The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies offers a major in social work. The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Fairfield University prepares graduates for beginning practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The BSW curriculum is conceptualized within a generalist framework incorporating a solid foundation of coursework in social work knowledge, values and skills, interdisciplinary and interprofessional cooperation, social justice activism, research, and policy practice.
BSW Program Outcomes
The curriculum and learning goals reflect the competencies necessary for beginning social work practice and the accreditation requirements of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Upon completion of the BSW Program, graduates will be:
- Competent in the methods and skills of engagement, assessment, and intervention with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.
- Competent in analyzing, developing and advocating for policies that serve the needs of a diverse society and vulnerable populations.
- Ready to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, with professional and community partners.
- Competent in, and committed to undertaking social work research.
- Stags for others, recognizing social inequities and intervening as leaders for social change.
The BSW program has achieved candidacy status through the Council on Social Work Education and will be evaluated for initial accreditation in October 2021.
SWRK 1101 Social Work Essentials I 1 Credit
Students are introduced to the profession and study of social work in this one-credit seminar. They are oriented to social work values and ethics as the review NASW ethical standards and practice guidelines, as well as special ethical considerations regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Social work faculty will also visit the class and discuss their respective roles in the BSW program. Students will engage in discussions regarding books that integrate contemporary social work issues with those of other fields and disciplines (i.e., medicine, education, policy, religion). Students will engage with readings in Social Work Now, a publication dedicated to current events and issues in contemporary social work practice, research, and policy. Finally, students will complete a reflection project either in a formal written essay or visual media, demonstrating their understanding of the social work profession and their personal reflections regarding their commitment to entering the profession of social work.
SWRK 1102 Social Work Essentials II 1 Credit
Prerequisite: SWRK 1101.
Students continue their orientation into the social work profession and the BSW program. They will begin the semester with a four-week module focusing on community-engaged learning as a fundamental element of social work pedagogy. They will read "The Student's Companion to Community-Engaged Learning" and complete reflections regarding their understanding of the role of community-engaged learning in preparing social work students for field placement and professional practice. Students will engage with assigned readings about helping professionals and what it means to be a helper, particularly with regards to competency in engaging diversity and difference in practice. At the end of the semester, students will participate in a panel discussion with social work professionals and graduate students seeking advanced social work degrees. This is an opportunity for students to engage in dialogue and learn about multiple career and educational pathways in social work. For their final assignment, students will take part in a group project, developing a public service announcement regarding the value of community-engaged learning for social work students.
SWRK 2400 Social Work: An Introduction 3 Credits
Attributes: HSSS Health Studies: Social Science
This course provides an overview of the social work profession, including the knowledge, values and skills that provide the foundation for generalist social work practice. Students are introduced to the systems and ecological framework through which social workers view the complex nature of human and social problems. There is a focus on fields of practice, methods and models of intervention, and the historical mission of the profession to advance human rights, social justice and to provide services to vulnerable and oppressed populations. Crosslisted with SOCI 2400. Previously SK 0192.
SWRK 2410 History of Social Welfare 3 Credits
Attributes: ASSO American Studies: Sociology, HSSS Health Studies: Social Science, PJST Peace and Justice Studies
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
This course explores the evolution of social welfare in the United States. Emphasis will be placed on the social, political, legal, economic, and philosophical forces that have forged American social welfare policy and helped shape the profession of social work. Exploration of historical events, as well as divisions in American Society, regarding social justice and issues of class, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender will provide a framework through which to view current controversies, including the economic and social climate for groups such as the working poor and undocumented immigrants. In addition, the course will provide historical context to contemporary issues by exploring the ongoing implications and ethical merit of social policies such as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Policy (DACA), and the current separation of parents and children at the United States southern border. Crosslisted with SOCI 2410. Previously SK 0193.
SWRK 3301 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I 3 Credits
Corequisite: SWRK 3303.
Prerequisite: SWRK 2400.
The purpose of this course is to engage students in an exploration of human behavior and the impact of the environment on individuals as they develop through the lifespan. It examines the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of human development with a further emphasis on how factors such as poverty, discrimination, racism, culture, gender, health status, and sexual orientation, affect the developmental process. Exploration of research, case examples and self-reflection, will deepen students ability to conceptualize the processes of assessment, intervention, and the person-in-environment perspective across systems with diverse populations. This course, the first in sequence, will cover human reproduction through adolescence. Previously SK 0301.
SWRK 3302 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II 3 Credits
Corequisite: SWRK 3304.
Prerequisite: SWRK 2410.
The purpose of this course is to engage students in an exploration of human behavior and the impact of the environment on individuals as they develop through the lifespan. It examines the biopsychosocial and spiritual aspects of human development with a further emphasis on how factors such as poverty, discrimination, racism, culture, gender, health status, and sexual orientation, affect the developmental process. Exploration of research, case examples and self-reflection, will deepen students ability to conceptualize the processes of assessment, intervention, and the person-in-environment perspective across systems with diverse populations. This course, the second in sequence, will cover young adulthood through end-of-life issues. Previously SK 0302.
