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Mission and Goals

The mission of the Shepherd University Social Work Program, in concert with the University mission and the Council on Social Work Education Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (2015), is to prepare competent beginning level professional practitioners who possess the knowledge, skills, values, and ethics necessary to intervene effectively on behalf of diverse clients on all practice levels. Through practitioner preparation, the Program enhances the practice community’s ability to both facilitate the social functioning of clients and advance social change. The Social Work Program envisions graduates as regional leaders whose efforts improve the social service delivery system and work toward social and economic justice.

Goal 1. Practice beginning-level evidence-based generalist social work with individuals,  families, other groups, organizations, and communities through the use of professional knowledge, skills, values and ethics, as well as cognitive and affective processes.

Goal 2. Utilize policy to inform and transform interventions targeting human rights and social and economic justice, particularly with oppressed and vulnerable populations.

Goal 3. Integrate knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to view diversity and difference as strengths and resources and effectively use these to respond to the impact of context on professional practice.

Goal 4. Identify as a social worker whose professional judgment is informed by critical thinking and self-awareness and communicated through the professional use of self.

The course content also is appropriate to the preparation of students for admission to graduate schools of social work offering advanced professional education.


Generalist Practice

Generalist Social Work Practice

Generalist practice is the core of undergraduate education. The following components are identified as core concepts upon which practice is based.

Core Components

1. Problem Solving/Change Process
Engage client system in a working alliance
Affirm strengths as well as recognize challenges
Focus on both problem exploration and solution building Assessment
Consider structural pressures first
Assume individual adequacy
Apply a range of theoretical perspectives Esp., ecological, strengths based, solution focused, and structural approach

2. Intervention
Based on particular circumstances of client systems
Utilizes a range of techniques, strategies, skills e.g. interviewing, contracting, social histories, recording, referrals, development of needed resources
Use of multiple roles (conferee, broker, mediator, advocate)
Facilitation of group interaction with clients, within organizations and communities
Termination and evaluation

Social work students are also encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to further their development as individuals as well as to fulfill their obligations as responsible citizens in a democratic society.