The Springfield College School of Social Work
Preparing Social Workers for Leadership in the 21st Century
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MSSW 601: Human Behavior in the Social Environment 13 S.H.
This course introduces systems theory and person-in-environment as the conceptual framework for the HBSE sequence. It addresses the ecological context of human development with attention to cognitive, psychological, and social development and the individual's membership in the family, as well as in groups, organizations and the community. Particular emphasis is given to gender, race, class, and culture.
MSSW 602: Human Behavior in the Social Environment 23 S.H.
This course continues the systems theory and person-in-environment framework introduced in HBSE 1. It explores the structure of organizations, groups, and communities as they provide social contexts for human development beyond the family group. This course gives attention to the demographic profile of communities and issues surrounding access to services. MSSW 601 is a prerequisite for this course.
MSSW 603: Human Behavior in the Social Environment 33 S.H.
This advanced course continues the study of human behavior with emphasis on the behavioral and psychological difficulties people experience in interacting with their environments. The biological, sociological, and intrapsychic theories of psychopathology and treatment based on these theories are reviewed. The course includes an examination of the use of the DSM IV, and the impact of diversity and oppression in the etiology, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of psychopathology.
MSSW 611: Social Welfare Policy and Services 13 S.H.
This course, a basic introduction to American social welfare policy, first examines the history of the American response to need with particular emphasis upon the role of the social work profession. After providing this historical framework, it assesses contemporary major governmental and non-governmental initiatives to fulfill human need emphasizing a breadth of social policy issues, such as poverty, discrimination, health care, housing, food, child welfare, substance abuse, employment, and social service delivery.
MSSW 612: Social Welfare Policy and Services 23 S.H.
This course emphasizes a social change approach to social policy with particular stress upon the influence of values and human choice in creating a socially just world, which guarantees all human rights. Within this humanistic framework, this course examines such basic issues as the theory and method of social policy analysis, political action toward social equality, internationalism, the creation of a human rights culture, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the strategic crafting of policy argument, and controversial issues in social policy.
MSSW 613: Social Welfare Policy and Services 33 S.H.
This course emphasizes the actual execution of policy by providing a focal point for students' growth as independent scholar-practitioners and public-spirited citizens in the field of social policy. In seminar format, it builds upon the foregoing sequence by considering state-of-the-art approaches and honing skills to advance policy and underscores a variety of analysis and action strategies, like critical education, creative dialogue, lobbying, organizing, campaigning, testifying, monitoring, and client, cause, legislative, and administrative advocacy.
MSSW 621: Social Work Research 13 S.H.
This course introduces information on various types of research appropriate to primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. Included are steps in the research process, elementary forms of data analysis, and critical analysis of research design and literature.
MSSW 622: Social Work Research 22 S.H.
This course stresses the execution of research design and practice. It accentuates the relevance of research to major areas of social work practice such as clinical practice, program development, and social policy. Students develop basic skills to communicate their research findings to both professional and lay audiences. MSSW 622 focuses on the evaluation of clinical practice (single system design) and MSSW 625 focuses on program evaluation.
MSSW 623: Social Work Research 33 S.H.
This advanced course stresses qualitative methodology and its relevance for social work theory and praxis. While it continues to emphasize primary areas of social work such as clinical practice, program and policy development, its emphasis is upon the elicitation of the structure and meaning of lived experiences of individuals in social settings.
MSSW 625: Program Evaluation Research2 S.H.
This course is designed to introduce students to the design, implementation and analysis of program evaluation research. It was developed in response to the increasing demand for accountability in social service delivery. The field of evaluation research is relatively new. It was not until the mid-1960’s that the first large-scale field evaluations of social programs were conducted in response to the War on Poverty. Since that time, we have seen that the demand for well-constructed program evaluations continues to grow. This course fulfills the requirements of the second course in a three-course research sequence. Students must first master basic methods presented in MSSW 621: Research 1: An Introduction to Social Work Research. Students then select either a micro practice oriented research approach found in Social Work Research 2: Single Systems Design or a macro level approach in Social Work Research 2: Program Evaluation. Program evaluation emphasizes development of skills in needs assessment, monitoring and outcome/impact program evaluation.
