BSW student handbook

 

University of Nevada, Reno Community

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is one of eight institutions within the Nevada System of Higher Education. The University system was established in 1864, the year of the state’s admission into the Union, but because of the state’s small population, it wasn’t able to offer courses until ten years later. The first classes were offered by the University in 1874 in Elko as one of the rare preparatory schools in the intermountain region. In 1885, the University was moved to Reno to be near the center of the state’s population. It has flourished since its first year of formal college-level study in 1887.

A constitutionally established land grant university, UNR emphasizes those programs and activities that best serve the needs of the state, region, and nation. UNR seeks to provide broad access to higher education irrespective of wealth or social status; to educate the professional cadres of an industrial, increasingly urban society; and to strengthen democracy by assuring the welfare and social status of all.

Approximately 21,000 students currently attend UNR. While the majority of students are undergraduates, the University has a sizable graduate student population of approximately 3,100. Students come from all over the state of Nevada to attend UNR. Additionally, UNR’s reputation attracts many students from throughout the United States and the world.
UNR offers 80 bachelor degree programs, 69 master degree programs, 43 doctoral degree programs, and boasts 9 major academic units. UNR is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

UNR’s School of Social Work is housed within the Division of Health Sciences (DHS).
The University of Nevada, Reno is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation in any program or activity it operates.

 

Campus and surrounding area

The University is an integral part of the thriving Reno-Sparks metropolitan area. The 290-acre campus of rolling hills features a blend of ivy-covered buildings, sweeping lawns, and functional, progressive architecture. The campus is located less than one mile from downtown Reno, and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding community and nearby mountains.

Reno is situated prominently in an attractive natural setting. Bounded on the west by the majestic Sierra Nevada range and on the east by the rolling basin range, Reno benefits from a comfortable climate. Marked by generally cool and dry weather, the area is a haven for those who love the four seasons. The area provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, including skiing, hiking, boating, fishing, camping, kayaking, and biking. Additionally, the area attracts nationally renowned performers and offers several museums.

 

Campus resources

This listing is a sample of resources available to students at UNR.

Associated Students of the University of Nevada

The Associated Students of the University of Nevada, (ASUN) is made up of every undergraduate student at the University of Nevada and provides a vehicle, through elected officials, to voice student concerns. (From the ASUN website). 775-784-6589

Campus Escort

Campus escort provides prompt, courteous, safety escorts to the students, faculty and staff of the University of Nevada, Reno. Rides may be requested online or by phone. 775-742-6806

Campus Recreation

Fitness and Recreational Sports provides several options for recreation and fitness. The E.L Wiegand Fitness Center includes more than 108,000 square feet with three basketball gymnasiums, areas for weightlifting, cardio training, mind-body training and an indoor running track. The Lombardi Recreation Center includes a lap pool, dive tank and racquetball courts. Campus Recreation and Wellness also provides students with intramural sporting opportunities, outdoor recreation opportunities, yoga and aerobics classes, and much more. Additionally, Campus Recreation has equipment available for rent. (Adapted from the Campus Recreation website) 775-784-1225

The Center

The Center provides programs and services to support the academic and social success of students through advisement, leadership development, counseling and intercultural programming. The Center houses a conference room and computer lab. Some of the services we offer are: assistance understanding financial aid requirements, collaboration with academic faculty, community outreach, diversity workshops for students, multilingual professional and student staff, small library of culturally relevant resource materials, and student organization development and support. For more information please stop by the Center in the Joe Crowley Student Union. (Taken from the UNR Student Handbook) 775-784-4936

Counseling Services

Counseling Services is the primary counseling office for students at the University of Nevada, Reno. Counselors are either licensed psychologists, social workers, substance abuse counselors, or marriage and family therapists, or trainees under supervision. All counseling sessions are confidential, and counseling records are available only to the student and the counselor. Consultation/Training to faculty on dealing with distressed students is also available. These services are partially supported by a counseling fee paid by students. All information and services are confidential. Counseling services offers: individual and group counseling, consultation and urgent care and testing services. Testing Services schedules and administers those national and institutional tests (GRE Subject tests, LSAT, PRAXIS, Miller Analogies), which are required for admission to undergraduate and graduate programs and professional schools. The office also serves as an intermediate facilitator for other universities to provide special testing arrangements for their students. For more information, visit Counseling Services, located in the Pennington Student Achievement Center, Suite 420 or visit the website listed above. (Taken from the UNR Student Handbook) 775-784-4648

Disability Resource Center

The DRC was created to meet the unique educational needs of Undergraduate and Graduate level students with disabilities. The staff at the DRC is available to provide these students with sensitive and individualized assistance at the student's request. The DRC is dedicated to providing a coordinated program of support services that are not furnished by other university offices or outside organizations. The DRC assists students in negotiating disability related barriers and strives to improve access and opportunity. This enables all levels of students with disabilities to become integrated into campus life, and become more successful undergraduate or graduate students while maximizing their independence. Their services are free of charge. (From the DRC website) 775- 784-6000 (TTD: 327-5131)

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Services administers federal, State and institutional grants, employment, loans, and scholarships. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be submitted each year by February 1 for maximum consideration for all financial aid programs for the next academic year. The annual deadline for scholarships is also February 1. (Taken from the UNR Student Handbook) 775-784-4046

University Libraries

Online collections of magazines, newspapers, journal articles, books, microfilms, video tapes, audio CDs and computer labs are among the many services available at the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center and the four science libraries. Information about library hours is available at any circulation desk, by calling 775-784-4636 or by visiting the University Libraries website. (Taken from the UNR Student Handbook)

Mediation and Student Advocacy Services

Student Advocacy Services provides assistance to students in addressing conflict between faculty, administrators, and other students on campus. The assistance is provided in two ways: 1. through mediation services which provide an impartial third party to promote resolution of the conflict between the two parties; and 2. through student advocacy services in which an administrator assists students in resolving conflicts with university departments, in following the appropriate procedures to handle an appeal or request for special assistance, and in promoting a fair process or resolution on behalf of the student. Students seeking assistance are encouraged to visit with the administrator about the concern and discuss which of the two services best fits their needs. Both mediation and advocacy activities are carried out on a confidential basis for the student. (Taken from the UNR Student Handbook) 775-784-4388

Motorist Assistance Program

If you accidentally lock your keys in your car, or find that the car has a dead battery, a tire is flat or that the car has no gas the Parking and Transportation Services Department will do its best to help you. There is no charge for their services. 775-784-4654

Office of International Students & Scholars

The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) provides the following assistance to International Students: Admission to UNR; transition into living in the United States; understanding policies, procedures, and regulation relating to visa status; understanding university policies, procedures, and resources; understanding federal laws which relate to international students; and intercultural training and understanding. (Adapted from the OISS website) 775-784-6874

