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Social Work

Student Handbook

What is Social Work?

Definition of Social Work
"Social work is viewed as an activity that seeks to help individuals, families, organizations, groups or communities engage resources that will alleviate human problems. Social work also is concerned with enabling clients to develop capacities and strengths that will enhance their social functioning."

The Social Work Program at Minot State University is committed to preparing students to work in according to the values and tenets of the profession. The program emphasizes not only the acquisition of necessary knowledge and skills, but also the development of critical thinking and assessment abilities in order to best serve their clients and communities.

Definition of Generalist Practice
"Application of eclectic knowledge base, professional values, and a wide range of skills to target systems of any size within the context of four primary processes: (1) working within organizational structure under supervision, (2) wide range of professional roles, (3) application of critical thinking skills to the planned change process and (4) emphasis on client empowerment."

An important goal of the Social Work Program is to prepare students for generalist practice in the northern Great Plains region. Changes continue in the demographics of this geographic area, including an aging population, a lowering birth rate and a steady out migration of youth. Population movement is increasingly from the rural to the urban areas of the state.

Economically, North Dakota ranks 48th in the national average wage, ranking highest in the nation for the percentage of people holding multiple jobs. (Job Service of North Dakota) Although unemployment and poverty are down in the last decade, there exists a higher number of single parent families, an increase in the "working near-poor" and fewer resources and options for low income families to relocate.

In addition, the ethnic/racial diversity of North Dakota is increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the overall population has remained relatively constant over the last decade; however, the number of Native Americans and individuals of “other” races has increased.

Each of these factors present practice challenges to the generalist social worker. In order to effectively provide the necessary social welfare services, it is imperative that each student be provided with the appropriate and relevant educational opportunities. The Social Work Program continues to maintain and update its commitment to this broad goal.

History of Social Work Program
The Social Work Program at Minot State University began in 1976 with 60 students and two faculty. In the Fall of 1998 the Department of Social Work and the Department of Psychology joined to form the Department of Addiction Studies, Psychology, and Social Work. At the present time, there are 100 majors and four full-time social work faculty in the program. The program secretary and the office are located in room 345 of Memorial Hall.

Mission Statement The Social Work Program through its teaching, scholarship, and public service, provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills for competent beginning generalist social work practice in the Northern Great Plains Region.

In carrying out this mission, we seek to affirm our commitment to human rights, social justice and diversity. Minot State's Social Work Program reflects this commitment by emphasizing the historical, social, political and economic contexts of social work knowledge and practice. The program supports and educates students on the values and ethical standards of the social work profession.

Goals and Objectives
The Social Work Program at Minot State University is designed toward achieving the following goals in accordance with the Council on Social Work Education standards and Curriculum Policy Statement for Baccalaureate Degree Programs (See Appendix A):

  1. Within the context of a liberal arts perspective, to prepare students to be competent beginning generalist practitioners by grounding them in the knowledge, values and history of social work.
    1. Apply critical thinking within the context of professional social work education practice.
    2. Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly.
    3. Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice.
    4. Understand and interpret the history of social welfare and the social work profession and its impact on contemporary structure, issues and programs
    5. Analyze formulate and influence social policies and programs.
  2. To prepare students for beginning practice employment and licensure in the Northern Great Plains Region, and/or entry to a graduate school in social work education.
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of generalist, ethnically and racially sensitive practice especially as it applies to working with Native American and Rural populations in the region.
    2. Practice without discrimination, with respect, with the knowledge and skills related to client’s age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation.
    3. Apply the knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes.
    4. Evaluate research studies, apply research findings to practice, and evaluate their own practice interventions.
    5. Use communication skills differently across client populations, colleagues, and communities.
    6. Use supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice.
    7. function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and seek necessary organization change.
    8. Prpare for entry into social work practice an/or graduate education.
  3. To promote professional growth and life-long learning.
    1. Demonstrate a commitment to on-going practice improvement.