MSSW 631: Social Work Practice 13 S.H.
This course establishes the generalist perspective as the framework for the practice sequence. It provides information on the historical base of social work with a strong emphasis on the underlying values and ethics of the social work profession with a respect for human diversity (culture, race, class, religion, sexual orientation, gender, differential ability, etc.). The emphasis is on learning the interviewing skills involved in doing a psychosocial assessment and understanding the phases of the helping process. Differential theoretical constructs, assessment and intervention skills used in direct practice with individuals and families are examined.
MSSW 632: Social Work Practice 23 S.H.
This course continues within the advanced generalist framework established in Practice I. It examines assessment, goal setting, and interventions with groups and communities. The students will have the opportunity to examine issues of empowerment and work with a diverse client population. Ethical dilemmas relative to group and community work will also be examined.
MSSW 633: Social Work Practice 33 S.H.
This course utilizes the knowledge and skills gained in the foundation courses and advances these using more comprehensive models of assessment, theory, and intervention. The theoretical assessment of vulnerable and/or at risk populations provides the context for the application of sophisticated micro and macro interventions.
MSSW 634: Social Work Practice 43 S.H.
This is an advanced course designed to assist students in gaining the knowledge and skills required to enter into the complex arena of interactions within and between human service organizations and to prepare students to assume management roles and responsibilities. As such, it builds on the foundation content in Practice 2, on leadership in communities and organizations, as well as on foundation content in the Policy, HBSE, and Research sequences.
MSSW 684 and MSSW 685: Field Practicum 1 and 23.5 & 3.5 S.H.
MSSW 674 and MSSW 675: Field Seminar 1 and 2.5 & .5 S.H.
In these courses, Field Practicum and Field Seminar are taken concurrently as a single integrated foundation experience in generalist social work practice. In the agency-based practicum, the direct service experience requires psycho-social assessments, interagency collaboration, and relationship-based services to individuals and groups. The community organization experience requires involvement in community problems concerning lack of equality in human rights and basic social needs. Students identify community problems, set goals, and begin intervention.
Field seminar provides a supportive introduction to Field Practicum experiences, expectations, requirements, and current social work practice. The social work role in agency-based generalist practice, the role of the agency in the community, social work values and ethics, record-keeping, confidentiality, use of supervision and self-assessment are reviewed and discussed.
MSSW 686 and MSSW 687: Field Practicum 3 and 43.5 & 3.5 S.H.
MSSW 676 and MSSW 677: Field Seminar 3 and 4.5 & .5 S.H.
These are concentration courses in advanced generalist practice with Field Practicum and Field Seminar taken concurrently. The agency-based practicum emphasizes direct service organizations, and work with diverse multiproblem clients requiring complex multi-level intervention and advocacy. The administration experience requires an active contribution to the ongoing management activities of the practicum agency.
Field Seminar emphasizes preparation for advanced generalist practice. Practice with diverse client populations, multi-level intervention, complex skills, and complex legal and ethical issues are reviewed. Licensing, the current job market, the variety of career paths available in social work, on-going self assessment, leadership roles in agency practice, and the professional community are also discussed and reviewed. Prerequisites: MSSW 684 and MSSW 685.
Advanced Standing Courses
MSSW 604: Human Behavior in the Social Environment 42 S.H.
This course provides advanced standing MSW students with an opportunity to learn and apply contemporary theories of human behavior which provide the foundation for advanced generalist social work practice. These theories include psychodynamic theories, postmodern, and other theories of Human Behavior and the Social Environment that are considered essential in advanced generalist social work practice but which are not generally covered in depth in BSW training programs. The course will be highly interactive and will include guest presentations, small group discussions, and application of theory in cases selected by both students and the instructor(s).
