SW205 Introduction to Social Work

for F2J 2005

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SW 205 Introduction to Social Work

Park University

Fall II 2005

Course Syllabus

Faculty : Jennifer Newcomer, LSCSW, LCSW - Part-Time Adjunct Instructor

Social Work Office : MA225

Office Hours : TBA

Park University Dept. of Social Work # : (816) 584-6503 or 1-800-745-7275

Faculty E-Mail: jennifer.newcomer@park.edu

Dates of Semester : Oct. 26 to Dec. 14 ( 8 weeks )

Class night and time : Wed. 5:30pm-9:50pm

Prerequisite: None

Credit Hours: 3

University Mission Statement

The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement

Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.

Course Description: This course introduces students to the profession of social work and provides an overview of the professional knowledge, skills, and values necessary for generalist social work practice. The various settings for social work practice and the types of services provided by social workers are explored. This course is required for admission to the Social Work Program. There are no prerequisites for this course; however it is recommended that prospective Social Work majors have completed at least one introductory course in sociology or psychology. 3:0:3

Instructor's Educational Philosophy: Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities, threats to societies, and the world’s most vulnerable populations. The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all.

It is vitally important that students and new graduates, regardless of their professional identity, be prepared to efficiently and critically consider their environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them. This is as true in business, science, education, and government service as it is in social work.

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families, and their communities, throughout their lives. Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study.

SW 205 Course Objectives:  It is expected that upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

                    Describe a beginning understanding of concepts related to generalist social work practice.

Identify in basic terms the origins, structure and characteristics of the American social welfare system.

Articulate methods of helping, influencing and assisting people at micro, macro, and mezzo levels within a generalist framework.

Exhibit foundation skills in effective verbal and non-verbal communication, including assertiveness, active listening, constructive feedback, and advocacy.

Describe a beginning awareness for ethical behavior and be familiar with the National Association of Social Work "Code of Ethics" and how these principles are applied.

Describe the social work profession as it relates to mental health, health care, public education, public welfare, family & child welfare, corrections, business, and industry.

Course Textbook:

The Social Work Experience: An Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare, 4th ed.

Suppes, M.A. & Wells, C.C. New York: McGraw-Hill Books, (2003)

ISBN 0-07-248597-3

Choices: Careers in Social Work, National Association of Social Workers

Academic Honesty: "Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community. Hence, Park will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments. Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from Park."

Plagiarism: "…the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one’s original work sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance. Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors." Information from materials that are copied directly must have quotationss, and all sources must be cited.

Attendance Policy: "Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences. The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester / term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH." A Contract for Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student. Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency." Regular classroom attendance is both expected and essential for the attainment of course objectives. Materials not found in the text will be presented and discussed in class. Absences detract from your learning as well as that of others. It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand this attendance policy.

Late Submission of Coursework: Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically. The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected, or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions. In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification, an exception may or may not be granted. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day. If you ever have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner. Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.

Make up exams: Exams are given only on the date specified. Make-up exams will only be scheduled at the instructor’s prerogative under extreme circumstances. Students or an agent of the student must notify the instructor prior to the exam and must be prepared to submit documentation of the circumstances.

Course Assessment:

Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class.

Mid - term of Semester Exam, Pop Quizzes, Position paper, Participation / Attendance, Reaction Paper, Web Assignment, Career Pathway /Resume. Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, and typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.

Mid-term and end of semester exam: The exams will consist of items from the text, lectures, films, handouts, and guest speakers. (CO 1,2,3,5,6)

Pop Quizzes: Quizzes may be administered at the start of any class. The quiz will primarily cover assigned readings, but may include material from the previous class session or significant current news items relative to professional social work issues. (Counts towards participation) (CO 1,2,3,5,6)

News Review: Each student will prepare a brief written report for oral presentation in class that examines a current news item relevant to the social work profession. The source of the issues presented must be identified and referenced from the popular media, (newspaper, magazine, radio, television) and should be current - within the previous two weeks of the presentation. The instructor will circulate a schedule on which each student will select a date for their presentation. (Counts towards class participation) (CO 1,2,3,5,6)

