Chair: René Drumm
Faculty: Evie Nogales Baker (Generalist Fied Director), Samson Chama, Annette Heck (BSW Program Director), Jennifer Nestell, Sharon Pittman, Corneliu Rusu, Stanley Stevenson (Stipend Program Coordinator), Kristie Wilder
Adjunct Faculty: Edward Lamb, Professor Emeritus
- Family Studies, Rene Drumm
- Social Work, Annette Heck
The philosophy of the School of Social Work and faculty rests on the cornerstones of social justice and service. Social justice encompasses protecting human rights, caring for God’s creation, peacemaking, advocating for the poor and vulnerable, and empowering individuals, families, and communities. Active service to others on campus and to the larger community demonstrates the Biblical message of peace and social justice.
The School of Social Work is committed to academic excellence in both majors. A grade of a C or better is required in all core social work (SOCW) classes. Social work majors must maintain an overall GPA of 2.50 or higher to be admitted into the program and to remain in the program.
Programs in the School of Social Work
The School of Social Work offers a degree in Social Work (accredited by the Council on Social Work Education) and in Family Studies. Minors are also available in Behavioral Science, Family Studies, and Sociology.
The curricula for both the BSW and Family Studies degrees include computer content and hands-on experience intended to enable majors to develop elementary skills including word processing, spreadsheet, database, Internet, CD ROMS, interactive videos, and statistical analysis. Majors are encouraged to have their own personal computers (PCs) if possible.
The study of social work is one of the most exciting and important fields of inquiry and practice within the human sciences. A historic and defining feature of the social work profession is its focus on individual well-being within a social context coupled with a keen interest in the well-being of society as a whole. Particular attention is given to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. Fundamental to social work is its emphasis on environmental forces that create, contribute to, as well as ameliorate problems of human existence.
Social Work Program Mission Statement
The mission of the social work program is to prepare students within a Christian learning environment for service and excellence in generalist, evidence-based practice.
Bachelor of Science in Social Work
The Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSW) prepares students for entry-level social work generalist baccalaureate practice. The BSW is the foundation degree for social work careers in mental health, child welfare, health care, public welfare, schools, family service, developmental disabilities, service to the aged, industry, business and labor, and criminal justice. The degree is designed to also prepare students for informed community participation in social welfare issues. The BSW is the preferred preparation for the terminal graduate practice degree, the Masters of Social Work, (MSW). Job opportunities in the social work field are projected to grow at an above average rate during the near future.
The program makes available a number of experiences, both curricular and extracurricular, to enrich its students’ academic experience. Multiple volunteer opportunities deepen understanding and compassion. A number of field experiences enhance commitment and skill building. National and international study tours are available to engender cross-cultural and global perspectives (see below). The center piece of the applied dimension of the curriculum is the 400 hour FIELD PRACTICUM in which each student participates in “real life” experience while being supervised by a seasoned and credentialed professional social worker.
Extracurricular opportunities include membership in the National Association of Social Workers and the Phi Alpha Honor Society. Social Work Month is celebrated each March. The Edward Lamb Community Scholarship Fund provides opportunity to develop fund raising skills, socialization for social service commitment, and monies for the educational expenses of exemplary students.
Social Work Program Policies
Students who are admitted to the social work program are considered adequately mature to realize the importance of accepting personal responsibility for their learning and professional behavior.
The social work program Student Handbook outlines the policies of the program. Each student accepted into the program is responsible to become acquainted with and to abide by these policies.
Transportation for volunteer and practicum experiences is not provided by the program. Students will be expected to provide their own transportation and make arrangements to share this expense with fellow students participating in the same experiences.
The social work program reserves the right to deny admission to and to remove students from the social work program who have an unresolved felony on record in any state and who have records of misconduct, legal and otherwise, that would jeopardize their professional performance.
The social work program reserves the right to revise, add, and withdraw policies and/or courses as necessary to ensure a quality social work program.
The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
Admission into Southern’s social work program occurs through an application process. During the second semester of the sophomore year the student is to file a formal application to the social work program. Application forms may be obtained from the office manager in the program office or on the School of Social Work’s website. The deadline for turning all application materials into the program office is in the school calendar and the Southern Social Work Program Handbook. The final decision on acceptance into the program is made by the Admission and Progressions Committee (program director and one other faculty member).
