Academics

Master of Social Work

Social work is a profession in which practitioners work directly with individuals, families, and groups, helping people cope, change, and solve problems in all facets of their daily lives. Social workers also work with community stakeholders, organizations, neighborhoods and communities, and in activities such as community organization and development, policy and legislative advocacy. They are employed in a wide variety of agencies, positions, and areas of service, such as mental health, aging services, domestic violence, child welfare, school social work, healthcare services, geriatric social work, and substance abuse treatment and prevention. In addition, social workers may advance to positions of management of social service agencies or establish their own private practice. The uniqueness of social work as a profession includes the emphasis on the person-in-environment, identification with the most marginalized and oppressed of society, and commitment to core values of social work—social and economic justice, respect for the worth of others, cultural diversity, and the principle of self-determination for individuals, families, and groups. At both the BSW and MSW level social workers may be licensed for social work practice within their state.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at UNLV prepares students for professional social work careers in the areas of direct practice with individuals, families, and groups, and in management and community practice. The mission of the MSW program is to educate students to work with populations in urban settings, utilizing generalist, problem-solving, empowerment, and social justice approaches. Special attention is given to the mastery of multiple practice issues, attendant upon the present plural and diverse populations in American society. Students may elect Direct Practice or Management and Community Practice as their area of concentration. The Direct Practice concentration prepares students for advanced social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. The Management and Community Practice concentration prepares students for advanced practice in policy advocacy and management of human service organizations and agencies at the local, state and national levels.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify as a professional social worker, conducting oneself accordingly.
    • Advocate for client access to the services of social work;
    • Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development;
    • Attend to professional roles and boundaries;
    • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication;
    • Engage in career-long learning; and
    • Use supervision and consultation.
  • Apply social work ethical principles to guide the selection of theoretical underpinnings for practice.
    • Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;
    • Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work Statement of Principles;
    • Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts; and
    • Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.
  • Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
    • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom;
    • Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation; andDemonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues.
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice.
    • Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;
    • Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;
    • Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences; and
    • View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants.
  • Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
    • Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination;
    • Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice; and
    • Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.
  • Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
    • Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry and
    • Use research evidence to inform practice.
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
    • Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and
    • Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.
  • Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being.
    • Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being; and
    • Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.
  • Respond to contexts that shape practice.
    • Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services; and
    • Provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.
  • Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, neighborhoods and communities.
    • Engagement
      • Substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;
      • Use empathy and other interpersonal skills; and
      • Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.
    • Assessment
      • Collect, organize, and interpret client data;
      • Assess client strengths and limitations;
      • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives; and
      • Select appropriate intervention strategies.
    • Intervention
      • Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals;
      • Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities;
      • Help clients resolve problems;
      • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients; and
      • Facilitate transitions and endings.
    • Evaluation
      • Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.
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