• Andrew Gibb

Briar Cliff Introduces New Spanish Concentration

Briar Cliff University will offer a new Spanish concentration available to all social work students starting in the fall of 2022.

The idea for such a concentration came about when faculty at Briar Cliff became aware of the need for bilingual social workers.

“There is a high demand for Spanish speaking social workers, which currently the community is unable to meet,”’ Briar Cliff Director of the Social Work Program, Liz Rembold said.

According to the most recent United States census, the Latino and Hispanic population account for the second largest race in the United States. This also makes the United Sates the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, just behind Mexico.

“As the Hispanic and Latino population in the Tri-state region and nation continue to grow, social workers must be knowledgeable about the culture, language, and how to effectively serve this population,” Rembold said.

With the nation’s population changing, accommodation for different cultures will not only make the client feel welcome, but the student far more employable.

“Linguistic and multicultural awareness is crucial for social worker-client relationships. Personalismo refers to the value that Latino’s place on interpersonal relationships, so it is particularly important to develop a personal relationship where you can understand a person’s cultural beliefs,” Briar Cliff Spanish Professor, Wilfredo Suarez said.

The concentration will require completion of 12 credit hours, which is like other minors offered at Briar Cliff.

“Students will develop the cultural and linguistic skills for engaging in culturally grounded practice with Latino clients, and families, from a Catholic Franciscan perspective,” Rembold said.

To meet Hispanic and Latino needs in other areas, Briar Cliff also has Spanish speaking concentrations for Health Care, and business students.

Briar Cliff Spanish Department has posted signs around campus to promote other Spanish concentrations.

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