The ties that bind: Marygrove’s Social Work Program is growing strong.


The word must be out about Marygrove’s Social Work Program, because the number of new majors this fall has increased approximately 28 percent since 2007. This is good news for graduates, as social work jobs, particularly in medicine and public health, are considered among the 50 best careers of 2010 by U.S. News & World Report, with strong growth predicted on a national scale over the next decade. So, if you want an interesting career path, join an elite group of professionals who are known for being anything but elitist: enroll at Marygrove and Be Prepared to Get Involved.

Working together is something that comes naturally to students and faculty in the Department of Social Work at Marygrove College. In fact, it is one of the biggest benefits of the program. When you register, you’re inheriting a built-in support network that sees you through from enrollment to graduation and beyond. It’s not just another program of excellence. It’s a caring extended family: the very thing that distinguishes Marygrove from all the rest.

“Be Prepared to Get Involved!”

It’s not just their program motto—it’s more of a battle cry. “I always tell people that our students and staff have an advantage simply by our location in the heart of the Detroit,” said Jann Hoge, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work and Department Chair, Marygrove College. “Marygrove provides a real-world laboratory for our students… offering the kind of access they need to understand the complex urban issues that affect our city.” Here, Social Work students have a relationship with their community. It’s one thing to teach it, but by virtue of the school’s mission, Marygrove actually lives it. “Our commitment to social justice and urban leadership is well established, and it’s really the backbone of our program’s strategic plan,” Dr. Hoge said. “Our students are expected to work toward righting social wrongs through empowerment of themselves and others.”

Empowerment is just another word for confidence—the kind of thing a highly functional family bestows upon its members. Marygrove’s integrated support system allows students the opportunity to get out in the field in any direction they choose: Child welfare, mental health, substance abuse and addiction--wherever their hearts lead them.

Strength is in small numbers.

In recent years, the Department of Social Work took a long and hard look at the kind of candidate it attracts. A small program by design, they needed to know how they could better serve their prospective students. “We found that our relationships needed to be strong at every step in a student’s academic career,” Hoge said. “Communication with our feeder colleges and universities is key in attracting students who will find Marygrove a good fit.”

Many Social Work students transfer from Wayne County Community and Oakland Community Colleges. Many still, are non-traditional students with jobs and families to look after. A fair number of Social Work majors have had life struggles themselves, or have been closely involved with someone who has.

In response to a growing need for flexible scheduling, Marygrove offers day, evening and weekend blocked-format core courses to make it easier for students to work around their demanding lives. “We found that it takes a little pressure off of our students, and we end up getting the most out of them,” Hoge adds.

A smaller program also affords students the luxury of more face time with instructors for academic advice, career counseling and troubleshooting. Classrooms are in close proximity to faculty offices, and most core social work courses comprise 18 students or fewer.

Building relationships for a better future.

But perhaps the most cherished relationships students take with them after graduation are the lifelong friendships they’ve made with other students. “We hear all the time about our students calling each other in the middle of the night before an exam,” Hoge adds. “You can count on your fellow students to lend a hand or listen when you need to vent—that’s just their character.”

It may very well be there is a certain character that draws many employers to Marygrove graduates-- the final and probably most important relationship. Through the years Marygrove has honed many long-term relationships with major social service agencies in and around Detroit. When hiring decisions are made, Marygrove grads consistently rank high on those lists. The reasons are as varied and diverse as the student body itself: Highly credentialed faculty; Students who have a compassionate interest in the profession; Excellence in the classroom and rich experience in the field. Like any family, one is just as significant as the other. It’s all relative.

For more information on the Social Work program at Marygrove, contact Dr. Jann Hoge, Department Chair at (313) 927-1473.


What about the future of the Social Work program?

Grab your sunglasses, because it’s really bright out there. Look for more exciting features on the horizon, such as:

  • Certified Addictions Certificate (CAC) program, in cooperation with Detroit Rescue Mission. A dynamic partnership that promises to fill an urgent need in the surrounding community, as gambling addiction, among others, continues to inflict its destruction on families.
  • Gerontology Certification. This certificate will be expanded to address the nationwide reality of the aging baby boomer population, and its impact on medical/home health services for the elderly.
  • Men in Social Work.  Male students will be given a greater voice, as a new club is launched to help them find their important place in a traditionally female-dominated profession.

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