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Mission and Goals

Department of Social Work Mission

We change lives by graduating social work professionals who value and advocate for diversity, inclusion, and justice.

Department Goals

Being a new department, the Department of Social Work met on October 1, 2021 to draft our departmental goals. We believe this draft not only reflects an ambitious vision for our future, but is also a starting point for conversation with our strategic partners. We look forward to posting these goals once as we have affirmed our shared vision for success. As part of this process, faculty and students have been working on an Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Action (IDEA) plan to guide our work. This plan is summarized by the following statement:

The EKU Department of Social Work promotes inclusion, diversity and equity in our teaching and interactions with the community. An essential part of this stance includes denouncing the racism and injustice that is woven into our country’s history. We commit to continual growth and action through intersectional, anti-racism education and professional development, and we work to address systemic oppression and other forms of inequities with the goal of helping individuals and groups achieve their full potential.

We stand with and by our students, staff, faculty, and all human beings who feel marginalized based upon their identity and whose needs are not being met because of those differences. We recognize there are many individuals and groups who need support to have their voices heard and conditions changed in our society to address all their needs. We, in The EKU Department of Social Work, believe in not only anti-racist social work but also anti-oppressive social work. We work to dismantle our oppressive structures and build a more just society. We are committed to supporting a safe learning community for all. A safe learning community facilitates authentic inclusion of students, faculty, and staff in critical facets of university and academic life, born out by institutional policies and practices, both formal and informal, that are responsive to and mirror diverse perspectives. Sensitivity to diverse perspectives around complex challenges that arise out of social, economic, political, environmental, and health concerns within our own institution is a model for how to engage with others outside of our learning community and the larger world.

We begin this journey by inviting social work students, faculty, and staff to engage in critical conversations around what policies and practices are needed to strengthen inclusive social work education. We hope that our own efforts will be a model for change.

Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program Mission

The Eastern Kentucky University BSW program provides a student-centered collaborative and dynamic environment that prepares students for competent and ethical social work practice in a diverse world. This is accomplished through self-reflection, rigorous academics, knowledge based on scientific inquiry and experiential learning in a safe and nurturing environment. We strive to graduate students who understand the complexities of the relationship between people and their environments, value human rights, respect human diversity, and believe in the dignity and worth of all human beings.  Completion of EKU’s generalist social work degree will provide the knowledge, values, and skills to become competent practitioners who value human relationships and can think critically using an anti-racist and anti-oppressive perspective. Our mission is to graduate ethical leaders who advocate for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice in rural, urban, and global communities, with an emphasis on EKU’s identified service region.


BSW Program Objectives

The social work program identifies 9 objectives to help us achieve our program goals.  These objectives follow the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (2022). These objectives are also considered student learning outcomes or social work competencies.  They are for students to:

1)            Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior;
2)            Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice;
3)            Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice
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.

BSW Program Goals

The EKU BSW program prepares students to:

  1. provide a fluid curriculum, grounded in a liberal arts perspective that prepares students for competent and effective entry-level generalist professional social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities through mastery of the knowledge, values, and skills that inform the ten core competencies;
  2. integrate into the program the values, knowledge, and skills of the social work profession and to socialize students to the profession through self-assessment and self-awareness;
  3. prepare students to deliver ethical social work practice through the development of critical thinking to guide professional judgments and practice; and
  4. prepare students for advocacy and service to diverse populations-at-risk and to advance economic and social justice.

Master of Social Work (MSW) Program Mission 

The mission of the Eastern Kentucky University MSW program is to prepare students to be advanced generalist social workers who can mobilize the power of interprofessional teams in a manner that promotes social welfare, respect for human rights, and social, economic, and environmental justice. Students learn how to balance the breadth and depth of social work expertise with the expertise of other professionals for culturally inclusive interprofessional practice. This includes the use of critical thinking and scientific inquiry to support interprofessional teamwork congruent with social work values and ethics in response to shared concerns. 

MSW Program Goals

The EKU MSW program employs a cumulative process of building student capacity to engage with complex systems. A traditional generalist program curriculum informs the type of foundation courses offered and rationale for how these courses are sequenced, while students are held to high standards for professional and academic performance as part of completion. The EKU MSW Program enables students to develop an increasingly robust capacity to apply social work theory and research as generalist social workers. Building on the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) 2017 definition of generalist practice, the generalist practice course sequence promotes mastery of generalist competencies. The EKU MSW program prepares students to:

  1. reference a liberal arts and person-in-environment framework;
  2. use scientific inquiry, ethical principles and critical thinking to apply best practices; 
  3. engage diversity and difference in practice and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice; and 
  4. recognize and build upon the strengths and resiliency of all human beings.

The specialized practice curriculum further enables students to develop a robust capacity to apply social work theory and research as advanced generalist social workers. In keeping with CSWE’s (2017) definition of generalist practice, the specialized practice course sequence enhances the performance of generalist competencies as reflected by the following six program goals. The EKU MSW program prepares students to:

  1. reflect the breadth and depth of social work values, ethics, and practice principles;
  2. seek personal insight with a commitment to advocate for justice and equality;
  3. build on social work theory based on scientific inquiry and best practices; 
  4. draw from diverse perspectives to inform culturally inclusive practices;
  5. mobilize the power of interprofessional teamwork and related partnerships; and
  6. inspire resilience through prevention and intervention methods congruent with expertise.

Students are concurrently enrolled in an Interdisciplinary University Certificate (IUC) program. This means they take elective courses outside of the MSW program, although may choose social work electives that correspond with their IUC program. IUC electives enhance the general fund of knowledge and required social work courses to support the utilization of this knowledge. Student IUC program participation supports the mastery of interprofessional practice competencies further developed in the classroom and field.

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