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Lee Gustafson, Ph.D.
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Lgustaf3@css.edu

St. Scholastica was named on the list of Top 200 Colleges for Native Americans by Winds of Change magazine.

Social Work

Fast Facts: Social Work

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education
  • Emphasizes core professional values of service, social justice, dignity and individual worth, relationship importance, integrity and competence
  • Provides a solid grounding in the liberal arts  combined with practical learning experiences, including 570 hours of required field practice
  • Prepares graduates for beginning generalist social work practice, so they can effectively address individual, family group, organizational, and community needs
  • Students become members of  the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in their junior year, and  remain members through graduation
  • Graduates of the Social Work program can apply for St. Scholastica's Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate program. Those with a bachelor's degree in social work can qualify for the Advanced Standing Track which allows students to complete the MSW in just one year.
  • A limited number of CSS students who declare their intent to pursue a Master of Social Work (MSW) at St. Scholastica will be guaranteed admission to the program after completing an undergraduate social work degree, if they meet the plan criteria. Learn more. 

Fieldwork

As part of the degree program in social work, students receive actual on-the-job experience at a variety of professionally supervised agencies in the region. This fieldwork occurs during the junior and senior years where students complete 120 hours and 450 hours respectively. Students can check with the department chair as to where they can fulfill these required hours.

Careers

Social work graduates find work within child and family service agencies, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, community action agencies, schools, child and adult protection organizations, residential treatment programs, tribal social service agencies, gerontological service programs, mental health treatment centers, criminal justice settings, developmental and mental disability services, and international social work organizations. Others go on to pursue graduate study, often master of social work programs, at a variety of locations.

Pair with a Language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Sample Curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse SWK 2240 - Intro Professional Social Work

Provides an introduction to the foundation of social work as a profession and outlines the primary knowledge, values, and skills that characterize contemporary practice. This entry level course surveys a variety of professional practice settings allowing students an opportunity for career exploration within the social work profession. In addition, the course reviews the historical and philosophical background of social work. Students demonstrate increased awareness of personal values in exploring both the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, and the Benedictine values. The course emphasizes the experience of populations at risk and analyzes factors that constitute being at risk Through the use of weekly classroom lectures, discussion, readings, audio visual tools, and service learning assignments, students increase awareness of the value of promoting social and economic justice across all levels of practice.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3000 - Integrated Lab

This integrative laboratory course facilitates students’ understanding of their learning experience through critical reflection, lecture, experiential learning, small group interactions with faculty and peers, and community-centered experiences. Specific lab curriculum will address topical themes related to content from social work core courses in which students are concurrently enrolled. The laboratory also serves as an opportunity for the organization and development of a professional portfolio. Students work with specific frameworks and templates, but individualize the content of their portfolios and capture their unique learning experiences and professional goals. Each student will have the opportunity to frame a specific purpose for their portfolio (e.g. job search or graduate school admission), designing the portfolio in a manner that accentuates their personal identity, perspectives, knowledge and competencies as a professional social worker.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3131 - Stat Meth. Evidence Based Prac

This course is the first of two courses designed to help students build a critical understanding of statistical concepts commonly used in the professional literature and for evidence-based practice. Students will learn to choose appropriate statistical analyses, conduct analyses, interpret findings, and communicate results clearly and effectively in the context of the helping professions. The concepts considered in this course include those related to the representation of information (descriptive statistics – mean, standard deviation, graphing) and those concepts related to drawing conclusions based on sample data (inferential statistics – probability, the normal distribution, hypothesis testing).

Expand and Collapse SWK 3132 - Stat Meth Evid Based Pra II

This course is the second of two courses designed to help students build a critical understanding of statistical concepts commonly used in the professional literature and for evidence-based practice. Students will learn to choose appropriate statistical analyses, conduct analyses, interpret findings, and communicate results clearly and effectively in the context of the helping professions. The concepts considered in this course include those related to the representation of information (descriptive statistics – mean, standard deviation, graphing) and those concepts related to drawing conclusions based on sample data (inferential statistics – probability, the normal distribution, hypothesis testing). Prerequisite: SWK 3131.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3339 - Preparation for Field I

Designed for junior social work students who will be participating in their field placement the following semester. Students have the opportunity to assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available field placement sites, explore and develop professional interviewing skills, complete necessary placement documentation, and interview with at least two prospective field placement sites. In class and out of class assignments will cover junior placement readiness, personal learning style, how to choose a field placement site, the role of the professional social worker through the lenses of the NASW Code of Ethics, the student application process for agency field placement, interviewing skills, contracting with an agency, developing a learning plan, the effective utilization of agency supervision, and getting the most out of the field placement.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3360 - American Social Welfare Policy

Examines the history, current structures and future of social welfare policy, and the role of social policy in social work practice. Course content includes: identification of local, state, federal and international political processes that shape the development of domestic and international social policy; analysis of current limitations and strengths in social policy; application of research relevant to existing and potential social policy; and consideration of controversial policies and social reform strategies. Policy analyses of the following issues are examined: income redistribution, poverty, discrimination, child welfare, mental health, housing, healthcare as well as other relevant economic/political/ organizational systems. The purpose of the course is to challenge students to recognize and understand the relationship between social problems, social values, social institutions, client advocacy, and social change as they prepare for entry-level generalist social work practice.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3362 - Human Behavior Social Envrnmnt

Provides students with knowledge and understanding of the reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments through a social systems approach as affected by biological, cultural, environmental, psychosocial and spiritual factors across the life span. Content includes empirically-based theories and knowledge that focus on the interactions between and among individual, family, small group, organizational and community roles in human behavior as related to social work practice. Course focuses on cultural, ethnic and lifestyle diversity and its effects on achieving health and well-being. Prerequisite: SWK 2240, PSY 1105 or 2208, BIO 1102, or consent of instructor.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3370 - Generalist Social Work Practice

