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Social Work

Mission, Goals and Objectives


The undergraduate social work program at Austin Peay State University reflects the faculty’s concern to fill a need for compassionate, ethical, knowledgeable and skilled generalist social workers who are committed to practice in the aid of vulnerable and oppressed groups and advance human rights.  The program seeks to provide an educational experience which opens students’ minds and hearts to social work’s historical commitment to social betterment, peace and justice.

Through holding high the vision and purposes of social work, the program aims to inspire students to be proactive as generalist social workers in building a more just and equitable future in which access to life sustaining resources and opportunity structures is not thwarted by one’s race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, age, culture, religion or disability. 

The programs focuses on educating generalist practitioners who build on the strengths and resources of people and their environments, engage in advocacy, and use empowerment as a guiding principle toward achieving personal, interpersonal, social and economic justice.   With and through its graduates, the program strives to contribute to the uplifting and well-being of people in our respective communities as well as the profession itself. 

Graduates who honor diversity, uphold the highest ethical standards and practice the creative art of blending social work knowledge, values, and skills in the helping process are the program’s greatest hope for the future.

The program’s mission embraces not only the art, heart and conscience of social work but also the central importance of research-guided knowledge and problem-solving in nurturing the science of social work.    Educating graduates who value research and use a reasoned approach for assessing, intervening, and evaluating practice outcomes related to planned change forms a significant aspect of the program’s mission.  In this manner, the program seeks to increase the work force of generalist social workers engaging in accountable, empirically-based practice, knowledge building and sharing of their own practice wisdom.

The program’s mission also recognizes the mounting impact of information technology on how social workers work and the implications for lifelong learning.  The program seeks to strengthen social workers’ use of information technology by graduating students who have a good foundation of information literacy competencies upon which to build and lead as “next generation” twenty-first  century practitioners. 

Rapidly advancing technology and the knowledge explosion have tremendous significance for lifelong learning.  Both sharply influence not only what is to be learned but also how.   Influencing a commitment to lifelong learning is integral to the program’s mission of “passing the torch” effectively and enriching the future of social work in our region.

In summary, the program’s mission is to advance the presence of professional social work and strengthen social work practice in the region and respective communities where graduates choose to work.   It is a mission of educating students to build on the strengths and resources of people and their environments, engage in advocacy and use empowerment as a guiding principle toward achieving personal, interpersonal, social and economic justice.  The mission is linked to a broader purpose of promoting human well-being and social betterment.

Program Goals

The goals of the program are derived from its mission, the purposes of social work as well as expectations for the structure of baccalaureate social work education.  The goals of the program are to:

  • prepare students for entry-levels generalist social work with client systems of various types and sizes

  • provide an integrated curriculum based on the purposes of social work and the knowledge, values, ethics and skills necessary for entry-level generalist practice
  • provide an educational experience that promotes culturally sensitive practice with diverse and oppressed groups and encourages active community participation in advancing social and economic justice

  • provide an educational experience that facilitates critical thinking and analysis of social work knowledge and practice

  • provide a learning environment that encourages self-reflection, information literacy, lifelong learning and prepares students for professional growth and development

 Program Objectives

 The intent of the social work program is to graduate students who are able to:

  • practice within the values and ethics of social work and with an understanding and appreciation of diversity

  • use communication skills appropriate to interacting with a variety of diverse populations, colleagues, and members of the community 
  • apply the knowledge and skills of generalist social work including the problem-solving approach and the empowerment and strengths perspective to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities 
  • apply knowledge of bio-psycho-social variables that affect individual development and behavior as well as the ecological perspective during exploration, data collection, assessment, planning, and implementation

  • apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional practice and use theoretical frameworks to assess individual, interpersonal, and inter-organizational behaviors in families, groups, organizations, and communities

  • analyze the impact of social policies on client systems, workers, and agencies and participate in the development and improvement of social policy

  • understand the history of social work as a profession and its current structures and issues

  • understand the nature of oppression and discrimination and strategies of change that advance social and economic justice

  • utilize research-based knowledge, evaluate research studies and apply research findings to practice, including evaluating their own practice interventions and those of other relevant systems

  • use supervision appropriate to generalist practice and demonstrate capacity for critical self-reflection and evaluation of performance

  • reflect appropriate levels of self-awareness and conscious use of self in professional relationships and acknowledge the importance of lifelong learning to continue their professional growth and development

  • function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems, utilize information technology and with appropriate supervision advocate for organizational change