Office of the Associate Vice President for Student Success Services

Student Academic Support Services offers a variety of programs to assist students to succeed academically. Tutoring Center, Counseling Services, Trio scholars, McNair Scholars, The Center For Student Cultural Diversity, Tutoring Center, Upward Bound. 775-784-6307

Student Health Center

The Student Health Center provides services for students, faculty and staff at UNR, TMCC, and WNCC. The center offers special healthcare for men and women, sports medicine for amateur athletes, dermatology services, psychological and counseling services. (From the Student Health Center website) 775-784-6598

Transfer Center

The Transfer Center is a centralized resource for prospective transfer students needing information on admissions procedures, bachelor degree requirements, transferability of course work and system transfer agreements. Currently enrolled undergraduates with transfer work may also contact the center with questions concerning their Transfer Credit Evaluation or Request for Core Curriculum Review of Additional Transfer Courses. 775-784-4700

 

Introduction to Social Work

Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people’s lives. Social workers enhance the fit between people’s needs and capabilities and the demands and resources of their environments. A variety of strategies are used to accomplish this goal. Social workers assist people in dealing with their relationships and solving personal and family problems. Social workers help clients identify their strengths and concerns, consider effective solutions, and find reliable resources. Social workers typically consult and counsel clients and link them with needed services. Often, they refer clients to specialists in services such as debt counseling, elder care, public assistance, or alcohol or drug rehabilitation. Social workers may review eligibility requirements, help fill out forms and applications, visit clients on a regular basis, and provide support during crises. Finally, social workers, through community organizing, program development, and political advocacy, strive to enhance environments to be socially and economically just for all people.

Social work demands a great deal from its practitioners. Social workers must be mature, emotionally healthy, and capable of coping with job-related stress. Social workers must be able to handle responsibility, work independently, and maintain good working relationships with clients and coworkers. Also required is a high level of skill in communication (i.e., reading, writing, and speaking). People who are conscientious, empathetic, caring, dedicated, and passionate will do well within the profession.

*Taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers

For sheer variety, few occupations can match social work, which offers the broadest range of opportunities and settings. Social workers are found in public agencies, private businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, private practices, police departments, courts, and countless other interesting workplaces.

Traditionally, social workers have been strongly represented in the following:

  • Aging/Gerontology - Child welfare
  • Family services - Homeless services
  • Healthcare - Mental health
  • Public welfare - Schools
  • Disabilities programs - Corrections
  • Employee assistance - Private practice
  • Community organization - Politics
  • Administration - Research

Employment outlook

In 2016 there were approximately 747,000 social work jobs in the United States. About 9 out of 10 jobs were in health care and social assistance industries, as well as State and local government, primarily in departments of health and human services, mental health, social services, child welfare, housing, education, and corrections. Most private-sector jobs were in social service agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and other health centers or clinics.

Overall employment of social workers is expected to increase by 12 percent during the 2014-2024 decade, faster than the average for all occupations. Especially rapid growth in job opportunities for gerontological social workers is expected due to the growing elderly population and the aging baby boom generation. Employment opportunities for mental health and substance abuse social workers are expected to grow by 19 percent over the next decade. Competition for social work jobs is stronger in cities where demand for services often is highest, training programs for social workers are prevalent, and interest in available positions is strongest. In addition, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment program staffed by social workers, rather than being sent to jail. Opportunities should be good in rural areas, which often find it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2015).

Social Work salaries

Nationally, the median salary for an entry-level social worker is $46,900 in May 2016, depending on the type of work, experience required and geographic factors. Social workers with supervisory experience, many years of experience, and/or MSW degrees earn average salaries over $60,000. The average mean wage for social workers in the State of Nevada is $49,000 annually. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015).

The program of social work education provided by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Work is accredited at the baccalaureate and master’s levels by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This indicates to the public and to potential employers that UNR graduates meet the high professional standards established by CSWE in its Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). Please refer to CSWE’s website for a complete list of Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. UNR’s BSW Social Work program was among the first group of undergraduate social work programs to be accredited by the Council in 1974.

Educational requirements

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common minimum educational requirement to qualify for a job as a social worker. While educational opportunities and foci are shaped by regional contexts, national accrediting standards issued by the Council on Social Work Education ensure that graduates of BSW programs nationwide are competent in the same generalist practice behaviors. The bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for generalist practice, whereas the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree prepares recipients for more advanced practice.

Professional licensure

Many social service positions within Nevada and throughout the United States require a social work license. Licensure establishes and enforces professional standards for social work practice. It helps to ensure that clients of social workers receive competent and ethical care. Each state has its own licensing body, with distinct rules and regulations governing the issuing of licenses. Within the Nevada, the Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Work issues social work licenses.

Within Nevada, there are three separate licenses. Graduates from the BSW program are eligible for the LSW (Licensed Social Worker). This license is required for all positions in the State of Nevada with the job title of “social worker.” Additionally, the State of Nevada provides two licenses for advanced social work practice. Both of these licenses require an MSW degree and post-MSW supervised practice experience.

Applicants eligible for the LSW may take the licensing exam when enrolled in the last semester of their social work degree program; however, a license cannot be issued before official transcripts are received. Students should be aware that the examination and licensing process may take several weeks/months to complete. If you need a license application or information related to social work licensing or social work practice, please contact:

State of Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers
4600 Kietzke Lane, C-121
Reno, Nevada 89502
775-688-2555

Continuing education

After receiving a BSW degree, many social workers eventually decide to continue their education in an MSW program. Although most MSW degrees require the equivalent of two full-time years of study, some graduate programs provide an accelerated course of study for applicants who have a BSW. Accelerated courses of study are generally referred to as “advanced standing” programs and can typically be completed within one year. At UNR, students who are accepted into an advanced standing program bypass the foundation content of the MSW program and move directly into the concentration curriculum.

In Nevada, there is a second post-MSW license that enables social workers to practice independently. Social workers who obtain an LISW (Licensed Independent Social Worker) can provide referrals and support, but not clinical services, to clients and families. For example, a social worker with an LISW might assist clients who are caring for aging parents to improve their level of coping and well-being. Each of these licenses (LISW and LCSW) requires completion of 3,000 supervised postgraduate social work hours and a satisfactory score on an exam.

Please visit the Board of Examiners for Social Workers website for additional information about social work licensure requirements in Nevada.

Resources

For information about career opportunities in social work and voluntary credentials for social workers, contact:

For a listing of accredited social work programs or to order a Directory of Colleges and Universities with Accredited Social Work Degree Programs for a nominal charge, contact:

Information on licensing requirements and testing procedures for each State may be obtained from State licensing authorities, or from:

 

BSW Program - Generalist Practice

The School’s focus on the development and delivering of evidence-informed practices, programs & policies underscores the importance of preparing BSW graduates who are able to draw upon a wide array of intervention strategies based on empirical, theoretical, and experiential knowledge. In so doing, it echoes the profession’s attention to knowledge based on scientific inquiry. In addition, the School’s emphasis on recognizing strengths, honoring diversity, and challenging injustices with an eye toward the unique characteristics of Nevada in the context of a global society, reflects the importance the profession places on critically understanding the historical, cultural, economic, political and social contexts that inform social work practice, policy & research.

