a Community Benefit Partnership Grant from North Central Health Services.
“Master’s-prepared social workers are desperately needed in western and north central Indiana,” said Marion K. Underwood, former dean of Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences, who played a role in developing the program. “Establishing this MSW program in Lafayette will be a tremendous benefit for Purdue undergraduates who desire to go on to work as counselors and therapists. Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences is delighted to partner with the IU School of Social Work and North Central Health Services to bring this new program to life.”
The new option will begin as a cohort-based part-time program in which 20 to 25 students complete the 60-credit-hour program over three years. Students will complete classroom learning and then apply those skills through supervised practicum experiences with clinical professionals in agencies and service organizations. Students in the program will be able to pursue their master’s-level social work license, advanced clinical social work license and clinical addiction counseling license.
“North Central Health Services recognizes the pressing challenge of a workforce shortage coupled with the growing need for mental health services,” CEO Stephanie Long said. “Through the North Central Health Services Community Benefit partnership grant, we are committed to equipping our community with resources to navigate these challenges effectively. This initiative is one step toward addressing the mental health care workforce shortage and securing meaningful partnerships to support and advance the development of these programs in Indiana.”
“We’re happy to collaborate with IU School of Social Work to provide space for this program and meet this important workforce need in our community,” said Aaron Baute, chancellor of Ivy Tech Lafayette. “We value the work that IU, Purdue and North Central Health Services are doing in addressing the shortage of workers and a need for more mental health services.”
This work from the School of Social Work complements efforts already in progress to increase access to mental health services in school districts across Indiana, funded in part by more than $10 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The School of Social Work was awarded $5.7 million of that to bring more mental health professionals to K-12 schools across the state. Three IU regional campuses — IU Kokomo, IU East and IU South Bend — received a $4.4 million grant to address the need for school psychologists. Aligning with the university’s strategic plan, IU 2030, the work accomplished through these efforts will have a direct impact on communities across Indiana.