Townhall Tuesday FAQ

social work students talking in class

Case Western Reserve University and the Mandel School are working diligently on plans to deliver high-quality education while setting the highest priority for the health and safety of our community. We have been inspired by the amazing commitment and resilience of our students during these incredibly difficult times. To help build community and communication, the Mandel School Student Engagement Team is pleased to feature ongoing forums called Townhall Tuesday. All students are welcome to participate in these ongoing forums. This is your opportunity to share your voice and receive support as we navigate these challenging, uncertain times.

We have created this page to offer information gathered from Townhall Tuesday. We will continually update the page to be inclusive of students’ Frequently Asked Questions and overarching themes from ongoing Townhall Tuesday conversations. Please note there are still details that need to be worked out for the fall semester, but we want you to be informed as we move forward.

We are here to support you and look forward to another great year at the Mandel School. YOU are the future of the social work profession as Change Agents and social work leaders committed to building a more just world.

Financial Aid

Tuition is the same for all Mandel School program formats: online, intensive weekend and on-campus weekly.  The Mandel School does not anticipate making any changes to tuition or fee structure.  

As a part of the CARES act the Student Loan interest rates on Federal Direct Loans were temporarily changed to 0% from 3/13/2020-09/31/2020 and payments that were in a repayment status were placed in an administrative forbearance. Current students should remain in an in-school deferment if a student is enrolled at least half time.

For the 2020/2021 Academic year starting in the Summer semester interest rates for Federal Student loans are as follows:

  • 4.3% for Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • 5.3% for Direct PLUS Loans

Read more on the federal student loan website

Public Service Loan Forgiveness- (PSLF)

An overwhelming majority of students from the Mandel School pursue PSLF when they graduate, because of where they work in the nonprofit or public service sector. We don’t have an exact number of how many alumni have received the forgiveness but we will be highlighting those success stories in the future. The PSLF program requires borrowers of Federal Loans to make 120 payments on their student loans, while working full time in a qualified employer (501c3 Organization, or Public Service Organization). Many of our alumni work in this sector and qualify for this program. We recommend students with questions to reach out to Richard Sigg or attend a workshop that is given over the year to ensure.

For additional information about the program, see the PSLF FAQ.  

Ongoing support and workshops about financial aid are available to students.

Financial Aid Support

Financial Aid workshops are given each semester for helping students manage student loans and financial resources. These workshops cover topics from budgeting, financial management, credit, Public Service Loan forgiveness and managing student loans after graduation.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Richard Sigg for additional resources or support.


Scholarships are available to incoming and returning students. Contact Richard Sigg for more information about current scholarship support available through the Mandel School and other resources.

Planning for Spring, Summer and Fall 2021

The Mandel School made this adjustment to maintain the full requirements for students and accommodate the scheduled Mental Health Days in spring semester. 

The university and Mandel School are providing four (4) mental health days on March 11, 16, 24 and April 23.  To ensure students are eligible and compliant with federal financial aid requirements, the Mandel School must offer a 15-week semester which extended the spring semester through May 14.  Please note the Mandel School does not currently have a finals week and students are welcome to work directly with instructors to coordinate plans for final assignments.

If you would like to request an incomplete grade in a course, please complete the Incomplete Request Form with your instructor’s authorization and submit it to the Mandel School Registrar. You may contact with any questions about the Incomplete process.

The Mandel School needs to balance the number of students and instructors in sections of each course. It is important to know that each course, regardless of the section, has the same syllabus and content. 

Summer classes will be offered remotely and available for registration beginning in March 2021. Plans for fall semester are undecided and will be communicated as they are finalized.  The Mandel School will work with students to make appropriate accommodations. 

Students need to check with their ISS advisor for specific guidance.  In regards to international student visas, International Student Services (ISS) will continue to provide guidance, information and resources to international students via email related to changing immigration policies, COVID-19, and other topics when they are relevant to international students' experience and wellbeing. 

The School of Graduate Studies and Mandel School will be utilizing the current grading system and policy. There is not a plan to offer the Pass/No Pass system unless there is a need for an emergency change.  

The syllabi schedule applies to the students in their respective formats:

  • Online format: syllabi available in learning platform 1 week prior to first session of class. 
  • Intensive Weekend format: syllabi available 4 weeks prior to first session of class. 
  • On-ground weekly format: syllabi available no later than a few days before first session of class.  

