St. Kate's - St. Thomas Partnership

June 8, 2018

9/20/18 Partnership Update

This past May, the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University announced the end of their formal collaboration on their joint social work programs. We are planning for this change to take effect August 23, 2019. The St. Kate's - St. Thomas School of Social Work will continue to operate as a collaborative through the 2018-2019 academic year, and the two universities are working closely together toward a smooth and supportive transition for all of our students, faculty, alumni, and community partners.

Both institutions are committed to offering social work programs and will establish independent offerings. St. Catherine University will continue to offer both the bachelor of social work (BSW) in its College for Women and College for Adults and masters of social work (MSW) in formats that meet the needs of working adults. St. Thomas will offer the doctorate of social work (DSW), in addition to the BSW and MSW, in both its weekend/evening and hybrid formats.

Immediately after the collaboration dissolves, the joint social work programs will transition from being accredited as a collaborative program to pursuing individual program accreditation. Both St. Thomas and St. Kate’s will pursue accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits both the BSW and MSW programs individually. We will follow an abbreviated one-year candidacy process that CSWE has customized for independent programs following the closure of a joint program relationship. We will provide updates once the exact timeline is known. (Note: CSWE does not currently accredit doctoral programs, so the DSW program is unaffected by this change and will transition to the St. Thomas DSW starting in summer 2019.)

Restrictions put in place by CSWE will require all continuing students to enroll into either the St. Kate’s or St. Thomas independent programs for the 2019-2020 academic year. Details on this process will be provided as they are finalized. To help address the need for ongoing, consistent communication, we are creating a new web page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s). This page will be continually updated and added to as details become known.

St. Kate's - St. Thomas Partnership and Accreditation Updates & FAQs»

We recognize there are still many unknowns as the partnership and accreditation processes are ongoing. We are committed to keeping our community informed and to provide information as we know it.

Please know that I am always available to answer questions.


Dr. Corrine Carvalho (Email)
Interim Dean of Social Work

6/8/18 Response from the Dean

As many of you have already heard, on May 24, University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan and St. Catherine University President ReBecca Koenig Roloff issued a statement concerning our School of Social Work. They announced that St. Kate’s and St. Thomas have come to a mutual decision that they will end their formal collaboration as originally configured, and will work towards offering two separate Social Work programs. The change is anticipated to take place in fall of 2019.

Certainly this was not a decision that we in the School of Social Work had hoped for, but it became clear that it was the decision that had to be made at this point in the institutions’ histories. The reasons why the change is happening at this time are many and complex, but I want to assure our communities that the decision signals a strong commitment to social work programs on both campuses. In fact, part of the decision was the fact that each university wants to build their programs in their own unique ways that fit the mission and strategic priorities of each university. The announcement signals the beginning of a very long process, but let me address some of our communities’ most pressing questions here.

The degree status for current students will not change in 2018-19. Students who graduate on or before May, 2019 will graduate with a degree from both institutions. This year, students will also see no change in their programs, and in their access to resources at both universities. [Note: This statement has been updated from the statement published on May 31. Based on on-going conversations with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), it is now likely that the degree status for current students may change at some point after May 2019, depending on each student’s completion track and time-to-graduation. This will be necessary for continuous accreditation, our primary objective. Details about timing are not yet clear, but we will continue to provide updates as they become available.]  I also want to assure alumni that this does not affect their degrees. All alumni graduated from an accredited program and we are working with CSWE to ensure that the accreditation process for degrees from both institutions will move forward seamlessly for future students.

Each university anticipates it will admit students into their independent programs starting in Fall 2019. St. Catherine University plans to offer a Bachelor of Social Work program in both their College for Women and their College for Adults. St. Kate’s is currently undergoing a study to determine future graduate-level offerings. The University of St. Thomas will continue to offer a Bachelor of Social Work, a Master of Social Work in clinical practice, and a Doctorate in Social Work in their current formats. 

The faculty and administration at both universities expect that we will continue to partner where it makes the most sense, but we will be taking this year to decide on the details of that informal cooperation.  Expect to see gradual changes to web pages and program materials as the year progresses. 

We ourselves are going through our own grieving for a partnership that has been rich and joyous. We have made deep friendships across the two campuses. Yet it is that love for these institutions that helps us understand the difficult deliberations that led to this decision.  I know that this decision will lead to distinct and strong programs that will serve our communities where there are so many needs. I see this as an opportunity to better meet the complex needs of the 21st century.

We will continue to provide updates as they become available, but please feel free to connect with me directly if you wish to speak about this transition in greater detail.


Dr. Corrine Carvalho
Interim Dean of Social Work