Department Chair: Mary Montminy-Danna, Ph.D.
The Department of Social Work offers an accredited program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. The department has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1984. The curriculum provides a generalist education that prepares students for work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. The program builds on the principles of social justice and students learn the values, skills and knowledge needed to intervene effectively on the individual, community and policy level to facilitate systemic change. Consistent with its mission, the department strives for the elimination of poverty, the eradication of oppression and the promotion of universal justice. The department also prepares students for generalist level practice and entry into the professional field of social work.
Social Work Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.
- Engage diversity and difference in practice.
- Advance human rights and social, economic & environmental justice.
- Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.
- Engage in policy practice.
- Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations & communities.
- Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
- Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations & communities.
- Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations & communities.
- Prepare for on-going professional challenges.
This experiential workshop will provide an overview of the mechanics of music therapy and demonstrate how lives can be enhanced through music/brain connections. The many ways that music can be adapted for a variety of populations across the lifespan will be explored.
This workshop provides an overview of the bio-psycho-social issues of human sexuality within a developmental context from infancy to later adulthood. Emphasis is placed on understanding the diversity of relationship needs in client systems.
This workshop will examine traumatic life experiences of children, women, men, refugees and victims of war, natural disasters, severe illness or injury, etc. The impact of culture, the awareness of trauma informed policies and trauma informed interventions will be discussed.
The goal of this workshop is to introduce students to major public and scholarly environmental discourses in the 21st Century. Topics, such as; acid rain, the history of the U.S. environmental movement, environmental justice/racism, global warming, etc. will be explored.
Students will examine the political platforms of Presidential candidates and explore the differential impact that these policies may have on diverse populations.
This workshop will focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for successful grant writing. Ethical considerations and program design will be discussed in relationship to resource development, needs assessment, project design considerations, evaluation and dissemination.
The focus of this workshop is on the skills and tools needed for conflict resolution. Conflict management and de-escalation techniques will be discussed. Students will resolve personal and community problems using peaceful strategies.
This workshop examines the historic, cultural and sociological aspects of the game from 1950 to the present. Emphasis is placed on the durability of the game through labor movements, civil/women's rights movements, the cold war, and the effects of capitalism on the game. Research will be discussed that shows how the game transcended all economic classes and cultural differences staying fresh and new for each generation.
This workshop will focus on effective strategies and techniques when working for change at the state and local levels. A focus of the workshop will be how to be an effective change agent at the grassroots level. Emphasis will be placed not only on how to be a political analyst but also a political strategist.
The workshop will introduce participants to both the psychological predictors and determinants of violence and the tactical strategies and techniques to minimize aggression and victimization. The correlates of violent behavior will be examined from a biopsychosocial perspective. History taking with a proactive attempt to examine potential threats and warning signs will be discussed. Required for all Social Work majors prior to beginning junior field internship.
This workshop examines the role and impact that baseball played in American culture from the Revolutionary War to 1950. Whether one has been personally touched by the National Pastime or not, your ancestors have been significantly engaged by the little white ball with red stitches. It has become part of all our lives. Such a simple game, yet such a complex game. Life is so full of paradox, as is baseball. Perhaps this is why we are so enamored by it.
This workshop provides an overview of current healthcare policies and practices relative to women's health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Participants will gain an understanding of the most pressing healthcare issues facing women today with special focus on at-risk and vulnerable populations.
This workshop is designed to provide students with the fundamentals for understanding gambling and gambling problems in the U.S. The workshop emphasizes a heterogeneous view of gambling and problem gambling that is congruent with the bio/psycho/social/spiritual model of addictions utilizing a strengths perspective.
This workshop will examine the effects of alcohol consumption on sexual behavior. Research on impaired judgment, increased risk-taking behaviors and unwanted outcomes such as date rape, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. will be discussed.
This workshop will explore the magnitude, dynamics and types of violence perpetrated against others both within the family as well as in other relationships. Through the use of lecture, film, speakers and discussions students will examine the epidemiology of personal and family violence and the related psychosocial problems. A discussion of current laws, policies and available services will be included.
This workshop examines issues related to immigration in the 21st Century. Discussions will include the dynamics of international migration, the socioeconomic and political factors impacting the migration process and the plight of undocumented immigrants. In addition, current public policy issues will be discussed.
This workshop provides students with an overview of Pet Assisted Therapy and how it is utilized in a variety of settings. The human-animal bond will be explored. Current research on Pet Assisted Therapy will be examined.
This workshop will identify and analyze violent and nonviolent behaviors as well as the structural mechanism impacting national and international conflicts. Prevention, de-escalation and solutions to conflicts by peaceful means will be explored.