Web Site /Search: On the internet, identify and review at least one (1) Web site devoted to some aspect of social work education, social policy, or the practice of professional social work. Write a brief (50-100 word) review of the web site, (written by you, not a "cut and paste") including your understanding of its intended audience, an example of issues it addresses, and your opinion of the level of potential usefulness to students, the public or practicing social workers. This assignment is to be submitted to the instructor electronically and is due prior to the sixth class session. (CO 1,2,3,5,6)

Reaction Paper: The video, The Man Who Planted Hope, will be shown in class. A printed copy of this story and the assignment related to this video will be distributed in class. (CO 1,3,4)

Position Paper: Select a current social or political issue of particular interest to you. Prepare a written review of the topic from a perspective that is consistent with social work values and ethics. In the paper you need to critically examine the issue, identifying why it is an important issue to attend to, likely root causes of the issue, and (realistic) likely solutions or barriers to resolution of the issue. You must cite at least two separate reference sources. You must personally visit or interview a social worker or representative of an agency addressing the issue you have chosen. You must confirm your choice of topic with the instructor before proceeding with the assignment. (CO 1-6)

Career Development Pathway: As this is the first in a series of courses leading to a professional degree, all students, regardless of major, will compile a basic personal resume appropriate to a career or profession they are interested in pursuing. (portfolio assignment) (CO 1,4)

Classroom Rules of Conduct: In order to maintain a positive learning environment the  following ground rules will be followed:

Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.

Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.

If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.

Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.

If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Guidelines: "Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University’s policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities and, to the extent of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University’s policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: www.park.edu/disability."

Grading: Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation. If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner. You are expected to present material that is legible and well considered. While you will be tested over specific course content, you should do well if you read the material and pay attention in class.


Scoring: A= 90-100 B= 80-89 C= 70-79 D= 60-69 F= 59-0

It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand the content of this course syllabus.


Week # 1

Instructor biography

Student introductions

Review syllabus

Review NASW pamphlet Choices : Careers in Social Work

Review worksheet "Comparing a Bachelor’s in SW to Two Related Degrees"

Review worksheet "Career Options for Students Who Want to Work with People :

A Comparison of Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work"

Lecture on chapter 1 - The Social Work Profession

professional role, roles of a SW, the BSW curriculum, education and employment opportunities, legal regulations, professional SW organizations, comparing related occupations, origins of the profession

Lecture on chapter 8 - Social Work in the Workplace

responsibilities of a SW, violence in the workplace, format for service delivery, morals and values, NASW Code of Ethics, confidentiality, informed consent, do no harm, mandatory reporting requirements,

hot-lining, duty to intervene, warn, and protect

Sign up for news review presentation with paper due

General questions and Answers

Homework assignment : read chapters 1 & 8

study for pop quiz over chapters 1 & 8

(no in-class review or study guide)


Week # 2

Multiple choice pop quiz

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Lecture on chapter 3 - Social Welfare Policies and the Birth of the Profession : Historical Highlights

institution of social welfare, poor relief in U.S., 20th century social legislation, income maintenance and public welfare benefits, housing and employment needs, financial emergency assistance and in-kind donations, myths and realities of public welfare, future issues

Lecture on chapter 4 - Poverty and Populations at Risk

social and economic justice, at-risk populations, racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S., affirmative action, international code of ethics

Watch video " The Man Who Planned Hope"

Discuss video

Read printed copy of this story

Read printed copy of reaction paper assignment related to this video and story

Homework assignment : read chapters 3 & 4

do reaction paper



Week # 3

Turn in reaction paper due

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Watch video "Forgotten Fires"

Discuss video

Lecture on chapter 2 - Theoretical Perspectives for Social Workers

systems theory, ecosystems perspective, generalist approach, generalist perspective

Brief in-class review and study guide for mid-term test over chapters 3,4, and 2

Unstructured time in class to read, write, or study for this class

Homework assignment : read chapter 2

think about and choose a topic for position paper

study for mid-term test over chapters 3, 4, and 2


Week # 4

Multiple choice mid-term test

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Obtain approval on topic for position paper - must have one written reference source

(book or professional journal) and one interview (in person) reference source

Lecture on chapter 6 - Social Work in Mental Health

knowledge, values, and skills for mental health, generalist practice with groups and communities, dealing with psychological trauma, serving the mentally ill, case management, practice with diverse populations, Native-American history, mental health, and social welfare policy

Lecture on chapter 10 - Substance Abuse Services

role of social worker, at risk populations, prevention and treatment programs, research, aids in building knowledge, social welfare policy, social work profession history, field of disaster relief

Lecture on chapter 12 - Criminal Justice Settings

components of the legal, correctional, probation, and parole systems, value and ethical dilemmas, promoting social justice, punitive juvenile justice systems and policies, trauma, history of social work in the criminal justice system

(You are now halfway through this class.)

Homework assignment : read chapters 6, 10, & 12

study for pop quiz over chapters 6,10, & 12

(no in-class review or study guide)

do website search paper



Week # 5

Multiple choice pop quiz

Turn in website search paper due

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Lecture on chapter 5 - Family and Children Services

historical perspectives, providers of services, self-determination, decision-making, diverse family structures, ethic of cultural competence and social diversity, family policy, current trends, child welfare systems, child abuse and neglect, emergency shelters, group homes, residential facilities, adoption, foster care, child protection services

Lecture on chapter 9 - Social Work in the Schools

role of social worker, certification, cultural diversity impact, special education services available, values,

policy implications, history, laws, rules, and regulations

Guest Speaker - Generalist Practice

Possible topics: clinical mental health, inpatient psychiatric, involuntary commitments, crisis intervention, outpatient counseling, group therapy, short-term crisis or homeless case management, long-term case management for the severely and persistently mentally ill chronic population, severely emotionally and behaviorally disturbed youth, psychosis, mania, suicidal ideations, homicidal ideations, chemical imbalances, community mental health systems, state mental health hospital systems, mental health nursing home systems

Questions for guest speaker and Answers

Homework assignment : read chapters 5 & 9

interview a social worker

do position paper


Week # 6

Turn in position paper due

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Lecture on chapter 7 - Social Work in Health Care

educational preparation, practice and services, rural areas, emergency rooms, hospitals, nursing homes,

outpatient clinics, politics, economics, managed care insurance impact/effects, advanced directives, living

wills, living trusts, durable healthcare and separate financial power of attorneys, conservatorship,

guardianship, right to die, euthanasia, do not resuscitate, right to live, client competency to make decisions,

spirituality and pastoral counseling, hospice, quality of life, end of life issues, pain management, terminally ill

and chronic medical conditions

Lecture on chapter 13 - Developmental Disabilities and Social Work

role of social worker, NASW standards for service, education, physical disabilities and advocating for

accessibility of care, IQ and levels of mental retardation, learning disorders, structural brain disorders, brain

and head injuries, birth defects, definitions and types of developmental disabilities, history of services, human

diversity, populations at risk, disabilities rights movement, policy, appropriate terminology, Americans with Disabilities Act, civil rights, value dilemmas, ethical implications

Guest Speaker - Generalist Practice

Possible topics: see guest speaker possible topics from last class session above

Questions for guest speaker and Answers

Homework assignment : read chapters 7 & 13

do career development pathway resume




Week # 7

Turn in career development resume due

A news review presentation and paper are due by whoever signed up for this date

Brief lecture on and optional skim-read chapter 11 (Social Work with Older Adults)

Geriatric social work and trends, elder care and care giver issues, Alzheimer’s, nursing homes and levels of care, home-based services, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Disability benefits, elder abuse and adult protective services

Brief lecture on and optional skim-read chapter 14 (Future Challenges and Closing Notes)

future of social work, global changes, resettlement opportunities services, demographic trends, political

trends, economic conditions, technological advances, employment opportunities

(Chapters 11 & 14 not on final exam)

Any unfinished business

Brief in-class review and study guide for final exam over chapters 5, 9, 7, & 13

Homework assignment : Study for final exam over chapters 5, 9, 7, & 13

Week # 8

Multiple choice mid-term exam


Closing comments and goodbyes

Classroom celebration party