Part-Time MSW Program Student Spotlight: Brianna Sanderfoot

The Part-Time MSW Program allows students who are not able to pursue full-time study to work towards a master’s degree on a structured, time-extended basis with classes delivered in a hybrid manner. Some courses are designed as blended courses with a mix of online learning and in-person sessions, while others are taught as online courses. In-person sessions take place every other Saturday on our Madison campus.

Job Title and Organization: I have been employed at Brown County Health and Human Services in Initial Assessment for approximately four years.

Year in the program: Currently in year 2 in the Part-Time MSW Program

Focus area: Child, Youth and Family Welfare (IV-E student)

Future job interest: My passion lies in Child Welfare. I am hopeful to be in a leadership role in Initial Assessment at Brown County.

Why did you choose the Part-Time Program?

The Part-Time Program allows me to continue to work full time in Child Welfare. I commute from Green Bay and the Part-Time Program allows me to attend UW – Madison that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to do full-time. The pace of the Part-Time Program has been a great balance for me with my personal and professional life as well.

How would you describe your experience in the Part-Time MSW Program?

I have had a very positive experience thus far in the Part-Time MSW program. The faculty I have met along the way have been very supportive of my education. I have enjoyed the cohort of students I have met for the first two years of classes. The class sizes have given the opportunity for our cohort to build relationships with one another, which has enhanced the discussions during class. The pace of the Part-Time Program has helped me succeed as a student while allowing me to continue to be employed full-time in Child Welfare.

What has been your favorite course so far in the program and why?

My favorite course so far in the program has been Field Practice and Integrative Seminar. I had a great cohort who was interactive in class and we had great discussions. I also enjoyed learning concepts in class which I could directly apply to field work I was doing in my internship. I further enjoyed the Change Agent project, which we were able to present to students, family and faculty at a symposium. It was great to see the support that is around students at UW – Madison.

How do you think the Part-Time MSW Program has prepared you for entering the field of social work?

As someone who is already working in Child Welfare, the knowledge I have obtained in the Part-Time Program has greatly enhanced my practice with families and colleagues. Whether it be learning of policies that affect individuals, groups and communities to direct practice with individuals, UW – Madison has offered a variety of courses that deepened my knowledge of social work. I have also appreciated the emphasis on self-care and ensuring students have what they need to excel not only in the classroom but also once in the field of social work. The Child Welfare IV-E program has also given me the opportunity to connect with students who are on the same career path and has given me the opportunity for dialogues on practices, issues and content in the child welfare field.

What would you say to someone who is considering the program?

The biggest piece of advice I could offer to someone who is considering the program is to go for it! There is never going to be the “perfect time” to start. As someone who had been out of school for four years, the thought of going back to school seemed daunting, but the knowledge I have gained to apply in my current case practice has been well worth the “leap” back into school. You won’t regret it!