MacMurray chairman of the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences Joe Squillace announced yesterday that the school’s social work program would not be a host for SLU’s Master’s in Social Work curriculum.
The degree would have been offered part-time for working students who couldn’t participate in a full-time program.
What disappoints him the most, Squillace says, is that officials from both schools were on board with the project. He says it ran into difficulty when it came to requirements in the satellite program application process.
“Having to pay $9,000, put in hours of labor, filling out paperwork just to have the Illinois Board of Higher [Education] say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ either way is an incredible investment to make when [SLU] could potentially set up a satellite somewhere else in Missouri and not have to deal with all those regulations,” he says.
Saint Louis University already offers a similar program in Belleville.
Squillace estimates nearly thirty individuals from as far as Quincy and Beardstown expressed interest in two open house events in Springfield and Jacksonville last November when the schools had originally announced the plan to partner up.
“Those regulations de-incentivize the ability for businesses to set up in rural communities to allow working rural families to access additional education,” says Squillace. “There are limitations for these families to be able to travel long distances, and there are limitations with getting your Master’s degree fully online, as well. And so this would have provided a really nice opportunity.”
He says West Central Illinois needs more people in the fields of social services, mental health, and substance abuse.
Squillace holds a Master’s in social work from SLU. He says there are a lot of graduates from that college in Jacksonville and the surrounding area, many of whom expressed interest in this program.
“Both as private liberal arts-based colleges shared a common philosophy about social work practice, so it would have been a really nice fit had this gone forward,” says Squillace.
MacMurray doesn’t currently offer any Master’s programs, although they have in the past.