Social Work 783

SOWK 783: Community Practice to Strengthen Families

Prerequisite: SOWK 642 with a B or better; or completion of SOWK 679 with a B or better

Credit Hours: (3)

The course is the first of two concentration practice courses and emphasizes community and organizational practice. Community based family practice is the application of social work practice skills to enhance collaborative relationships among families and their community networks.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course is the first of two concentration practice courses and emphasizes social work practice in larger contexts. Grounded in the Community Based Family Practice (CBFP) concentration, community and organizational practice focus on creating an environment which supports and strengthens families. Community organization, leadership, resource acquisition, and advocacy are pivotal areas of knowledge and skill development. The approach to practice builds from the ecological/systems, empowerment, and social construction theories and frames practice from a contextual perspective. Social work values, social and economic justice, and the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations are embedded in the learning process. Practice application in small towns and rural communities is highlighted.

Practice models will be assessed through a critical multicultural lens. A strong emphasis is placed on evaluating the processes that perpetuate oppression and unequal access, including an unequal access to power within political, social, and economic institutions and organizations. Institutional racism, sexism, homophobia/heterosexism, poverty, alienation, and other oppressive conditions play a role in shaping the lives of clients.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The teaching/learning context for this course may include, but is not limited to, didactic instruction, large and small group discussions, role-plays, student presentations, guest speakers, and other methods as appropriate.
Major units in the course include the following:
• Integrating Micro, Mezzo, and Macro Practice
• Ethical Issues
• Social and Economic Justice
• Community Development
• Organizational Contexts and Task Environments
• Community Needs Assessment
• Community Organizing
• Community level Interventions in small cities and rural settings
Goals and Objectives of the course

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Examine and apply an ecological view of organizational and community practice;
2. Critically analyze community and organizational resources for their potential to support and strengthen families;
3. Use knowledge and skills of group dynamics and interaction at the agency, institutional, and community levels;
4. Apply the skills and knowledge of community and organizational practice, emphasizing practice in small cities and rural communities;
5. Critically evaluate the needs of populations at risk and diverse members of the community and apply practice models to develop systems, which strengthen and support all members of the community;
6. Recognize the collective continuum of practice from individual, family, and group through organizations and community;
7. Apply organizational knowledge and skills including administration, supervision, and financial management;
8. Identify and empower natural and appointed community leaders;
9. Exercise leadership in the application of practice models; and
10. Practice through the values and ethics of the NASW Code of Ethics, applying methods which support the movement toward social and economic justice.
Assessment Measures

Grades will be based on the satisfactory completion of all course requirements, which may include but are not limited to:
•  Discussion of readings
•  Class presentations
•  Reflection papers or journals
•  Term paper
•  Attendance