Minimum requirements for admission to the program are listed below:
- Acceptance to Southern Adventist University.
- Completion of the application form, an autobiographical statement, and a written essay on a specific social issue.
- Submission of a current Program Evaluation (degree audit).
- Having an overall grade point average of 2.50 or higher.
- Having completed (with a grade of C or higher) SOCW 211 - Introduction to Social Work (F-1), SOCW 212 - Social Welfare as an Institution (F-1), and SOCW 213 - Interviewing Skills. Having completed cognate courses BIOL 103 - Principles of Biology (E-1), PSYC 122 - General Psychology (F-1), and SOCI 125 - Introduction to Sociology (F-1). Exceptions may be made for persons who do not meet introductory course and cognate requirements if they are strong candidates on the basis of other criteria.
- Participation in social work sponsored activities as noted on the Activity Verification Form (convocations, vespers, community service activities, etc.).
- Having demonstrated ethical behavior as outlined by the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. Further references may be required regarding character, attitude, and coping ability in case of a question in this area.
- Students whose native language is not English must achieve at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
- Completion of a successful interview as requested by the Admission and Progressions Committee.
The Committee reviews the application material, conducts the interview, and makes a decision concerning the application. Applicants are notified of the Committee’s decision by a letter from the program director. An applicant denied admission to the social work program may appeal the denial decision in person and/or in writing to the Admission and Progressions Committee. If this process is unsatisfactory to the student, the University appeals process described in this Catalog may be followed.
Students intending to major in social work who are attending other colleges or universities, or who are transferring from another major at Southern Adventist University, will be expected to apply for admission to the Social Work Program.
Those applying to the social work major after their sophomore year will be considered on a case by case basis. This may delay admission consideration until the following semester and may result in graduation taking more than four years.
The social work program seeks to maintain a heterogenous student body by enrolling students who represent diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives.
The social work field practicum is designed to provide students with a chance to put into practice the theories and skills they have learned in the classroom. The practice of social work is a combination of theory and interpersonal skills with the field practicum a key component of the educational process. The focus of the field practicum is on the interactional process between student worker and client system(s) and use of specific interventions; students have the opportunity to connect the theory and knowledge with actual practice experience. This experience is essential to developing the entry level helping skills required of all undergraduate social work professionals. The nature of the field practicum is practice-oriented, builds on skills and theories learned in cognate social work classes, and involves direct contact and intervention with individuals, families, and groups. Only social work majors may take the field practicum and must have met the required prerequisites. The field practicum experience is eight (8) credit hours which are taken concurrently with the Integrative Field Seminar.
Field Practicum Admission
In the winter semester of the junior year, following the completion of most required prerequisite courses, students begin the application process for the social work field practicum, which is a requirement for graduation with a BSW degree. All students entering the field practicum must have a GPA of 2.50 or higher in order to be considered academically eligible for the field practicum. Since the primary purpose of social work education is to prepare students for entry-level social work positions, quality field placements are essential. The placements are designed to provide students with a chance to put into practice the theories and skills they have learned in the classroom.
All students applying to the Field Practicum must have completed these courses or have these courses completed by the end of the semester in which they apply.
These courses are:
SOCW 310 - Social Work Practice I (W)
SOCW 311 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
SOCW 312 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
SOCW 319 - Social Work Practice II (W)
SOCW 391 - Junior Field Practicum
The Family Studies degree is interdisciplinary in nature and combines various dimensions of the social sciences along with a strong liberal arts foundation to gain an understanding of individuals and families. The major is for those students wishing to prepare for graduate study in community and/or family counseling, law, personnel work, sociology of the family, or family life education.
Department Study Tours
The School of Social Work sponsors a study tour to New York City yearly during Thanksgiving vacation and a study tour to Europe every other summer. The objectives of these tours are to facilitate a better understanding of peoples and cultures and to enable the participants to work with people more effectively. Academic credit is given for these tours and each requires classroom time (see SOCI 296 , SOCW 296 /SOCW 496 ).