History of the Carver School

Campbellsville University established its first program of social work in 1974.  The degree awarded was a Bachelor of Science with social work as a major. The program was accredited by our regional accrediting organizations, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but at that time it was not accredited by our professional organization.  The program existed in that form until 1989 when it was phased out by the institution.

Student requests, community and state employment needs, and the support of the Administration and Board of Trustees were the catalysts in 1994 for a rebirth of the social work program.  The University was excited, supportive, and ready to build a quality program that was worthy of national accreditation and the standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The social work program entered accreditation candidacy with the CSWE in 1998 and proceeded through the development process. Initial accreditation was granted in February 2001. Once initial accreditation was awarded, CSWE granted reciprocity to students who had graduated from the BSW program during the candidacy period (1998-2001) and they too were considered graduates of a CSWE accredited program.

During the development stages of the undergraduate program (1995-1997), just prior to the BSW programs entry into candidacy with the CSWE, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville Kentucky, previous home to the Carver School of Church Social Work, was in discussions with the CSWE regarding noncompliance of accreditation standards. This led the SBTS to seek a new location for the Carver School of Church Social Work and ultimately, the sale of the school to Campbellsville University. Although saddened by the decision of the SBTS, Campbellsville University humbly accepted the opportunity to provide Carver a continuing home in Kentucky and to carry forth the Carver name and Christian mission and, in addition, provide a home for the historic library collection. The acquisition of the Carver School of Church Social Work was finalized between Campbellsville University and the SBTS on December 17, 1997.

Historically, the Carver School of Church Social Work prepared social workers with a master’s degree and a concentration in “church” social work. This program required the completion 60 credits of social work courses and 30 additional credits of religion and Bible courses; the program was located in a seminary. To complete the requirements for a master in social work degree at the seminary a graduate completed 90 credit hours of social work and Christian education courses. After transferring the Carver School of Church Social Work to Campbellsville University, a liberal arts institution, the additional Bible courses were offered to students as an area of emphasis but no longer were they required; thus, it was decided that a change in name was warranted and the specificity of “church” was withdrawn from the title of the school.

Once the transfer of the Carver School to Campbellsville University was completed, several meetings occurred between administrators and the CSWE. As a result of these meetings, officials at CSWE and administrators at CU agreed that the best plan for development would be to proceed with an accredited undergraduate program, establish a foundation of quality faculty, alumni, community supports and service opportunities and then, once solidly grounded in academic excellence, develop a new MSW Program to broaden the mission of the Carver School and the original intent of the Women’s Missionary Union (the Baptist women’s organization attributed with the initial development of the Carver School).

As the Carver School explored the option of building a MSW program, Carver and Christian Ministry faculty identified the need for a Christian Counseling program. Persons within Christian studies, Psychology, Sociology, Criminal Justice and Social Work, desiring a degree to prepare them for Christian Counseling, were seeking options and returning to this institution for guidance. After careful deliberation and prayer, the university decided to expand educational services to persons interested in a program of Christian Counseling. In 2005, the Carver School began offering the Masters in Counseling degree with track options in Generalist and Marriage & Family. Student interest in this program was so significant that prospective students in Louisville advocated for the extension of this program to their service market at the Campbellsville University Louisville Extension Campus. Now in it’s third year, the Master’s in Counseling program continues to provide Christian Servant Leaders an opportunity to further the mission of the Women’s Missionary Union by providing Christian counseling in the church, faith-based organizations, and secular institutions.

Now the Carver School of Social Work has come full-circle and is forging ahead with the new MSW Program. This program has received approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has been granted candidacy by the Council on Social Work Education to proceed with course offerings. The materials for accreditation have been submitted to CSWE and Campbellsville University’s Carver School is forging ahead in efforts to develop a CSWE fully accredited program. Campbellsville University is currently accepting applications for the Carver School of Social Work MSW Program. We began receiving our charter cohort of MSW students in September, 2008.

We are excited about this new chapter in the life of the Carver School. We have a vibrant undergraduate program where students are learning to serve God and society through fundraising and humanitarian efforts such as Cardboard Nation, the Taylor County Ministerial Association Homeless Shelter, family services in Tanzania Africa, community outreach in Esmeralda Mexico and an engaged Masters in Counseling program offered at the main and Louisville extension campus. We look forward to this new chapter of expanding opportunities within the Carver School as we go forth to populate the world with Master’s in Social Work Christian Servant Leaders!