The following information was shared by the Study Abroad office at CWRU the week of April 12

Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, University leaders have made the decision to suspend all study abroad international travel for Summer 2021. This decision was based upon many factors such as the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19, international travel restrictions, CDC and State department travel guidance, the situation in the host country and at the host institution.

An appeal process is available for students who feel their particular situation warrants an exception. Students who would like to appeal may complete the online appeal form by Wednesday, April 28th at 11:59 pm

We are sorry that COVID-19 has interrupted your plans to study abroad and hope that this decision provides you some clarity for future planning.  We encourage you to consider enrolling in one of our Virtual Global and Intercultural Learning programs to gain valuable internship and research experience or to take international courses this Summer. 

While we are hopeful that COVID-19 conditions will improve and international travel will open more in the future, we encourage you to consider studying abroad again on any of our semester programs, a faculty-led study abroad program, or on a short-term program next summer. Please let your Study Abroad Advisor know by April 28th if you would like to transfer your Summer application to another term. 

Students need to first consult with their Academic Advisor and the Office of Academic Affairs at the Mandel School to discuss their options.  The student’s Patter of Enrollment (POE) would need to be adjusted if transferring to a different format (Online, Intensive Weekend or On-ground Weekly).

The Mandel School Admissions office has been assisting new, incoming students with some housing information in recent years, but was unable to do so in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. More information will be provided as it becomes available, plus resources are regularly updated on the Office of University Housing webpage.

The university leadership announced plans for fully in-person operations and courses in fall semester 2021.  More information about the process will be provided as it becomes available. The university recognizes the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving and will communicate adjustments to plans if needed.

Registering for Courses (as of 11/6/20)

The decision has been reached that most, if not all, MSW and MNO courses will be delivered remotely in the 2020-21 academic year. 

Registration for courses opens on November 1, 2020.  Take your time to enroll in academic and field education courses for the Spring 2021 semester. Check your Pattern of Enrollment (POE) plan for the courses you should be enrolled in to complete your desired degree program in the best timeframe. The more programs or certificates you want to complete while in the School, the more time it might take to complete degree requirements, 1 or 2 certificates, or dual degrees.  
Go to the CWRU Student Information System (SIS) to start your shopping cart or to enroll in courses for Spring 2021.

Students enrolled in the MNO and MSW weekly/traditional or intensive weekend formats will continue to participate in course work remote/online using Zoom for live sessions. All remote/online course information such as syllabus and other course assets will be offered in the Canvas learning management system (MNO/MSW on-campus) or Atrio learning platform (MSW online only). This Spring 2021, the Mandel School is offering five 1-credit hour courses in the January session. The five January session courses will be offered over 3 weeks, 5 days a week, at 50 minutes per day. The total course contact will be approximately 700 hours. The January session begins on January 8 and ends on January 29, 2021.
All course start and end dates and registration will be provided in the Student Information System, also known as SIS. Some courses, such as in the January session, start as early as January 8th. Other courses start later in the Spring semester. The revised 2021 academic calendars were provided the week of November 2nd. The course schedules for the MNO, MSW degree courses, and undergraduate courses are provided through your academic adviser. Moreover, the course schedule listing can be found in SIS or Canvas through the academic advising site. If you are an MSW Online student, the course schedule listing is provided through SIS or the Online Student Services//academic adviser. 
To register for Spring classes, you will need to talk with your academic adviser or student services/coach. Academic advisers remove academic advising holds (on-campus/remote course delivery) /student success coaches (online students only) after you have completed Spring 2021 course planning. Your academic adviser and/or field adviser is listed in SIS.
Please look at the appointment dates for the Mandel School registration for Spring 2021. There is more than enough room in the courses listed. When needed, the Registrar will balance the class size if there is more than one section. All students will be able to begin filling their shopping cart on November 1. Your appointment for registration is based on the date of expected graduation or if you are a dual degree student.

Please check the University Registrar for more details on when to register and Spring 2021 Appointment Dates for Graduate and Professional School Students.

If you have questions about your appointment date, please contact the appropriate registrar office.

If you have questions or concerns about courses not offered or general concerns, email: and send your academic advisor's an email about your concern. If you want to discuss a course being offered or remove academic advising hold or, contact your academic adviser. If you have a question about field education, contact your field adviser. The appropriate office at CWRU should address questions about health insurance or tuition waiver. Contact Richard Sigg about financial aid.

For class start dates, last day to drop/add, the deadline for class withdrawal, and end dates, see Enrollment Dates + Deadlines. Look for the general Enrollment dates.

