The School of Social Work at Cairn University existed for over 50 years to train social workers and teach them from an integrated biblical worldview. First accredited by the CSWE in 1975, the University’s BSW program and its faculty, students, and graduates have earned the respect of those in the social work profession. The University is incredibly proud of its alumni who continue to conduct social work practice from a biblically integrated worldview. 

Rationale for the Closure

This decision to close the School of Social Work was not arrived at hastily, nor was it based upon any single issue. Other institutions of higher learning have faced difficult decisions regarding enrollment and financial challenges and other strategic and missional concerns, which have led to the closure of programs. Cairn University is no exception to this reality and is committed to addressing these challenges with the best stewardship of its resources in view. 

At its May 24 meeting, the Cairn University Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to close the School of Social Work made by the University administration effective Fall 2021. The University notified CSWE of its intention to withdraw from accreditation and has begun the process of planning for this transition according to CSWE procedures and protocols. The decision regarding social work at Cairn was based upon an analysis of the following:

  • Enrollment, including enrollment trends and trajectories
  • Costs associated with the program, particularly those prescribed by The Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) regarding faculty-to-student ratios
  • Compatibility with the CSWE values and purposes as well as explicit curricular requirements given the institution’s mission and distinctives

Results of the Closure
All social work faculty remain employed by the University for the upcoming academic year. A team of three full-time faculty members are overseeing the teach out and transition plan, which will be carried out according to CSWE standards and protocols and could last up to 2.5 years.

Current undergraduate students in the BSW program (approx. 50) will be a part of a teach-out program that will be carried out according to CSWE criteria. The University will remain current with all CSWE criteria until the teach-out program is completed. All graduates will earn degrees that are CSWE-accredited, enabling them to serve as licensed social work professionals. 

Current graduate students (approx. 10) in the MSW will be transferred to partner schools as allowed for by the CSWE. The University will ensure that there is no negative financial impact to them. 

Incoming undergraduate students (approx. 10) will choose another major within the University, most of whom have already done so. Some students may choose to study elsewhere.

Incoming graduate students (approx. 10) are welcome to choose another master’s program offered by the University, although it’s understood that most will choose to pursue an MSW program at another school. 

Any questions about the closure can be directed to

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