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 Bachelor's of Social Work Program is to provide comprehensive preparation for competent entry-level social work practice and/or graduate study. This program includes a) curriculum grounded in the generalist approach; b) a special emphasis about the respect for diversity; and c) multiple linkages to the regional practice community.
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
The generalist approach for practice involves both ways of knowing (assessing) and ways of doing (practice methods). The knowing and doing must be grounded in a liberal arts foundation and guided by systems/ecological theory, core social work values, respect for diversity, empowerment, and commitment to social and economic justice. A social worker with this approach has the knowledge, skills, values, and self awareness to be able to match the level(s) of intervention to the needs of the client system (individual, family, small groups, organizations, communities) in particular situations or practice settings.
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.
Our educational goals for our students are derived from our mission and the purpose of baccalaureate social work education as defined by CSWE. We have chosen two broad educational goals that provide more specificity for our program than does our mission statement. These goal statements describe desired states that we hope to achieve. In the educational goals we utilize our definition of the generalist approach.
- Educational Goal 1
- To prepare students to use the generalist approach to become competent entry-level social work practitioners.
- Educational Goal 2
- To prepare students for successful graduate study in social work or related fields
The program educational objectives for Goal 1 and Goal 2 are:
Students will be able to:
- demonstrate advocacy for empowerment
- identify as a social work professional
- demonstrate self-awareness
- develop and manage professional relationships
- manage interactional skills
- demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving skills
- manage the change process
- apply the generalist approach on multi-levels of intervention
Global Program Goals
Our global program goals address facets of our department activity which reach beyond the classroom but are integral to the community of social work that we are all a part of creating. The goals are identified below, followed by the objectives associated with each of them.
Our third goal is an important component of activity for all of our faculty. Each member contributes to this goal and its objectives in ways unique to the individual. Various faculty have special expertise in issues of race and ethnicity, gender issues, sexual orientation issues, and disability fields.
- Goal 3 - Diversity Leadership Goal
- To provide leadership about diversity issues to the University and the region in order to work towards greater inclusion and social justice.
- Objectives for this goal are:
- Provide education and consultation on issues of diversity.
- Advocate for attention to diversity on key campus and regional projects.
- Provide opportunities for students to participate in experiences that promote diversity.
Our fourth goal is consistent with one of the major premises identified by CSWE as underlying all social work education. Section B3.4 states: "Programs of social work education maintain close, reciprocal, and ongoing relationships with social work practitioners…". Our collaborative efforts addressed in this goal have grown from our professional activities as social work practitioners and educators.
- Goal 4 - Partnership Goal
- To collaborate with the regional community for mutual professional growth and development.
- Objectives for this goal are:
Faculty will develop partnerships with colleagues :
- to enhance and keep current our program curriculum.
- to exchange information and resources.
- to develop resources for students to support their professional development.