Course Delivery and Format

The decision has been reached that most, if not all, MSW and MNO courses will be delivered remotely in the 2020-21 academic year. Please read this letter through thoroughly as it also outlines decisions you are being asked to make.

We have been working this summer to plan for your entry to the Mandel School in the fall. A few weeks ago you received an email from the school outlining plans to provide a dual-delivery course model. In that model, students may participate by physically attending class or joining via Zoom web-conferencing remotely. However, ongoing evaluation of how the classroom space would operate caused us to change our plans.

Our faculty conducted a vigorous evaluation of the dual-delivery model in our remodeled classrooms last week, which required them to have access to the classrooms that have been modified for physically-distanced instruction. They assessed every aspect of the student experience in the classroom and consulted with outside experts. Our faculty are dedicated to delivering a powerful education to you in the best possible manner, and we appreciate this careful and expeditious study done by them.

It was found that in the Zoom-enhanced rooms with ceiling microphones, lectures and whole-class discussions can be conducted very well. Participants in the classroom and on Zoom could hear the instructor and each other clearly. It was concluded that for lecture-oriented classes with whole-class discussions, the rooms will work.

Unfortunately, for courses that rely on breaking into small discussion groups, the rooms did not work well. The 6–9 foot distance separating people wearing masks in a small group required voices to be raised, and with two or more groups in a room, there was a distracting cacophony. Additionally, because masks obscure people’s faces, it was impossible to read facial expressions or work on developing social work skills that require one to be able to see the person’s face. Therefore, it was concluded that the use of small groups in the distanced classrooms will not work.

In contrast, the groups formed remotely over Zoom had excellent small group discussions, and because everyone’s faces were visible, learning and practicing social work skills worked well.

As our returning students know, the use of small groups is predominant in the MSW curriculum. The use of this teaching tool has been promoted and supported over the last 10 years and now is a common tool for our flipped classrooms. Given the experience last week with small groups in the classroom, the decision has been reached that most, if not all, of the MSW courses will be conducted remotely. This means that students will participate in their courses via Zoom.

You will notice in SIS we are beginning to code courses to reflect remote-delivery. This message provides a course delivery framework for the MNO and MSW academic program at the Mandel School. We want to remind you that the Mandel School staff and faculty are available for your education and support. If you have any concerns or questions about the changes discussed in this communication please contact associate dean Sharon Milligan.

Any new or returning MSW student who anticipates not residing in the Cleveland area must notify the Mandel School by sending an email message to as soon as possible.

Students who choose to participate in class remotely may contact the Mandel School Academic Affairs office to confirm their preference. Send your request through email: with 1) subject line student request for remote only for student enrolled in on-ground or on-campus instruction; 2) message: I request to attend my on-campus courses remote only with your name, cell phone number and student identification number.

The goal is to maintain the current class schedule. Please note that students will receive communication if any course or schedule revisions are made by the Mandel School.

The University and Mandel School are working on a process by which students, faculty, and staff will be able to use various spaces and rooms for many purposes, such as breaks or classes. We are aware that the campus internet connection is very robust and reliable, which may be another reason why people come to campus. Many spaces around campus, including the Mandel School and Center will be used in creative, innovative ways for classes and/or meetings.

For health and safety reasons, students will need to secure their own technology and accessories (i.e., laptops, headphones, microphones). The Mandel School and library will not be able to issue these to students. Technology instructions and needs will be communicated to students prior to the start of fall semester.

In light of travel restrictions and ongoing, evolving concerns about COVID-19, the University is working on alternative plans for study abroad trips. More information about study abroad will be shared as it becomes available. This fall there will be at least 1 virtual study abroad course offered.

Field Education

In field education, students are permitted to continue with on-site field placement experiences as previously planned. The Mandel School has developed a Remote Activities Policy which will support students in successfully completing field education requirements if on-site activities as directed by the placement site are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. We will be sending out an email soon with the link to the Remote Activities Policy for your review. The field education faculty will be working closely with students and field instructors to develop supplemental plans for remote field activities if needed. We recognize that many organizations are providing a variety of services remotely and support our students in engaging in these critical activities as part of social work practice during a quickly evolving time in our profession.

Please continue to engage with your assigned field advisors regarding your field placements. Some students have already requested new field placements in cities where they live, while others plan to relocate to or remain in the Cleveland area to complete field placements as planned.

