Our mission is to make a positive impact on health care needs and social problems by preparing our graduates for specialized social work practice with diverse populations through the establishment and maintenance of community partnerships, along with the development and implementation of research techniques and evaluative strategies.
1. To prepare a diverse student population for specialized social work practice that adheres to professional social work values and ethics and focuses in the areas of health and mental health with a special emphasis on health disparities.
2. To advance student knowledge of the multiple dimensions of diversity and provide specialized training with diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities that has a practical and positive impact on the lives of the people of the state of Alabama and our region.
3. To develop critical thinking skills utilized to evaluate, integrate, and implement empirical research and evidence-informed interventions to enhance specialized social work practice.
4. To promote policies and community partnerships that address and reduce the impact of poverty, oppression and health disparities.
The MSW curriculum prepares its graduates for advanced clinical practice through mastery of core competencies and associated behaviors (as identified by the Council on Social Work Education). These competencies are comprised of knowledge, values and skills. Students must demonstrate the integration and application of the competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Education Competencies and Practice Behaviors
The Council on Social Work Education, the accrediting body for social work education utilizes a competency-based educational model for achieving successful student outcomes. Competency-based education is an outcomes-oriented approach to curriculum design. The goal of the outcomes approach is to ensure that students are able to demonstrate the integration and application of 9 competencies and the associated 31 behaviors in practice. The 9 competencies are:
- Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
- Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
- Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
- Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
- Engage in Policy Practice
- Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
- Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities