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Part-time MSW program graduates its first class

May 13, 2011 By Susannah Brooks

Commencement weekend at the University of Wisconsin–Madison often spotlights examples of the Wisconsin Idea in action, and this year is no exception.

On Sunday, May 15, the inaugural cohort of graduates will celebrate completion of UW–Madison’s part-time Master of Social Work (MSW) program.

Since its start in 2009, the unique collaboration between UW–Madison and UW-Eau Claire has drawn students from across the state and beyond. Saturday classes take place in either Madison or Eau Claire, attracting many students who work full-time during the week or can’t manage a long daily commute.

“This is a very different group of students from those in our full-time program. Everyone has a story,” says co-director Tracy Schroepfer, associate professor of social work. “Many have children, including some single parents; one has had a serious illness. Because of their job and family lives, they thought this option was null and void. Now some of them have 15 people coming to the ceremony — they never thought that this could happen for them.”

Students who are not able to pursue full-time study can work towards an MSW degree on a structured basis, completing their degree in two to four years. The rolling admissions policy accepts applications on an extended timetable. Those wishing to apply for the Fall 2011 term can still do so until June 1.

Married couple Joseph and Stefanie Scribbins will graduate together after two years of driving from Richland Center every Saturday. In the middle of the program, they adopted a baby, now 15 months old. They may be reached at 608-475-2387 or (Joe)/ (Stefanie).

Schroepfer can be reached at 608-263-3837 or

Before the program began, Bill Heiss, assistant director of the School of Social Work, spent four years working with UW-Eau Claire faculty and assessing the statewide need for more social workers through surveys of existing services. Heiss can be reached at 608-263-7147 or

More information on the program is available at 888-393-1049 or by clicking here.