ATHENS, W.Va. – Concord College social work students spent almost 500 hours designing research projects, conducting surveys, compiling data and analyzing the results that benefited five West Virginia state agencies. The results were formally presented to the agencies at an end-of-semester symposium, where the students also earned grades for their efforts.
State agencies that worked with Concord’s students included: the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), Summers County Family Resource Network, CASE (Community Action of South Eastern W.Va.), Southern Highlands Mental Health Center, Concord College Head Start in Summers County, and the Family Refuge Center are benefiting from research courtesy of the Concord College social work department. The agencies serve counties in southern West Virginia.
“We are really pleased with the results from the surveys. The process did not take a lot of my time, and the students gathered information that we will be able to use to get additional grants that will benefit southern West Virginia. Our department is small, and we do not have the resources to conduct this type of research.”Tammie Lilly, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
“This is the third year the college has served as a research arm to state agencies. The agencies provide us with a list of potential projects, then the students choose from the list based on their personal interests.”Sarah Whittaker, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Other faculty members who served as mentors were Danette Light, Bonnie Dorsey-Shorter, John David Smith and James White.
Concord student Martina Brown is conducting a qualitative survey of area foster parents for the WVDHHR. Their records indicate 24% of younger children get adopted through the foster family program compared to only 3% of adolescents and that, over time, there has been a decline in the number of families who serve foster children. Brown hopes her survey indicates ways to increase the satisfaction level of foster parents who care for adolescents.
Students who conducted research included (STATE, County, Town):
WEST VIRGINIA: Fayette, Fayetteville, Lora Shrewsbury; Greenbrier, Lewisburg, Mary Hughes; Mercer, Athens, Priscilla Kemp; Princeton, Martina Brown; Monroe, Peterstown, Angela Armstrong; Nicholas, Craigsville, Amanda Baughman; Raleigh, Beckley, Jason McVey, Ruschelle Smiroldo; Summers, Hinton, Amey Gill, Anna Mills, Courtney Turner; Wyoming, Oceana, Kevin Green
FLORIDA: Brevard, Melbourne, Reggie Smith
OHIO: Clark, Springfield, Jodi Smith
JAMACIA: Yanique Campbell
Concord College Notes: The Concord College Social Work Program has been the only accredited social work program in southern West Virginia for over 25 years and is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Last year 32 students graduated from the college’s social work program with 94% employed and 6% attending graduate school.