The MSW program curriculum consists of foundation and advanced level content. The first full time year of the program is generalist in perspective and emphasizes a problem solving method in the helping relationship. The first year provides the social work professional foundation similar to that provided in a BSW program and serves as a base upon which the advanced level content builds knowledge and skills.
Generalist practice is a practice perspective that serves diverse client systems utilizing an ecological systems approach focusing on persons, families, groups, organizations and communities within the context of the rural social environment. It is not confined by a narrow cadre of theories; rather it is versatile enough to allow problems and situations as well as strengths, capacities, and resources to determine the practice approach. Generalist practice employs a problem solving framework and a broad knowledge, value and skill base which demands ethical practice and on-going self-assessment. Briefly, generalist social work practice:
- Is multi-level to include individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
- Is multi-theory, allowing for the free selection of theories as appropriate.
- Utilizes a problem identification and solving focus that follows a problem-solving framework.
- Utilizes multiple interventions at multiple levels, as appropriate.
- Addresses the complexity of individual, family, group, organizational and community system interactions.
- Requires an integration of awareness, competence, and professional response to issues of values, ethics, diversity, culture, social justice and populations-at-risk.
MSW Foundation Program Outcomes and Student Learning Outcomes
The MSW program has ten (10) program outcomes. These ten program outcomes (competencies) and student learning outcomes (practice behaviors) are the basis for the foundation and advanced curricula. In addition, the ten program outcomes serve as the basic foundation for generalist and advanced practice. The distinguishing factor for the foundation and advanced curriculum relates to the associated practice behaviors for each program. The foundation curriculum serves as a basis for building the advanced concentration: Advanced Generalist Practice in a Rural Environment. The foundation outcomes and associated practice behaviors are aimed at developing knowledge, skills, and values that comprise generalist practice and serve as a strong foundation for the advanced curriculum. The foundation program outcomes (competencies) and student learning outcomes (practice behaviors) are:
Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct one's self accordingly.
1.1 Advocate for client access to the services of social work;
1.2. Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development;
1.3 Attend to professional roles and boundaries;
1.4 Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication;
1.5 Engage in career-long learning;
1.6 Use supervision and consultation.
Competency 2.1.2: Apply Social Work ethical values and principles to guide professional practice.
2.1 Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;
2.2 Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles;
2.3 Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts;
2.4 Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.
Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
3.1 Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research based knowledge, and practice wisdom;
3.2 Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation; and
3.3 Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with clients and colleagues.
Competency 2.1.4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.
4.1 Recognize the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power
4.2 Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;
4.3 Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences;
4.4 View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants;
Competency 2.1.5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
5.1 Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination;
5.2 Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice; and
5.3 Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.
Competency 2.1.6: Engage in research- informed practice and practice informed research.
6.1 Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry;
6.2 Use research evidence to inform practice;
Competency 2.1.7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
7.1 Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and
7.2 Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.
Competency 2.1.8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
8.1 Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being; and
8.2 Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action;
Competency 2.1.9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.
9.1 Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services; and
9.2 Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services;
Competency 2.1.10: Engage, assess, intervene and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
Educational Policy 2.1.10(a) Engagement
10.1 Substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;
10.2 Use empathy and other interpersonal skills; and
10.3 Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes
Educational Policy 2.1.10(b) Assessment
10.4 Collect, organize, and interpret client data;
10.5 Assess client strengths and limitations;
10.6 Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives; and
10.7 Select appropriate intervention strategies;
Educational Policy 2.1.10(c) Intervention
10.8 Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals;
10.9 Implement prevention that enhances client capacities;
10.10 Help clients resolve problems;
10.11 Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients; and
10.12 Facilitate transitions and endings.