Course Descriptions

SocWk 501 : Foundations of Social Welfare & Social Work: This foundation course introduces students to the historical roots of the social work profession and social welfare in the United States. The person-in-environment perspective is discussed as the framework for social work knowledge, values, and skills. This initial course in the MSW curriculum is designed to introduce the student to the social work profession, professional values, ethics, fields of practice, and the planned change process. The profession’s commitment to diverse and at-risk populations and social/economic justice is highlighted. The historical development of major social welfare programs and policies in the U.S. will be a major focus of this course.

SocWk 511: Human Rights and Social Justice : The course provides a critical perspective on current issues and problems in American racism, sexism, heterosexism, ablism, and ageism and issues of socioeconomic status. These issues and problems are studied in the context of the dynamics of social process, historical perspectives, and theories of prejudice and social change. Social work's responsibility to contribute to solutions is emphasized. Different models for examining the issues of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, and ability are presented.

SocWk 521: Social Work Human Behavior in the Social Environment I: This course analyzes theories of human behavior in the social environment from a life span developmental approach across two semesters.Tthe first semester focuses on the theoretical lenses through which we conceptualize social problems and interventions. The content of this course is designed to increase students’ potential for effective generalist social work assessment and interventions with individuals, families, groups, social systems, and communities. The course also strives to build students’ appreciation for and understanding of the ramifications of the “person-in-environment” principle that primarily takes into consideration the social, biological, and psychological influences of the environment. Students will examine the effects of social structures, social policies, and cultural patterns on individuals at all stages of life.

SocWk 522: Social Work Human Behavior in the Social Environment II: This course analyzes theories of human behavior in the social environment from a life span developmental approach across two semesters.The second semester focuses on the stages of human development.The content of this course is designed to increase students’ potential for effective generalist social work assessment and interventions with individuals, families, groups, social systems, and communities. The course also strives to build students’ appreciation for and understanding of the ramifications of the “person-in-environment” principle that primarily takes into consideration the social, biological, and psychological influences of the environment. Students will examine the effects of social structures, social policies, and cultural patterns on individuals at all stages of life.

SocWk 531: Social Work Generalist Practice I: This course provides an opportunity for students to begin applying the concepts of generalist social work practice. Skills necessary for working with individuals, families, and groups at each stage of the planned change process are defined, modeled, rehearsed, and evaluated. The course content and associated readings and assignments are designed to prepare the beginning social worker for entry-level, generalist practice based on the strengths perspective. Attention will be focused on a holistic foundation for practice, incorporating general systems theory, ecological ideas, and professional knowledge. People and their environments will be viewed as a unitary system and basic social work processes from engagement through evaluation and termination are described and analyzed.

SocWk 532: Social Work Generalist Practice II: This course provides an overview of the macro realm of social work practice, or generalist practice with large groups, organizations, and communities. Social work values and ethics in macro social work practice will be emphasized as well as advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed populations. This course is designed to introduce students to specific knowledge and skills useful to achieve change in organizational and community settings. These include basic administrative skills, community assessment, community organizing, strategic planning, and community development.

SocWk 541: Social Work Foundation Field Practicum I: The foundation practicum is an intensive supervised field experience at a selected social work agency. Students spend two semesters (Foundation Field I and II) in the field under the guidance of a University appointed field instructor and the Director of Field Education. This service/learning experience is supported by a regularly scheduled process seminar, which facilitates the integration of social work theory and practice.

SocWk 542: Social Work Foundation Field Practicum II: The foundation practicum is an intensive supervised field experience at a selected social work agency. Students spend two semesters (Socwk 541 and 542) in the field under the guidance of a University appointed field instructor and the Director of Field Education. This service/learning experience is supported by a regularly scheduled process seminar, which facilitates the integration of social work theory and practice.

SocWk 551: Social Work Research Methods : Introduction to qualitative and quantitative social work research skills fundamental to the development and critical use of information relevant to social work practice decision-making and evaluation. Students will be prepared to understand and utilize research findings to inform and enhance their practice and to carry out their own evaluation and research. The course will cover all phases of the research process including the development of research questions, research design, data collection, and analysis. Ethical issues in research will also be emphasized and explored.

