MSW Program Mission
The mission of the joint MU-SU MSW Program is to provide accessible social work graduate education in the South Central region of Pennsylvania. We prepare students to be effective advanced generalist practitioners, committed to the purpose and values of the social work profession.
Definition of Advanced Generalist Perspective
The advanced generalist approach to direct and indirect practice is characterized by the practitioner’s ability to address complex situations within multiple roles and levels. This strengths-based orientation is grounded in a liberal arts foundation and guided by a systems approach incorporating core social work values and ethics and respect for diversity. Using research-informed practice, the advanced generalist social worker promotes positive change in the social, political, and economic arenas to advance human rights.
The MU-SU MSW Program seeks to:
- Prepare students for competent advanced generalist practice through the acquisition and demonstration of social work competencies consistent with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) educational policy and accreditation standards.
- Prepare students with the specialized knowledge and skills for social work practice with client systems to facilitate change within the boundaries of ethical practice and with attention to the profession's commitment to social justice and human rights.
- Encourage students' commitment to continued professional development and lifelong learning by providing opportunities for community engagement and real-life learning experiences.
MSW Curriculum Competencies and Practice Behaviors
BG = Behavior Generalist
BS = Behavior Specialization
Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
BG 1.1 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;
BG 1.2 Use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;
BG 1.3 Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication;
BG 1.4 Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
BG 1.5 Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.
BS 1.1. Model professional demeanor in behavior and all modes of communication;
BS 1.2 Consistently model conscious use of self, self-reflection, and self-correction in practice;
BS 1.3 Advocate with and/or on behalf of clients for access to services;
BS 1.4 Provide supervision and consultation to guide other professional social workers;
BS 1.5 Provide leadership in resolving complex ethical dilemmas by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models of ethical decision- making; and
BS 1.6 Develop a plan for continuing professional education and development.
Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
BG 1.1 Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels,
BG 1.2 Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and
BG 1.3 Apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.
BS 1.1 Critique, synthesize, and differentially apply human behavior and social theories to guide advanced generalist practice and recognize how practice choices on all levels can be influenced by cultural context;
BS 1.2 Model anti-oppressive practice and critically evaluate the impact of culture, privilege, and oppression on one’s personal and professional behavior;
BS 1.3 Provide leadership and actively promote opportunities for diverse perspectives and participation of diverse constituencies; and
BS.1 4 Adapt interventions in culturally responsive ways that challenge oppressive systems and that show recognition of issues of intersectionality at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
BG 1.1 Apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and
BG 1.2 Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.
BS 1.1 Appraise how mechanisms of oppression and discrimination affect client populations;
BS 1.2 Utilize an integrative, anti-oppressive perspective to promote human rights as well as equitable access to services and resources for vulnerable groups; and
BS 1.3 Design and implement strategies to advance social, economic, and environmental justice across systemlevels.
Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
BG 1.1 Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;
BG 1.2 Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and
BG 1.3 Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery.
BS 1.1 Critically evaluate and utilize theoretical and empirical research relevant to the problems and/or populations addressed in the specialization;
BS 1.2 Conduct practice in a recursive and research-informed manner that includes constant assessment whileimplementing interventions in social work settings; and
BS 1.3 Translate practice knowledge in order to contribute to scientific inquiry.
Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
BG 1.1 Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services;
BG 1.2 Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services;
BG 1.3 Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
BS 1.1 Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the ways in which human rights, social justice, social welfare, and services are mediated by policy;
BS 1.2 Evaluate, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance outcomes relevant to practice at all levels; and
BS 1.3 Demonstrate collaboration with clients, colleagues, and other constituencies for policy action.
Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
BG 1.1 Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and
BG 1.2 Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.
BS 1.1 Use differential engagement skills for empathy, reflection, and use of self to engage effectively diverse clients and constituencies in complex practice situations; and
BS 1.2 Model effective engagement practices that mitigate personal biases and professional values to build productive rapport with client systems.
Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
BG 1.1 Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies;
BG 1.2 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;
BG 1.3 Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and
BG 1.4 Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies.
BS 1.1 Collect and critically synthesize multiple points of assessment information (HBSE and other multidisciplinary theory, data from assessment tools, practice experiences, diverse client characteristics, research findings, interviews, etc.) to create a comprehensive assessment; and
BS 1.2 Identify, evaluate, select, and potentially modify assessment tools, methods, and approaches in advanced practice with consideration for the needs, backgrounds, and social characteristics of clients andconstituencies.
Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
BG 1.1 Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies;
BG 1.2 Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;
BG 1.3 Use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes;
BG 1.4 Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies; and
BG 1.5 Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.
BS 1.1 Critically assess and apply appropriate intervention strategies in response to client systems’ unique circumstances and needs;
BS 1.2 Design an intervention strategy based upon assessment data at multiple system levels; and
BS 1.3 Provide the social work perspective to inter-professional teams with the ability to collaboratively designinterventions.
Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
BG 1.1 Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes;
BG 1.2 Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes;
BG 1.3 Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and
BG 1.4 Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro level.
BS 1.1 Identify appropriate evaluation methods to assess interventions;
BS 1.2 Use appropriate tools and technology in an ethical manner to facilitate accurate data management, both in the evaluation of the process and outcomes of interventions; and
BS 1.3 Use self-reflection, supervision, and research methods to regularly evaluate and, if necessary, modify practice.