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The Employer Survey
In June 2008, thirty-five (35) questionnaires were distributed to employers and thirty-five (35) were returned (100%) for evaluation. Of this number thirty-one (31) were fully completed and four did not respond to the values, knowledge base and skills data sections.
The Employer Survey included thirty-five (35) employers who have hired twenty-nine (29) graduates in the past five years. The West Virginia State University Bachelors of Science in Social Work degree (BSW) was preferred by nearly half (49%) of all respondents in this survey with the second employer preference (29%) for a Masters degree in an unspecified area. This sample appeared adequate for use in developing a picture of graduate employers. See Table 1.
While previous departmental surveys have found that seventy percent (70%) of our graduates intend to pursue an advanced degree in the human services fields, the opportunity for employment upon graduation is good. The BSW degree is preferred by a majority of employers surveyed who found our graduates to be well prepared in both theory and practice.

Table 1

Employers found our graduates to be well prepared in the five categories of the Demonstrate Values section with an average of forty-two (42%) percent rating. Employers value graduate competence in applying theory and practice to the dignity of the individual, self-determination and the NASW Code of Ethics. (Included in this section were employer responses on graduate preparation/skills in demonstrating competencies for: Dignity of the Individual (46%); Confidentiality (49%); Self-determination (49%); Non-Judgmental Attitude (52%); Code of Ethics (46%); and, Acceptance/Tolerance for Diversity (14%). See Table 2.

Table 2
Demonstrate Values*
*(Scale: (1) Unprepared; (2) Poorly Prepared; (3) Prepared; (4) Well Prepared; (5) Fully Prepared)

In the Knowledge Base section, employers generally ranked our graduates as prepared in the nine categories listed with an average rating of thirty-six (36%) percent. The findings indicate that employers are finding our graduates to be competent in applying these competencies in practice. (Assessments in this category included: Personal/Perspective (23%); Systems Theory (35%); Problem-Solving (43%); Awareness of Diverse Populations (26%); Social Service Systems (37%); Can Read Research (40%); Social Policy (35%); Human Cycle Development (35%); and Political/Government Process (46%).) See Table 3.

Table 3
Knowledge Base*

*(Scale: (1) Unprepared; (2) Poorly Prepared; (3) Prepared; (4) Well Prepared; (5) Fully Prepared)

Our graduates were highly ranked by employers in the Skills category with well prepared assessments averaging fifty-percent (50%). Employers highly ranked our graduates in this category demonstrating their preparedness in applying interviewing, setting treatment goals and problem-solving. (The eight categories in this area included: Interviewing (60%); Setting Treatment Goals (55%); Problem Solving (60%); Information and Referral (46%); Compiling Information (49%); Consulting/Other Agencies (43%); Using Supervision (55%); and Writing (29%).) See Table 4.
Table 4
Skills*

*(Scale: (1) Unprepared; (2) Poorly Prepared; (3) Prepared; (4) Well Prepared; (5) Fully Prepared)

Generally, employers responded with well prepared evaluations in most categories of this survey. In this regard it may be concluded that the program has steadily improved since the last assessment to strengthen the quality of its graduates in all categories of values, knowledge and skills preparation.

Employers have sought and retained a significant number of our graduates over the past five years, with seven agencies employing five or more graduates (20% of the survey) over the period. An additional thirty-eight (38%) percent of those surveyed have employed two or more graduates over the same period, suggesting strong employer confidence. See Table 5. The survey results affirm a perception that our graduates are well prepared for beginning generalist professional Social Work practice.

Table 5
Number of WVSU Social Work Graduates Hired By Employers Last Five Years
The results of this evaluation indicate the presence of a high degree of employer satisfaction with the graduates of the program. It also reflects a strong employer and department partnership containing the skills, competencies and abilities of our graduates to meet the generalist level employment requirements of today’s human services professions.

WVSU Social Work Department Employer Survey 2008

Agency Entry Requirements: No. %
BSW/BA Social Wk: 17 49%
Bachelors unspecified: 7 20%
Masters unspecified: 10 29%
BA Liberal Arts: 0 0%
MA Liberal Arts: 0 0%
PhD/DSW Social Wk: 1 2%
PhD Human Services Fld: 0 0%
Number WVSU BSW Grads
Hired by You last 5 years:
1 WVSU/BSW Graduate: 9 26%
2 WVSU/BSW Graduates: 5 14%
3 WVSU/BSW Graduates: 5 14%
4 WVSU/BSW Graduates: 3 9%
5+ WVSU/BSW Graduates: 7 20%
Prepared for Entry Level
Practice with Agency:
Not Applicable: 4 11%
Unprepared: 0 0%
Prepared: 0 0%
Well Prepared: 16 46%
Fully Prepared: 11 32%
Will You Hire Future
WVSU/BSW Graduates:
Yes: 34 97%
No/No Response: 1 3%

*Demonstrate Values:
(1: unprepared; 2: Poorly Prepared; 3: Prepared; 4: Well Prepared; 5: Fully Prepared.)
1 % 2 % 3 % 4 % 5 %
Dignity/Individual: 0 0 6 17% 16 46% 9 26%
Confidentiality: 0 0 5 14% 17 49% 9 26%
Self-determination: 0 0 9 26% 17 49% 5 14%
Non-judgmental attitude: 0 1 3% 4 11% 18 52% 8 23%
Code of Ethics: 0 0 5 14% 16 46% 10 29%
Accept/Tolerance/Diversity: 0 1 3% 5 14% 14 14% 11 32%
*No Responses: (4)/ 11%
In each category above.

*Knowledge Base: 1 % 2 % 3 % 4 % 5 %
Person/Perspective: 8 23% 17 49% 6 17%
Systems Theory: 12 35% 14 40% 5 14%
Problem Solving: 15 43% 11 32% 5 14%
Awareness/Populations: 9 26% 16 46% 6 17%
Social Service Systems: 13 37% 12 34% 6 18%
Can Read Research: 1 3% 14 40% 12 34% 4 12%
Social Policy: 15 43% 12 34% 4 12%
Human Cycle Development: 12 35% 14 40% 5 14%
Political/Govt. Process: 16 46% 10 29% 5 14%
*No Responses: (4)/ 11%
In each category above.

*Skills: 1 % 2 % 3 % 4 % 5 %
Interviewing: 1 3% 3 9% 21 60% 6 17%
Setting Treatment Goals: 1 3% 6 17% 19 55% 5 14%
Problem Solving: 1 3% 4 12% 21 60% 5 14%
Information/Referral: 1 3% 8 23% 16 46% 6 17%
Compiling Information: 1 3% 4 11% 17 49% 9 26%
Consult/Other Agencies: 1 3% 9 26% 15 43% 6 17%
Using Supervision: 5 14% 19 55% 7 20%
Writing: 14 40% 10 29% 7 20%
*No Responses: (4)/ 11%
In each category above.

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