SW410 Social Work Practice III: Organizations and Communities

for SP 2005

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Social Work Practice III: Organizations and Communities

 Spring 2005

Faculty:  Deborah Rinehart, MSW

Office: MA225

Office Hours: MF 9-11 and by appointment

Office Telephone (816) 584-6503 or (816) 753-5171

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

Dates of Semester: January 10-April 29

Class days and times:   MF  11-12:15

Prerequisite:   Social Work Major. 

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 knowledge and skills for social work practice with organizations and communities.  This includes an introduction to organizational management and evaluation, grants for program funding, strategies for organizational change, and the experience of working in an agency setting under supervision.  Community practice includes an introduction to community change strategies and methods of advocacy.


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.



SW410 Course Objectives:  It is expected that upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:


1.      Recognize and describe theories of organizational behavior and the elements of organizational management.

2.      Demonstrate a basic understanding of fundraising and grant writing.

3.      Explain the fundamental concepts of service evaluation within organizations.

4.      Discuss and design strategies to facilitate organizational and policy change.

5.      Model an understanding of the skills and knowledge necessary for generalist practice within organizations, including working under supervision.

6.      Communicate a working knowledge and understanding of processes and issues related to practice within legal and judicial systems

7.      Describe a broad awareness of ethical issues associated with practice in organizational settings

8.      Demonstrate an understanding of strategies of change in communities, including the role of community advocacy organizations.

9.      Describe an effective understanding of legislative advocacy in facilitating community involvement and change.


Course Textbooks:

Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities, 2nd edition.  Karen K. Kirst-Ashman and Grafton H. Hull.  Wadsworth Publishing Company.  2000.

Program Planning and Proposal Writing.  Expanded Version.  The Grantsmanship Center.  1980.

Note: A Copy of each text is on reserve in the McAfee Library.


Readings on Reserve:

Management of Human Service Organizations, 3rd Ed.  Judith A. Lewis, et al.  Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 2000.

Missouri’s Long Road to Social Justice.  Roland Meinert.  Published by Missouri Association for Social Welfare.  2000.


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: Two Exams, Grant Proposal, Organizational Project & Class Presentation.  Further details on these assignments will be distributed in class.  Written assignments are to be double spaced, 12 font size, typed or word processed. CO refers to course objectives met, noted in parenthesis.


  • Exams:  There will be two exams; one at mid term and one at end of term.  They will consist of multiple choice, short essay, true and false, and fill in the blank.    


  • Grant Proposal:  An on-going task throughout the course is the writing of a grant proposal for funding a hypothetical service project.  In addition to conveying the skills of proposal writing, this project serves as a vehicle for applying knowledge relating to organizations and community.  In order to write the various sections of the proposal students must understand the basic elements of management such as setting goals and objectives, preparing a plan of service delivery, organization and staffing, fundraising, budgeting, and evaluation.  The grant writing assignment is also a way of acquiring knowledge relevant to practice in a community setting.  This includes conducting a needs assessment which is a common task of community organizations and becoming sufficiently familiar with local agencies and services to profile the existing services and resources and gaps in services for a selected area of need.  The proposal exercise also serves as an application of writing skills to the particular format and style of writing appropriate to grant proposals, which is one of the types of professional writing skills relevant to the social work profession.  (CO 2,4,5,6,7,8,9)


  • Organizational Project & Class Presentation:  This project is designed to allow you to demonstrate a professional use of self.  Students will be involved for at least 6 hours outside of class during the semester in an organization in the community. This semester you will partner with a local agency.  Students enrolled in field may choose to use the agency in which they are assigned. The project will include a 10-page paper describing what was learned from the organizational involvement.  Students should describe the organization, identifying concepts appropriate to generalist social work practice.  Other issues to be addressed might include the organization’s history, organizational model, leadership styles and their effects on the organization, the use of the problem-solving model focused upon the organizations target or mission.  The paper must also address the long-range goals of the organization, target groups, marketing and public relations issues, and how have (or haven’t) issues of diversity and social justice been addressed.  Be sure to cite the literature and clearly describe how you have applied it.  Again, you need to use more than the web for your citations.  You need to cite a minimum of six books or professional journal articles.  (CO 1,3,5,7,8,9)


The Organizational Project will be graded according to the following:

Depth and quality of research                                                                            25%

Adequacy of bibliography and appropriate use of citations                                  5%

Discussion of implications of the information obtained                                        25%

Conceptual clarity of the thesis, body and conclusion                                         25%

Organization of the paper—heading, transitions, and etc.                                   10%

Grammar, spelling, sentence structure and punctuation                                        5%

APA format                                                                                                      5%


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."

SW410 Course Schedule: 

SW410 Course Schedule

Week 1            Introduction

01/10-14          Syllabus, Get acquainted          

                        UNIT I: Overview of Social Work Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities;

                        Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapter 1

A. What is generalist social work practice?

B. Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities

C.    Values and Ethics in Social Work Macro Practice

Week 2            Readings:  Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapter 14


Week 3            Part III Macro Practice: Communities and Organizations

01/24-28          Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull,  Chapters 2 & 3                  

Week 4            Ch 19 Project Homeless          

01/31-02/04     Ch 20 Transitional Homes for Young Street Mothers

Week 5            UNIT II: Assessment and Planning in Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities;

02/07-11          Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapters 5, 6

A. Assessment in Generalist Macro Practice

B. Assessment of Community Needs; Community Analysis Assignment

C. Program Planning

Week 6            Part III Macro Practice: Communities and Organizations

02/14-18          Ch 21 The Appointment Letters                       

Week 7            Ch 22 The Evergreen Boys Ranch: A Story about Jack and Diane


02/21-02/25     Grant Proposal due

Week 8            UNIT III: Intervention at the Macro Level;

02/28-03/04     Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapters 7

                        A. Solving Social Problems

B. Proposal Assignment

Mid term exam

03/07-03/11     SPRING BREAK

Week 9            Part III Macro Practice: Communities and Organizations

03/14-18          Ch 23 The Willow River Developmental Disabilities Center

                        Ch 24 Self-Disclosures and Client Discrimination

Week 10          Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapter 12


Week 11          UNIT IV: Macro Skills: Working with Organizations and Communities

03/28-4/1         Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapter 4

 A.       Skills for Organizational and Community Change

 B.        Roles in Organizational and Community Change

Week 12          Part III Macro Practice: Communities and Organizations

4/4-4/8             Ch 25 Managing Margaret's Care

                        Organizational Project and Class Presentation  

Week 13          Ch 26 From Case to Cause: My Name Is Jess Overton

4/11-4/15         Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapter 9

Week 14          Ch 27 Community Work with Refugees                       

4/18-4/22         Ch 28 When Life Changes in an Instant

Week 15          UNIT V: Advocacy and Brokering in Social Work Practice

4/25-4/29         Readings: Kirst-Ashman and Hull, Chapters 11 and 15

 A. Advocacy in Social Work Practice

 B. Brokering in Generalist Social Work Practice

Week 16          Final Examination         



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.


Two Exams: 20% each; Grant Proposal: 10%; Organizational Project & Class Presentation: 40%; Attendance and Participation: 10%.


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