In addition, all new MSW students enrolled in the on-campus, weekly format will also participate in CWRU’s Interprofessional Education (IPE) program and Collaborative Practice I course as part of the generalist year field education requirements. Interprofessional education is a central component of the social work profession and the field education program at the Mandel School. MSW students will work in interprofessional teams to engage in service learning projects that are mutually beneficial to both student learning and community organizations. IPE teams also include students from public health, medicine, nursing, dental medicine, physician assistant, genetic counseling, psychology, and speech-language pathology programs. On Wednesday afternoons from 3–5 p.m., students will work remotely on community-based projects or attend team-based learning sessions. As stated earlier, in the coming year, IPE activities will be completed remotely unless physical distancing guidelines allow in-person participation and students elect to work in-person with their team. Any student with a confirmed course scheduling conflict on Wednesday afternoons will be exempted from IPE activities. More information about IPE and Collaborative Practice I will be provided during orientation.

MSW students in the Intensive Weekend format are not required to complete IPE, but are welcome to participate if they elect to do so and are consistently available on Wednesday afternoons. Please contact your field advisor for additional information.

All students received an initial Field Education Welcome Letter, which provides an overview of the summer field placement process. Please consult the Field Education Calendar for important dates. Final policies regarding field education for the upcoming academic year are still in development and will be shared with students once they are available.

Students should continue to work directly with their assigned field faculty advisors over the summer to answer any questions regarding field placements and to ensure students are fully prepared to begin field in the fall semester.

Students need to wait to begin field placements until the beginning of the fall semester. The student liability insurance does not begin until the start of the field period (as listed in SIS), so it is important to follow these guidelines. If students have orientation requirements at field placements before classes begin, they may accrue and apply these field hours for fall semester with the prior approval of their Mandel School field faculty advisor.

Students should check with their field faculty advisors for onboarding requirements, such as a background check, TB testing or fingerprinting. Background checks/fingerprinting can be obtained through the CWRU Division of Public Safety. Students are responsible for all costs related to obtaining the background check.

Sgt Daniel Schemmel, CWRU Campus Police,is the contact person for this service.

  • BCI cost is $35. BCI and FBI fingerprinting, cost is $70. (Cash only)
  • By appointment only on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. No walk-ins.
  • Bring photo ID (drivers license preferred, state ID, passport)
  • Students should email or call to schedule with Sgt Schemmel at 216-368-5993 or visit the Public Safety Fingerprinting website.

The Mandel School will rely on field placement agencies to provide the necessary PPE as required by the policies of the individual placement sites--different sites will have varying requirements depending on the work the student is engaged in and the type of setting (ie health, community based, etc). If a student has a concern about PPE, they should first speak with their field advisor so that they might assist in following through with the organization to address/problem solve. Each student in the on-ground and intensive weekend programs will be provided with two cloth masks, which could also be used in field as a temporary measure.

Yes. The field hours have been reduced in a manner similar to fall semester. Students may log on to their Atrio or Canvas site for the current field period to learn exactly how many hours need to be completed.

This is an individual agency decision. Agencies may allow students to come in-person or remotely. The Mandel School will support the agency’s decision for how students complete the field practicum.

Graduation 2022

Case Western Reserve University is finalizing plans for an in-person commencement. We will be announcing details via the commencement website, social media (Instagram & Facebook), and The Daily (campus newsletter). In addition, students will receive information from their school/program commencement coordinator. We appreciate that this may not be the level of detail you are seeking at this moment; we expect updates to be posted no later than the end of the month. We look forward to seeing you at our 2022 Commencement events.

COVID-19 Related Updates

Yes. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) students, staff, or faculty coming to campus or living on campus must be tested weekly at the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center. Individuals may come for free testing any day during the week they are on campus (the week is defined as Saturday through Friday, as testing does not occur on weekends).  

Updated information about testing is available on the Health & Services Testing page.

These students do not need to be tested at CWRU if they are not coming to campus. They need to comply with the testing policies of the Student Run Health Clinic.

Earlier this year CWRU applied as a university to become a distribution site for vaccinations. Only Ohio hospitals and public health entities are receiving doses now, but the university is hopeful that when greater supplies become available we will be approved to receive and administer vaccinations. 

Meanwhile, the university is working with local health officials and our partner hospitals to secure opportunities for eligible students, faculty and staff to receive vaccinations.

