Philosophy & Theoretical Framework

The Social Work Program is committed to educating students to be culturally responsive generalist social work practitioners who understand the historical and contemporary importance of the broader context in terms of the political economy and the many faceted dimensions of a democracy on the lives of all citizens and residents.

The Social Work curriculum prepares graduates to be generalist social work practitioners in urban, rural, and tribal communities. Consistent with this emphasis is the development of social work values, knowledge, and skills that can be applied across populations. Social workers will utilize engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Theoretical Framework

Bio-Psych-Social-Spiritual The bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework focuses on the many facets that impact life span development. Social workers understand that biological, psychological, and social factors all play a significant role in human functioning.
Diversity-Informed Practice Social workers engage in diversity-informed practice. Models emphasized include Terry Cross’s cultural competency continuum (1989), cultural humility, and trauma-informed care.
Ecosystems An eco-systems approach provides the theoretical orientation to social work practice. Social workers understand that individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities are in on-going interaction. Social workers identify and attend to the ways in which client systems are both stressed and supported by their environments.
Ethics and Values The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics along with other laws and regulations are examined continually throughout the Social Work curriculum. These Codes include the ethical standards and values within which all social workers are accountable.
Social Justice “Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Social workers aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need” (NASW, 2008).
Strengths and Empowerment As a foundation to social work practice, the strengths perspective focuses on an appreciation and respect for the assets, talents, abilities, and competencies of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Saleeby’s model (2007) provides the core strengths perspective principles integrated throughout the curriculum. Social workers seek first to understand and acknowledge the strengths of the client system.

 


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