MSSW 610: Social Work Practice 52 S.H.
This course is a bridge course between foundational and concentration levels for advanced standing students. The course will include generalist practice perspectives, teach skills relating to those perspectives, and introduce current practice trends in major fields of social work, including the changes in practice resulting from multiculturalism, globalization, managed care, and welfare reform. Particular emphasis will be placed on the generalist practitioner’s ability to move from large, community system interventions to organizational interventions to direct practice with families and individuals.
MSSW 640: Continuous Quality Improvement2 S.H.
This course teaches MSW graduate students how to build an infrastructure in human service organizations that not only maintains a high level of service quality but creates a culture of continuous quality improvement. Students build a skill set to be able to demonstrate that their services are continuously making measurable improvements in people's lives. Emphasized are practical, cost-effective, action-oriented methods and tools that yield continuous improvement of processes at a practice, program or organizational level. Research 2 (Practice or Program Evaluation) are recommended prior to taking this course.
MSSW 642: Therapeutic Applications of Adventure3 S.H.
This course is designed to provide the student with a theoretical understanding and practical working knowledge of using adventure activities as an element of an established treatment.
MSSW 643: Seminar in Social Work Practice with Diverse Populations3 S.H.
This seminar provides an in-depth experience of assessment, intervention, and evaluation in work with diverse groups of individuals, families and small groups. Theoretical and conceptual overviews of ethnicity, culture, stigma, and oppression will be examined. The seminar will focus on understanding the impact of internalized and institutional oppression and refinement of interventive skills when a multiplicity of factors may be operating.
MSSW 644: International Social Work and Human Rights3 S.H.
This course examines how the social construct, "Human Rights", can assist in the development of economic and social justice, thereby being a strategy for social change. It emphasizes the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, endorsed by the General Assembly in 1948, and today referred to as customary international law. It first examines the history of the idea of human rights and then contemporary human rights concepts with emphasis upon the United States and suggested research and action strategies.
MSSW 645: Contemporary Challenges in Child Welfare3 S.H.
This course focuses on children and families as they relate to and are a part of the larger social system and its institutions of education, politics, economics, and religion. Particular attention is on families and children as victims of child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. Processes which facilitate client healing and the use of interdisciplinary and collaborative community resources are examined.
MSSW 646: Family Treatment3 S.H.
This course focuses on children and families in crisis by concentrating on issues of power distribution, communication systems, and external institutional influences. Learning family treatment approaches and practicing techniques of problem identification and assessment are introduced through examination of strategies to help families deal with maturation and situational crises.
MSSW 647: Loss and Grief3 S.H.
This course is offered as a distance learning course. It prepares the MSW student for social work practice with clients coping with loss and bereavement. The initial focus increases students' awareness of, and sensitivity to, issues related to death, dying, disability and bereavement. Theories of attachment and loss are used as a framework for assessing bereavement reactions in clients in different developmental stages and from different cultural backgrounds. Therapeutic interventions are examined and applied through case discussions and experiential exercises.
MSSW 648: Substance Abuse in Social Work Practice2 S.H.
This course provides an opportunity to study substance abuse practice, concepts, and skills with emphasis on assessment, treatment planning, and intervention strategies with individuals and families affected by substance abuse. Evaluation of individual and family substance abuse problems is emphasized with particular attention to the complex interaction with domestic violence.
MSSW 649: Social Work Practice with Children3 S.H.
This course focuses on the integration of various theoretical models in the assessment and treatment of children and their families. Students are introduced to a wide range of play therapy techniques. The various theoretical models utilized in the assessment and treatment of children and their families are psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and solution focused. Group and family work, interdisciplinary collaboration, partnerships with schools, and the use of self-help groups adjunctive to therapy are addressed. Trauma and work with children in special circumstances are studied. Cases are drawn from students’ and instructor’s practice experience throughout the course. These cases are used to illustrate the theoretical constructs discussed in each module.
