Aims and Objectives
1. The Social Work Major
The Department of Social Work offers a multi-disciplinary program which attempts to unite various needs and considerations. The curriculum provides knowledge and develops skills and attitudes necessary to perform the tasks that social workers fulfill in the course of their careers. These tasks are extremely varied; they can apply to people with entirely different backgrounds and life situations. The social worker may be employed in various places and work with individuals, families, groups, and larger communities, as well as an administrator.
The department teaches its students how to continue the process of learning, so that new knowledge, more refined attitudes, and skills can be acquired to solve the concrete problems and tasks ahead.
1.1 The Primary Mission
The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people. Particular attention is given to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.
An historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in the social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.
Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organization, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.
The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective.
- Social justice
- Dignity and worth of the person
- Importance of human relationships
This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience.
1.2. The General Aims
The Department has identified the following goals for the undergraduate social work degree:
- Provide a generalist professional practice knowledge base that prepares students to work with a wide variety of client systems;
- Prepare students for identification with the values and ethics of the profession of social work;
- Prepare students for practice with culturally diverse, oppressed, at-risk populations;
- Prepare beginning practitioners to be able to relate social research and social policy to generalist practice; and
- Prepare students to value the learning process and the importance of critical awareness for graduate study.
1.3. The Aims and Objectives of the Social Work Major
The four-year B.A. in Social Work has these aims and objectives:
- Develop an understanding of the economic, social, and political context within which social work operates, and the ability to critically analyze these relationships;
- Develop an understanding of the relationships between ideology, knowledge, theory, research, values, and skills;
- Develop a basic professional level of knowledge and skills from which social work can be practiced with individuals, families, groups, and communities;
- Develop a consciousness regarding one’s own attitudes and prejudices, especially in regard to gender and class differences. In this way, it is hoped that a greater understanding of the values, attitudes, and world views of others can be achieved;
- Develop general skills that are deemed basic for higher education and research. This includes skills for finding and evaluating knowledge, providing proper references, using libraries, statistical material, computers, and the development of necessary writing skills; and
- Empower people to develop coping, problem-solving, and networking skills in order to participate in the change process.
2. The Sociology Major
Sociology as a discipline is concerned with developing a knowledge and understanding of social work from a distinctively social point of view. Its focus is on the relations that connect individuals, groups, and institutions. When it looks at the characteristics, understandings, and practices of individuals themselves, it does so from the standpoint of their relations with others.
Sociology is both theoretical and evidence-based:
- As a theoretical discipline, its concerns relate directly to the other social science disciplines; its concerns also relate to those of philosophy and political theory, as well as to practical ethics and to social, public, and civic policy. No single theoretical framework should dominate the discipline; there are numerous, legitimate sources of theoretical diversity. What is essential to the subject is that students learn to appraise theories and to assess them in relation to evidence.
- As an evidence-based discipline, sociology insists on scrutiny and evidenced reassessment of everyday understandings of the social world.
- It is a discipline in which theoretical considerations and epistemological skepticism are combined with an appreciation of the need to establish firm grounds for our knowledge of the social. It employs a wide diversity of research strategies and methods, many of which are shared with other disciplines, and shares broad generic skills with many other areas of enquiry. Its distinctive ways of knowing and understanding, however, are rooted in sociological perspectives and insights.
2.1 The Primary Mission
The primary mission of sociology is to understand how societies, institutions, and practices of all kinds came into being, how they are currently organized, and how they might change in the future.
Change is intrinsic to social life and this impels sociology’s characteristically dynamic character. The discipline constantly alters in relation to the diverse and changing social contexts in which sociologists work. This means too, that the boundaries of sociology and its relations to other disciplines are constantly shifting, while old specialties decline and new ones develop.
2.2 The General Aims
The Department has identified the following areas/goals of sociological knowledge and understanding:
- Enable students of sociology to judge and evaluate evidence;
- Enable students to appreciate the complexity and diversity of social situations;
- Assess the merits of completing theories and explanations;
- Gather, retrieve, and synthesize information;
- Make reasoned arguments;
- Interpret evidence and texts; and
- Develop the ability to reflect on their own accumulation of knowledge.
2.3. The Aims and Objectives of the Sociology Major
The four-year B.A. in Sociology has these aims and objectives, which students are expected to develop during their undergraduate study:
- Enable students to formulate and investigate sociologically informed questions;
- Develop competence in using major theoretical perspectives and concepts in sociology, and their application to social life;
- Develop the capacity to analyze, assess, and communicate empirical sociological information;
- Develop the ability to identify a range of different research strategies and methods, and comment on their relative advantages and disadvantages;
- Develop the ability to conduct sociological research in a preliminary way;
- Develop the ability to undertake and present scholarly work;
- Develop the ability to understand the ethical implications of sociological enquiry; and
- Develop the ability to recognize the relevance of sociological knowledge to social, public, and civic policy.