Social welfare policies promote or undermine human rights, fundamental freedoms, and social and economic opportunities. Social workers must have broad knowledge of the organization and structure of the social welfare system and how social services are funded. The course explores the foundations of American social values, political and economic structures, and power and privilege in relation to how these impact social welfare policy development, create or limit access and availability to social welfare services and benefits.
This course uses biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual perspectives to build understanding of people within their environments, providing a context for social work assessment and practice. Students study human development through the life course as it is affected by social and cultural diversity, social, political, and economic barriers and opportunities, and the roles and status of women. Students apply theories and research-based knowledge on the interrelationships among individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and cultures in local, transnational, and international contexts, including relationships characterized by social conflict, oppression, and violence, and relationships that contribute to human and social development, equity, and peace.
This course prepares students to practice community-based social work at the beginning level. The purpose of this initial practice course is to teach students the generalist perspective of social work practice which emphasizes working across a range of systems that includes individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Generalist social work practice includes principles of empowerment and highlights strengths-based, collaborative practice. Students are introduced to the professional change process with socially and culturally diverse individuals, groups and families, and they examine and apply the NASW Code of Ethics and Standards for Cultural Competence. Students develop an understanding of the relation of theory to practice skills to guide the application of social work knowledge, values and skills in community-based settings.
This course is designed to help social work students to work effectively with clients from diverse backgrounds. Culturally-responsive practice emerges from self-awareness, relevant and nuanced understanding of the life context and culturally-influenced values and norms of the client and knowledge of systems of oppression and privilege that impact on fundamental human rights. Students develop skills to support honest self-reflection to minimize the effects of personal bias on the helping relationship as well as developing an emerging understanding of other cultures and identities.
Building from the study of the history and philosophy of current social policy structures, this course emphasizes policy practice, developing skills and knowledge to influence policy development and implementation. Students analyze the effects of social policies on diverse populations, learn a values-based approach to affecting change with and on behalf of clients, and participate in political action, such as legislative advocacy, lobbying, and electoral politics. Client-directed, collaborative policy practice is explored in a variety of settings including organizational and community-based programs and services. Prerequisite: SOCW 500
The course builds upon HBSE I by continuing the exploration of theories and knowledge informing biological, sociological, psychological, cultural and spiritual processes and development across the life span. It addresses the environmental conditions that support or inhibit individual and family growth and development; and variations arising from ethnicity, class, cohort, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and other differences. Prerequisite: SOCW 501
Generalist social work practice with communities and organizations includes strategies for networking and community-based research. Students learn to assess socially and culturally diverse communities and organizations in local and international environments, including inter-group and inter-organizational relationships; prejudice, discrimination, and differential opportunities; formal and informal leaders, support systems, and service providers; and community and organizational values as obstacles and resources for social change. Students learn integrated service strategies to link clients with collaborative interdisciplinary care. Prerequisite: SOCW 502
Social workers use research to build knowledge, influence policy, and evaluate practice. Students consider qualitative and quantitative research methods; examine applications of new technologies; explore issues in professional ethics and human rights; apply standards for cultural competence; and gain experience in evaluation research. The course is designed to prepare students to become sophisticated and discerning users of and contributors to the social work knowledge base.
Students are placed in a USJ MSW Student Unit for 16 hours/week (total of 240 hours) of supervised field experience in generalist social work practice. Agency-based clinical preceptors support students as they integrate theories and research-based knowledge with their experiences in the field. Students are expected to frame questions, locate and apply relevant professional literature, identify ethical issues, and pursue cultural competence. Students locate, learn, and practice evidence-based approaches and promising practices relevant to their population and agency role. Student units afford opportunities for mutual aid and collaborative learning to augment professional supervision. Open only to matriculated students.
Continuation of SOCW 510. Students are placed in a USJ MSW Student Unitfor 16 hours/week (total of 240 hours) of supervised field experience in generalist social work practice. Prerequisite: SOCW 510
This lab develops students’ applied skills in social work practice. Foundation social work approaches to practice such as empowerment, strengths-based, and collaborative/person-centered are integrated with skills for practice. The course assures that incoming advanced standing students have mastered foundation competencies in social work practice skills with individuals and systems of various sizes. Open only to Advanced Standing students.
This seminar is required for all students admitted to the Advanced Standing Program. Each advanced standing student has already completed their foundation content through completion of a CSWE-accredited BSW Degree. This seminar is designed to review and extend these students’ preparation for advanced practice curriculum at the graduate-level, while also establishing a strong working cohort to support student learning and retention. This course helps students enhance their professional identity as social workers while ensuring that they are ready to enter the concentration year of the MSW program. The course content will focus on the CSWE core competencies in the foundation curriculum: 1) Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 2) Social Welfare Policy, 3) Values and Ethics, 4) Diversity and Culturally relevant practice, 5) Micro, Mezzo, and Macro level Practice, and 6) Research. The course will introduce students to the basic concepts of community-based clinical practice in preparation for the advanced curriculum. Open only to Advanced Standing students.