  • School of Social Work Mission
    The mission of the UNR School of Social Work is to eradicate injustice and promote human dignity, health and well-being. We strive to achieve this mission through teaching, research, engagement & advocacy.
  • BSW Program Mission
    The mission of the BSW Program is to educate competent generalist social workers who challenge injustice and who are able to effectively and compassionately intervene at all system levels with diverse client groups.

Flowing from the mission of the School, the mission of the BSW program is to prepare competent generalist social workers who challenge injustice and who are able to effectively and compassionately intervene with diverse individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. Underpinning this mission statement is a definition of generalist practice that is grounded in the liberal arts and the person-in-environment perspective, as well as the purpose and values of the profession. Accordingly, effective, compassionate generalist social workers are viewed as competently using a range of prevention and intervention strategies to enhance social functioning at all system levels. They are guided by a deep understanding of human behavior and the environments within which people live. They identify as professionals who act with integrity and intervene within the scope of practice for which they have been trained. They believe in the dignity and worth of each person and intentionally help clients identify their unique capacities and strengths. They recognize the important role relationship plays in fostering client development and change. Ethical principles, evidence, and critical thinking guide their interventions. They confront unjust practices, protocols and circumstances, promote human rights, and participate in social and political actions that eliminate oppressive conditions such as poverty. Importantly, generalist practice is also viewed as encompassing the nine core social work competencies and their associated practice behaviors (EPAS, 2015). By conceptualizing generalist practice in these ways, the BSW program’s mission is consistent with the profession’s purpose to promote individual and community well-being, through the pursuit of justice, human rights, the elimination of poverty, and enhanced quality of life. It likewise resonates with the profession’s core values of service, integrity, dignity & respect, social justice, competence, human rights, relationship, and scientific inquiry.

Program Goals

The goals of the BSW program flow from the School and BSW program missions and reflect the profession’s core competencies as articulated by CSWE (EPAS, 2015). The goals guiding the BSW Program are to prepare entry-level social work practitioners who:

  1. Challenge social and economic injustice and promote social well-being and human rights;
  2. Integrate social work values and ethics into all professional endeavors
  3. Critically utilize research to inform assessments, prevention strategies and interventions;
  4. Critically apply knowledge of cultural, organizational, community, spiritual, social, psychological, and biological functioning as well as strengths, resiliency and systems of oppression to understand and assess client systems;
  5. Conduct themselves as professionals, able to communicate effectively, reflect upon practice, and engage in continuous learning; and
  6. Effectively apply the planned changed process in interventions with diverse client systems (individuals, couples, families, groups, communities, organizations, policy-making bodies and society).

BSW Program competencies

In accordance with the School of Social Work’s mission, the BSW Program seeks to facilitate the development of competent generalist social workers. Upon completion of the BSW degree at UNR, students should meet each of the following nine competencies outlined by the Council on Social Work Education.

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Please see Appendix B: Program Competencies and Associated Practice Behaviors for a complete list.

Admissions

Students may declare the social work major after completing 30 credits with a GPA of 2.5 or higher and SW 101 with a letter grade of “C” or higher. To declare the social work major, students must bring a completed change of major form and a copy of their most recent Academic Advising Report to the School of Social Work. Prior to declaring the social work major, students interested in the major are encouraged to declare pre-major status in social work.

Social work students may apply to the professional sequence mid-way through their junior year. The professional sequence encompasses a series of classes tied to a 450-hour internship in a social service agency. These classes in conjunction with the internship are designed to provide the professional socialization, knowledge, values, and skills needed for entry-level social work practice. An emphasis on professional practice distinguishes the professional sequence from the other required and elective social work classes. Students entering the professional sequence are expected to be ready to engage with clients, to practice within the boundaries and scope of the profession and to behave in manners congruent with the profession’s values and ethics.

While this sequence of classes and internship may be completed in one full-time or two part-time academic years, it is designed to be a culminating experience during the student’s senior year. Students who meet the following requirements may apply for admission to the professional sequence.

Declaration as a social work major

  1. Completion of all of the University and Departmental Core (excluding capstones)
  2. Completion of 84 credits or more at the conclusion of the spring semester
  3. A GPA of 2.5 overall (or in the last 30 credits). Faculty may occasionally consider an exception for students who do not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement but who, in the professional judgment of the faculty, demonstrate a strong commitment to and potential for the social work profession as evidenced by extraordinary achievements and leadership
  4. Completion of SW 101, SW 250, SW 310, SW 321 with a grade of “C” or higher

Admission to the professional sequence is competitive and selective. To apply to the professional sequence, students must complete an application packet. These packets will be evaluated by the School of Social Work’s Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the professional potential of each applicant to ensure that each student accepted into the professional sequence is prepared to enter field. Application materials as well as the applicants’ performance and interactions within social work classes will be considered. Students interested in applying to the professional sequence who meet the aforementioned requirements should submit the following materials to the School of Social Work by January 15.

  1. Completed application (available online)
  2. Four essays (the topics of which are on the application)
  3. Two letters of recommendation (BSW recommendation form available online)
  4. Most recent Academic Advising Report

Application packets are reviewed by the Faculty Admissions Committee, and admissions decisions are finalized during the spring semester. Students who are accepted into the professional sequence may begin taking required 400-level social work courses. Admission materials are available online at the School of Social Work website.

 

Scholarships and financial aid information

You will find information on the School of Social Work scholarships available for students listed below and in the social work scholarships section of the website. For more information on general university scholarships/financial aid please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships.

  • Barbara West Larsen Scholarship
  • Heather Morsberger Memorial Scholarship
  • John and Louise Semenza Family
  • Kris Tower Memorial Scholarship
  • National Association of Social Workers Scholarship
  • School of Social Work Diversity Scholarship

Note: To apply for Social Work specific scholarships students must complete the School of Social Work Scholarship Application indicating scholarship(s) of interest to you. Along with the one-page essay response, include a brief description of relevant activities, employment, and career plans. Each scholarship has slightly different requirements, so be sure to read the description carefully. All applications and letters of interest should be turned in to the School of Social Work Office, AB 523, no later than January 15th.

 

Advisement

The School of Social Work provides advising for all pre-major and major social work students. It is very important that social work pre-majors or students in the pre-professional sequence contact the School of Social Work’s student advisor (784-6542) once each semester. During these meetings, the advisor and student typically review the student’s academic work, discuss areas of weakness and strengths (e.g., writing skills), explore volunteer experiences, field practicum interests, graduation requirements, and scholarships, as well as employment and career opportunities. Beyond this, students are encouraged to see their advisors when academic guidance or support is needed.

