Social Work 631

SOWK 631: Social Work Practice I: Foundations

Prerequisites: Admission to the graduate program in social work

Credit Hours: (3) Two hours lecture, two hours skill lab

This course is the first of two foundation courses designed to provide students with an overview of the basic knowledge and skills essential to generalist social work practice. Key themes and concepts include interviewing, relationship building and assessment as they relate to community-based family practice. The course introduces practice models in relation to populations at risk. Personal and professional values will be discussed, along with the use of self, the importance of evaluation, research and ethics.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

I. This course is designed to provide students with an overview of the basic knowledge and skills generic to all social work practice. Key themes and concepts include: interviewing; relationship building; social work methods with individuals, families, groups, and communities; some practice theories; problem solving methods and models; and issues of race, class, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. We will also discuss personal and professional values, the use of self, evaluation and research and ethics.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Students engage in discussion of reading assignments, a mid-term project, and final project. Students practice video and taping skills. Students are encouraged to bring in any materials that may be of interest to the class on any of the subjects covered in the course. Students also complete a race/ class/ gender project.

II. Format - This course will utilize lectures, large and small class discussions, role plays, video and/or audio taping, and writing assignments as means to learning. A conscious awareness of the student's personal epistemology and the ability to operate in a manner which includes intentional reflection on interactions on the level of content and process will be encouraged.

Goals and Objectives of Course

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the major historical and contemporary problems, populations, and methods of social work practice, including values and ethical issues that may arise in practice.
  • The skills needed to practice from a problem-solving perspective based on a biopsychosocial model.
  • Knowledge of referral services, contracting, and interventions.
  • An understanding of major assumptions about problems and associated behaviors.
  • Issues and knowledge involved in monitoring and evaluating the process and outcomes of practice interventions.
  • An appreciation of diversity in social work practice.
  • A commitment to service delivery to disadvantaged populations.
  • Beginning theories of social work practice.
  • A conscious awareness of one's personal theory and epistemology and the assumptions upon which it is based.


Assessment Measures

Student’s progress in preparing for entry level social work practice and lay the foundation for subsequent practice courses in social work. Assignments include writing focused on field practice experience and oral presentations.


Other course information