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Social Work Major: BA Degree Requirements

Social Work Program Curriculum

REQUIRED COURSES:

SWK 200 Introduction to Social Work

An overview of the social services and the profession of social work introducing students to the history of the field; knowledge, values and skills necessary for social work practice; and the variety of social service programs and agencies characterizing the field today. Human rights principles are explored. The student must complete a 20-hour volunteer experience at a social services program.

SWK 311 Human Behavior and the Social Environment

The Human Behavior and Social Environment course provides students with a knowledge base for understanding human behavior utilizing a multidimensional approach. In this course students gain knowledge of various theories related to the influence of the eight dimensions of the social environment on human behavior: physical environment, culture, social institutions and social structures, families, organizations, communities and social movements with attention to influences of oppressive systems.  Through the critical examination of various theories students gain an appreciation for the inherent strengths, complexities, and variations in the human experience. The experiential approach to the presentation of knowledge utilized in this course will assist students in examining and sharing their own views as well as gaining a better sense of self-awareness. The application of this HBSE foundation knowledge to the process of assessment in social work will be illustrated. 

SWK 312 Human Behavior and the Life Cycle

This course is one of three junior-level courses that is an intermediate level writing intensive class. This course offers an overview of micro-level theoretical perspectives for understanding human behavior across the life cycle including the biological, psychological, and social factors which shape our lives and make us the people we become. Included in the course will be discussion of individual growth and development and the face-to-face social systems (families, groups) in which individuals interact. The course emphasizes critical thinking and practical application of theory for generalist social work practice based on the strength perspective. The experiential approach to the presentation of knowledge utilized in this course will assist students in examining and sharing their own views as well as gaining a better sense of self-awareness.

SWK 325 Social Welfare Policy

This course is one of three junior-level courses that is an intermediate level writing intensive class.

This course will explore the use of social policy for meeting human needs and achieving social ideals. Students will be introduced to the processes of policy making and implementation emphasizing the impact of the political, economic, and cultural climate on social welfare policy and the role of the public and private sectors in the delivery of social welfare services.

This course will provide students with an overview of the fundamental elements that drive social welfare policy. Students will understand how social policy is constructed and influenced and explore the use of social policy in meeting basic human needs such as food, housing, healthcare, income, and employment. Introduction to the processes of policy making and implementation emphasizing the impact of political, economic, and cultural climate on social welfare policy and the roles of the public and private sector on the delivery of social welfare services will also be covered. Students will be exposed to and gain preliminary experience with various forms of policy practice: direct action, legislative action, and social action. This course offers the student an opportunity to apply what they are learned through the development of a “Social Action Day” on a specific social issue. 

SWK 330 Social Work Research I

This course is one of three junior-level courses that is an intermediate level writing intensive class.

The course is designed to help students become both informed consumers and producers of research. Students are introduced to the concepts and skills underlying a systematic approach to social work research including basic research terminology, the scientific method in social work, the value of research in social work, research ethics and the social work value base, problem formulation and conceptualization, measurement, research designs to evaluate programs and practice, sampling, alternative quantitative and qualitative data gathering and analytic techniques, and preparation and use of research reports. The students will apply the knowledge and skills developed in this course toward the production of an original research project.  

SWK 333 Social Work Research II

This course is part two of the social work research sequence.

In this class the student will implement the research proposal that they developed in part one. The students will engage in data collection, interpretation, and presentation. Students will develop skills in the use of SPSS and the analysis of statistical results. Students gain knowledge and skills in descriptive statistics, probability theory and distributions, point and interval estimation, hypothesis testing, central tendency, variability, independence, contrasts, correlation and regression, non-parametric, concepts of levels of measurements, and statistical vs practical significance

SWK 335 Understanding Social Work Practice Theory

This course is designed to introduce students to the four major theoretical perspectives used in micro-mezzo social work practice: Psychoanalytic and Cognitive-Behavioral, Humanistic and Postmodern. The course will examine each of these theoretical perspectives from four vantage points: (1) the history of the framework and key contributors, (2) key concepts and perspectives on psychopathology and human development, (3) philosophy of treatment/nature client-practitioner relationship, and (4) application of the model to social work practice. The students will gain foundation knowledge about these theoretical perspectives and develop foundation skills in how to apply that knowledge to social work practice. Students will build upon their critical thinking skills.