Advisement should be viewed as a collaborative process between the advisor and the student. Ultimately, however, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that he or she is progressing satisfactorily towards completion of the BSW degree. Students can enhance their advisement experience by following the suggestions listed below.

Advisement tips

  • Make an appointment with the academic advisor prior to your registration date. Class schedules are typically released in November for the upcoming spring semester and in April for the upcoming fall semester.
  • Prepare a list of questions before meeting with your advisor. This will help ensure that you have the answers you need when you leave.
  • Don’t go to your advisor unprepared. You should have an idea of which classes you would like to take for the upcoming semester.
  • Remember to bring a current copy of your UNR Academic Advisement Report (AAR).
  • Bring a completed BSW Curriculum Plan (Appendix A) to the appointment. The BSW Curriculum. 
  • Plan form can be downloaded from our School of Social Work website.
    Complete a BSW Advising Worksheet (Appendices C & D) during your initial visit with your advisor.
  • Remember to bring a copy of the worksheet during subsequent advising sessions.
  • Be on time for your appointment. If something comes up and you will not be able to attend your advising appointment, call to reschedule.
  • Be sure to register on your assigned date and time for each semester. Remember that the longer you wait to register, the higher the risk that the courses you need will be full.
  • Pay your fees on time. If you do not pay your fees by the due date, you will be dropped from your courses.

If you have any questions or concerns about anything related to school we encourage you to talk to your faculty advisor. Resources may exist which may not be familiar to you. You will find a list of commonly used campus services at the end of this handbook.

Graduation

Requirements for graduation with a BSW degree include completion of at least 120 credits with an overall grade-point average of 2.0 or higher and completion of all required social work courses (including the 6 credits in social work electives) with a “C” grade or higher in each course. (Please note that a grade of “B” or higher in all undergraduate social work classes is required for admission to the MSW Program.) Prior to the semester during which students are planning to graduate, they must complete an application for graduation with the university. Students should login to MyNevada and click on the MyAcademics link near the top left of the page and then click on Apply for Graduation with the MyDegree/Progress/Graduation category.

UNR/Great Basin College 3 + 1 Collaborative BSW Program

In collaboration with Great Basin College (GBC), the UNR School of Social Work has developed a 3 + 1 program for students interested in pursuing a BSW degree who reside in rural Nevada. Through this program, students complete the equivalent of the first three years of academic study at GBC and their final year as social work majors at UNR. Students in this program complete must of the University and Departmental core through GBC. After being accepted to UNR and the professional sequence of the BSW major, students complete their final coursework through UNR (no less than 30 upper division credits). Social work major courses will be delivered to students in the GBC service region through a variety of distance education modalities.

Students who are interested in the UNR/GBC 3 + 1 Collaborative BSW Program should follow the same sequencing of courses as do pre-major students enrolled at UNR. Please refer to the BSW Curriculum Plan and the Transfer Agreement; University of Nevada, Reno and Great Basin College Bachelor of Social.

Students attending GBC may obtain academic advising from the Great Basin College Admission & Career Center or through emailing the School of Social Work. Students who participate in the UNR/GBC 3 + 1 program are considered valuable members of the School of Social Work community. As such, all UNR/GBC 3 + 1 social work pre-majors and majors are encouraged to participate in the Undergraduate Student Social Work Association (USSWA). Students who are interested in participating in USSWA should contact Brenda Silva at the email address noted above.

Student opportunities

There are numerous local social work organizations in which students are encouraged to become involved. These organizations include but certainly are not limited to, the Undergraduate Student Social Work Association, (USSWA), Phi Alpha Honor Society, FUSED, The UNR School of Social Work Alumni Chapter, Social Work Student Advisory Council, and the Nevada Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Each of these organizations is discussed briefly below.

The Undergraduate Student Social Work Association

The Undergraduate Student Social Work Association (USSWA) serves as the principle student group for undergraduates within the School of Social Work. As such, the USSWA performs an important function in promoting student input into curriculum and program issues. The USSWA elects a student representative to attend School Meetings. Within this forum, their representative shares information, initiates discussion of student concerns and takes policy and curriculum decisions back to the students for consideration and feedback. The purpose of USSWA is to serve and help undergraduate social work students by: 1) promoting information exchange; 2) fostering student-faculty interactions; and, 3) providing another means through which students can give input on curriculum and other programmatic issues.

Why join USSWA?

  1. It’s a great way to network with other social work students.
  2. The group often has guest speakers at meetings to address topics of interest, like preparing for licensure or applying for graduate school.
  3. It’s a way of joining with other students in planning activities that help people in our community.
  4. It provides students a formal voice within the School of Social Work.
  5. It’s an avenue for staying informed about School events, programs, and activities.

Any student who is either a social work major or pre-major at the University of Nevada, Reno, or who expresses an interest in the goals, values and activities of social work, is eligible for membership. The cost to join is $5.00 per semester (scholarships can be awarded based on financial need).

USSWA holds regular meetings for which dates and times are posted on the bulletin board outside the School of Social Work office, located on the fifth floor of the Ansari Business Building. There is also a suggestion envelope on this board to facilitate communication between students, the Association, and faculty.

Phi Alpha Honor Society

The UNR Chapter of Phi Alpha Honor Society was founded in 2002. Phi Alpha is a national honor society for social work students, with chapters at universities throughout the United States. The purposes of Phi Alpha are:

  1. To recognize and promote scholastic achievement.
  2. To recognize, improve and further the goals of social work in the community, state, nation, and world.
  3. To promote interest in preparation for a career in social work.
  4. To encourage continued study and research.
  5. To recognize professional social workers and others whose service, contributions, and leadership are held in esteem.

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for membership in Phi Alpha.

  1. Acceptance into the social work major
  2. An overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. A 3.25 grade point average in social work courses

Students are invited to submit their UNR transcripts to the faculty advisor by the first week of spring semester for consideration for induction into Phi Alpha. Students who are deemed eligible for membership are inducted into the organization at the end of spring semester and are given certificates acknowledging their membership. The cost for membership is $25 for the first year and $10 for each subsequent year.

Social Work Student Advisory Council

The Social Work Student Advisory Committee serves to honor the voices of all students to bridge the connection between the students, faculty, and our Dean to assist in further developing our school. The committee members will act as a voice for their fellow students. Working with the Dean, they will identify areas of improvement within the School of Social Work and collaborate to identify and apply solutions. Please email the Student Advisory Council for more information.

FUSED

FUSED is comprised of students who want to actively participate in social change. It is a non-partisan group that focuses its efforts on educating people on the impact they have in our political system. FUSED is open to all majors and graduate students in good standing.

