Highlights, News, and Events

Thursday, September 11 from 3:30-4:30 pm
Shippen Hall Room 370

Thinking about majoring in Social Work? Join the Social Work Orientation Meetings
Thursday, September 4 from 3:30-4:30 pm
Friday, October 17 from 2-3 pm
Tuesday, November 4 from 3-4:30 pm
Thursday, December 4 from 3:30-4:30 pm
RSVP to Dr. Fisher at eafish@ship.edu. RSVP recommended, but not required.

Welcome back! Check out our Summer Newsletter!

Summer Newsletter

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    Contact Information

    Department of Social Work & Gerontology
    Shippensburg University
    382 Shippen Hall
    1871 Old Main Drive
    Shippensburg, PA 17257
    (717) 477-1717


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    BSW Program

    Mission of the BSW Program

    Social Work is much more than an academic major. For many social workers it is a way of life which embraces a concern and caring for others demonstrated through practice based on values, skills, and knowledge which define Social Work. It is not the most highly paid profession nor the most glamorous, but it is one in which each day brings new challenges and opportunities to make the world a better place.

    The mission of the Shippensburg University BSW program is to provide comprehensive preparation for competent entry level social work practice and/or graduate study. This program includes (1) a curriculum grounded in the generalist approach; (2) a special emphasis on the respect for diversity and human rights; and (3) involvement and leadership in the practice community from the local to the global. 

    In order to fully understand the mission and implement it through goals and objectives, it is necessary to operationalize some of the terms.  We use the term generalist approach instead of such terms as generalist, as a noun, or generalist perspective.  This is in keeping with our programmatic and professional view of the concept. Each social work program, and indeed, each social worker, defines generalist in a manner unique to themselves but containing common threads that the profession associates with generalist.  As the Social Work Encyclopedia  states there is no one agreed upon definition of generalist in the social work profession.  Rather there are elements of generalist practice or approach that pertain across a variety of situations and definitions.

    Our definition draws on the extensive experience our faculty has in being practitioners as well as educators who use the generalist approach.  We utilize not only the person-in- environment/systems perspective to know/view a situation but also put emphasis on the selection of the appropriate practice method and level of intervention as key components of this approach to practice.  So, as the definition states, it is not only the "knowing" or the "doing" but the combination of the two that make this an approach to the practice of social work.

    Definition of Generalist Approach 

    A generalist social worker uses critical thinking and self-awareness to draw on the profession's knowledge, core values and skills to engage in ethical practice. Practice activities include assessment, prevention and intervention with client systems (individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities) across diverse populations. These activities are informed by research and focus on client strengths. Generalist social work is grounded in a liberal arts foundation and guided by a systems approach that emphasizes person-in-environment; professional social work values; empowerment; and commitment to social and economic justice and human rights.

    Flowing from the mission statement are the goals and objectives of our program.  We have separated our goals into two broad categories that reflect both the education focus and the overall programmatic intent of our department.  We see ourselves as educators and social work practitioners who work to achieve the purpose of educating future professionals and furthering the broad purposes of the social work profession. Our goals reflect this dual approach which is consistent with our belief that educators act as professional role models to students both inside and outside of the classroom.

    Educational Goals 

    1. To prepare students to use the generalist approach to become competent entry-level social work practitioner and/or to prepare students for graduate study in social work
    2. To provide leadership about diversity and human rights issues to the University and the region in order to work towards greater inclusion and social justice.
    3. To collaborate with the practice community for mutual professional growth and development, with an emphasis on regional partnerships.

    In accordance with CSWE guidelines and our mission and goals, we have the following core competencies and practice behaviors.

    Competency 1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

    Practice Behavior 1: Advocate for client access to the services of social work

    Practice Behavior 2: Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development

    Practice Behavior 3: Attend to professional roles and boundaries

    Practice Behavior 4: Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication

    Practice Behavior 5: Engage in career-long learning

    Practice Behavior 6: Use supervision and consultation

    Practice Behavior 7: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the profession’s history

    Competency 2: Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice. 

    Practice Behavior 1: Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice

    Practice Behavior 2:  Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work Statement of Principles

    Practice Behavior 3:  Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts

    Practice Behavior 4:  Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions

    Competency 3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

    Practice Behavior1: Distinguish, appraise and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom

    Practice Behavior 2: Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation

    Practice Behavior 3: Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues. 

    Competency 4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.

    Practice Behavior 1: Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power

    Practice Behavior 2: Gain sufficient self-awareness to minimize the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups

    Practice Behavior 3: Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences

    Practice Behavior 4: View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants

    Competency 5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

    Practice Behavior 1: Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination

    Practice Behavior 2: Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice

    Practice Behavior 3: Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice

    Competency 6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

    Practice Behavior 1: Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry

    Practice Behavior 2: Use research evidence to inform practice

    Competency 7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

    Practice Behavior 1:  Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation

    Practice Behavior 2:  Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment

    Practice Behavior 3: Demonstrate knowledge about human behavior across the life course.

    Practice Behavior 4: Demonstrate knowledge of the range of social systems in which people live and their impact on achieving health and well-being

    Competency 8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services

    Practice Behavior 1: Analyze formulate and advocate for policies that advance social well-being

    Practice Behavior 2: Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action

    Practice Behavior 3: Understand how the policy affects service delivery.

    Practice Behavior 4: Demonstrate knowledge of history and current structures of social policies and services.

    Competency 9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.

    Practice Behavior 1:  Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services.

    Practice Behavior 2:  Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

    Competency 10 (a): Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

    Practice Behavior 1: Substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities

    Practice Behavior 2: Use empathy and other interpersonal skills

    Practice Behavior 3: Develop a mutually agreed on focus of work and desired outcomes

    Competency 10 (b): Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

    Practice Behavior 1: Collect, organize, and interpret client data

    Practice Behavior 2: Assess client strengths and limitations

    Practice Behavior 3: Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives

    Practice Behavior 4: Select appropriate intervention strategies

    Competency 10 (c): Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

    Practice Behavior 1: Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals

    Practice Behavior 2: Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities

    Practice Behavior 3: Help clients resolve problems

    Practice Behavior 4: Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients

    Practice Behavior 5: Facilitate transitions and endings

    Competency 10 (d): Evaluate interventions with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

    Practice Behavior 1:  Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions