SW205 Introduction to Social Work

for FA 2004

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Introduction to Social Work

Fall 2004

Faculty:  Deborah Rinehart, MSW

Office : MA225

Office Hours: 1 hour before class and as needed

Office Telephone (816) 584-6503

Secondary phone (816) 753-5171

Faculty E-Mail : deborah.rinehart@park.edu

Dates of Semester:  08/23/04 – 12/31/04

Class days and times :   MF  11:00am – 12:15pm

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 and 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.



SW205 Course Objectives:  It is expected that upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:


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

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

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

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

5.      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.

6.      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

Note: A copy of this text is available on reserve in the McAfee Library.


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.”


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. Material not found in the text will be presented and discussed in class.  Absences detract from your learning as well as that of others.


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 Exam,  End of Semester Exam,  Pop Quizzes,   News Review, Position Paper, Participation / Attendance,   Reaction Paper,   Web Assignment,  Career Pathway /Resume, Perception Papers (2).   Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


  • A 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 to 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)


  • Perception Papers:   Two 1 page papers on your perceptions and opinions about the social work profession.  Due at the beginning and at the end of the semester.

(CO 1, 2)


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


  1. Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.
  2. Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Disability 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.”


SW205 Course Schedule:   

Aug 23             Introductions

                        Review Syllabus

Aug. 30            Ch 1. The Social Work Profession

         Topics of interest include the professional social worker, the social workers professional roll, the BSW curriculum,
           selecting a career in social work, education and the social work career ladder, employment opportunities, legal
           regulation of the profession, professional social work organizations, comparing related occupations, and the origins
          of the profession.


                                Perception Paper due


Sept. 6             Labor Day – No class


Sept. 10           Continue Ch. 1   The Social Work Profession


Sept. 13           Ch. 2    Theoretical Perspectives for Social Workers


Included within the chapter are the roles of a social worker, social work and the systems theory, generalist approach,

ecosystems perspective, and the generalist perspective.

Sept. 17           Ch. 2 continued           

Sept. 20           Ch 3. Social Welfare Policies and the Birth of the Profession: Historical Highlights

            Topics discussed in this chapter include the institution of social welfare, poor relief in the United States, social legislation

            in the 20th century, issues and concerns in income maintenance, the myth and reality of public welfare, and issues for the future. 

           Video:  “The Man Who Planted Hope


Sept. 24           Continue Ch. 3

Reaction Paper due


Sept. 27           Ch 4. Poverty and Populations at Risk

            This chapter focuses on the topics of social and economic justice, populations at risk, racial and ethnic diversity in the

            United States, forms of discrimination in the United States, affirmative action, and international code of ethics.


Oct. 1              Continue Ch. 4

Video: Forgotten Fires

                                News Review due

Oct. 4              Ch 5. Family and Children's Services


            This chapter takes us into the historical perspectives of family and children services, the providers of services, the client’s

            self determination and professional decision making, diverse family structures and social work’s ethic of cultural competence

           and social diversity, family policy, and current trends for families in the United States.

Oct. 8              Ch. 5 continued

Ch 6. Social Work in Mental Health

            Key topics of discussion include the knowledge, values, and skills for mental health work, generalist practice with groups

            and communities, social workers: dealing with psychological trauma, serving the mentally ill: cost to case management, practice

            with diverse populations, Native American history and social welfare policy and mental health.


Oct. 11            Ch. 6 continued

Ch 7 Social Work in Health Care

            Key topics included in this chapter are the educational preparation for health care practice, health care services, health care

            in rural areas, the emergency room and outpatient clinics, and the politics and economics of health care.


Oct. 15             Ch. 7 continued

Web site/search due

Oct. 18             Review for the mid-term


Oct. 22             Mid-term exam  Ch 1-7

Oct. 25             Ch 8. Social Work in the Workplace

            This chapter will give an in-depth look at the role and responsibilities of the social worker, pathways to a social worker,

            violence in the workplace, social work format for service delivery, values and ethic and the fight for social and economic justice.


Oct. 29             Continue Ch. 8            

Career Development Pathway Assignment due

Nov. 1             Ch 9. Social Work in the Schools

            This chapter encompasses the role of the social worker in schools, the impact of cultural diversity in schools, involvement of
            special education social work values in the school setting and policy implications, and the history of social work in schools.

Nov. 5             Continue Ch. 9

Ch 10. Substance Abuse Services

            This chapter further defines the role of the social worker, at risk populations, prevention and treatment programs, current

            research on substance abuse, aids in building knowledge of substances of abuse, social   welfare policy related to substance

           abuse, and the social work profession’s history related to substance abuse field and disaster relief.


Nov. 8             Ch. 10 continued

Position Paper due

Nov. 15           Ch. 11 Social Work and the Elderly

This chapter looks at all aspects of working with older adults from demographics, to care giving, to elder abuse. With the
older generation on the rise in numbers with the aging baby boomers, this is a vital area to the profession.

Nov. 19           Finish Ch. 11

Nov. 22           Ch 12. Criminal Justice Settings

            This chapter looks at the components of the criminal justice system, value dilemmas for social workers, promoting social justice,

            punitive juvenile justice policies, social welfare policy in criminal justice, disaster trauma and the criminal justice system, and

            the history of social work in criminal justice. 


Nov. 26           Thanksgiving break – no class


Nov. 29           Ch 13. Developmental Disabilities and Social Work

Key topics included in this chapter are the social worker’s role with people who have disabilities, NASW standards for service,

education for work with people who have disabilities, types of developmental disabilities, a brief history of services for people

with disabilities, human diversity and populations-at-risk, disabilities rights movement, social policy and appropriate terminology,

the Americans with disabilities act and the civil rights act as well as value dilemmas and ethical implications.

Dec. 3              Ch. 13 continued

Dec. 6              Ch 14. Future Challenges and Closing Notes

            This chapter takes a look at the future of social work including Resettlement Opportunities Services Inc., demographic trends,

            political trends, economic conditions, technological advances, and future employment opportunities.


                        Second perception paper due

Dec. 10            Last day of class

                                Review for final exam


Dec. 13            Final Exam




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.   In addition, due to the importance of the expression of the written word in the social work profession and the need for clarity and professionalism in all writings related to the field, appropriate grammar and spelling is expected.  It is important to proofread all your work and to use spell check, grammar check, and/or a third party to ensure no loss of points due to grammatical or spelling errors.

Mid-Term Exam: 15% (75); End of Semester Exam: 15% (75); Position paper: 15% (75); Participation and Attendance: 10 % (50);   Reaction Paper; 10% (50);   Web Assignment: 10% (50); Resume: 10% (50); News Review: 15% (50); 2 perception papers: 5% (25).  Total 500 points.


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