SWK 300 Generalist Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations

This is the first of three social work practice classes in the Social Work Program.

The focus of this class is to provide students with knowledge and skills in the area of macro social work practice with communities and organizations. Students will integrate values of the profession into their practice. Students will be assigned a community placement site and project. They will work in small groups on a project with potential for bringing about actual community change. A key element of all projects is that they must all involve work with members of the community. The community project is not just about providing a service. Placement activities will include but are not limited to the following: students will organize an event that involves mobilizing members of their community; students will organize and implement an educational campaign informing members of the community about the issues using electronic technology, i.e., posters, websites, email, power point, etc.; students will engage in some kind of resource building project in support of the community issue they are addressing; students will attend at least one public meeting in their community; students will prepare a press release related to their community project; students will participate in the operation of their placement site as requested; students are expected to meet with their field instructors once week and with the task group members as needed. Students will be responsible for submitting meeting minutes. Each student will spend no less than three hours a week at their prospective field sights for a total of 45 hours.

SWK 320 Generalist Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families

This course is designed to assist the student in the development of the core competencies in accordance with CSWE requirements with focus on social work practice with individuals and families. Students will build on their social work practice skills of engagement, assessment, contracting, intervention planning and implementation, and termination and practice evaluation. Students will be expected to apply the knowledge obtained in this class to their current field experiences.

SWK 420 Generalist Social Work Practice with Groups and Organizations

This course provides generalist social work knowledge for practice with groups and organizations integrated with professional values and skills. The skills of group development, assessment, goal setting, intervention, termination, and evaluation are examined. This course emphasizes the power of the group as a mutual aid system and the use of treatment and task groups and group problem solving with clients and organizational practices. *It is expected that each student in SWK 420 will lead or participate in at least one on-going treatment or task group sponsored by his/her field work agency. By "on-going" it is meant that the group should meet on a regular basis with essentially the same participants such that the student will be able to attend a minimum of six group meetings over the course of the semester.

SWK 350 Field Instruction and Seminar I

SWK 350 course consists of two parts: (1) a field practicum, and (2) a field seminar.

The field practicum consists of 200 hours of supervised social work experience in an approved fieldwork agency. The field experience offers students the opportunity to apply knowledge, values, and skills gained from classroom learning and previous field experiences to social work practice under the supervision of a professional social worker. Social work interns are expected to engage in direct client contact, have one hour of supervision per week, and comply with the policies and procedures of your agency.

Social work field experiences are considered our profession’s “signature pedagogy”. Signature pedagogy represents the central form of instruction and learning in which a profession socializes its students to perform the role of practitioner. Professionals have pedagogical norms with which they connect and integrate theory and practice. In social work the signature pedagogy is field education. The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum and field are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the achievement of program competencies (Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy Statement 2.3, CSWE, 2015).

The field seminar helps students to link theory to its application in the field and to integrate course content into a unified generalist practice perspective. The primary purpose of this seminar is to provide students with an opportunity to examine, practice, and integrate knowledge that they obtain through their placement experiences, course materials, and personal development, in their pursuit to become effective social work professionals. In this seminar students will be expected to take an active role in the learning process by sharing their experiences, raising questions, identifying areas for further exploration, and providing support and encouragement to each other.  The course content is introduced in such a way as to allow for enough flexibility so that it can respond to the unique needs of the students. Joint sessions with the seminar sections of the senior internship classes will be held to accommodate new issues in practice, opportunities for advancing professional practice, and emerging themes in the field. Sessions in the past have included working with gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender youth; emerging issues in HIV treatment; being different in organizational settings; suicide assessment; and other topics. We welcome student suggestions for these sessions.