Social Work Alumni Chapter

The Social Work Alumni Association offers graduates the opportunity to give back to, maintain connections and identify more closely with the School and University. Additionally, the Social Work Alumni Association provides a forum for alumni to network with professionals and advance the common goals of the profession. The mission of the Association is to unite graduates, faculty, and students of the UNR School of Social Work to maximize impact on social welfare policy, identify community needs, strengthen the community, and provide opportunities for continuing education and collaborative research. Students or graduates who are interested in joining the Social Work Alumni Association should call the School of Social Work at (775) 784-6542 or email SSWAC.

National Association of Social Workers, Nevada Chapter

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is a national organization that supports high standards of social work practice with over 150,000 members from 56 chapters in the United States and abroad. The organization offers a number of benefits to its members including:

  • Publications, conferences, and workshops
  • Professional standards
  • Professional action
  • Membership services, including group insurance, professional liability insurance, job postings, and travel services

Students enrolled in an accredited program of social work education are eligible to join NASW at a discounted rate. If you are interested in NASW, contact the Nevada Chapter offices.

NASW Nevada Chapter
8867 W. Flamingo Road, Suite 202 Las Vegas, NV 89147
Phone: 702-791-5872
Fax: 702-968-0863
NASW Nevada Chapter email
NASW Nevada Chapter website

 

Curriculum

The BSW curriculum is a coherent sequence of coursework that builds upon a liberal arts foundation. This foundation includes the mandatory University Core Requirements as well as the Departmental Core Requirements. These courses provide the theoretical knowledge upon which social work students will draw in their major courses.

The social work curriculum itself is divided into two sequences: the pre-professional sequence and the professional sequence. The pre-professional sequence is comprised of those classes that may be taken prior to application to the professional sequence and field. These courses are designed to provide introductory knowledge, skills and values necessary for later practice as well as to provide students an opportunity to explore the social work major prior to applying to the professional sequence. The professional sequence includes classes conceptually and practically tied to the field practicum. These courses provide instruction in practice and research methods. Due to the direct linkage to field practicum, students must apply and be accepted into the professional sequence prior to enrolling in these classes.

Social work courses are designed to complement and build upon one another and therefore cannot be taken out of sequence. For example, SW 420 provides students with foundation practice skills for working with individuals. Students must therefore take SW 420 concurrent with their field placement (SW 480) so that they have the opportunity to implement and practice these skills and knowledge in their work with clients. For a complete listing of social work courses and their prerequisites, please refer to Appendix F and G.

As is noted in above, students must complete 120 credits in order to graduate. Approximately 15 of those credits are free electives, meaning that students may take classes of their choice. Although social work majors are not required to have a minor, they are encouraged to talk with their faculty advisor regarding the wisdom of applying these free credits to a minor that reflects their career interests (i.e., gerontology, addictions training, women’s studies, and so forth).

It is the policy of the School of Social Work to grant credit for social work undergraduate courses successfully completed at other CSWE accredited institutions providing those courses have been approved for transferability by the University’s Transfer Center and are found to cover content that is comparable to that covered within a course, or courses, at UNR. A request to substitute transfer credits for a course required as part of UNR’s BSW program is initiated by the student by completing a Curriculum Change Form. Students must submit course documentation (i.e., course syllabi, bibliography, and assignments) for each course for which transfer credit is sought. Completed curriculum change forms are reviewed first by the students’ faculty advisor and, if approved, forwarded to the BSW Program Coordinator for review. Upon receiving approval, the student submits a Request for Substitution/Waiver of College and Major Requirements Form with the office of Admissions and Records.

UNR allows a maximum of 60 approved transfer credits from two-year institutions to be applied toward an undergraduate degree; and a maximum of 90 approved transfer credits from four year institutions to be applied toward an undergraduate degree. UNR has written transfer agreements with area colleges and universities in which transfer policies are clearly described and can be accessed at the Transfer to Nevada website.

University core

Course - credits

English 101 (CO1) - 3
English 102 (CO3) - 3
Mathematics (CO2) - 3-5
Natural Sciences (CO4 & 4L) 
1. Biology - 3
2. Natural Sciences - 3
Fine Arts (CO7) - 3
Social Sciences (CO6) 
1. Sociology - 3
Core Humanities 201, 202, or 212 (CO5) - 3
Core Humanities 203 (CO8) - 3
Capstone Integration & Synthesis Course (CO13) 3

Total credits: 30

Departmental core

Course - credits

Anthropology 101 - 3
Biology 100 - *
Sociology 101 - *
Economics 100 or 102 (CO6, CO12) - 3
Psychology 101 (CO6) - 3
Pyschology 441 - 3
COM 101 - 3
Core Humanities 203 - *
CAS 154 - 3
HDFS 201 or Pyschology 105 - 3
Philosophy 102 - 3
Diversity outside of SW (CO10) - 6

Total credits: 30

Social Work courses

Course - credits

SW 101 - 3
SW 250 - 3
SW 310 - 3
SW 311 - 3
SW 321 - 3
SW 351 - 3
SW 420 - 3
SW 421 
SW 424 - 3
SW 427 - 3
SW 440 - 3
SW 441 - 3
SW 480 - 6
SW 481 - 6
SW Electives - 6

Total credits: 51

* These course credits are already included in the credit total for the University Core

Students must complete 120 credits to graduate

Social Work Field Practicum

The social work field practicum is completed during the student's senior year (90 or more credits completed) and after being admitted into the professional sequence. The field practicum provides the opportunity for students to apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom in an actual social work practice setting.

The field practicum consists of two 6 credit courses (SW 480 and SW 481) for a total of 12 semester credits. Each course entails completion of a minimum of 225 agency/community based clock hours. SW 480 and SW 481 also involve student attendance at a weekly integrative seminar with their faculty field liaison.

Students will work directly with the School of Social Work Field Education Program Coordinator to determine field placement. Please visit the Field Practicum Program website for all practicum related instructions, manuals and forms. Students are not permitted to contact agencies directly to discuss field practicum. Please refer to the BSW Field Education Program Manual for details regarding the placement process.

 

School of Social Work policies

Given the centrality of professionalism to the practice of social work, the School of Social Work believes that professional integrity and behavior should begin as early as the first social work course. Due to the emphasis placed upon professional integrity and behavior, the School has established a set of policies that govern academic performance. These policies are uniform across programs and sequences. Underlying all of these policies are standards for behaviors that either guide conduct at UNR or guide the practice of social work. Students should be familiar with the following standards:

CSWE’s core competencies and practice behaviors

Life Experience

In accordance with CSWE accreditation standards, academic credit for life experience and previous work experience is not given under any circumstance.

Academic integrity

The School of Social Work adheres to the University of Nevada, Reno Academic Standards Policy for Students concerning issues of academic integrity. Please see the UNR website for a complete description, definitions and policies regarding class conduct and academic dishonesty.

