The School prepares students to work with diverse populations and issues. As our mission statement indicates, we educate students for advanced direct practice with individuals, families, households, groups, organizations and communities. Using this focus, the curriculum includes the following elements:
- A liberal arts perspective informed by recognition of the critical import to social work education and practice of cultural, political, and socio-historical contexts; skills in communication, reasoning, analysis and critical thinking and inquiry; understanding of human behavior; and scientific method.
- Social work knowledge, values, and skills essential for making sound, ethical, and autonomous professional judgments and decisions.
- Thorough exploration of the many dimensions of human diversity including natural endowments; cultural heritage; histories of social, economic, and racial oppression; and their implications for social work practice.
- In Idaho, the majority of BSU social workers function as direct practitioners at all levels, in public, private, and nonprofit agencies with scarce fiscal resources and personnel. At the graduate level our MSW concentration—advanced professional practice with Individuals and families—prepares graduates for advanced direct practice in agency settings responsive to the basic social service needs of the sparsely populated, largely rural state of Idaho.
- Building on the foundation developed in the first year of the MSW Program or during BSW education, our advanced direct practice concentration prepares students with knowledge and skills of sufficient depth, breadth, and specificity for sophisticated, creative analysis, decision making, leadership, and expert functioning at multiple system levels.
- Building on a strengths perspective—a conceptual framework incorporating understanding and appreciation of diversity, ecological theory, and empowerment models of practice—the concentration prepares for advanced practice interventions grounded in a variety of theoretical perspectives and models.