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Social Work

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Program Overview

Social work is the helping profession sanctioned by society to ensure the maximum independent social functioning of all people. This purpose of social work practice is achieved in two approaches: first, social workers work toward changing social institutions, organizations, and communities to better meet the needs of people; second, social workers work toward helping people to cope better with life and utilize resources in the social environment. Emphasis on the ethics and values of social work occurs throughout the social work curriculum. Students in the introductory social work course are introduced to the Code of Ethics of National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and adherence to and belief in that Code of Ethics is reinforced in all other social work courses.

The History of the Social Work Program at JSU (pdf)

Program Goals and Education Objectives

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work degree program is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values, and interests to promote human and community well-being through public service and entry-level generalist social work practice. The JSU BSW Program will guide students with a personal and environmental construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry. The JSU BSW Program will instill in students the quest for social and economic justice; the prevention of conditions that limit human rights; the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons. Through partnerships of service and with a central focus of being a regionally responsive, community-based, and practice-centered program guided by social work ethics and values, the program also seeks to provide leadership to social work practice and education in the community, state, region, and the nation.

The purpose of the social work profession is to promote human and community well-being. Social work educators serve their profession through their teaching, scholarship, and service. Social work education, at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels, shapes the profession's future through the education of competent specialists, the generation of knowledge, and the exercise of leadership within the business community.

BSW PROGRAM GOALS

1. Social work graduates will function as competent generalist social work practitioners with diverse client systems and organizations of various sizes and types.

2. Social work graduates will have a professional identity that incorporates the values and ethics of the social work profession.

3. Social work graduates will demonstrate a commitment to continue their own professional growth and development through life-long learning and critical thinking through an educational process which includes a liberal arts perspective and social work education.

4. Social work graduates will practice with knowledge regarding the person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, with a special emphasis on at-risk populations.

5. Social work graduates will pursue a quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons.

6. Social work graduates will develop and use research, knowledge, and skills to apply evidence-based practice interventions and to evaluate their own practice outcomes.

7. Social work graduates will use critical thinking and analysis skills to collect and assess data and evidence to inform practice in order to best meet the needs of the target population.

The following educational competencies are the heart of the BSW curriculum and the specific competencies developed in each course flow from them. The BSW explicit curriculum provides courses in social policy and services; human behavior and the social environment; social work practice; cultural diversity; healthcare; aging; mental health; child welfare, and field instruction. The BSW curriculum prepares graduates for generalist practice through mastery of the core competencies.

BSW Educational Competencies

Competencies are measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills. The explicit curriculum of the BSW Program seeks to develop core competencies in graduates that will make them effective practitioners with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The nine core competencies are listed below, followed by a description of characteristic knowledge, values, skills, and the resulting practice behaviors.

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

  • Practice Behaviors
    • Make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context
    • Use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations
    • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication
    • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes
    • Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

  • Practice Behaviors
    • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
    • Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences
    • Apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies

 Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

  • Practical Behaviors
    • Apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels
    • Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice

Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research
    • Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings
    • Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery

 Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services
    • Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services
    • Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice

 Competency 6:  Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies
    • Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies

 Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies
    • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies
    • Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;
    • Use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes
    • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies
    • Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals

 Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • Practical Behaviors:
    • Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes
    • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes
    • Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes
    • Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels

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