Consistent with the mission of the University and EPAS (2008) requirements for the Council on Social Work Education, the Baccalaureate Social Work Program's mission is to prepare students to be competent and effective professionals for entry-level professional generalist practice. As one of two BSW programs in a small state and as part of the Vermont State College system, the Program will prepare many of Vermont's BSW level practitioners.
Students will acquire social work knowledge based on a body of knowledge, values and skills of the profession. They will be prepared and encouraged to provide leadership in the development of service delivery systems that promote human rights, and social and economic justice. Students will reflect the profession's core values of service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry.
The social work program offers a Baccalaureate of Social Work degree (BSW.SWK). The primary mission of the Castleton University Social Work program is to graduate individuals with a commitment to social change and social justice for vulnerable populations in society. The program's mission includes providing access for Vermont students to a professional education and the preparation of competent professionals to staff social service delivery systems in the State of Vermont. The program goals and student learning outcomes are consistent with the accreditation requirements of the Council on Social Work Education. The program complements and integrates the liberal arts and sciences with a professional course of study. The Castleton University Social Work program is designed to provide knowledge, skills and ethics for beginning-level generalist professional practice and the academic preparation for graduate study in social work. Generalist social work practice consists of a common core of knowledge, values, and skills that can be applied across diverse client systems to enhance the social functioning of those systems.
Castleton's BSW graduates are employed in a wide range and variety of agencies and organizations which serve the needs of many different people some of which are: nursing homes, hospices, hospitals, home care agencies, substance abuse programs, mental health services, mental retardation/developmental disabilities services, vocational rehabilitation services, public health agencies, community action agencies, family service agencies, children 38 youth services, family service agencies, aging services, residential treatment programs, child and adult day care centers, domestic violence programs, homeless shelters, criminal justice agencies, schools (elementary and secondary), income maintenance programs, and legal services agencies. The BSW degree also prepares the student for entry into graduate programs. Many Castleton Social Work graduates are granted advanced standing in Master of Social Work programs. Thus, the time to complete the Master of Social Work is shortened by several months.
Competencies and Practice Behaviors
As a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the Castleton University program goals and objectives are consistent with the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards of that organization.
Identify as a professional social worker and conduct 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 professional 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 Ethics² and, as applicable, of the International Federation of Social Workers/International Association of Schools of Social Work Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles³
- Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts; and
- Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principles 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; and
- Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleges.
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 and to deliver effective social work services
- 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, and communities.
Engagement: Social workers
- Substantively and effectively 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: Social workers
- 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: Social workers
- 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: Social workers
- Social workers critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.
Admission to the Social Work Program
- During the second semester of the junior year the student must submit a letter of intent to major in social work. This letter must identify why the student has chosen social work as a major and their professional objectives upon graduation. A statement of a student's personal values demonstrating congruency with social work values shall be included in the letter.
- In the same semester an interview with program faculty will be scheduled as part of the admission process. This will allow the student to meet program faculty members and the faculty to assess the prospective student's written and communication skills.
- Program faculty will conduct a review of the student's academic performance during this semester.
- Students must sign a Student/Program Contract, upon acceptance by social work faculty into the social work program during this semester.
- Signed Academic Approval form must be submitted to Financial & Registration Services.
Continuation of the Social Work Program
Continuation is determined by continuing progress toward a professional level of performance. In addition to a mastery of knowledge the student must demonstrate the acquisition of professional attitudes, values, and skills and commitment to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Only those students whose academic accomplishments and personal attitudes, skills and values indicate reasonable promise in social work, as can be determined in the university setting, will be recommended for field placements. A minimum grade of "C" in SWK 3010 - Social Work Practice I , SWK 4020 - Social Work Practice II , and SWK 4811 - Field Experience I must be maintained for continuation in the program.
Admission to Field Instruction
- Minimum GPA requirement (2.0).
- A letter grade of C or better for the practice course SWK 3010 .
- A signed Student/Program Contract upon acceptance by social work faculty into the social work program.
- Completion of all prerequisites and permission of the university field instructor.
- Students who are denied admission to field instruction may reapply at a later date. Students who reapply must provide evidence that the reasons for which admission was originally denied have been appropriately remedied.
Termination from the Program for Academic and Non-Academic Reasons
Not every student will necessarily be appropriate for the practice of social work.
- Failure to maintain a minimum GPA.
- Inadequate interpersonal relationship skills for social work practice.
- Inadequate written or verbal communication skills.
- Violations of the NASW Code of Ethics.
- Unresolved personal issues that impair performance in the classroom or in field instruction.
- Lying, cheating, or plagiarizing in course work or field work.
- Persistently inadequate performance in field instruction activities as well as failure to accomplish field instruction objectives.
- Excessive class or field work absences.
- Persistent inability to meet dates on assignments and projects.
- Students who are terminated from the program may contest the faculty decision in writing within ten days of such decision to request a meeting with the faculty. If resolution is not made, they may appeal to the Academic Dean of the university who will make the final determination.