Hiram College and Case Western Reserve University have entered an affiliation agreement that allows fourth-year students at the liberal arts college to finish their senior year as a first-year professional student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.
Officials from the two institutions signed the agreement at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 21, on the Hiram campus.
"One of the attractions of this affiliation," said Vice President and Dean of the College Michael Grajek, "is that it fits consistently Hiram's strategic plan—'Education that Works.' We're dedicated to making stronger and stronger connections between our liberal arts undergraduates and the workplace."
The new agreement offers third-year students at Hiram an option to apply to Case for graduate studies in social work. Case's two-year master's program at Mandel School has been a leader in social science education for the past 91 years.
"Case is pleased with this new relationship with Hiram College. The College's strong focus on service to its community and Northeast Ohio attracts students with a strong commitment to social justice and trying to make the world a better place for underprivileged people. That student is the kind we want in Case's professional program," said Grover "Cleve" Gilmore, dean of the Mandel School at Case.
While high academic grades are necessary, Gilmore said, the applicant's prior work through volunteerism or employment in social services will be an important criteria for admittance to the Mandel School program.
"Our program is very hands-on. From the start, all students spend two days each week in an assigned field placement with a social service agency where classroom theory is put into practice," Gilmore said. "It's a program that requires a social maturity and responsibility that can be demanding for graduate students whether they are 40 or 20 years old."
Hiram students accepted into the Mandel program will enter at time when the Mandel School has redesigned its curriculum to align its theory-based classes with its practical experiences. By the time Mandel students graduate, they will have amassed an electronic portfolio that demonstrates their abilities in the field of social work and social services. These portfolios are placed on an Internet server where future employers can access and see the skills of their prospective employee.
"We've had a long history of working with Case Western Reserve University," Grajek said. "We're pleased to have this additional opportunity and know that our students, Case and the larger community will benefit from it."
In addition to the Hiram agreement, Case has similar 3-2 programs for its own students and those at Baldwin-Wallace College, John Carroll University and Fisk University. The agreements with Baldwin-Wallace and John Carroll were forged in the mid 1980s. Gilmore said as part of his work as Mandel's dean, he has been working to bring new life to the affiliation agreements.
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