SWRK 3303 Social Policy and Social Justice 4 Credits
The course will explore policy within the context of social, economic, and environmental justice issues including oppression, poverty, income inequality, food insecurity, immigration, healthcare disparity, pollution, criminal justice, and other issues that affect individual and social well-being. The impact of social policies and social programs on vulnerable populations will also be explored. Students will understand and identify with the role of social workers as agents of change in developing and advocating for social policies that meet the needs of clients. This course will include service learning in a community setting and will culminate in a project that will evaluate policy issues that arise throughout the semester. Previously SK 0303.
SWRK 3304 Research in Social Work Practice 4 Credits
Scientific inquiry which tests theory and supports the evidence base of social work intervention is a critical component of social work education. The research course introduces students to all aspects of the research process, including forming hypotheses, framing research questions, conceptualizing and conducting a literature review, identifying variables, quantitative and qualitative measurement, sampling, data collection, coding, data analysis, and communication of results. Students will also learn to include and be sensitive to ethical guidelines in social work research and the importance of a culturally competent approach to research. This course will include service learning, and culminates with a research project that poses questions for scientific inquiry in relation to the service learning experience. Previously SK 0304.
SWRK 3311 Leadership for Interdisciplinary Health Professionals 3 Credits
This course is designed to expose students in the fields of public health and social work to conceptual frameworks through which to view leadership. Students will explore the key values and personal attributes that guide the leadership process. Students will engage in dynamic exercises and collaborative work to better understand leadership principles and work to apply these concepts to communities in their fields of study. The students will have the opportunity to reflect on leadership qualities relevant to their profession as well as personal leadership qualities that guide the relationship with vulnerable populations. Previously SK 0311.
SWRK 4305 Generalist Social Work Practice I 3 Credits
This is the first of two courses in the generalist practice and methods curriculum. This course immerses students in the fundamental values, ethics, skills, and knowledge that are the foundation of generalist social work practice. The course will cover the NASW Code of Ethics and Standards with a strong focus on cultural competence and a strengths-based approach to practice with individuals and families. Students will be encouraged to explore the profession while developing direct practice skills, such as developing the helping relationship, assessment, conceptualizing problems, assessing strengths, using research to inform practice, setting goals and contracting, choosing and evaluating intervention strategies, and evaluating practice. Students are expected to apply knowledge of human behavior, social policy, research, and practice with diverse and vulnerable populations into the practice situation. Previously SK 0305.
SWRK 4306 Generalist Social Work Practice II 3 Credits
Prerequisite: SWRK 4305.
This is the second of two courses in the generalist practice and methods curriculum. This course further immerses students in the fundamental values, ethics, skills, and knowledge that are the foundation of generalist social work practice. There will be a focus on increasing students understanding of the helping process and the development of generalist practice knowledge and skills. There will be emphasis on the importance of applying theoretical and empirical knowledge when choosing intervention strategies. Students will continue to engage in an ongoing and reflective process of exploring and evaluating their own practice and will also reflect on their "use of self" with clients and in the supervisory process. It is expected that students will integrate prior learning from previous courses and in current fieldwork concerning human behavior, social policy, research, service delivery, and practice with diverse and vulnerable populations across systems with specific focus on group work and community practice. Previously SK 0306.
SWRK 4307 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar I 3 Credits
The course is the first of two field seminar courses and is taken in conjunction with Field Practicum I. The purpose of this course is to acclimate students to field work and to prepare them for social work practice with diverse and vulnerable populations. The course will focus on the knowledge, values, and skills required to identify as a professional social worker and to practice in the field with competence, including the professional use of self, the application of social work values and ethics in social work practice, the use of communication skills, engaging in the supervisory process, social worker roles in community practice, understanding the organizational context of practice, exploring research to inform evidence-based practice, understanding and protecting clients confidentiality, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The seminar is designed to support students learning and integration of knowledge as they build practice skills. Students are supported through the use of small group process oriented interactions, self-reflection, role-play, case discussion, and experiential exercises. Students are also encouraged to share questions, concerns, and learning needs in regards to their field experience. Previously SK 0307.
SWRK 4308 Integrative Field Practicum Seminar II 3 Credits
Prerequisite: SWRK 4307.
This second seminar course is process-oriented and is designed to provide students the opportunity to discuss, analyze, and integrate theory within their field and coursework learning while demonstrating their ability to apply multiple sources of knowledge and skills to generalist social work practice. The seminar provides the opportunity for further learning and consolidation of knowledge and skills, through self-reflection, case discussion, process recordings, presentations, experiential exercises, and a comprehensive case study paper. Previously SK 0308.
SWRK 4951 Field Practicum I 4 Credits
As the "signature pedagogy" in the education of professional social workers, field learning is integral to the program and needs to instill in students the ability "to think, to perform, and to act with integrity" (Shulman). The Field Practicum is designed to provide students with a generalist perspective for social work practice, through supervised experience with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Provided in collaboration with human and social service agencies, the field practicum will preparation students for professional practice in social work. Previously SK 0309.
SWRK 4952 Field Practicum II 4 Credits
As the "signature pedagogy" in the education of professional social workers, field learning is integral to the program and needs to instill in students the ability "to think, to perform, and to act with integrity" (Shulman). The Field Practicum is designed to provide students with a generalist perspective for social work practice, through supervised experience with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Provided in collaboration with human and social service agencies, the field practicum will preparation students for professional practice in social work. Previously SK 0310.