Students relieved Laurentian U social work program accredited two more years

Laurentian University's social work programs have received accreditation for two more years. The distinction means students graduating from the English, French and Indigenous streams can register as social workers. The programs were at risk of losing accreditation last fall.

Laurentian University must hire more staff and increase the budget for social work program

Fourth year student Stephanie Sindori says she is relieved Laurentian University's English, French and Indigenous Social Work programs have been accredited for two more years. The programs were at risk of losing that designation. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Stephanie Sindori says the question of whether she would be graduating from an accredited social work program has been hanging over her all year.

The programs were at risk of losing this distinction, but it was confirmed this week, that the English, French and Indigenous programs at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., will be accredited for two more years.

"The need for our program to be accredited would directly affect whether or not we could register as social workers with our college," says Sindori, a fourth year student and president of the students association for the English School of Social Work.

To keep its accreditation, the university must hire eight more full time staff and one part-timer.

Laurentian must also increase the budget for the schools of social work.

Indigenous social work student council president Mary Jolin-Lake she is pressing to make sure this all happens.

Laurentian student Mary Jolin-Lake says she wouldn't have been able to register as a social worker if she graduated from a program that wasn't accredited. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

"We have the time now to hire those people and make sure that they're well qualified," says Jolin-Lake.

She says with the recent recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission it's important to have social workers who are trained in the Indigenous field, know the culture, and know the traditions of Indigenous people.

A spokesperson for the university says job postings have gone up and hiring should take place over the next year.

Now Sindori, Jolin-Lake and other students in the social work programs can rest assured, knowing they will be graduating from accredited programs for at least the next two years.

"At the end of the day it was an experience for us on how to advocate not only for ourselves, but also for our profession," says Sindori.

With files from Olivia Stefanovich.