Accommodation for students with disabilities

Students who require additional support due to disabling conditions should discuss their needs with their instructors at the start of each semester. Accommodations for all reasonable requests will be made for documented disabling conditions. In addition, students are encouraged to contact the University Disability Resource Center at (775) 784-6000 to access a range of supportive services.

Attendance policy

The faculty of the School of Social Work believes that classroom attendance and participation are critical aspects of professional socialization. Students are responsible for assisting in the creation of a learning environment that promotes such socialization. To do so, students should assume responsibility for their own learning and be engaged within the course room. It is expected for students to log into the online classroom a minimum of three times a week to be successfully engaged. Attendance and participation will be part of grading, as determined by the course instructor. Opportunities for make-up assignments are determined at the discretion of individual instructors.

Confidentiality of case material outside of an agency

NASW Code of Ethics requirements regarding confidentiality of client information extend to the use of confidential information from field work in classes, seminars and in student assignments. Students may not divulge client, collateral or collegial information, disguising all names, demographic information and any case details that might identify a client or co-worker. Client files and records should never be removed from the agency for any purpose.

Nondiscrimination policy

The programs of the UNR School of Social Work are conducted without discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political orientation, or sexual orientation. This policy applies to the baccalaureate and master’s programs, the field education program, and all admission, employment, and financial aid decisions.

Retention

In its description of the Social Work major, the University of Nevada, Reno catalog states that:

“The admission and retention of students in the program is subject to the professional judgment of the social work faculty.”

Retention in the MSW Program at UNR is based on student performance in two general areas: academics and adherence to professional values and standards of behavior. Retention in the social work major requires students and maintain a 3.0 (B) overall grade point average—with a letter grade of “C” or higher in each of the graduate course, including the required 3 credits of electives. Additionally, students must adhere to the academic and professional standards outlined in the University's Student Handbook for Student Code of Conduct, the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, and the State Board of Examiners for Social Workers Standards of Practice.

Remediation and termination policy

The School of Social Work encourages students, staff, faculty, field instructors, and faculty liaisons to deal directly with concerns as they arise. The Remediation and Termination policy is applied when previous attempts to address an issue have not been successful. Concerns may include, but are not limited to, academic integrity, academic achievement (including field practicum achievement), and/or student conduct. As discussed below, the policy is applied in two phases. The first phase explores the situation further, while the second phase sets out to resolve the situation.

Exceptions to the procedures described below are allowed in cases where students have engaged in particularly egregious conduct, for example ethical or legal misconduct, actual or threatened physical or verbal aggression, academic dishonesty, or refusal to implement the recommended Action Plan. In such instances, the Remediation Committee may refer the student directly to the appropriate administrative, medical, and/or legal authorities.

Concerns are addressed according to two categories:

Low-Level Concerns include but are not limited to behaviors in which there is:

  • No evidence of harm or risk of harm to self or others, agency or university
  • A specific identifiable problem area
  • Demonstrated student awareness, initiative, and ability to resolve the issue
  • Evidence that the impact is limited to the student directly involved in the issue

High-Level Concerns include, but are not limited to, behaviors in which there is/are:

  • Evidence of harm or risk of harm to self, others, agency or university
  • Direct violation of UNR Student Code of Conduct, NASW Code of Ethics, agency policies or standards, other relevant policies governing social work practice
  • Failure to demonstrate minimal level of competency on one or more of the CSWE and/or
  • AGP identified practice behaviors
  • Diffuse concerns and which affect multiple aspects of the learning environment
  • Concern regarding how the student’s behavior negatively impacts the learning environment for others
  • Concern for a student already on remediation status- who failed to successfully remediate through his/her Action Plan
  • Situations where additional performance concerns arise for a student currently or previously on remediation status

The following steps are employed to understand the situation further:

Phase One - Problem exploration and clarification

  1. The Remediation Committee is convened specific to the student concern. The committee is convened by the BSW, MSW or Field Program Coordinator and includes the faculty member involved, the student’s advisor(s), and any other University professional deemed appropriate given the nature of the concern;
  2. The Remediation Committee identifies the relevant social work competency(ies) and associated practice behavior(s) that are not being demonstrated, and/or the professional ethical standard(s), agency standards/policies (i.e. HIPAA) and/or University standards for student conduct that are in question;
  3. Student is notified of the concern(s) and Remediation Committee’s assessment within 2 working days of the committee meeting and is invited to meet with the committee;
  4. Student meets with members of the Remediation Committee to discuss the concern; and
  5. Remediation committee determines:
    1. No concern present, no further action needed; or
    2. Level of concern is identified and student is placed on remediation status by Remediation Committee (proceed to Phase Two of the policy).

Should the student not agree with the Remediation Committee’s assessment of the concern, they may grieve the decision (see grievance procedure).

Phase Two - Remediation

Once the situation and concerns have been identified, the remediation committee will work with the student through a series of decision points. 

*An executive session is a closed meeting of the faculty of the whole in which student performance issues and/or progress are addressed.

Foundation competencies & associated practice behaviors

Competency 1: Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior

Social workers understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that may impact practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Social workers understand frameworks of ethical decision-making and how to apply principles of critical thinking to those frameworks in practice, research, and policy arenas. Social workers recognize personal values and the distinction between personal and professional values. They also understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional judgment and behavior. Social workers understand the profession’s history, its mission, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Social Workers also understand the role of other professions when engaged in inter-professional teams. Social workers recognize the importance of life-long learning and are committed to continually updating their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Social workers also understand emerging forms of technology and the ethical use of technology in social work practice.

Foundation 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

Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not limited to age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. Social workers understand that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers also understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power.

Foundation 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

Social workers understand that every person regardless of position in society has fundamental human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations, and are knowledgeable about theories of human need and social justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice and human rights. Social workers understand strategies designed to eliminate oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods, rights, and responsibilities are distributed equitably and that civil, political, environmental, economic, social, and cultural human rights are protected.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand quantitative and qualitative research methods and their respective roles in advancing a science of social work and in evaluating their practice. Social workers know the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and culturally informed and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers understand that evidence that informs practice derives from multi- disciplinary sources and multiple ways of knowing. They also understand the processes for translating research findings into effective practice.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policy and its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Social workers understand the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers understand their role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Social workers recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand that engagement is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers value the importance of human relationships. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to facilitate engagement with clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand strategies to engage diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand that assessment is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in the assessment of diverse clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand methods of assessment with diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Social workers recognize the implications of the larger practice context in the assessment process and value the importance of inter-professional collaboration in this process. Social workers understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions may affect their assessment and decision-making.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand that intervention is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are knowledgeable about evidence-informed interventions to achieve the goals of clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to effectively intervene with clients and constituencies. Social workers understand methods of identifying, analyzing and implementing evidence-informed interventions to achieve client and constituency goals. Social workers value the importance of interprofessional teamwork and communication in interventions, recognizing that beneficial outcomes may require interdisciplinary, interprofessional, and inter-organizational collaboration.