University leaders also are working with schools whose students must engage in clinical care as part of their program to determine who among them have access to vaccines—and assist those who do not. More information is available on the CWRU Vaccines page.

Yes. Call University Health Services at 216.368.2450 and a staff member will walk you through how to upload the information in your MyHealthConnect portal.  

Yes. University Health Services is working closely with the City of Cleveland. When the second doses become available, students will receive an email from University Health Services with a link to register through the City of Cleveland. Students are encouraged to quickly sign up for a time slot, as doses and slots are very limited. 

Under Gov. Mike DeWine’s vaccination roll-out plan, those involved in providing health care were the first eligible to receive doses. With the assistance of hospital and public health partners, several hundred faculty, staff and students began the vaccination process last month. 

Starting Jan. 19, Ohio began the transition to providing vaccinations for those in Phase 1b—first with state residents who were 80 and older, then 75 and older, and, this past Monday, state residents 65 and older. As part of CWRU’s efforts to encourage vaccination among members of the campus community, the university notified all faculty and staff who met those criteria of area pharmacies and stores accepting vaccination appointments. At this time, CWRU is not aware of additional opportunities for those within our campus community who are involved in health care to secure vaccinations. CWRU will provide updates should these circumstances change.

The next stage of vaccine eligibility starts Monday, Feb. 15, and applies to individuals with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset and inherited conditions. For more information about the state’s phases, visit its vaccination program page

Yes, in the University campus and buildings students are required to wear a mask. Each student will be provided with two cloth masks. If a person arrives at the school and has forgotten a mask, the school will provide a paper one.

Resources and Support

Case Western Reserve University and the Mandel School are actively working on ways to more fully integrate anti-racist materials and practices to improve education based on continued work towards dismantling systems of white supremacy and promoting social justice, including an emphasis on anti-racist work and actions on the part of white students. The Mandel School’s new generalist curriculum is being developed to intentionally incorporate material focused on diversity, inclusion, and social justice. The two-week CHAI (Change Agent Intensive) course will provide an immersion experience for first year students to learn about the social work profession, social justice, and building community. Advanced students will have exposure to new and different course material as well as field education opportunities. Campus and community Initiatives also provide ways for students to mobilize and take action. Whether students are looking for ways to support people of color or are seeking assistance, a growing list of videos and resources is being compiled for the Case Western Reserve community.

Undergraduate student leaders also have compiled a number of resources, available online, and the Graduate Student Council also has created a guide of anti-racism resources.

As social workers, we work for peaceful yet progressive change. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the nation, the Mandel School has compiled a list of anti-racism resources––articles, podcasts, videos, action items and more––to provide knowledge and tools to participate in key social justice issues.

This is an unprecedented time as we face the challenges of dealing with COVID-19 and confronting the effects of racism that are still deeply embedded in our society. The University and Mandel School are continuously updating the following webpages with new, evolving information to actively engage the entire campus community in health, safety, advocacy and action.

The Center for Civic Engagement & Learning (CCEL) at Case Western Reserve University is committed to promoting an active and engaged campus community. CCEL hopes to provide information on voter registration while also promoting diverse campus and community events related to upcoming elections. Contact CCEL to learn more about community resources, as well as ways to get involved in supporting voter rights.

More information available on the CWRU Elections and Voter Resources page.  

Currently, all counseling services are being offered electronically. CWRU wants to be sure students are supported through the increasing stress of the pandemic on top of doing academic coursework and social distancing from people. 

New virtual mental health options are also available to students. CWRU Care is a 24/7 free mental tele-healthcare service that undergraduate, graduate and professional students can access from anywhere. Students can talk to a licensed provider via smartphone or any web-enabled device. Licensed providers are available to offer mental health support via telephone or secure video visits.

If you know someone who is experiencing food insecurity or a lack of access to food, there is help. The Dean of Students’ Office and campus partners have collaborated to create a resource list for CWRU students who may be food insecure.

Students are highly encouraged to work directly with their instructor about the questions and/or issues with a course. If this needs to escalate, you may reach out to Dean Scott Wilkes for grade grievances. The Office of Equity is a campus resource for students who need to report concerns

If you’re a student living on campus this semester and using a meal plan, there are a variety of dining options available. Meal swipes are accepted at university dining halls, as well as several retail locations across campus for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Dining hall meal swipe locations:

  • Leutner Commons: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Carlton Commons: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • DOSA Fast-Pass: Lunch and dinner

Retail meal swipe locations:

  • HEC Cafe and Bakery: Breakfast and lunch
  • Tomlinson Marketplace: Breakfast and Lunch
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • The Den
  • Tinkham Veale University Center
  • BRB Cafe
  • The Jolly Scholar

To view a full list of retail and dining hall locations that accept meal swipes, as well as meal options being offered, visit the dining services website.

