Rio Social Work Program celebrates 25 years of accreditation

The University of Rio Grande has gone tobacco-free including at the main campus shown above. Submitted photo.

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande Social Work Program is celebrating its 25th year of national accreditation.

The program, in the School of Behavioral Sciences, first received accreditation for its Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree in 1991 from the Council on Social Work Education. Paul Dovyak, professor of social work and BSW program director, said he is proud to celebrate the long-standing accreditation.

“Reaching this milestone of 25 years of accreditation reflects the legacy of our administration’s investment, faith and commitment to the community,” Dovyak said. “This anniversary demonstrates that we are continuing to provide competent social workers who provide quality service to their agencies and communities.”

BSW programs are required to reapply every eight years. After completing a comprehensive self-study and site visit scheduled by the CSWE commissioners, the program has also received reaffirmation of its accreditation each of the three times it has reapplied. Dovyak said the persistent goal of the program is to recognize the diversity of societal resources in Appalachian area of Southeastern Ohio and strives to promote the professionalization of social services through quality education and community service.

“The BSW remains the entry level professional degree in social work. Nonetheless, completing the first two years of the program will earn an associate degree in social services from Rio Grande Community College. This design long preceded the state’s current effort to assure cost saving linkages between 2 and 4 year programs in higher education,” Dovyak said. “Having a BSW also exempts most students seeking out a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from the first year of those programs. Graduate programs in social work are two year programs so this advanced standing option for the BSW saves students time and tuition.”

Dovyak said the program works to prepare its students to graduate with experience in the field to help them better serve the community as social work professionals.

“The program is very proud when our students decide to remain local and serve our local communities. We are very conscious about the professional standards and ethics of the field. We work to keep our students current so they can be prepared in the field,” Dovyak said. “In addition to classroom coursework, three internships in local service agencies provide the beginning experience to prove their readiness to help others. Most of our BSW graduates have employment offers prior to graduation and this outcome confirms the continuing legacy of professional social work in our communities.”

As part of the celebration, the program will be host a dinner for alumni from 1991 through the prospective graduates of 2017 Saturday, April 8.

For more information on the social work program, visit or contact Paul Dovyak at 740-245-7263.