3/28/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – For the second time in three years, 100 percent of Ashland University’s social work graduates who took the Association of Social Work Board exam passed the exam on their first attempt.
“I am extremely pleased that our students have done so well on this exam,” said Mike Vimont, associate professor and program director of the social work program at Ashland University. “These results show the continued successful efforts by AU’s Department of Social Work to produce knowledgeable and proficient social work practitioners, and it also exemplifies the high quality of students that continue to go through our program.”
Over the last three years, the passing rate for Ashland University graduates has been 97 percent and Vimont noted that AU social work students scored much higher than both the state and national pass rate averages. “The national first-time pass rate for bachelor's degree students in 2016 was 70 percent, while the pass rate for those in Ohio was 80 percent,” he said.
Vimont went on to say that all of the 2016 AU graduates were successful in seeking employment or going on to graduate school in advanced standing. “We are very happy to note that our graduates are getting jobs in their field,” he added.
Vimont attributed the success of the Ashland University students to a number of items.
“We have a very sound curriculum because we are an accredited program, and we offer students the knowledge, values and skills needed for them to pass the exam,” he said. “Students in Ashland’s program are exposed to a rigorous curriculum consisting of a number of core social work topics including crisis intervention, practice skills, community organization, and social policy and research.”
But the learning in the classroom is just the beginning.
“Our students in every class are active when it comes to hands-on activities," says Vimont, whose primary research interest involves concepts related to developmental youth assets and how communities can help foster them. “This is what makes this program so valuable.”
As early as their sophomore year, AU students are given the opportunity to participate in service learning activities, events and internships. They also are required to become members of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) during their senior year. This, combined with the more than 35 internship sites affiliated with the program, allows for full immersion into the field of social work.
“In addition, our students get a lot of direct practical experience in agencies working with both clients and communities,” he said. “This gives them the chance to put their social work values into practice and to use the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom so by the time they take the exam they have classroom content and experience using it.”
Social Work Club members volunteer regularly at various organizations and events in the community. The club also hosts philanthropic events every year to raise money for selected organizations. Perhaps their most successful event is Skip-a-Meal Today for United Way, which invites students to use their eagle card to donate the cost of one meal to the organization. The event has been a part of the University’s history for more than 25 years.
Vimont reports that the program has maintained a 100 percent graduate placement rate for the past five years, meaning that all graduates have either been accepted to the graduate school of their choice or have received a job offer within one year of graduation.
“Our graduates are working in a wide variety of fields including nursing homes, children services, residential treatment facilities and mental health centers,” he said.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###