Ananda Newmark, Ph.D.
Director, B.S.W. Program
Email: anewmark@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-0456

The B.S.W. Program administers the undergraduate offerings of the School of Social Work, including the Bachelor of Social Work and the minor in social welfare.

Guided by the principle of promoting social justice, the goals of the B.S.W. Program are:

  1. To provide an integrated curriculum based on the knowledge, skills, ethics and values essential for beginning generalist social work practice
  2. To offer an educational experience that facilitates the critical analysis of social work knowledge and practice
  3. To provide classroom and field instruction experiences designed to promote culturally sensitive practice with diverse and oppressed groups
  4. To provide an environment that encourages lifelong learning and prepares students for professional growth and development

SLWK 200. Building a Just Society. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Course will introduce students to social justice issues in a local context with a focus on expanding and deepening their knowledge and skills to effect change through active engagement in the community. Course promotes an understanding and critical analysis of multiple forms of oppression in social systems and in personal experience using professional social work perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Selected reference materials and experiential learning activities are designed to enhance student understanding of what constitutes a just community and a just society. The course may be offered as service-learning.

SLWK 201. Introduction to Social Work. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Systematic overview of the social work profession. Knowledge of the nature of social work, the fields of social work practice, target populations, overview of social work methods.

SLWK 230. Communication in the Helping Process. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The study of the knowledge, skills and values of effective human communication and interpersonal relations. Includes observation, collection and description of data, verbal and nonverbal communication and the relevance of the above to social work practice. Integrates issues of human diversity in all course content. Emphasizes the demonstration and practice of communication through structured exercises.

SLWK 311. Social Work and Oppressed Groups. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Open only to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. Examines forces leading to individual prejudice and institutional oppression. Focuses on impact of oppression. Provides students with an understanding of diversity and a general knowledge of social work strategies to alleviate oppression and to empower the oppressed.

SLWK 313. Person in Society I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: ANTH/INTL 103; BIOL 101, BIOL 151 or BIOL 152; PSYC 304; and SOCY 101. Open only to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. First of a three-semester sequence on human behavior and the social environment. Uses theoretical concepts and research findings from the behavioral sciences as background for understanding and assessing the functioning of individuals and families in their social environment. Facilitates integration of theory and research with assessment skills associated with basic social work practice. Emphasizes the social systems approach for analyzing the impact of various social problems on individual and family dynamics.

SLWK 330. Person in Society II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SLWK 313 with a minimum grade of C. Open only to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. Second of three courses on human behavior in the social environment. Uses theoretical concepts from the behavioral sciences to understand the family and small groups as social institutions and social groups as context for human behavior over the life cycle. Designed to provide a theoretical foundation for practice with families and small groups.

SLWK 332. Social Work Practice: Fundamentals. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SLWK 313 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: SLWK 393. Open only to social work majors with junior status. First of three semester practice sequence. Introduces students to basic concepts and skills of beginning-level professional generalist social work practice. Emphasizes application of concepts to the concurrent fieldwork experience.

SLWK 380. Foundations of Social Work Research I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Open only to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. First of two semester research sequence. Designed to provide an understanding and appreciation of a scientific, analytic approach to building knowledge for practice and for evaluating multilevel service delivery. Provides an overview of the research process, including problem formulation, sampling, design, measurement, data collection, data analysis and dissemination of findings. Presents ethical standards of scientific inquiry with special attention to research with vulnerable and oppressed populations.

SLWK 381. Foundations of Social Work Research II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SLWK 380 with a minimum grade of C. Open only to social work majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. The content includes a review of basic statistical univariate and bivariate descriptive and inferential tools for analyzing, interpreting and presenting data for decision-making in generalist social work practice. It also introduces methods for analysis of quantitative and qualitative data and further develops critical-thinking skills in translating empirical research findings into generalist social work practice principles.

SLWK 391. Topics in Social Work. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. An in-depth study of a selected topic relevant for professional social work practice. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SLWK 393. Junior Field Instruction. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits. Prerequisite: SLWK 313 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: SLWK 332. Open only to majors with junior status. Fourteen hours per week (spring semester) or 20 hours per week (summer session) in a community agency under the supervision of an agency-based field instructor. Intended to facilitate student's understanding of agency structure and community context, ability to engage in professional relationships, to assess strengths, define problems, set goals and utilize beginning-level practice skills with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Promotes identification as a professional social worker.

SLWK 422. Social Welfare Legislation and Services. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: completion of SLWK 311, 313, 332, 380, 381 and 393, each with a minimum grade of C. Enrollment restricted to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. Analyzes social welfare policy as related to social values, social problems and social structures. Examines frameworks for policy analysis and for evaluation of programmatic outcomes of policy, with application to contemporary social service and income maintenance policies and delivery systems. Considers the economic, political and ideological factors and processes that affect social welfare legislation, financing and implementation.

SLWK 431. Person in Society III. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SLWK 313 with a minimum grade of C. Open only to majors or minors in social welfare with junior status or by permission of program director or course instructor. Third of three courses on human behavior in the social environment. Builds on the theoretical concepts from the behavioral sciences discussed in SLWK 230 and 313. Focus on understanding organizations and how their purposes, auspices, structure, processes and environment affect the delivery of social services to diverse groups. The community context of social services, including that of the consumer, is emphasized from an open systems theoretical perspective. Students will be expected to integrate course content with their field experience or other agency with which they are familiar. Required of all undergraduate social work majors.

SLWK 441. Social Work Practice I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SLWK 332, 381 and 393, each with a minimum grade of C. Open only to majors with senior standing. Second of a three-semester practice sequence. Review of interviewing and problem-solving for generalist social work practice with diverse populations. Emphasis on agency structure and function, skills of engagement and problem definition, assessment, planning for intervention, and evaluation. Use of material from concurrent fieldwork practice to facilitate integration of learning.

SLWK 442. Social Work Practice II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SLWK 441 and SLWK 494, each with a minimum grade of C. Open only to majors with senior standing. Third of a three-semester practice sequence. Emphasizes planning and implementing change with diverse populations, professional ethics, professional development, termination and evaluation of generalist social work practice. Use of case material from concurrent fieldwork practice to facilitate integration of learning.

SLWK 492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1, 2 or 3 lecture hours. 1, 2 or 3 credits. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, and permission of instructor. Under supervision of a faculty adviser, whose consent is required to register, study of a topic of concern to the student. Each student must present his or her findings in writing or pass an oral examination.

SLWK 494. Senior Field Instruction I. 3 Hours.

Semester course. 3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of SLWK 332, 381 and 393, each with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: SLWK 441. Open only to majors with senior status. Fourteen hours per week in a community agency under the supervision of an agency-based field instructor. Intended to develop knowledge, values and social work practice skills appropriate to entry-level generalist practice in human service agencies.

SLWK 495. Senior Field Instruction II. 3 Hours.

Semester course. 3 credits. Prerequisite: completion of SLWK 494 with a minimum grade of C. Corequisite: SLWK 442. Open only to majors with senior status. Fourteen hours per week in a community agency under the supervision of an agency-based field instructor. Intended to develop knowledge, values and social work practice skills appropriate to entry-level generalist practice in human service agencies.

SLWK 499. Senior Seminar. 1 Hour.

Semester course. 1 credit. Corequisites: SLWK 442 and 495. Typically to be taken in the last semester of the student's senior year. This course serves as an academic culmination of the undergraduate social work program. The student will compile a portfolio of B.S.W. program academic materials, complete a professional self-assessment and resume and participate in the development of a comprehensive generalist intervention plan with regard to a specified social problem.