Opinion

May 9, 2013

Spencer James Zeiger: Social work education in Dalton: a source of pride

“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, Dalton State College will graduate the 100th student from its four-year BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) program. From our humble beginnings a decade ago, graduation day will truly be a reason to celebrate.

Knowing that DSC has enabled 100 students to enter the noble profession of social work, improving the quality of life for so many, is truly a source of pride for our community. By 2014, 140 will have graduated!

We are growing and making a difference. Our students are highly sought by local employers. Currently, 95 percent of our graduates are employed as professional social workers. Upon graduation, it is common for our students to receive more than one job offer. We are making a strong, positive impact in Dalton, Whitfield County, and throughout the state of Georgia.

What makes Dalton State’s social work program unique? There are more than 600 social work education programs throughout the United States. We are proud to be the only bilingual/bicultural social work education program in the country.

Our students, in the summer between their junior and senior years, participate in Dalton State’s only cultural and language immersion program in Latin America. To date, students have studied language and culture, living with host families, in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. Upon their return, having acquired a global perspective, they see life in a new and different way. They become, in effect, culturally competent, well prepared to work with Dalton’s uniquely diverse population (among Georgia’s 159 counties, Whitfield has by far the largest percentage of citizens from Latin America).

What do professional social workers do? We work to establish social and economic justice, prevent conditions that limit human rights, eliminate poverty and enhance the quality of life for all persons. Social workers empower people to make wise choices that will lead a better life. Through advocacy, education and linking those in need to resources, social workers assist and strengthen individuals, families and communities in securing optimal employment, housing and nutrition.

Where are social workers? They are employed in a wide variety of settings including schools, hospice, substance abuse treatment centers, domestic violence treatment facilities, hospitals, criminal justice agencies, services for children and families, services for military veterans and mental health. In fact, throughout the nation more social workers deliver mental health service than any other profession. Wherever we find poverty or substance abuse; wherever mental and physical health challenges limit people from realizing their true potential; and wherever we see social injustice and oppression, that’s where you’ll find social workers.

What do social workers value? You will find social workers to be passionate about their profession. It is a calling, the rewards of which go far beyond a salary. Social workers value the importance of human relationships. They believe everybody is entitled to be respected and live a life of dignity. They believe people have a right to determine their own future, and that all people possess strengths and talents. Social workers excel at teaching people to tap into their strengths, and to maximize their potential.

What does Dalton State’s social work program have to offer its students? It takes more than a good heart and a desire to help; to make a positive, lasting impact, a social worker must possess knowledge, skills and competencies. At Dalton State College, we provide our students with the tools they will need to become professional social workers. On behalf of our students, faculty, staff and administration, we are proud to honor the BSW class of 2013. Together, we will do no less than create a better world.

Graduates of our social work program at Dalton State College are making a difference — one life at a time!

Spencer James Zeiger is associate dean and professor of social work at Dalton State College.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Citizen of the Week: Kacee Smith of the Georgia Rampage

    When the Georgia Rampage became Dalton’s first professional indoor football team last year, it would have been easy for the owner and players to focus only on drawing attention to themselves as they tried to build up the team’s following.

    April 18, 2014

  • Successes continue at Dalton State College

    These are exciting times for our local college, Dalton State, both on campus and off.

    April 16, 2014

  • Mark Millican: The birds hushed their singing

    For the uninitiated, that line is from what many consider the greatest rock song of all time, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.

    April 15, 2014

  • Misty Watson: When blood sugar drops, anger rises

    It wouldn’t have taken 107 married couples and 21 days to figure out that being hungry makes people angry.

    April 15, 2014

  • Working for the man

    You may be one of the many Americans who will rush to file their income taxes today. But you may not yet have earned enough money to pay all of the taxes that will be imposed on you this year.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letter: The glib tongue, the fake smile

    A recent Daily Citizen column by Walter Williams will both awaken and frighten any thinking person who claims even a smidgen of knowledge about — or belief in —  either the Bible, world history or current events.

    April 15, 2014

  • College soccer team would bring local talent together

    Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.

    April 13, 2014

  • Letter: Primaries feature many choices

    Many people are confused this year about the May 20 Election Day. Unfortunately, very few voters in Whitfield County actually go to the polls for a primary election. But this means any increase in participation can have a significant impact.

    April 12, 2014

  • Letter: Hooper for Murray chief magistrate

    Thanks to all the wonderful people and friends who backed me for District 1 Murray County Board of Education. You sure showed a lot of support. Sorry I had to step down due to my and my wife’s health. I am a lot better now.

    April 12, 2014

  • Judicial dispute could have been avoided

    Judicial elections in Whitfield and Murray counties tend to be low key. In fact, we can’t recall the last time an incumbent judge on the Conasauga Superior Court, which cover the two counties, has even faced a challenger.

    April 12, 2014