SWK 450 Field Instruction and Seminar II

This course is a continuation of the Field Instruction and Seminar course sequence.

The primary purpose of this seminar is to provide students with an opportunity to examine, practice, and integrate knowledge that they obtain through their placement experiences, course materials, and personal development in their pursuit to become effective social work professionals. In this seminar students will be expected to take an active role in the learning process by sharing their experiences, raising questions, identifying areas for further exploration, and providing support and encouragement to each other. The course content is introduced in such a way as to allow for an enough flexibility so that it can respond to the unique needs of the students. The two-part format (1) a field practicum, and (2) a field seminar remains the same. 

SWK 475 Senior Seminar: Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice

This writing intensive course fulfills Tier 3: Independent Inquiry of the Liberal Arts Core. 

This course takes a socio-historical perspective in the examination of issues of diversity, human rights, and social justice to create a foundation of understanding of these complex issues and contribute to the student’s development as a culturally competent generalist social work practitioner. This capstone seminar for social work students builds upon the liberal arts foundation and social work knowledge of human behavior, social policy, and quantitative and qualitative inquiry in the examination of issues of diversity, human rights, and social justice. Students will learn a practice framework that integrates a human rights perspective which promotes the dignity, respect, and well-being of all persons with a social justice perspective which seeks to understand, challenge, and combat oppression, unequal access to resources, and social inequities. Students engage in critical self-awareness and apply an integrated practice framework for use with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities that advance human rights and social and economic justice.

ELECTIVES:

SWK 344 Substance Abuse

Covers the causes, medical aspects, family dynamics, cross-cultural issues, and treatment modalities of drug and alcohol abuse. This course is designed with both undergraduate students and human service professionals in mind.

SWK 360 Social Work in Schools with Exceptional Students

This course will present a multi-dimensional and multi-theoretical perspective to provide social work services in a school environment for all students and specifically for those with exceptionalities. To that purpose, this course will cover the historical development of school social work, present policies guiding school environments, laws and policies guiding the services in schools for students with exceptionalities, as well as multi-tiered interventions for all students who need social work services and support. Laws and policies covering 504 accommodation plans for students with medical impairments, school safety, mandated reporting, as well as services to students with special needs and identified for Special Education will also be emphasized. Students will be encouraged to further their knowledge according to their specific interests through class projects.

SWK 365 Understanding Change, Grief and Loss

Issues pertaining to loss and grief are core in nearly every clinical situation that social workers address.  Loss occurs throughout the life cycle. Loss and grief issues include, but are not limited to, dying and bereavement. Issues such as divorce, loss of job, effects of disaster, decline in functional health, acute illness, chronic, and life-threatening diseases are all examples of losses other than death. This course will focus on the experiences of loss, grief, and bereavement as it is viewed by individuals, families, and loved ones. How we cope with grief shapes our lives, challenges our responses to change, and can determine how we form, maintain, and let go of relationships. This course will examine theories on grief and loss across the lifespan. In addition, we will consider how social factors, i.e., culture, ethnicity, race, gender, class, and sexual orientation may impact the grieving process. Further, the role of spirituality and coping will be explored and discussed to increase the clinician's ability to work with this content in therapy. We will look at ethical debates in right-to-die issues as well as social issues about quality of life. In our clinical work with clients, we confront aspects of loss daily. This course will address the role of the therapist and effective use of self with clients and their families in diverse settings and different modalities.

SWK 369 Working with Gambling Problems

This course explores the fundamentals for understanding gambling problems in the U.S. including an overview of the public policies for the treatment and control of gambling, an examination of the epidemiology of gambling across diverse groups, theoretical frameworks for assessing and intervention with problem gambling, and an understanding of the available research.

SWK 465 Understanding Trauma

This is a seminar course designed to provide students with an expanded understanding of Trauma. This course is a mix of guided instruction and independent inquiry. It explores how overwhelming experiences impact the development of the brain, mind, and body. From a historical perspective it examines current research on neuroscience and therapeutic approaches to healing the immense suffering caused by trauma.