Foundation practice 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

Social workers understand that evaluation is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers recognize the importance of evaluating processes and outcomes to advance practice, policy, and service delivery effectiveness. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in evaluating outcomes. Social workers understand qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating outcomes and practice effectiveness.

Foundation practice 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.
Model sequence of courses for social work majors
Year Fall semester Credits Spring semester Credits
First year (Freshman: <30 credits)

ENGL 101
CAS 154
CORE: Fine Arts
CORE: Math
SW 101

15 ENGL 102
BIOL 100
PSY 101
PHIL 102
SOC 101
15
Second year (Sophomore 29-59 credits) ANTH 101
CH 201, 202 OR 212
CORE: Nat. Sci. (Group A or B)
COM 101
SW 250
15 CH 203
ECON 100 or 102
HDFS 201 or PSY 105
PSY 441
GENERAL ELECTIVE (3 credits)
15
Third year (Junior 60-89 credits) SW 310
SW 321
Diversity (outside SW)
SW Elective
GENERAL ELECTIVE (3 credits)
15 SW 311
SW 351
SW Elective
Core Capstone
Diversity
15
Fourth year (Senior >90 credits) SW 420
SW 424
SW 440
SW 480
15 SW 421
SW 427
SW 441
SW 481

Social work course descriptions

SW 101 Introduction to Social Work (3+0) 3 credits.

This course is designed to introduce students to the profession of social work. The course includes a historical overview of social welfare and its institutions and the coinciding evolution of professional social work. The course acquaints students with the history, philosophy, values, and knowledge base of the social work profession. The course emphasizes human diversity, generalist interventions, and fields of practice.

SW 250 Social Welfare History and Policy (3+0) 3 credits.

This course explores the historical development of the social work profession and current policies governing the social service delivery system within the United States. Social policy is presented as a social construction influenced by a range of ideologies and interests. Special attention is paid to social welfare policy and programs relevant to the practice of social work, including poverty, child and family well-being, mental and physical disability, health, and racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities. The course includes a focus on the role of policy in creating, maintaining or eradicating social inequities. Prerequisites: SW 101

SW 310 HBSE I Structural Factors and Macro Systems (3+0) 3 credits.

This is the first course in a two course sequence that promotes a multidimensional understanding of human functioning and behavior across systems and the life course. This course specifically examines human behavior manifested in larger systems as well as the reciprocal relationship between individual functioning and social institutions. In particular, the course orients students to social work perspectives that view human behavior as being influenced and impinged upon by environmental forces. The course advances students’ ability to critically examine the role of power, privilege and oppression in shaping life experiences.

Prerequisites: SW 101, SW 250, Anth 101, Psy 101, Soc 101, Biol 100, Econ 100, 102, or 103, and CH 203.

SW 311 HBSE II Micro and Mezzo Systems (3+0) 3 credits.

This is the second course in a two-course sequence that promotes a multidimensional understanding of human functioning and behavior across systems and the life course. This course specifically examines human behavior and functioning among individuals and families. In particular, the course emphasizes an evidence-informed approach to assessing human functioning. The course advances students’ ability to critically apply a range of theories and research to better understand and assess human behavior and development.

Prerequisite: SW 310.

SW 321 Basics of Professional Communication (2+3) 3 Credits.

This course focuses on the development of basic communication and observational skills needed for subsequent social work methods courses. Communication topics to be addressed include: active listening, questioning, empathetic responding, paraphrasing, summarizing, persuasive writing, and non-verbal communication. Emphasis will be placed on developing observation and communication skills that capture events in ways that are descriptive, accurate, and unbiased. Given the importance of nonjudgmental and unbiased communication to rapport, the course will examine the role of power differentials, gender, culture, class, context, and ethnicity/race on professional communication.

Prerequisites: SW 101, SW 250, Eng 101, Eng 102, Psy 101, and Soc 101.

SW 351 The Global Context of Social Work (3+0) 3 credits

This course examines the historical, political and cultural contexts of contemporary global social issues and the mutually reinforcing relationship between the local and global. The course will critically examine the economic, political, social and cultural dimensions of globalization and the upheavals they produce for nations and people. Specific models of intervention and select approaches to social development, seen as more compatible with social work’s commitment to social justice will also be examined to determine their respective strengths and weaknesses in response to some of these contemporary social issues. In addition, the course will also raise critical questions about social work’s past and present ability to address the growing challenges of an increasingly complex, integrated and interdependent world.

Prerequisites: SW 250

SW 420 Social Work Methods with Individuals (3+0) 3 credits

This course is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in intervening with individuals. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with individuals, including: rapport building, exploration, assessment, planning, implementation, goal attainment, evaluation and termination. This course furthers students’ understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective, in particular students will learn the various roles social workers may play in work with individuals. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which client characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) interact with the resources and demands of the environment in identifying appropriate intervention strategies. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with individuals that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Prerequisite: Admission to the professional sequence, Co-requisites SW 424 and SW 480.

SW 421 Social Work Methods with Groups (3+0) 3 credits

This course is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in intervening with small groups. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with groups, including: formation, initial/beginning stage, middle stage, termination stage and evaluation. Students will continue their use of an evidence-informed approach to practice through identification and critique of group curriculums. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which member characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) influence communication, interaction and dynamics within groups.

Prerequisite: SW 420. Co-requisite: SW 481.

SW 424 Social Work Methods with Couples and Families (3+0) 3 credits

This course is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in intervening with couples and families. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with couples and families, including: rapport building, exploration, assessment, planning, implementation, goal attainment, evaluation and termination. This course furthers students’ understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which client characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) interact with the resources and demands of the environment in identifying appropriate intervention strategies. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with couples and families that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Prerequisite: Admission to the professional sequence.

SW 427 Social Work Methods with Organizations, Communities and Legislatures (3+0) 3 credits

This course is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in working with organizations, communities and legislative bodies. This course furthers the understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective. In this course students will learn public speaking, elements of grant writing, budgeting, advocacy, lobbying and written and oral persuasion techniques as methods of assessing and responding to community and organizational issues. Students will learn to attend to the cultural, ideological, and diverse nuances present in large groups of people and within complex problems while maintaining a critically reflexive position in relation to their own culture, privilege, ideology, personal values, and biases. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with organizations and communities that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Prerequisite: Admission to the professional sequence.

SW 440 Introduction to Social Work Research (3+0) 3 credits

This course examines concepts, principles, and methods of scientific inquiry, emphasizing qualitative and quantitative designs, assessment of practice and program effectiveness, and critical use of existing research.

