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College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Mission Statement

Program Mission

The mission of the Department of Social Work is to prepare traditional and non-traditional students for professional entry-level generalist social work practice who are committed to social, economic and environmental justice throughout the surrounding urban, suburban, rural and military base communities in Central and Southern Virginia.

As entry-level practitioners, students are capable of delivering social services in a manner that is consistent with the values (social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry) and ethics of the social work profession. Ultimately, students recognize their responsibility to continue their professional growth and development in research and the incorporation of the latest technologies in their practice.

Building on a strong liberal arts base, the program provides quality professional educational experiences in partnerships with a wide variety of community agencies and organizations throughout the Central and Southern Virginia area. The Department is committed to serving culturally and economically diverse students, including first-generation as well as those coming to the university from their first two years in the community colleges in the region, and from four-year institutions as well.

The mission, purpose and philosophy of the Social Work Department at Virginia State University are consistent with the overall institutional mission.  The institutional mission is “to prepare graduates to enter the work force of the twenty-first century, pursue advanced study, assume leadership roles, and be competitive in a global society’”.

Program Goals

  1. Prepare students for entry-level generalist social work practice.
  2. Prepare students to be culturally aware and knowledgeable generalist social work professionals with a demonstrated commitment to social, economic and environmental justice in an ever-changing global society, especially in the central and southern Virginia region.
  3. Prepare students to be able to facilitate and provide community advocacy and service to diverse populations-at-risk in urban, suburban and rural settings, including surrounding military base communities.
  4. Prepare students to think critically and be able to integrate social work knowledge, values, practice skills, social policy and the research process to ethical social work practice with an emphasis on addressing the needs of central and southern Virginia residents;
  5. Instill in students a commitment to life-long learning by pursuing graduate education, training opportunities and leadership roles.

Program Core Competencies

Competency – based education is an outcome performance approach to curriculum design.  Each competency describes the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that comprise the competency at the generalist level of practice.  The goal of the outcome approach is to demonstrate the integration and application of the competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. VSU competencies are consistent with the BSW Program mission and goals.

The programs nine core competencies are as follows [Competencies 1-9, CSWE 2015]

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities.


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