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Department of Social Work
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Department of Social Work

Mission Statement

The mission of the Winthrop University Department of Social Work is to educate students to become generalist social workers at the BSW level and advanced social work practitioners at the MSW level.

The BSW program
offers a program focus in generalist practice. Generalist practice is structured in the liberal arts and the person and environment construct. Generalist social workers are prepared to use a range of prevention and intervention methods with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Generalist social workers identify with the social work profession and apply ethical principles and critical thinking in practice. They recognize and honor diversity and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. In addition, generalist social workers support and build on the strengths and resiliency of all people, engage in research-informed practice and are proactive in responding to the influence of context on professional practice. The goals of the BSW Program are as follows:

  1. Engage in entry-level generalist practice using a range of prevention and intervention methods that are empirically-based, multisystemic, and shaped from the profession’s history, purposes, and values.
  2. Demonstrate cultural competence in working affirmatively with diverse populations and across the life course.

The MSW program educates students to become advanced social work practitioners through the concentration in empowerment practice. Empowerment practice utilizes critical thinking skills to assess the influence of multiple and interlocking personal, structural, and societal systems of power on vulnerable and oppressed populations. It incorporates the use of advanced social work theories and methodologies for culturally relevant assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multiple levels of complexity and across systems in order to promote human and social well-being. Empowerment practice affirms the strengths and capabilities of people, values human diversity, and promotes social and economic justice.

The goals of the MSW Program are derived from our mission to educate students to become advanced social work practitioners and reflect our advanced practice concentration in empowerment practice. The goals of the MSW Program are as follows:

  1. Engage in advanced practice that is constructed from a professional foundation of social work knowledge, skills, and values.
  2. Use empowerment practice principles as a guiding framework for selecting, applying, and evaluating evidence-based advanced theories and methods in ways that promote human and social well-being.
  3. Provide leadership in influencing societal systems of power to become more responsive and culturally relevant toward helping people improve their current situations and quality of life.

The Department mission is grounded in the purpose of the social work profession which is to promote human and community well-being through a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry. This purpose is actualized through a quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons.

As a student-centered learning community, the Department of Social Work follows the established core social work values of service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. The mission is carried forth in an integrated learning context that values knowledge based on scientific inquiry, emerging information technology, and a commitment to evidence-based practice. Members of the Department apply their scholarship and professional expertise through leadership, collaboration, and service at local, state, national, and international levels.

The mission of the Department is integrated within the context of the larger Winthrop University mission. The mission of Winthrop is to provide personalized and challenging undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education programs of national caliber within a context dedicated to public service to the nation and to the State of South Carolina. Winthrop University is South Carolina’s distinctive public comprehensive university and is committed to being among the very best institutions of its kind in the nation. The values of service, excellence, diversity, community, and leadership provide the foundation for Winthrop’s continuing development and shape Winthrop’s continuing success. Winthrop prides itself on being an institution of choice for groups traditionally under-represented on many college campuses (e.g., first generation college students, African American students). In keeping with the University mission, the Department of Social Work is committed to preparing generalist social workers and advanced practice social work practitioners capable of serving the diverse communities of the Carolinas and beyond.