This course acquaints students with the scientific methods used in social work research used to build knowledge and evaluate the impact of social work practice and policy. Goals of the course include 1) inspiring students to value research as an integral part of social work practice; 2) fostering an understanding of evidence-based practice as a “process of inquiry,” and 3) encouraging students to question the empirical foundations of “best practices” in relation to client intervention strategies and social services programs. Additionally, the course introduces cultural and ethical issues present in all research endeavors and the unique issues involved in studying special populations and populations at risk.

Prerequisite: Admission to the professional sequence or permission of the instructor. 

SW 441 Data Analysis for Social Workers (3+0) 3 credits

This course introduces students to the concepts, principles, and procedures social work researchers and practitioners use analyze and present data. Emphasis is placed on developing the knowledge, values, and skills needed to analyze and interpret one’s own research data and to critically evaluate the research findings of others. Instruction in computer-assisted quantitative (SPSS) and qualitative (Microsoft Word) data analyses and presentation (PowerPoint) approaches is provided. Prerequisite: SW 440 or permission of instructor.

SW 480 Field Experience in Social Work I (1+15) 6 credits, S/U only

Students attend a weekly 50-minute on-campus seminar as part of the agency based practicum.
The seminar utilizes group processes of discussion and analysis to help students integrate what they are learning in the field placement with what they are learning in their classroom based curriculum. The topics that students address in SW 480 reflect their level of professional development. For example, students in SW 480 typically raise questions about how to introduce themselves to clients and whether or not to disclose that they are students. Prerequisite: admission to the professional sequence. Co-requisite: SW 420.

SW 481 Field Experience in Social Work II (1+15) 6 credits, S/U only

Students attend a weekly 50-minute on-campus seminar as part of the agency based practicum.
The seminar utilizes group processes of discussion and analysis to help students integrate what they are learning in the field placement with what they are learning in their classroom based curriculum. Prerequisite: SW 480. Co-requisite: SW 421.

Social work elective course descriptions

SW 230 Crisis Intervention (3+0) 3 credits

This is an introductory course to the theory and application of crisis intervention. Theory will include the individual, family and community role of crisis development and resolution. Analysis of types of crisis theory, effects of crisis on the community, methods of and community resources for crisis intervention.

SW 461 Social Services in Death, Dying and Bereavement (3+0) 3 Credits

This course is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the processes of dying, death, and bereavement. Emphasis is placed on increasing awareness of the personal, societal, legal, ethical, historical, theoretical, and cultural factors that influence attitudes and behaviors surrounding death. Focus is placed on expanding and refining the knowledge and skills involved in providing direct support, as well as referral services to individuals, families, and communities experiencing loss. Prerequisite: SW 321 or permission of instructor.

SW 462 Lesbian and Gay Lives (3+0) 3 credits

This course examines disciplinary perspectives used in understanding the experiences of homosexual people in America. Queer persons are found everywhere, among all categories of people according to: class, culture, gender, and age. They are labeled in a variety of ways, including “lesbian,” “gay,” “homosexual,” “bisexual,” “transgender,” and “queer.” Historically, persons so labeled have been mistreated by society, but nonetheless have made significant contributions. To explore queer lives, theoretical topics will be examined across academic disciplines. This approach allows students from a variety of majors to examine queer issues in their own and in other fields through the framework of a single course. Class participants are expected to develop new insights and knowledge, using current research and theory from a variety of academic perspectives, and to examine more critically their own views. In addition, through learning about the historical development of homophobia and heterosexism, the contributions of lesbian and gay people, and the development of queer communities, students will have the opportunity to understand and appreciate “difference” as another contribution to American society. (General capstone and diversity course.)

SW 463 Social Work in Health Care Settings: Underserved Populations (3+0) 3 Credits

This course provides an overview of the organization, structure, and operation of health care in the United States. The need for fundamental changes in the organization, financing, delivery, and control of health services is examined, as are current and future directions in health care. Within this framework, the major focus of Health Care Services is on the influences of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and sexual orientation on health models, health beliefs and behaviors, health status, and the sue of health services. Social, economic, environmental and cultural variations are presented to insure a greater understanding of health care issues and services necessary to meet the needs of the total U.S. population. Prerequisite: SW 321 or permission of instructor. (Diversity Course)

SW 465 Social Work Programs and Services for Older Adults (3+0) 3 credits

This course covers the issues faced by older adults, and the policies and programs created to help them. It will look at aging demographics, the implications on our society and the policies, programs and services for the older population from a historical, observational, practical and analytical perspective. The course is directed toward raising student’s awareness of aging issues and the programs and services provided through the Older Americans Act and the Social Security Act. The exposure to the content areas presented in this course will enable students to become more proficient in their understanding of social services, health care, housing and other elements of community and institutional long-term care systems serving the older population.

Prerequisite: SW 321 or permission of instructor.

SW 466 Disability: Social and Health Issues (3+0) 3 Credits

This course is designed to prepare students for generalist practice with emphasis on social and health issues that impact on people with disabilities across the life span. Theories of human behavior, best-practice models, important government policies, and current research studies that are relevant to professional service to individuals with disabilities are presented. A number of specific disabilities will be discussed with attention to the needs associated with each.

(General capstone and diversity course.)

SW 467 Women: Biographies and Issues (3+0) 3 credits

This course explores the relationship between women’s personal biographies and the social, historic, and economic context of their lives. The course begins with a study of historic and cultural representations of women, and goes on to address contemporary topics including women’s bodies; sexuality and desire; their experience with the medical establishment; generational narratives; the diversity of women’s lives across race, class, sexual orientation, and culture; women’s work and activism in the context of economic globalization; and current public policy affecting women such as welfare reform. Students will have an opportunity to draw on their experiences (their personal biographies) and explore their meanings in cultural and historic context. The course features a wide range of learning resources including art, poetry, literature, film, music, historic narratives, and political and economic discourses. (General capstone and diversity.)

SW 468 The Child in the Community (3+0) 3 Credits

This course, an elective for social work students, is intended to develop the student’s understanding of the history, values, theory, goals, policies, current trends, and practice in the field of child welfare. We will spend time on the development of skills in the assessment and case management of families who are referred to the child welfare system. Social work intervention at all stages and levels of child welfare practice will be explored, including family-centered casework process and planning, interventions within the social service delivery system, and efforts to effect policy and organizational change on the local, state, and national levels. Prerequisite: SW 321 or permission of instructor.

SW 470 Social Service Delivery Systems in Ghana (3+0) 3 Credits

This course provides a critical review of formal and informal social service delivery systems in Ghana. Students will develop an understanding of major economic, cultural, and social welfare issues impacting individuals and families in Ghana such as poverty, aging, child abuse, street children, and teen pregnancy. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the prevention, intervention and treatment models utilized by Ghanaian social service workers and service planners. They will observe and participate in a service-learning project with local community-based agencies and engage with governmental and/or Non-Government Organizations’ service providers to deepen their understanding of social service systems.