MSSW 652: Legal Aspects of Social Work Practice2 S.H.
This course examines law and legal processes, using legal materials and teaches legal advocacy skills. Among areas explored in the course are social work malpractice, privileged communication, and discrimination. Selected types of dispute resolution are explored with emphasis on developing initial skills in testifying and negotiation.
MSSW 653: Working with Older Adults for Clinicians, Administrators and Activists3 S.H.
This is a course designed to provide an overview of the multifaceted issues in gerontology. It explores the phenomenon of growing old in America, from the changing demographics of society that will command our attention in the years ahead, to the pressing need for satisfactory long-term care arrangement. This course seeks to further students understanding of the myths and realities of aging, the role of social work in gerontology, health, and social policy as it relates to aging, special populations, and research issues in gerontology.
MSSW 654: Mediation and Conflict Resolution for Clinicians, Managers and Activists2 S.H.
This course teaches widely applicable mediation skills through enactment approaches. Focus is on evaluation and intervention in different types of conflict, finding common ground, and developing collaborative, win-win strategies resulting in lasting agreements. The course is predominantly experiential. Students learn mediation skills through extensive use of role plays and other enactment approaches.
MSSW 655: Proposal Writing and Grant Acquisition2 S.H.
This course introduces proposal planning and development techniques. Differences between grants written for federal monies and those written for foundations are described. Utilization of grant acquisition informational resources such as the federal Request for Proposal (RFP) and researching private foundation funding are reviewed.
MSSW 656: School Social Work and the Education of Exceptional Children3 S.H.
This course provides an overview of social work practice in public education settings. It furnishes information on the historical roots of social work with a strong emphasis on the diverse roles and skills required to work effectively with many stakeholders. Since many school social workers are funded under the auspices of special education, this course examines the historical background information related to the field of special education legislation and litigation. It reviews the components necessary for effective collaboration and consultation with parents, school personnel and other professionals. The course will primarily focus on the definition and characteristics of exceptionalities with an emphasis on understanding the growth and development of exceptional children who include both disabled and gifted and talented children. Particular attention is given to the role of the school social worker and teachers in identifying, planning for and working effectively with special-needs children in the regular classroom.
MSSW 657: Women's Issues in Social Work2 S.H.
This course examines significant current trends in women's issues from the perspective of the human services professions. Focus is on fostering non-sexist practice in human services and working toward a non-sexist society. Vital issues of concern such as economic status, dual responsibilities of home and work representation in executive, administrative and academic positions, and women as health consumers are addressed.
MSSW 660: Consultation to Community-Based Organizations3 S.H.
Poverty has a particularly devastating effect for inner city communities of color. This course will focus on how social workers can use their understanding of macro practice to have a positive impact on the community. Students will discuss principles, practices and process consultation and technical assistance furthering knowledge and skills which are the foundations of intervening at a community-based level.
MSSW 670: Social Work Practice with Persons with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness3 S.H.
This course focuses on strengths based approaches to practice with people with severe and persistent mental illness and their families. Primary among these approaches are strengths based case management, assertive community treatment and psycho-educational groups. Students will be helped to understand and address the bio-psycho-social conditions associated with serious mental illness. Special attention will be given to the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and sexual orientation on the treatment of persons with severe and persistent mental illness and the effects of mental health policy on these groups.
MSSW 688: Special Topics1-4 S.H.
This course provides an opportunity for concentrated exploration and experience in a specialized or current area of relevance to social work. Topics are offered on a variable basis. A student may register for this course more than once, provided the topic is different each time. Prerequisite: Social Work major or permission of instructor.
MSSW 692: Independent Study1-4 S.H.
Graduate students with special needs, interests, and capacities conduct individual study under faculty supervision involving library work, tutorial work, research, independent reading or writing, or other approved study which contributes to the educational growth of a particular student.