Students develop an understanding of the nature of social problems and their effect on individuals, families, and communities, with a focus on issues of social justice. Particular emphasis is placed on the effects of racism, classism, sexism and other forms of oppression in shaping the social condition. An integral part of the course is an in-depth look at the commitment of social workers and other professionals to vulnerable groups, with attention given to the eradication of oppression in all of its forms. Students learn how systems influence the perpetuation or remediation of social problems. Social problems are analyzed from various perspectives.
Students enrolled in this course will witness first-hand the impact of social problems on persons in the community. Choosing from a wide number of social service agencies, students will engage in 28-hours of experiential learning assisting in their understanding of the intersectionality of social problems and the rose of social service programs in supporting families. The combination of service, classroom discussion and reflection provide the student with a beginning foundation needed for optimal community engagement.
This course provides a historical context in which to understand current challenges in the social work profession and issues of social welfare policy. A variety of perspectives and frameworks for analyzing social policy are examined. The role of the generalist social worker in policy analysis and development at the local, state, and federal levels is explored. Throughout the course, students are expected to consider the consequences, both intended and unintended, of policy action or inaction. Emphasis is placed on strategies for confronting human need, economic and social oppression, and racial and sexual discrimination. Students experience the policy area firsthand, by engaging in 15 hours of experiential learning.
This first course, in a two-semester sequence, is designed to offer students a knowledge base for understanding the bio-psycho-social aspects of human development across the life cycle from conception through middle childhood, the environmental context in which development takes place, and the dynamic interaction between the two. The cross-cultural application of human development theories is considered.
Building on SWK-215, theories of human development across the life cycle, from adolescence through later adulthood, are addressed. Differences in experience based on gender, ethnic background, social class, and religion are explored. This course also explores human behavior and development in the macro-social environment. Using an ecosystems perspective, the course examines the various stages of development typical of groups, organizations, and communities as well as their impact on human functioning.
This course provides the foundation for generalist social work practice within systems and ecological frameworks. Basic practice principles and beginning practice skills are studied using a variety of classroom techniques to simulate the helping process. Students learn how to work within systems to identify client needs and to develop appropriate responses at each system level. Emphasis is placed on the community context of social work and the use of individual and environmental strengths and resources. The knowledge, skills, and values of the profession are underscored throughout the course.
Students will continue to build a knowledge base and skill level required for macro-level practice through an in-depth analysis of local organizations and surrounding communities. Additionally, this course reviews a broad range of theories of practice and demonstrates how theories serve as a foundation for understanding and practicing with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Each theory is examined in light of age, class, gender, spirituality and the extent to which it supports principles of empowerment and the values of the profession. Students will have the opportunity to partner with a local organization and support their mission by raising public awareness about pertinent social issues.
This course is designed for students interested in the impact of public policy on services to children and adolescents. Special attention is given to children at risk. A major focus of the course is on the basic core of child welfare services. Topics include family-based services for children in their own homes, including attention to the variety of family forms and special needs; services to protect children from neglect and abuse; foster care; adoption; childcare; and child advocacy. Other major influences on the status of children and youth, including the impact of schools, the courts, and other societal institutions are also examined.
The course is intended for students in any of the helping professions who are interested in working with families. From an ecological systems perspective, students explore the relationship between individuals, their ancestors, the environment, and other systems that mold their behavior and impact their lives. A unified and comprehensive view of the family, including policies, theories, and interventions are presented. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills and values to work effectively with culturally diverse families. Challenges facing families and resources that support family life are considered.
In this seminar, students will develop and refine their skills in each of the 10 core competencies and 41 practice behaviors that define an effective generalist social work practitioner. Emphasis is placed on agency function and policies, staff practices, populations served, and pertinent and available community resources. Students begin to see first-hand the negative consequences that racism, sexism and economic injustice have on the client populations of the agency. Weekly seminars give students an opportunity to process experiences from their respective field placements. Junior social work majors is required.
As the signature pedagogy of Social Work Education, student internship experiences are designed to help students to develop as a professional social worker. In this first course of the four semester internship experience, students are introduced to the community setting of social work practice by placement in a social service agency under professional supervision for eight hours a week. Through observation and shadowing, students learn intake, assessment and referral processes.
In this seminar, learning focuses on the conscious use of appropriate skills and the application of theories, social work values and knowledge in the field experience. The importance of the supervisory relationship is stressed, helping students to better understand "the professional use of self" in the helping process. The weekly seminar offers support, direction, and focused learning
This is a continuation of the eight-hour per week field experience from the prior semester. Students continue to develop skills critical to the helping process while exploring further interagency networks. Student interns practice beginning skills, (e.g., interviewing, conducting home visits and community outreach) and carrying a caseload from three to five client systems.
This course serves as a foundation for understanding the impact of alcohol and other drugs on the individual, family, and society and its pervasiveness as a mental health, health and social welfare issue. Emphasis is on a beginning knowledge base for early identification, assessment, and intervention.
