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King University Social Work Program Available at Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Beginning Fall 2016

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 7, 2016 – Southwest Virginia residents will soon have the opportunity to obtain their bachelor’s degree in Social Work from King University without having to leave the region. Beginning with the fall semester in Aug. 2016, King University will begin offering the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree through King’s Graduate, Professional, and Online Studies Programs (GPS); it will be taught at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

“King is excited to offer the Bachelor of Social Work program through the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center,” says Jodi Helbert, program coordinator for King’s Bachelor of Social Work program. “The BSW program was imported to King University in the spring of 2015 with full national accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). There is a huge disparity in the number of programs available throughout this region. By making this degree program available in Northeast Tennessee as well as Southwest Virginia, we can help fill the gaps in our region where social workers are greatly needed.”

The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center is excited to continue to grow our relationship with King University to offer programs for the citizens of Southwest Virginia,” says the Center’s Executive Director David Matlock. “Our mission is to meet the workforce needs; data show there is a deficit in our region of social workers. We are pleased King University stepped up to the plate to join us to help meet this need.”

“This BSW program prepares students for entry-level, generalist professional social work practice or admission into a Master of Social Work program. It is specifically designed with the adult learner in mind,” says Mona Salyer, assistant vice president of GPS Enrollment Management for Tri-Cities. “Our GPS program is tailored to reduce the challenges facing the adult learner. Time and access is often a barrier for students to finish their degree. By offering classes in a convenient location like the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, one night per week, the working adult may complete their degree coursework in as few as 16 months and open the door for professional advancement.”

The BSW program provides graduates with a rigorous, research-base, theoretical, and practical skills required to work as professional social workers and includes a generalist knowledge base that examines human behavior and complex social interactions. With a generalist approach to preparation, utilization of a social and economic justice framework, counseling and advocacy skills, and emphasizing the importance of addressing barriers, social workers help individuals, families, groups, and communities to resolve problems and improve their capacity for social functioning. The program incorporates extensive supervised professional fieldwork experience in relevant social work settings.

“Offering the Social Work program at the Higher Ed Center provides opportunities for those working in social services who want to advance their skills and knowledge as well as those who want to go into the field of Social Work,” says Charlotte Hoover, assistant professor and field director of Social Work at King.

Graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work degree are equipped to work in numerous fields that may include, but certainly are not limited to careers in health care, mental health care, child welfare, medical social work, human services agencies, gerontology/aging, substance abuse, criminal justice/juvenile justice/corrections, school social work, government agencies at the city, state, and federal levels, non-profit and non-governmental agencies, developmental disabilities, law/legal representatives, research, teaching, and more.

“With God’s guidance, everything has fallen into place for us not only to offer this program to our traditional student body on King’s main campus in Bristol, Tenn., but also to offer the BSW as a full degree program in Abingdon, Va., at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center moving forward,” said Helbert.

Visit or contact Jodi Helbert at or 423.652.4714 for more information on the Bachelor of Social Work degree program at King University.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.