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UT Arlington helps West African college train social workers

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

ARLINGTON – Nearly a decade after Sierra Leone’s deadly civil war, a new program in the West African nation supported by The University of Texas at Arlington is equipping students with the training they need to help Sierra Leoneans heal socially.

Fourah Bay College, part of the University of Sierra Leone System, began offering a Bachelor of Science degree in social work this year through its new Department of Social Work. UT Arlington’s Africa Program and School of Social Work helped develop the program, with faculty members contributing to the curriculum and providing textbooks for students and faculty.

Alusine Jalloh

“There are pressing social challenges and needs in Sierra Leone,” said Alusine Jalloh, an associate professor of history and director of The Africa Program. “Until now there has been no academic training for social workers.”

Scott Ryan, dean of UT Arlington’s School of Social Work, said the involvement of faculty members demonstrates their “strong commitment to the needs of our international neighbors.”

“The contributions made by our faculty reflect our values in action,” Ryan said.

The mission of Fourah Bay College’s new, four-year degree program is to prepare entry-level, generalist social work professionals who will demonstrate ethical leadership in innovative multidisciplinary practice, social reform, and research in diverse groups, institutions, communities and nations, Jalloh said.

Students will be provided with a range of opportunities to develop broad knowledge and skills base consistent with individual, family, group, institution, and community growth and development initiatives. They are expected to practice using core social work values and examine and resolve ethical dilemmas. 

Eventually, plans call for adding a master’s and doctoral program in the Fourah Bay College Department of Social Work, Jalloh said.

Last year, UT Arlington partnered with Global Connection Partnership Network, First Baptist Church of Arlington, Buckner International, Fourah Bay College and other organizations to open the Hope Center in Sierra Leone.

The 11,000-square foot structure offers a conference room, male and female dormitories, classrooms, computer lab, dental and medical clinic and a guest house.

Jalloh said the new bachelor’s program continues that goal of restoring hope to a nation in need.

The outreach effort is representative of the global initiatives offered by The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of 33,439 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.