The Social Work program’s Core Competencies and Practice Behaviors are taken directly from CSWE’s 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS). Faculty has mapped the program’s course curriculum content including readings and assignments across these competencies to ensure curriculum coherence, continuity and coverage. Practice behaviors further operationalize each competency and can be seen in the Field Practicum Educational Plan and Field performance evaluations.
Social Workers serve as representatives of the profession, its mission, and its core values. They know the profession’s history. Social workers commit themselves to the profession’s enhancement and to their own professional conduct and growth.
1. Advocate for client access to the services of social work.
2. Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development.
3. Attend to professional roles and boundaries.
4. Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication.
5. Engage in career-long learning.
6. Use supervision and consultation.
Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision making. Social workers are knowledgeable about the value and base of the profession, its ethical standards, and relevant law.
1. Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice.
2. Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (NASW, 2008) and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles (IFSW, 2004) and, as appropriate. other codes of ethics.
3. Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts.
4. Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.
Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and reasoned discernment. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity. Critical thinking also requires synthesis and communication of relevant information.
1. Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom.
2. Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation.
3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues.
Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors. Appreciate 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.
1. Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power.
2. Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups.
3. Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences.
4. View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work.
Each person, regardless of position in society, has basic human rights, such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers recognize the global interconnections of oppression and are knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human and civil rights. Social work incorporates social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice.
1. Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.
2. Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice.
3. Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.
Social workers use practice experience to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice, and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery. Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge.
1. Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry.
2. Use research evidence to inform practice.
Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life course; the range of social systems in which people live; and the ways social systems promote or deter people in maintaining or achieving health and well-being. Social workers apply theories and knowledge from the liberal arts to understand biological, social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development.
1. Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
2. Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.
Social work practitioners understand that policy affects service delivery, and they actively engage in policy practice. Social workers know 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.
1. Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being.
2. Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.
Social workers are informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and societal contexts at all levels of practice. Social workers recognize that the context of practice is dynamic, and use knowledge and skill to respond proactively.
1. Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services.
2. Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.
Professional practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multiple levels. Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; and promoting social and economic justice.
1. Substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
2. Use empathy and other interpersonal skills.
3. Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.
1. Collect, organize, and interpret client data.
2. Assess client strengths and limitations.
3. Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives.
4. Select appropriate intervention strategies.
1. Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals.
2. Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities.
3. Help clients resolve problems.
4. Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients.
5. Facilitate transitions and endings.
1. Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.