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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
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
Behavior 3: Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical
Behavior 4: Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to
arrive at principled decisions
Competency 3: Apply critical thinking to inform
and communicate professional judgments.
Behavior1: Distinguish, appraise and integrate multiple
sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom
Behavior 2: Analyze models of assessment, prevention,
intervention, and evaluation
Behavior 3: Demonstrate effective oral and written
communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations,
communities, and colleagues.
4: Engage diversity and difference
Behavior 1: Recognize the extent to which a culture’s
structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance
privilege and power
Behavior 2: Gain sufficient self-awareness to minimize
the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
Behavior 3: Recognize and communicate their understanding
of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences
Behavior 4: View themselves as learners and engage those
with whom they work as informants
Competency 5: Advance human rights and social and economic
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 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
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
Competency 8: Engage in
policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver
effective social work services
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
Practice Behavior 4: Demonstrate knowledge of history and current
structures of social policies and services.
Competency 9: Respond
to contexts that shape practice.
Behavior 1: Continuously discover, appraise, and attend
to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments,
and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services.
Behavior 2: Provide leadership in promoting sustainable
changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social
Competency 10 (a):
Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
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
Practice Behavior 1:
Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions