Troy University’s online social work bachelor’s degree has been ranked seventh in the nation by learn.org.
According to their website, learn.org is an online forum run dedicated to improving awareness and knowledge about educational options. Their 2020 rankings for online bachelor’s degrees in social work included what they considered to be the top 37 programs across the United States.
“This university prides itself on its diverse network of students and professors, giving students in this program the chance to visit and assist people of different backgrounds, ages and more,” said the website. “Students also are able to meet social workers who work in these various settings, allowing them to best determine in what environment they want to help people for their future careers.”
Denise Green, the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, agreed with this sentiment and said that the creation of a diverse faculty has had positive effects on the program.
“Our program is very innovative in certain ways,” she said. “We try to hire what is called a hybrid faculty member.
“We hire someone who has a background in the field working and also has teaching expertise, and I think that has an impact on why the program is as good as it is.”
Professors within the social work program come from all backgrounds of job experience, according to Green, including the medical field, criminal justice, children’s work and nonprofit organizations, to name a few.
Samantha Ellis, the director of the Troy University social work program, said that she believes the way they educate students with the principles of professionalism and respect also changes the program for the better.
“We try to model that professionalism to our students,” said Ellis. “It’s also important that we teach [them] to respect each other even if we don’t like each other.
“It can be difficult, but we teach our students that we are here to make judgement calls and not to be judgmental.”
Ellis also said one of things she has seen that has improved the program is the willingness of the faculty to continually adapt to each new class of students and apply the skills they are learning to current, real-life events.
“We’ve really worked on making the curriculum meet the needs of the students at the time,” she said. “We took the foundation that Dr. Green and other people have laid and built up from it.
“We still utilize things that that we did when I was a student 12 years ago but have shaped it to better fit these times.”
Green said when she began as a professor in the program, the classes were less than 10 people and now that the program has grown to over 1000 students, it is just as necessary for them to make sure every student that comes through gets the best preparation possible to go into any field that may open up to them.