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Two New Doctoral Degrees Approved by Board of Regents

October 16, 2020

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved two new doctoral degree programs for Angelo State University at the board’s regular meeting earlier today (Oct. 16) in Lubbock.

The approved degree programs are a Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.) in clinical social work and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in transformative leadership. Both programs will now be submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for final review and approval.

Final approval of the new D.S.W. and Ed.D. programs, along with a new Doctor of Psychology in counseling program submitted for approval in May, would give ASU four doctoral degree programs.

Dr. Don Topliff Dr. Don Topliff Dr. Don Topliff, ASU provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, “The possible implementation of three new doctoral programs is an indication of the quality of our faculty and the need for doctoral degrees focused on practice, as opposed to those geared toward becoming a faculty member. These degrees will provide practitioners for important segments of our society, namely mental health and civic leadership.”

The D.S.W. in clinical social work degree will consist of 50 credit hours and will be offered through the Department of Social Work within ASU’s Archer College of Health and Human Services. Classes for the new program are slated to begin in the fall 2021 semester.

ASU’s proposal to establish the new D.S.W. is in response to the rapidly expanding need for more clinical social workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment for mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow by 18% over the next 10 years. Additionally, the Health Resources and Service Administration reports that while many social workers are trained at the master’s degree level, a 30% increase in the number of master’s and doctoral-level social workers will be needed to meet the demand by 2030.

According to the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for social work programs, of the 17 D.S.W. programs in the U.S., none are in Texas. Graduates of ASU’s new program would be qualified to use specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, conditions and addictions, including severe mental illness and serious emotional disturbances in adults, adolescents and children. They would also be prepared for higher education and leadership opportunities

The Ed.D. in transformative leadership program will consist of 60 credit hours and will be offered completely online, except for a one-week instruction period offered during summer terms. It will be available through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within ASU’s College of Education, with classes slated to begin in the spring 2022 semester.

ASU’s proposal to establish the new Ed.D. program is in response to the increasing need for specialists in the area of leadership operations throughout Texas and the U.S., as well as in the Concho Valley. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an employment growth rate of about 10% through 2028, with nearly 20,000 new job openings annually. Over the same time period, the Texas Workforce Commission projects the number of Texas positions in leadership roles will increase by nearly 19%, adding about 3,000 jobs annually, while the number of positions in the Concho Valley is projected to increase by as much as 18%.

There are currently only five completely online programs of this type in Texas, and none in the West Texas region. Graduates of ASU’s new program will be prepared for careers in senior leadership roles for school districts, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and in the private sector.

For more information, contact Topliff at 325-942-2165 or