SocWk 561: Influencing Social Policy : This course provides an examination of both the historical and contemporary context of social policies, programs, and legislation. It provides an analysis of various social welfare policies and the ways in which legislation is developed, enacted, and implemented in our society, including how policies have emerged in response to social problems at the local, national, and international levels. It explores and assesses existing policies and programs with particular emphasis on how they impact populations at risk. Social welfare policy will be investigated as a dimension of generalist social work practice and the course will include content related to human diversity, social and economic justice, and political advocacy as a means to achieving social and political change. U.S. social welfare policy will be examined in a global and human rights context.

SocWk 600: Fall Tune-Up for MSWs: Designed for students poised to enter the graduate (MSW) program at Pacific University, GSW 600 provides an overview, and clarifies expectations for the MSW coursework at Pacific University. Particularly valuable for students who have been away from a University setting a year or more, this course offers “refresher” material in research methods and writing skills requisite elements for success in graduate level social work education.

SocWk 601: Conversational Spanish for Social Workers: Socwk 601 provides the opportunity for students to study realistic dialogues of typical Spanish conversations that are relevant and useful for social work professionals in their daily work. Attention is devoted to key vocabulary and grammatical structures commonly employed by Spanish-speaking social workers.

SocWk 611: Latino Family and Culture: SocWk 611 is designed to prepare students to practice social work with Latino individuals and families. It provides a survey of current family theory with application to Latino families. Content will cover Latino family celebrations, meal preparation and enjoyment, and artistic expression including literature, music, dance, and street art. In addition, it will allow students to explore a topic of interest with a specific group of Latinos.

SocWk 621: Advanced Social Work Research Methodology: SocWk 621 is the first class in a two-course sequence (SocWk 621 + SocWk 622). Evaluating the effectiveness of social work programs and interventions are key. In SocWk 621, students master advanced research methods related to the conceptualization, design, implementation, analysis, and public presentation of research findings. Equipped with these tools, students will develop a research proposal for a capstone project that will be conducted in SocWk 622.

SocWk 622: Professional Capstone Presentation: SocWk 622 is the second course in a two-course sequence (SocWk 621 + SocWk 622). Students will finalize a research proposal and gain permission from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to conduct their research. Upon completion of data collection and analysis, students will present their findings to their peers, professors, area social work professionals, and campus community members. Presentations will include linkages to all components of the MSW curricum (e.g. Social Policy, Research Methods, Generalist Practice).

SocWk 631: Immersion in Latin America: SocWk 631 offers a true immersion experience in the language and culture of a Latin American country. Students attend daily classes designed to learn Spanish phrases, vocabulary, and grammar that have direct application to social work practice settings. While abroad, students live and share meals with Spanish-speaking families. They also learn about Latin American social services and perform community service. Cultural experiences including dance and Latin cuisine round out the immersion.

SocWk 643: Social Work Advanced Field Practicum III: Building on Foundation Field Instruction I and II, the advanced field practicum is an intensive supervised field experience at a selected social work agency. Students spend two semesters (SocWk 643 and 644) in the field under the guidance of a University appointed field instructor and the Director of Field Education. This service/learning experience is supported by a regularly scheduled process seminar, which facilitates the integration of social work theory and practice.

SocWk 644: Building on Foundation Field Instruction I and II, the advanced field practicum is an intensive supervised field experience at a selected social work agency. Students spend two semesters (SocWk 643 and 644) in the field under the guidance of a University appointed field instructor and the Director of Field Education. This service/learning experience is supported by a regularly scheduled process seminar, which facilitates the integration of social work theory and practice.

SocWk 651: Promoting Wellness with Latino Clients: GSW 651 introduces students to a variety of remedies and resources available to Latino clients in the pursuit of mental and physical wellness. Emphasis will be given to community and family resources, including elders and curanderos (healers).

SocWk 661: Wellness & Mental Health Diagnoses : An examination of the etiology and identification of adult mental disorders utilizing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Focus is on psychological, genetic, and biochemical theories of mental illness; biopsychosocial stressors in symptom formation, assessment and treatment; cultural determinants in psychopathology; differential diagnosis; and drug therapies.

SocWk 671: Advanced Therapeutic Approaches in Wellness & Mental Health : An advanced course focusing on effective interventions with common adult psychosocial disorders. Prepares students at the advanced level to apply diagnostic, assessment, prevention, treatment, and intervention skills with individuals, families, and groups in clinical mental health and health settings. Intervention methods, drawn from current practice evaluation literature, encompass a contemporary eclectic model incorporating cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic and other relational thinking, practice wisdom, and empirical evidence in determining the most suitable intervention. Special attention is given to recognition of individual and demographic factors influencing clients, as well as their expectations and input concerning the selective invention.