This overview of community mental health prepares social workers for clinical practice in multidisciplinary community mental health settings, including research, treatment, program development, evaluation, and policy analysis. Grounded in the mental health recovery model, the course reviews the consumer movement in community mental health, the relationship between stigma and recovery, and the principle that persons can recover throughout their lifetime. Particular topics include community mental health across the life cycle, diversity and community mental health, social determinants of mental health, new and emerging best practices in community mental health, and organizational and policy issues. Open to second year students and advanced standing students.
Community-based clinical social work practice is culturally-responsive, evidence-based, ethically sound, and collaborative. Building on the knowledge and skills developed in foundation courses, this course explores dimensions of the therapeutic relationship, multidimensional assessment, diagnosis, and the skillful application of therapeutic interventions using individual, family and group modalities as appropriate. Students will learn case management strategies to support optimal functioning of persons in community-based settings. Operating from a developmental perspective, students learn to apply evidence based practice theory, including Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Behavioral theories to complex client issues, attending to the impact of trauma, chronic conditions, relationships, and stress. Interventions aimed at resiliency, and enhancing client capacity and strength are stressed. Open to second year students and advanced standing students.
As defined by the Kellogg Foundation, Community-Based Participatory Research is a "collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research topic of importance to the community with the aim of combining knowledge and action for social change to improve community health and eliminate health disparities.” This course will teach the principles and applied methods of community engaged research, including collaboratively defining the community and identifying relevant research questions, co-constructing and implementing study designs, interpreting and disseminating findings, and implementing research findings. Students will learn to develop and maintain partnerships with community groups, working with community-based providers, organizations, health and public health agencies. Open to second year and advanced standing students.
Students learn to co-construct individualized treatment plans with clients, employing multiple treatment modalities - individual, group and family – as appropriate. Building on the knowledge and skills developed in foundation courses and SOCW 601, Clinical Practice I, students expand their understanding of clinical practice theory and their skills in applying the theory in practice. Using a foundation for clinical assessment that includes attachment, family systems and developmental theory, students learn to engage with families and community assets to support optimal functioning of clients in nurturing environments. They learn to select culturally-responsive, trauma-informed, evidence-based treatment approaches consistent with a multidimensional, strengths-based assessment. The course introduces knowledge of neurobiology and pharmacology related to clinical social work intervention. Prerequisite: SOCW 600, SOCW 601
The course brings together students who are in the same specialization area for an integrative seminar. Using a collaborative, active model of learning, students explore advanced topics in social work practice with their population, applying theory and practice skills learned in the program, recognizing and taking action to enhance the systems and resource issues that impact client functioning. The Seminar provides support and structure for students to complete their community-based research project begun in the Research II class. Students are expected to take the community research project from planning to fruition by working collaboratively with members of a community group and with colleagues in their student units on a research project that addresses some need identified by that community group. Students will write up the research project and share results in a capstone assignment with a goal of producing knowledge meaningful to the community. Prerequisite: SOCW 600, SOCW 601, SOCW 602, SOCW 603
Students are placed in a USJ MSW Student Unitfor 20 hours/week (total of 300 hours) of supervised field experience in advanced clinical social work practice. Agency-based clinical preceptors support students as they integrate theories and research-based knowledge with their experiences in the field. Students are expected to frame questions, locate and apply relevant professional literature, identify ethical issues, and pursue cultural competence. Students locate, learn, and practice evidence-based approaches and promising practices relevant to their population and agency role. Student units afford opportunities for mutual aid and collaborative learning to augment professional supervision. Open only to matriculated students.
Continuation of SOCW 610. Students are placed in a USJ MSW Student Unitfor 20 hours/week (total of 300 hours) of supervised field experience in advanced clinical social work practice. Prerequisite: SOCW 610
Social workers engaging in clinical practice must be prepared to diagnose and treat those with mental health symptoms and substance abuse disorders. This course provides knowledge and skills in differential diagnosis and treatment of serious and persistent mental health disabilities as well as community-based clinical interventions, including crisis response, risk assessment protocols, and multidisciplinary intensive case management and assertive mental health teams. Students are provided with the knowledge and basic skills to recognize and understand the dynamics of chemical dependency in the lives of individuals, addiction treatment options, dual diagnosis, and the recovery process. The course will explore support system development and enhancement using natural and formed helping groups. Students learn the uses of psychotropic medications and other treatment methods by extending their understanding of brain science.
This course explores factors contributing to health and mental health disparities across the life cycle as experienced by racial and ethnic minority populations, immigrants and refugees, low income communities, and LGBTQI persons. Students consider strategies to reduce stigma and stereotyping in health care, to improve cross-cultural and language barriers in the clinical encounter, and to promote social determinants of health. Particular attention will be paid to successful collaborations among health providers and various communities; community health centers as model delivery systems for improving integrated health outcomes; and the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care (CLAS Standards).