Original article in The Daily

Licensure Preparation 

Students have until February 14 to register for the Social Work Licensing Exam Preparation Course presented by LEAP. The online course provides a comprehensive review of practice, policy and theory, and pre- and post-tests to sharpen test-taking skills in order to prepare for the Association of Social Work Boards' master’s-level social work licensing exam. The self-paced module is open for 90 days from March 1 to June 1 and follows the live session agenda. This course is FREE to students, but registration is required by Feb. 14 at 11:59 p.m. in order to participate. Students may contact their peers to organize an independent study group.

Letters of Good Standing inform the board that you are in good academic standing and are on track to graduate. Need a letter? Complete the Letter of Good Standing form to receive one from the office of the registrar. Processing time for Letters of Good Standing is 10 business days. Contact with any questions.

Students need to check with the social work accreditation bodies in the state to determine if the adjustments to field hours have been accepted.  Also, students may reach out to their assigned Field Faculty Advisor or contact with any questions.

Student Engagement

In the shift from dual-delivery to remote-delivery, faculty are working on methods to engage students on issues important to social work, nonprofit organization practice, and career development. Mandel Council student leadership and the Mandel School student engagement team have already collectively determined that experiences such as conversations with professionals in different phases of their careers, discussions on practice experiences, and mentorship experiences would be invaluable for students. If you have ideas about topics for such talks, we would love to hear them.

Students may submit their names to serve on the following committees: 

  • Curriculum Committee
  • Information Technology Committee
  • Library Committee
  • Committee on Students


Send the request through email to for inquiries about information and services related to the Registrar’s office. Additional information may be found on the University Registrar website.

Access Services

All services (parking passes, student ID card or replacement card) can be accessed through CWRU Access Services. In fall 2019 Mandel School students (and other graduate and professional school students) opted to participate in RTA U-Pass. The U-Pass fee for graduate and professional school students is $47.50 per semester (fall and spring). The U-Pass sticker must be affixed to the student ID. Students will be receiving an email on or before July 24 to register for the sticker.

School Social Work

The Mandel School does certify students for school social work throughout the United States. The first step is for a student to review the specific state’s regulations, determine the requirements for school social work and contact the state board of social work to confirm guidelines. The regulations, requirements and process vary by state. Dean Sharon Milligan and Professor Sarah Andrews will be able to assist students with questions.

Mandel School Degree Update

Case Western Reserve University and the Ohio Department of Higher Education have authorized the Mandel School to offer the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. All students who matriculate in August 2021 and thereafter will earn the MSW.

Students who graduate in May and August 2021 will receive both the Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) diploma and a certificate stating that the MSSA is equivalent to the MSW. All currently-enrolled students who graduate at a later time will be able to choose to receive a diploma with either the MSSA or the MSW degree name. Alumni will be given the opportunity to obtain a degree equivalency certificate.

In surveys of current students and alumni, there was strong support for adopting the MSW degree name. In their comments, respondents recognized that the MSW is the degree that is identified with professional social work. With automated application processing by human resource departments, it was acknowledged that the MSSA could be a barrier to obtaining a job interview. Alumni shared their own stories of challenges that they had faced, particularly in recent years. There also was great appreciation for the distinctiveness of the MSSA and what it has represented in social work for over 100 years.

In making the transition to a new degree name, the Mandel School is maintaining its commitment to providing an exceptional education experience for every student. Indeed, we are recommitting ourselves to the mission and future of the school. Throughout its history, the faculty of the school have led social work educators in conceptualizing fresh approaches to training effective social workers. From creating the first group work courses; to the first competency-based curriculum in social work; to most recently, launching a landmark, comprehensive generalist and advanced curriculum, the faculty have striven to create a learning environment that challenges both faculty and students to achieve their best.

This decision did not come lightly. We have great respect for the MSSA degree name and all it represents. The degree name will be different in the future but the Mandel School’s level of excellence and commitment to our incredible alumni community will continue into the future.

Please stay tuned for an invitation to a virtual panel discussion on Monday, May 17, at 5:30 p.m. to learn more about the degree transition process and the reasoning behind the change.