In this course students examine the historical and current trends of assessment and intervention with children, adults, and families with traumatic issues. An examination of assessment themes and models of intervention are presented and discussed. Larger systemic concepts such as the impact of societal violence are explored. Special attention is given to the role of trauma within vulnerable populations with a focus on survivors of war and combat. The role of the social worker in working with persons with traumatic histories, especially present-day veterans are also addressed.
In this course, students explore the aging process, popular myths, and differences associated with race, gender, class, and culture. The bio-psycho-social aspects of aging are examined against the backdrop of the socioeconomic and political realities that form the context for individual experiences of aging. Emphasis is placed on strategies and skills of assessing the needs of elderly individuals and adhering to strengths-based concepts of intervention. Understanding the impact of ageism and social work service delivery to clients and families will be discussed. Program and policy initiatives will be examined.
The department periodically offers courses of particular interest to Social Work majors.
This course is the first of two required courses in research methods for majors. It is designed to introduce students to a broad range of research tools available to social workers for use in improving the effectiveness of their practice. Research Methods I examines various methodological approaches and provides a framework for students to develop skills in operationalizing variables, stating hypotheses, critically analyzing existing research, formulating a professional literature review, constructing a questionnaire, and crafting a methodologically sound research proposal. In addition, students will conduct a single case study to evaluate the effective of a practice intervention. During the semester, emphasis is placed on the selection and use of research techniques that are culturally appropriate, ethically sound and sensitive to individual differences. Senior Social Work majors is required.
Building on the skills and knowledge base acquired in the first part of this two-semester sequence, students develop skills essential to becoming more critical consumers of research while preparing to become contributors to the knowledge base of social work practice. Students design and implement a research project based on current practice experience that is relevant to the profession, of service to the agency and of interest to the student. Emphasis is placed on the analysis and interpretation of findings, with consideration of their implications for social work practice, policy, and research. Students use the statistical package SPSS to analyze quantitative data, employing descriptive and inferential (parametric and non-parametric) statistics to assist in evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness.
Through a comprehensive, cross-national comparison of responses to major social welfare issues, students deepen their awareness of the interrelated nature of societal values and social policies. Issues of global poverty, oppression, hunger, abuse of women, homophobia and racism are examined, with emphasis on the social worker's role in promoting human rights, social justice, and sustainable development for all persons. Venues of community development worldwide are explored, with consideration of how each works to address the needs of marginalized persons, while promoting intergenerational equity and affirmative action for disenfranchised populations. The interface of the international and domestic is examined in light of generalist practice. Senior Social Work majors and others interested in the international arena is required.
This seminar is designed to support the learning process for students engaged in their senior field internship. Students are active participants in discussions related to generalist practice, making the seminar an integral part of the internship experience. Ample opportunity is given for students to process their own learning and to understand the challenges presented to the social work intern. Contemporary literature is used to inform and to support best practice. Client needs are discussed in the context of diversity, culture, and social work values. The application of interventions across varying populations is examined.
The senior internship is a 16-hour per week experience in an approved practice setting that builds on the experience gained in the junior year. Students are engaged in professionally supervised learning experiences in social service agencies. Agencies are carefully selected based on students' interests and their learning objectives. Students use their knowledge of a variety of theories, skills and social work principles to explore practice domains and to strengthen their practice with clients.
This seminar is a continuation of SWK-421, highlighting the professional development of the student. Students are challenged to apply their knowledge and skills differentially. Students expand their knowledge of the Code of Ethics and apply that knowledge to the situations and cases presented through their respective field placements. Students develop an in-depth understanding of the populations and of the services provided throughout the state. Through extensive journaling and processing, students engage in critical thinking and self-reflection.
Students continue their 16-hour per week supervised internship from the first semester. The internship builds on prior learning and provides interns with the necessary experience to begin as a generalist practitioner upon graduation. Students in practice settings that work primarily with individuals and families follow clients through each phase of the helping process. Students in macro settings engage in community organizing, policy analysis, tracking legislation and testifying on pertinent issues.
The purpose of this capstone course is to help students integrate past learning, both from social work courses and the liberal arts and sciences, into a generalist practice framework. The interrelated nature of policy, practice and research is emphasized. As part of the process, students are required to demonstrate an understanding of generalist practice through the completion of a comprehensive and integrated group project that includes a multilevel practice solution to a hypothetical situation. Students' transition to professional practice is the focus of the course. Students are required to submit an integrated, competency-based (10 core competencies) portfolio documenting personal achievement of policy, practice, human behavior, and research as well as the liberal arts and sciences that permeated their undergraduate education.
An independent study for students with permission of chair to pursue content or research opportunities in support of student course of study.
Supervised study in an area not available in regularly scheduled courses. Written proposal approved by department chair is required.