Community-based clinical practice with older persons calls for knowledge of the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of aging; the family, community, and cultural contexts of aging; and the impact of social policies on health outcomes for older persons and their families. This course explores the diversity of the aging experience as related to health status, socio-economic status, and cultural expectations on health and aging within various ethnic communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and LGBT populations. Students explore evidence-based practices in community-based elder services, integrated health care, and new research on depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, and palliative care. Community arts and educational programs, senior centers, and elder-led volunteer programs are explored as resources for intergenerational civic engagement and individual and community wellbeing.
This course prepares social workers for community based clinical practice with veterans and their families, with particular attention to signature injuries among recently returning OEF/OIF veterans, such as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. The course explores the history and context for delivery of mental health services to military service members, veterans, and their families; the mediating influence of military culture in outreach and treatment; and the development of evidence-based best practices in culturally responsive, trauma-informed care.
The historical roles of women in combat and the changing legal and cultural contexts for women’s military service present challenges and opportunities for the health and wellbeing of women and their families. This course examines the particular health and mental health issues experienced by servicewomen such as hostile military environments, military sexual assault, barriers to family and community reintegration, and limited access to appropriate health care. Particular attention is paid to best practices in promoting recovery and resilience among military women, including community outreach, community- based treatment, advocacy and care coordination, and family and peer support.
Military families historically have demonstrated remarkable resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability. In recent years, however, the cumulative impact of multiple combat deployments have posed health and mental health challenges to children and adults with family members in military service, who may manifest symptoms of anxiety, depression, and secondary post-traumatic stress. This course prepares community-based clinical social workers to assess and respond to needs of military families through the cycle of pre-deployment, deployment, re-integration. Particular attention is paid to the development of evidence-based clinical interventions in the contexts of schools, child-serving agencies, and community health and mental health programs.
This course will emphasize the application of Evidence-Based Practice for in-home family treatment models. Students will develop familiarity with prominent models (evidence-based and promising practice) in use in organizations in Connecticut and around the country. The course provides specific strategies and underlying theory for each model and explores commonalities in the models including the application of attachment, family systems, and developmental theories to social work practice with children, adolescents and families. Local providers and clients participating in these models will be featured presenters in the course. The importance of family dynamics, class and cultural factors are examined. Particular attention is paid to adolescents vulnerable due to involvement in risk behaviors. Students who complete this course are awarded a certificate stating that they are prepared to assume positions in an agency that has implemented one of the in-home family treatment models.
This course is organized around strategies for implementing recovery-oriented mental health practice. Guided by SAMHSA’s 10 components, the course explores models of practice that stress self-efficacy and empowerment, a holistic approach (mind, body, spirit, community), hope, individualized and person centered practice, nonlinear recovery process, peer support, respect, responsibility, self-direction, and strengths-based practice. The course will apply these principles to work with families impacted by mental health issues in community settings to build social assets and resiliency. Evidence-based practice approaches using these principles will be highlighted.
This course is designed to provide an overview of current issues in child welfare and will explore both practice and policy interventions as they relate to social work in child welfare settings. Students will examine the history, evolution and functions of social work practice in the child welfare arena, and will develop a foundational understanding of issues related to race, age, gender, culture and socio-economic status as they explore risk and protective factors related to child abuse and neglect. Practice in the state child welfare system as well as agency-based family services will be reviewed. Models of family preservation/reunification and foster care related services are covered.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. On March 7 we celebrate global changemakers – women pressing for progress at the edge of today’s most prominent global movements. Featuring a panel of distinguished women: • Bayartsetseg Jigmiddash • Stephenie Foster • Josepha M. N. Musabyemariya …
Join us as Dovie Thomason, a Lakota/Kiowa Apache storyteller presents “Stories of the First Nations.” Dovie Thomason is one of the most respected and admired storytellers of her generation. Her ability to craft tales that not only enchant audiences––but also teach invaluable lessons about human nature and indigenous worldviews––has long made her a beloved contributor …
A recent article from Religion & Politics, entitled “Catholic Worker Houses Remain a Place for Protest and the Poor,” highlights the meaningful work done by individuals who serve in Catholic Worker houses across the country. In the article, USJ’s own Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Benjamin Peters, Ph.D. – who helped start a Catholic Worker …
Cristal Nembhard ’18 is a Human Development and Family Studies major at the University of Saint Joseph. In the fall of 2017, she interned at Wilson-Gray YMCA Youth and Family Center in Hartford, Conn., where she mentored children aged six to 17. “I love human services, working with people, and seeing the overall growth in …
The University of Saint Joseph women’s swimming & diving team was named a Scholar All-America Team by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. Read more …
Since its founding in 1932, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) has remained dedicated to providing a rigorous education that prepares students for successful careers after graduation. Many of these careers, which span a wide range of fields, were recently named to U.S. News and World Report’s “25 Best Jobs of 2018” list, demonstrating USJ’s …
The University of Saint Joseph ranked in the top 10 of the Best Colleges in Connecticut for 2017-2018. College Consensus, a school ranking publisher, notes it “averages the latest results from the most respected college ranking systems with thousands of real student review scores from around the web to produce a unique College Consensus rating …