Phi Alpha Comes to UVF

by Office of Marketing | Mar 31, 2015
Behavioral Sciences Phi Alpha
The University of Valley Forge (UVF) is pleased to announce the addition of the Phi Beta campus chapter of Phi Alpha, the National Honor Society (NHS) of Social Work. Through an initiative led by UVF professor Karin McCadam, Director of Field Placement for the Social Work Program, students are recognized for their excellence in scholarship, which also  highlights the academic rigor of UVF’s nationally accredited social work program (Council on Social Work Education).  

 During an academic chapel service on March 2, 2015, nine students were formally accepted into the distinguished Phi Alpha Honor Society in Social Work. To be considered for induction into the NHS, a student must have an overall  3.0 grade point average (GPA) and  a minimum 3.25 GPA in social work courses. The first UVF Phi Alpha honor students are Jordan Westerman, Chelsea Dudley, Karl Deans Jr., Shannon Wittlinger, Sarah Brugere, Rachel Stormes, Kristina Padilla, Tierney Malone and Sorina Corkey. It should be noted that when a Phi Alpha honor student graduates with a Bachelor of Social Work from UVF, he or she may obtain a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) in one year instead of the standard two years normally required.
According to senior Shannon Wittlinger, “Professor McCadam has a strong devotion to the Social Work program. She is committed to the integrity of our program, but also orchestrated the finances and organization for our chapter of Phi Alpha. She encouraged us to form a committee to begin exploring the professional experience component of the chapter.” Wittlinger notes McCadam’s undeniable commitment to her students. “As a senior, it is a joy to be a part of Phi Alpha,” says Wittlinger. “We could not have done it without the support of our staff, professor Remer, Dr. Brown and, of course, professor McCadam.”
There are a number of benefits associated with the establishment of a Phi Alpha chapter at UVF. The social work program is now part of an internationally recognized honor society. Membership also promotes a bond among students, connections with social work scholars and provides volunteer, leadership and mentoring opportunities. It also presents a greater value to UVF students’ resumes, their applications for graduate schools, as well as applications for future employment. Additionally, Phi Alpha membership entitles students to apply for additional scholarships and be recognized for various awards. Also, it entitles the chapter to apply for funds that will support various events.

McCadam commented, “We have the best students! They respond positively to working with professors who have had exemplary careers in social work. It is our joy to make social work come alive in the classroom by sharing our experiences and facilitating vibrant discussions. Our students are passionate about becoming the best prepared to begin their professional careers, whether they do so upon graduation or enter graduate school. Induction into the NHS is a well-deserved honor. We are proud of all our students and especially of these who were inducted.”
UVF’s social work program is designed to help students reach their full potential by providing opportunities for students to be challenged inside and outside of the classroom. Junior Jordan Westerman explained how membership has enriched her experience as a student. “School has always been a real challenge for me, but being part of the social work program has made me realize my passion. NHS helps students work hard to achieve a great honor that can help them with future goals. I am blessed and honored to be a part of a great team of professors who work hard to make these programs available to us.” 
Senior Tierney Malone also expressed her appreciation of the social work professors who have devoted themselves to the advancement of this program and said, “We are a Christian university, which is known for its ministry opportunities and education, but now our institution can also be recognized for its success in producing well-educated social work students who are recognized on an international level.”
Debra Brown, D.Min., chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department, speaks highly of those enrolled in the program saying, “Jesus was the best social worker. I am excited to see our students answer that call — to commit to not just service, but excellence of service in order that they might serve a hurting world.”