Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 
    Nov 30, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work (BSW.SWK)

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Mission Statement

Consistent with the mission of the University and EPAS (2015) 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.

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

  • make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context;
  • use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;
  • demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication;
  • use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
  • use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

  • apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels;
  • present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and
  • apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

  • apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and
  • engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 4: Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

  • use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;
  • apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and
  • use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery.

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services;
  • assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services;
  • apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and
  • use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies;
  • develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and
  • select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies.

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;
  • use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes;
  • negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies; and
  • facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

  • select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes;
  • apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes;
  • critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and
  • apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

Admission to the Social Work Program

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Program faculty will conduct a review of the student's academic performance during this semester.
  4. Students must sign a Student/Program Contract, upon acceptance by social work faculty into the social work program during this semester.
  5. 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

  1. Minimum GPA requirement (2.0).
  2. A letter grade of C or better for the practice course SWK 3010 .
  3. A signed Student/Program Contract upon acceptance by social work faculty into the social work program.
  4. Completion of all prerequisites and permission of the university field instructor.
  5. 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.

  1. Failure to maintain a minimum GPA.
  2. Inadequate interpersonal relationship skills for social work practice.
  3. Inadequate written or verbal communication skills.
  4. Violations of the NASW Code of Ethics.
  5. Unresolved personal issues that impair performance in the classroom or in field instruction.
  6. Lying, cheating, or plagiarizing in course work or field work.
  7. Persistently inadequate performance in field instruction activities as well as failure to accomplish field instruction objectives.
  8. Excessive class or field work absences.
  9. Persistent inability to meet dates on assignments and projects.
  10. 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.


And complete the following related courses:

 (or equivalents as determined by the program coordinator)


  • SWK 4811  and SWK 4812  must be taken consecutively during the same academic year.
  • SWK 4020  and SWK 4811  must be taken concurrently.
  • SWK 4030  and SWK 4812  must be taken concurrently.
  • SWK 1810  is required of students with no prior human services experience.
  • In the spring semester of the junior year, students sign an agreement that stipulates expectations and conditions for continuance in the program. In addition to academic requirements, students must demonstrate professionally appropriate skills, attitudes, and values as a condition of remaining in the program.


Social work students can choose to focus their electives and senior field placement in practice areas to earn certificates that can be used when seeking employment.  The certificates are Criminal Justice settings, Educational settings, Medical settings, and Substance Abuse Treatment settings.  Students take 3 courses in the practice area as well as a related field placement.  These certificates are only for SWK majors as an addition to their BSW. 

Criminal Justice settings (9 cr)

Educational settings (9 cr)

Medical settings (9 cr)

Substance Abuse Treatment settings (9 cr)

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