Find fulfillment with a career serving others

Students in the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program at St. Edward's University will study a broad range of topics in preparation for a career that focuses on helping the less fortunate and improving quality of life. Students in this program enjoy the strong sense of community centered around the pursuit of a more just world. Connected by shared beliefs, students in this program value the dignity of the human person and appreciate diversity. This program is in accordance with professional standards and accredited by the Council on Social Work. 

Students take core courses in sociology, social work, human biology, psychology, world religion, and sociology. This is supplemented with courses in the behavioral and social sciences and professional preparation for generalist social work practice. You can expect to learn in a supportive educational environment. Students build the knowledge, values, and skills of social work through both academic and experiential learning in the classroom and in the local community. Graduates are prepared to pursue work as social work practitioners, to confront institutionalized forms of oppression, and to advance the achievement of social work and economic justice.

Social Work Program Application

Applications are accepted on October 1 in fall semesters and February 1 in spring semesters.  In order to register for any social work practice and field courses (i.e. SOCW 3347, SOCW 3348, SOCW 4344, SOCW 4650 and SOCW 4651), students must complete all application documents and requirements and have a successful interview with social work faculty.

Applications must be given to the program director on or before the above deadlines during the academic year.

Learning Goals

Students in the Social Work program at St. Edward's University will complete a portfolio demonstrating their ability to:

Students in the Social Work program at St. Edward's University will complete a portfolio demonstrating their ability to:

Students in the Social Work program at St. Edward's University will complete a portfolio demonstrating their ability to:

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
Social workers understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulationsthat may impact practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Social workers understand frameworks of ethical decision-making and how to apply principles of critical thinking to those frameworks in practice, research, and policy arenas. Social workers recognize personalvalues and the distinction between personal and professionalvalues. They also understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional judgment and behavior. Social workers understand the profession’s history, its mission,
and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Social Workers also understand the role of other professions when engaged ininter-professional teams. Social workers recognize the importance of life-long learning and are committed to continually updating their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Social workers also understand emerging forms of technology and the ethical use of technology in social work practice. Social workers:

  • make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethicaldecision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context;
  • use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;
  • demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication;
  • use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
  • use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not limited to age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. Social workers understand that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers also understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power. Social workers:

  • apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels;
  • present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences;
  • and apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
Social workers understand that every person regardless of position in society has fundamental human rights such as freedom,safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations, and are knowledgeable about theories of human need and social justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice and human rights. Social workers understand strategies designed to eliminate oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods, rights, and responsibilities are distributed equitably and that civil, political,environmental, economic, social, and cultural human rights are protected. Social workers:

  • apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and
  • system levels; and
  • engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
Social workers understand quantitative and qualitative research methods and their respective roles in advancing a science of social work and in evaluating their practice. Social workers know the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and culturally informed and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers understand that evidence that informs practice derives from multi-disciplinary sources and multiple waysof knowing. They also understand the processes for translating research findings into effective practice. Social workers:

  • use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;
  • apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and
  • use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery.

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
Social workers understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policyand its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Social workers understand the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers understand their role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Social workers recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. Social workers:

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services;
  • assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services;
  • apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers understand that engagement is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practicewith, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers value the importance of human relationships. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to facilitate engagement with clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations,and communities. Social workers understand strategies to engage diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness.
Social workers understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions may impact their ability to effectively engage with diverse clients and constituencies. Social workers value principles of relationship-building and inter-professional collaboration to facilitate engagement with clients, constituencies, and other professionals as appropriate. Social workers:

  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoreticalframeworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and
  • use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers understand that assessment is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with,and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in the assessment of diverse clients andconstituencies,including individuals, families, groups, organizations,and communities. Social workers understand methods of assessment with diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Social workers recognize the implications of the larger practice
context in the assessment process and value the importance of inter-professional collaboration in this process. Social workers understand how theirpersonal experiences and affective reactions may affect their assessment and decision-making. Social workers:

  • collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies;
  • develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and
  • select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences ofclients and constituencies.

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers understand that intervention is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practicewith, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are knowledgeable about evidence-informed interventions to achieve the goals of clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations,and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to effectively intervene with clients and constituencies. Social workers understand methods of identifying, analyzing andimplementing evidence-informed interventions to achieve client and constituency goals. Social workers value the importance of inter-professional teamwork and communication in interventions, recognizing that beneficial outcomes may require interdisciplinary, inter-professional, and inter-organizational collaboration. Social workers:

  • critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoreticalframeworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;
  • use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes;
  • negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies; and
  • facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers understand that evaluation is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, andon behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers recognize the importance of evaluating processes and outcomes to advance practice, policy, and service delivery effectiveness. Social workers understand theories of human
behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in evaluating outcomes. Social workers understandqualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating outcomes and practice effectiveness. Social workers:

  • select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoreticalframeworks in the evaluation of outcomes;
  • critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and
  • apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

Outcomes

Students in the Social Work program must complete both a portfolio and an exit interview prior to graduation. In each of these assessments, students will have the opportunity to show their development in each of the core competencies/learning goals in the Social Work program. In the portfolio, students write essays describing their growth over time and provide supporting documentation via assignments from classes, evaluations of their practice in agencies, and other documents that reflect their growth from beginning to advanced social work practice knowledge, values and skills. A faculty member and a field instructor conduct the exit interview. The student answers questions that demonstrate their ability to apply, analyze and synthesize information from their coursework and field placements.

Graduates of the Social Work program find careers in the fields of public health, substance abuse, mental health, child welfare, and education. They work in settings such as hospitals, emergency rooms, hospices, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, private practices, nonprofit organizations, juvenile detention facilities, mental hospitals, mental health centers, child protective services, elementary schools, and secondary schools. 

Outside the Classroom

Internships

The baccalaureate practicum/internship will further provide each student with opportunities to:
  • Continuously develop self-awareness during intervention 
  • Enhance the strengths and well being of others
  • Help others identify and address their own opportunities for self improvement
  • Work toward the improving environmental conditions that have a negative affect on others
  • Communicating in language appropriate for the profession of social work
  • Critical assessment, implementation, and evaluation of agency policies and procedures within NASW ethical guidelines
  • Field Learning Experiences
Students will experience two semesters of supervised field placement, where they will have the following practice opportunities:
  • Learn about a specialized body of knowledge unique to the placement setting, client population, and issues addressed
  • Purposeful interviewing techniques
  • Professional growth in developing accountability in terms of time, record keeping, and writing reports
  • Participating in the casework process
  • Facilitating or co-facilitating group(s)
  • Working effectively with diverse clients
  • Interaction with other social workers
  • Gathering information about the agency
  • Appropriate use of various services and resources within the agency and community
  • Identifying gaps or limitations in the placement agency's services in relation to client needs
  • Studying and following agency policy and procedures at the placement agency and potentially influencing policy and/or procedures at the agency
  • Systematic self-evaluation 

Meet the Faculty

Faculty interact closely with students through classes, advising sessions, fieldwork and program events. Professors have a diversity of research interests, but all share a passion for the field of social work and helping students succeed.

"Nothing is more rewarding than seeing students grow and develop. I love mentoring students in the classroom and through one-on-one advising. Teaching allows me to give the best I have from my own education and experience to those that are the future of my profession." -  Stacey Borasky, PhD, assistant professor and chair of the Social Work program

"Education is indeed an opportunity for people to develop their cognitive, existential, emotional, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. I encourage my students to open themselves up in all these areas as they learn course content. Teaching is a privilege, and I am honored to have the chance to teach." - Anna Escamilla, PhD, LCSW, assistant professor of social work