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KNOXVILLE — Thanks to the University of Tennessee College of Social Work’s distance education program, Reba McBride is on track to complete her master’s degree in spring 2011, something the wife and mother of two says otherwise might not have been possible.

With an enrollment of about 125 students, the college’s Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) Distance Education Program has helped many others like McBride, and its success has earned the program an award.

Last month, the college received the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education (TACHE) credit program award, which recognizes an institution for its innovative credit programming.

“We’re honored by TACHE’s recognition of the college’s distance education program’s outstanding credit programming,” said Sherry Cummings, professor and associate dean of the College of Social Work in Nashville, where the MSSW distance education program is based. “We look forward to the continued growth of our distance ed program and the further provision of needed graduate-level social work education to working individuals and those living in rural communities.”

The college’s MSSW distance education program has met professional social workers’ demands for flexibility. Similar to its on-campus counterpart, it requires 36 hours for a graduate degree for advanced standing student in social work but allows students to complete their degree without daily travel to campus. All course content is delivered online, along with limited face-to-face Saturday meetings that complete the blended approach to the delivery of the program.

The program has been offered since summer 2008, and the first group of students graduated last spring.

“The program has to be designed to accommodate the unique needs of those like myself who are actively involved in career and family life,” McBride said. “For me, the most valuable aspect of the distance education program is the ability to log into the system from any location and at any time. Last spring, I ‘attended’ class, researched and submitted a paper from Myrtle Beach, where I was on vacation with my family.”

For more information about the program, visit

TACHE ( is an organization of continuing higher education professionals that advocates better lives for Tennesseans through greater access to higher education and workforce development.

C O N T A C T :

Kate McClernon-Chaffin, distance education coordinator, (615-782-6134,

Kristi Hintz, UT media relations, (865-974-3993,