The first of the four practice courses. This course provides students with the fundamental concepts, principles and skills necessary to engage in beginning generalist social work practice at the baccalaureate level. It explores the unique aspects and challenges of the social work profession, emphasizes the professional commitment and values necessary to provide service to culturally diverse and vulnerable populations, promotes understanding and use of a strength's practice perspective, examines the NASW Code of Ethics, and introduces the generalist intervention problem- solving method for practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students develop interviewing skills and the professional use of self. Prerequisites: SWK 2240,PSY 1105 or 2208, and admission into the social work program.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3383 - Social Work with Individuals and Families

The second course in the social work practice sequence. This course builds on the knowledge and skills taught in SWK 3370. Students continue to demonstrate mastery of interviewing skills and application of the generalist intervention model on amore advanced level working with individuals, couples, and families. This course includes information on and practice with: contemporary social work practice theories, social histories, individual and family assessments; assessment of suicidal potential and Duty to Warn; treatment plans; three generational genograms; and eco-maps and professional documentation skills. Students participate in role playing, client case analyses and ethical practice dilemmas. Prerequisites: SWK 2240 and 3370.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3385 - Social Work Research and Evaluation

Qualitative and quantitative approaches to building evidence-based generalist social work practice. Students acquire knowledge and develop skills necessary for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of practice interventions and social service programs. Course goals are to prepare students to be competent consumers, producers, and communicators of social science research. Course content includes: steps in practice research; ethnic-sensitive research practice; empirical research strategies for assessing micro, mezzo and macro social work interventions; developing and implementing a research project; and effective use of computer technology as an integral part of both research and human service practice. Recommended Prerequisite: PSY 3331.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3500 - Integrated Lab

This integrative laboratory course facilitates students’ understanding of their learning experience through critical reflection, lecture, experiential learning, small group interactions with faculty and peers, and community-centered experiences. Specific lab curriculum will address topical themes related to content from social work core courses in which students are concurrently enrolled. The laboratory also serves as an opportunity for the organization and development of a professional portfolio. Students work with specific frameworks and templates, but individualize the content of their portfolios and capture their unique learning experiences and professional goals. Each student will have the opportunity to frame a specific purpose for their portfolio (e.g. job search or graduate school admission), designing the portfolio in a manner that accentuates their personal identity, perspectives, knowledge and competencies as a professional social worker.

Expand and Collapse SWK 3555 - Field Practicum I

This course is designed to provide students an entry level opportunity to work in a social service agency, institution or organization in the role of a social work intern, 8-15 hours per week (120-280 total hours) during spring semester of their junior year. In placement, students prepare for effective social work practice within a pluralistic society including sensitivity to race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, handicap, or political or sexual orientation. Learning contracts are individually designed to meet the specific needs of each student and the requirements and opportunities available in each human service organization. Students participate in a weekly 100 minute small group seminar which emphasizes student-centered learning, personal/professional introspection and an opportunity to exchange information on agency placement experiences. Various general practice skills will be explored, including values, ethics, professional documentation, and intervention strategies. Students will be graded on a P/F basis. Prerequisites: SWK 2240, 3362, 3370, and 3339.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4440 - SWK Intervention with Groups

This course is the third sequenced course of four practice courses required for all Social Work majors. The course incorporates knowledge and skill content developed in SWK 3370 and SWK 3383. Students examine the nature and development of social work group practice within task and treatment groups. Specific attention is given to group dynamics theory, leadership and group facilitation skills, stages of group development, theories and techniques adapted to a variety of treatment and task group settings, ethical standards for group practice, and cultural and ethnic consideration in social work group intervention. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate group facilitation and memberships skills in group labs. In addition, students receive instruction in implementing empirically based interventions in evaluating practice effectiveness. Prerequisites SWK 2240 and SWK 3370.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4441 - Social Work/Community Systems

Fourth course of the social work practice sequence. This course emphasizes the theories and skills necessary for beginning social work practitioners to bring about effectively planned change in community groups, organizations and institutions. The course content addresses: community theory and community practice skills; organizational and inter-organizational practice theory and skills; community organizing in a diverse society; macro social work research; and, theories and skills for professional development and macro level interventions. It provides students experiential learning opportunities. Prerequisites: SWK 2240 and SWK 3370.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4449 - Preparation for Field II

Designed for senior social work students in preparation for their senior field experience. Students have the opportunity to assess their interests and abilities, familiarize themselves with available field placement sites, complete necessary paperwork and interview with at least three field placement supervisors. Prerequisites: SWK 2240, SWK 3370, and SWK 3383.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4470 - Independent Professional Project

Senior project integrating coursework and field placement experience of the student's social work education. The project must address these nine basic foundation areas: values and ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, work with populations at risk, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policies and services, social work practice, research, field practicum and internship. Prerequisite: SWK 3385 and admission to the social work program.

Expand and Collapse SWK 4555 - Senior Field Practicum

A 400- to 560-hour social work internship in a social service agency, institution or organization during the senior year. The practicum provides students the opportunity to integrate direct practice with acquired theoretical knowledge and skills. A bi-weekly seminar facilitates the integration of classroom content and direct practice experience. Attention is given to the relationship between the purposes, values, and principles expressed in the NASW Code of Ethics and the professional practice of social work. Prerequisites: all social work courses except SWK 4470, and admission to the field sequence.

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Accredited by CSWE since 1976

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St. Scholastica's Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Our graduates enter most Master of Social Work programs with advanced standing.

2013 Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes