California state university, sacramento division of social work

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Introduction to Social Work

Fall 2011

Instructor: Mary Hill-Hughes, MSW

Class meets: Sec 01MW 10:30 to 11:45 MPSA 1014

Phone Number: 916 278-4332


Office Hours: M W 11:45am to 12:45pm and by appointment.

Office: MRP 3015


This course does NOT meet general education requirements. This course requires a thirty hour community service learning component (30 hours for the semester over a minimum of 8 weeks – for example, 3 hrs per week x 10 weeks). If your schedule is full with work and other personal demands, the THIRTY hours of service learning work may be difficult to complete. Please consider this before you decide to enroll or proceed with the class. Failure to receive the thirty hours within specified course parameters will result in an automatic failure in the class. Almost no agencies offer weekend service learning opportunities. Agency rules and norms concerning beginning times for service learning hours must be adhered to as well as lunch schedules, and the days you are expected to be on site.
Course Description
This course is an introduction to the profession of social work and its roles in the social welfare system. This course will emphasize the historical development of the field of social welfare as well as the profession of social work, including prominent persons, events and legislation. Fundamental theoretical concepts and practices within the field of social work such as values, ethics, ecological systems perspective, generalist perspective, direct and indirect practice will be covered. Students will be introduced to issues of discrimination in marginalized populations such as people of color, physically and mentally challenged persons, women, and gay and lesbian persons. The many settings which social workers practice will be also examined. Through the use of community service learning, students will be exposed to agencies in the social work field. Additionally, a fundamental understanding of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics will be stressed in this course.

Course Objectives

  1. Identify and demonstrate basic knowledge of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.

Course Objectives(continued)

  1. Describe and discuss the competencies that are expected for entry-level professional social workers.

  1. Demonstrate awareness of the meaning of human diversity, oppression, social justice and advocacy within the social work profession.

  1. Articulate and discuss significant affective learning in a service learning experience at a community based organization or social service agency.

  1. Demonstrate beginning social work skills (i.e. listening and empathy) as well as appropritate professional behavior in the context of a service learning environment as well as in the classroom.

  1. Articulate an understanding of the social problems affecting clients related to a generalist framework (micro-mezzo-macro).

7. Understand the ethical principles and values of the social work profession.

8. Understand the importance of self-assessment as related to the professional self.
9. Articulate the roles and functions performed by social workers, within a national and global context.
10. Identify one's professional interest in the field of social work.
11. Articulate one’s personal belief system and its potential to impact on one’s work as a professional social worker.
12. Understand social work practice within an ecological framework that incorporates a variety of helping roles.
13. Understand the impact of social, political, and economic forces that affect individual, group and community functioning.

Required Text
Kirst-Ashmann, K. (2010). Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives, 3rd edition. Brooks/Cole Publishers.

(* older version(2007) is okay to use.)

Grobman (2005). Days in the Lives of Social Workers. White Hat Communications.

(*older version (2003) is okay to use.)
DISABILITY (ADA Provisions):

Students with a learning disability or who have circumstances that might interfere with their ability to complete class assignments in a timely manner, must make an appointment and discuss this with the instructor. Students with a documented learning disability can get special accommodations for the course materials, testing facilities, and equipment. It is important to discuss such situation with the instructor at the earliest opportunity. The student is responsible for making arrangements for accommodations and support services with the Disability Specialist and the instructor in a timely manner. Use of reader, tutor, or note taker requires certain office procedures that the student must complete before these support services can start.

If you believe you will need accommodations please contact Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD).

Phone: (916) 278-6955 (Voice)

(916) 278-7239 (TDD only)

Fax: (916) 278-7825

E-mail Address:

Plagiarism is the use of distinctive ideas or works belonging to another person without providing adequate acknowledgement of that person's contribution. Regardless of the means of appropriation, incorporating another's work into one's own requires adequate identification and acknowledgement. Plagiarism is doubly unethical because it deprives the author of rightful credit and gives credit to someone who has not earned it. Acknowledgement is not necessary when the material used is common knowledge. When the source is not noted, the following would constitute plagiarism:

1. Word-for-word copying.

2. The mosaic (to intersperse a few words of one's own here and there while, in essence, copying another's work).
3. The paraphrase (the rewriting of another's work, yet still using the fundamental idea or theory).
4. Fabrication (inventing or counterfeiting sources).
5. Ghost-written material (submitting another's effort as one's own).

It is also plagiarism to neglect quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged. Plagiarism and acts associated with it are cause for disciplinary and/or legal action.

If it is determined that a student has plagiarized the work of another, it can result in the student being suspended or expelled from the University, depending on the circumstances ( In this course a grade of {F} can be expected by students who plagiarize.

Confidentiality is very important to be maintained and respected. All client and personal information shared in the class must be treated as confidential.

Course Format

This course consists of 2.75 hours of weekly lecture and 30 clock hours of volunteer work. In addition to lectures the course will include videos, class discussions, writing, small group exercises, one-on-one exercises, speakers, quizzes and exams.

Course Policies


Attendance is required to all class sessions.

  1. A roll sheet will be circulated at the beginning or end of each class.

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to sign-in on the attendance sheet.

  2. Tardiness and early departures can be considered as absences. Two (2) student “tardies” or leaving class early can be treated as one (1) absence.

  3. Three absences prior to the final deadline for dropping classes can result in the student receiving a “U” (unauthorized withdrawal from class) for the final course grade.

  4. Three absences can result in a one-letter grade reduction in student’s final course grade (i.e., Grade of “A” can drop to “B”; Grade of “B” can drop to “C”).

  5. Four or more absences can result in the student receiving a [F] for the final course grade.

  1. In the case of serious and/or emergency situations that necessitate a student being absence from class, the student should contact the instructor as soon as possible to discuss the student’s options.


As a guideline for organizing your workload, note that it is standard educational expectation that students spend 2-3 hours outside of class time for every hour spent in class. Homework is an expected part of class and is counted as part of your classroom participation. Homework may include in-class informal writing, take-home assignments, readings, preparing for tests, watching movies and other assignments given by the professor.

Written Assignments

All writing assignments shall be typed, double-spaced and have one-inch margins. Font (typeface) size shall be 12 points. All papers should include a cover page with your name, name of assignment, instructor’s name, course name and date. No late papers will be accepted unless there are extraordiary circumstances and/or prior approval has been given by the instructor. Always keep a copy of each assignment you submit to the instructor. Please use APA format on all papers in this course.

Writing Guidelines

Written work must be mechanically and stylistically acceptable. Serious deficiencies in areas such as spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and coherent organization will result in lower grades. Where appropriate, the following criteria are used to evaluate assignments:

  • Effective use of knowledge: the integration of concepts and information from readings, lectures, and class discussions is used in a way that demonstrates that students understand the concepts used.

  • Clarity: syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling: Sentences and paragraphs are clear, unified, and coherent.

  • Use of informed personal opinion: The inclusion of personal points of view along with rationale, logic, and examples are carefully supported with empirical data, conceptual work generated by authors, practitioners, or researchers, and/or original thoughts.

  • Organization: Thesis is stated in the introduction, smooth relationship between ideas and between paragraphs, clear overall structure, including an integrative concluding section. Careful planning is evident in the organization.

  • References in appropriate format: (use of APA format).

    • If students need help or have questions, they are encouraged to contact the instructor in a timely manner. Incompletes are not given automatically.

    • A grade of Incomplete may be assigned only in cases clearly beyond the student’s control.

    • It is the student’s responsibility to fulfill the University’s and/or Division’s policies and procedures for obtaining an incomplete for a course grade. Students who fail this policy will automatically be assigned a grade of FAIL for this course.

* (Students are reminded to retain a duplicate copy of all written assignments prior to submitting them for grading in the event of accidental loss or destruction).
Criteria for Evaluating Writing

+= Thoroughly Covered = All of the points made in the essay answer are relevant to the thesis and support it. The paper makes all the points essential to the thesis. Essay elements demonstrate a correct understanding of the material covered, or where room for disagreement exists, present thoughtful and plausible interpretations of difficult material. Essay elements use terms, examples, comparisons, criticisms, and the like, as needed, to unambiguously convey a coherent view or explanation of the ideas or arguments being explained.
= Well Covered = All of the answered points in the essay are relevant to the thesis and generally provide solid support. The paper answers most of the points essential to the thesis. Essay elements provide a mostly correct and a competent understanding of the material covered, or where room for disagreement exists, present overall thoughtful and plausible interpretations of difficult material. One or two key elements may not be covered or are given questionable treatment in this essay.
 = Partially Covered = The essay makes one or more of the points essential to development of the thesis. Although a number of the points essential to the thesis may be overlooked or glossed-over, the argument covers a few elements that lend little if any support to the thesis. Some important and obvious points may be misunderstood or missing. Some points may be undeveloped or unrelated to each other. Connections may have to be supplied by the reader.
 = Not Covered = The essay has a thesis and appears to have some supporting documentation. However, the essay is a series of scattered or unrelated points. The content of the essay indicates a misunderstanding of several key concepts (relative to the purposes of the assignment) or understanding of them is not conveyed. Some key concepts are covered but are not entirely understood.


One-on-one help with writing in any class, visit the University Writing Center in Calaveras 128. The University Writing Center can help you at any stage in your reading and writing processes: coming up with a topic, developing and organizing a draft, understanding difficult texts, or developing strategies to become a better editor. To make an appointment or a series of appointments, visit the Writing Center in CLV 128 or call 278-6356. For current Writing Center hours and more information, visit the Writing Center website at

One-on-one tutoring assistance is available within the Social Work Department in Mariposa Hall. You may schedule tutoring appointments in the Social Work Office (4th floor). If you have questions you can call (916) 278-6943. Tutors are located on the second floor of Mariposa Hall. The Social Work tutoring office can help you at any stage in your reading and writing processes: coming up with a topic, developing and organizing a draft, understanding difficult texts, or developing strategies to become a better editor.

Class Participation Expectations

  • Be Present!

  • Be a Participant – by participating fully in this class you will enrich your learning experience.

  • Be Prepared - Reading assignments shall be completed prior to the start of class. All homework given to be completed on time.

  • Be Patient and Supportive - It is important that class members are patient and supportive of each other. Providing encouragement and support creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence. Such an atmosphere makes risk-taking possible and even exciting.

  • Be Respectful - Students are expected to be considerate and respectful toward their classmates and instructor.

  • Actively Participate - The instructor welcomes and encourages you to speak-up and actively participate in class discussions and exercises.

  • Take Responsibilitiy - The instructor encourages students to analyze life experiences and situations and to apply communication skills to resolve conflicts.

Note: The instructor will not tolerate any student disrupting the class. See University policy for disruptive student behavior in the classroom at

No cell phone use in class (if you are expecting an urgent call please inform the instructor and put your phone on vibrate or silent). Using cell phones during class is unprofessional and may result in a student being asked to leave class and/or may affect the student’s grade. Similarly, use of a laptop computer during class for is not permitted, and will be subject to the above consequences.

Service Learning Experience: Pass/Fail (failure to complete the 30 hours will result in a grade of [F] for the course. Community Service Learning presents a unique opportunity to develop a better self understanding of why one might choose social work as a field of study and discover where you could make a valuable contribution in the future as a professional, volunteer and citizen. It is an opportunity for students to explore the world of practice and find social work meaning in everyday life. The assignments related to this experience are a written mid-term paper, a two page summary, and a presentation to the class. Students are expected to complete 30 hours of service learning over a minimum of eight weeks during the semester and not in a block time-period. Being “fired” from an agency will result in failure to pass the class.

The objectives of a Community Service Learning experience for this course are:

  1. Understanding roles and functions performed by social workers.

  2. Understanding one’s motivation for being interested in the field of social work.

  3. Understanding how to integrate the “use of self” in serving clients/client systems while working as professional social worker.

  4. Understanding one’s personal belief system and its potential to impact on one’s work as a professional social worker.

Community Service Learning Requirements/Due Dates:

  1. Students must complete an online orientation on SacCT on the first day of class. If a student is not present it must be completed campus computer lab by the end of the first week of school. Please print out the last page for your instructor as well as for your personal use.

  1. Students must do TB testing and/or fingerprinting if the community agency requires it. The process to complete the above items will be reviewed in class.

  1. Students must also attend agency orientations and/or participate in agency interviews if the community agency requires it.

  1. Students must complete two online forms at the completion of the online orientation. One is the “Student Guidelines and Limitations” and the other is “Informed Consent, Agreement, Release, Waiver of Liability, and Assumption of Risk”. A copy needs to be given to your instructor. Both of these forms are housed electronically so the Community Engagement Center can review them online as needed.

  1. Students must download two other forms before their online orientation. One is the “Emergency Contact and Information” form and the other one is the “Time Log” form. The “Emergency Contact and Information” Form needs to be kept at your placement and a copy is to be given to your instructor. The “Time Log” will also remain at your placement until you have completed all of your hours. Students must obtain signatures of the immediate supervisor and their instructor, sign the time log themselves, and turn the original into Community Engagement Center. A copy must be given to your instructor as well. This is due on December 7, 2011

  1. Students must complete a “Student Service Learning Plan (SSLP)” and can download this form before their on-line orientation. This must be reviewed at your placement. The SSLP is completed in partnership with the students’ site supervisors. The original form is to be left at your placement and a copy is to be given to your instructor for review.

  1. Students are to complete the service learning hours during the semester at an approved (by professor)agency. Each student must select an agency from the list given to you and return a copy of your SSLP to your instructor by the end of September.

Social Work Practice Specialization - 40 points
This assignment is designed to help you explore an area of practice within social work that is of interest to you. For example, if you are interested in working with children, you might want to investigate child welfare, or if you are interested in health care, you could explore medical social work. Find out as much as you can about the field from books and journals, and then locate a social work professional (key informant) who is either currently working in the field or has special knowledge of the field. Conduct an interview or shadow with that person (phone interview is OK) to gather personal data regarding that position.
This paper should include information ascertained from the literature regarding the specialized area of practice that includes:

  1. The area of social work practice. Name, role and address and phone number (work) of key informant (social worker you interviewed);

  2. A brief history of this area of social work - how long has social work been involved?

  3. What the primary roles and responsibilities are related to that specialization?

  4. What primary populations are served by this area of social work practice?

  5. What led the key informant to the field of social work?

  6. What are the employment opportunities within the field? (In addition, if social work is NOT the primary setting, i.e. medical or forensic social work, how is the social worker viewed within the primary field. For example, how do criminal justice workers and lawyers view forensic social workers? How do doctors, nurses, physical therapists... view medical social workers?) When quoting or paraphrasing the words of your key informant or obtaining information from the literature, you will need to cite the sources.

  7. What did you learn about this area of social work? What did you learn that seemed either congruent or incongruent with social work values?

This is a typewritten 5-7 page paper which needs to include a cover page and bibliography. All citations must be in APA format. See writing guidelines and grade rubric for this assignment.

Quizzes 80 points( one quiz- 26 points and two quizzes – 27 points each)

There will be three quizzes given through out the semester. The quizzes will be based on the Chapters from Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives, 3rd edition. Brooks/Cole Publishers. For quiz #1 students will be tested on chapters 1-4. For quiz #2 students will be tested on chapters 5-8. For quiz #3 students will be tested on chapters 9-12. It will have true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions on the test. Quizzes may possibly be done on the Sac CT site- to be determined at a later date.

Mid-Term Written Exam 100 points

Use your Service Learning agency placement for this assignment.
Students need to provide answers to questions 1 through 17 of the assignment in essay form. Be sure to address each part of each question. Students need to provide a reference page as appropriate to identify sources of information (interview, policy and procedure manuals, agency websites, agency brochures, and so on…..).

Mid-term Writing Assignment: Service Learning Placement – See below


Provide a brief description of the agency. Include the name of the agency, address, contact person, and phone number


What specific needs does the agency attempt to meet? How did the agency identify these needs (client surveys, existing research, etc.)?


What are the stated goals and objectives of the agency? Are the goals and objectives clearly defined? Are they reasonable (from your perspective)? When members of the staff were interviewed, were they able to articulate the agency goals and objectives? How does the agency measure the effectiveness of its program(s)?


What services are provided by the agency? What geographic area(s) is served? Roughly how many people does the organization serve (tens, hundreds, thousands)? What are the demographics (age, sex, social economic status, ethnicity) of the population(s) served? Are the demographics of the agency’s workforce representative of the clients it serves? What languages are spoken by the agency staff?


How do clients initially learn the agency has services to help them meet their needs (i.e., referrals, commercials, word of mouth)? Are the clients voluntary or involuntary (court-ordered)?


What is the agency’s written policy for handling its clients’ confidential information (be specific)? Under what circumstances can confidentiality be breached? During the interview, was the agency staff able to articulate the agency’s policy?


Does the agency provide outreach services? If so, how are outreach services conducted?


How close are the bus stop and/or light-rail to the agency? Is the agency wheelchair accessible?


What are the eligibility criteria? Do the agency clients have to pay any fees?


What types of human services workers are employed at the agency? What are the requirements (education, degree, certificates, licenses, experience, etc.) for each human service worker position?


Does the agency have a cultural diversity training program for its workers? Please describe the content of the cultural diversity training program. Is this diversity training adequate? If not, why?


What is the agency’s funding source(s)? List funding sources in order of the size of each source’s contributions? What requirements does the funding source place on the agency?


What laws, requirements, restrictions, or guidelines are placed on the agency by the Federal, State or local governments in its operations and day to day delivery of services?

Self Reflection


  1. What experiences have you had in which you adjusted your own attitudes and beliefs because of working within and learning from your community-based agency?


  1. What knowledge did you learn from your course that you were able to transfer to your community setting? What did you learn in your setting that you could transfer back to your coursework?


  1. What are some of your personal goals when you work in a community-based agency? What do you hope to accomplish? How will you know whether you met your goals?


  1. What goals do you have for yourself in terms of becoming more effective in contributing to and learning from the communities in which you live and work? From this experience, what do you think about social work as a possible career option for you?

Cover page and reference page follow APA format (2.5)/ 12 point font and 1” margins(2.5)/ rules of grammar and punctuation followed(5) / correct spelling(5)

The grading rubric for this assignment is attached to the syllabus. The instructor reserves the right not to give make-up exams in the case of missed exams. Extraordinary circumstances may be considered.

Service Learning Written and Oral Presentation – 40 points Service Learning Presentation – 50 points

This course requires an experiential component of 30 service learning hours. The primary objective of this requirement is to integrate concepts learned in class with experiences and observations in the field.

Students need to do a two- page summary of the following questions.

1. A brief description of the agency and the population(s) served, including the demographics about this population. Include the name of the agency, address, contact person, phone number;

2. Give at least two examples of your exerpiences as they relate to social work roles, social welfare experiences;

3. A description of at least two of the core values of social work (NASW Code of Ethics) and how they were applied by staff;

3. A discussion of socia work/ social welfare concepts, policy issues that you experiences from your volunteer experience;

4. Include a discussion about your professional use of self and your role in this agency.
Students are asked to provide a five minute in-class presentation describing their volunteer experience. The students may highlight the points from their written summary. If more than one student volunteer worked together in the same agency, they may make a longer small group presentation. If presenting in a group all group members will receive the same grade. Group presentation grades will be a summary of points earned by the individual plus points earned by the overall group.
This is a typewritten two page paper which needs to include a cover page and bibliography. All citations must be in APA format. See writing guidelines and grade rubric for this assignment.
Final Exam –100 points
A cumulative exam will be given during Finals week. It will cover all sixteen chapters of the Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Critical Thinking Perspectives, 3rd edition. Brooks/Cole Publishers. It will be 100 true/false, multiple choice, and short fill- in questions. Bring #2 pencil and scantron.
The instructor may modify, add or subtract assignments, and may re-allocate points for the assignments, based on the learning needs of students. Students will be notified in advance of any such modifications. Final Exam may possibly be done on the Sac CT site- to be determined at a later date.
Grading Scale


Possible Points

Grade Percentage




Social Work Specialization



Mid-term Written Exam



Presentation/Written Summary of field experience



Final Cumulative Exam



Letter Grade

Maximum Points – 400

A = 376 - 400 (exceptional quality)

A- = 360-375

B+ = 348-360

B = 336- 348(professional quality)

B- = 320-336

C+ = 308-320 (marginal work)

C = 296-308

C- = 280-296

D+ = 268-280

D = 256-268

D- = 240-256

F = 239 and below








Social Work Lab in Mariposa Hall, room #1013: Complete volunteer forms

Get TB test done and read if your agency requires it.

Complete risk assessment forms in SW lab and give copies to instructor.



Overview of the Course: Syllabus and Assignments

Discussion of Field Assignments

Warm up Exercises

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 1
Sign up for field assignment and

Schedule interview and/or orientation with your service agency



Labor Day-Holiday




What is Social Work?

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 1

Grobman: Chapter 1



Social Work History…where did “social work” come from?

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 6



Social Work Values and Ethics

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 2

Code of Ethics – NASW website

Grobman: Chapter 22, Involuntary Admission
Deadline to sign-up for orientations and interviews with service learning agencies



Empowerment and Human Diversity

Kirst-Ashman: Chapters 3
Grobman: Read 1 of these: Chapter 16, Working with Gay and Lesbian Youth, OR

Ch. 5, Working with Pregnant Women, OR

Ch. 34: Residential Treatment for Adolescent Sexual Offenders, OR Ch. 35 Forensic Social Work: Mitigating the Death Penalty, OR Ch.54 Mucho Gusto en Conocerle: Working with Migrant Farm Families.







Generalist Practice
Social Work Specialization Paper due

Kirst-Ashman: Chapters 4
Grobman: Ch.13 Social work in Rural School District, OR

Ch. 27: Dual Diagnosis Substance Abuse and Mental Health In an Inpatient Treatment Setting OR

Ch. 26 Disaster Mental Health Services, OR Chapter 38 Nursing Home Social Worker, OR Chapter 41 Home Health Social Worker



Quiz – Chapters 1-4

Speaker or Movie

Class Discussion



Practice Settings

Kirst -Ashman: Chapter 5
Grobman: Ch. 17, Child Welfare Ombudsman
SSLA due to instructor



Social Welfare Policy

Kirst-Ashmann: Chapter 7
Grobman: Chapter 52, Community Organizing for Social Change; AND

Ch. 53, A Day in the Life of a Policy Practitioner



Policies and Programs to Combat Poverty

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 8



Quiz Chapters 5-8

Speaker or Movie

Class Discussion



Social Work and Services to Children and Families

Kirst-Ashman: Chapter 9
Grobman : chapters 2,15,19







Child Welfare Speaker

Grobman: Chapter 14: Urban Child Protective Services



Mid-term Written Exam Due

Social Work and Services for Older Adults

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 10
Grobman: Part 10, Ch. 37,39, and 40 only



Social Work and Services for People with Disabilities

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 11

Grobman: 1 chapter in Part 5,, Disabilities (Ch. 20 OR 21)



Social Work and Services in Health Care

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 12

Grobman Chapters3,4,6,7



Quiz Chapters 9-12

Speaker or Movie

Class Discussion



Social Work and Services in Mental Health

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 13

Grobman: Chapters 23-25




Grobman: Chapters 23-25



Social Work and Substance Use, Abuse and Dependence

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 14

Grobman -Part 7, CH. 28 or 29



Social Work and Services for Youth and in the schools

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 15

Grobman : Part 3 –School Social Work, Chapters11 &12 only



Social Work in the Criminal Justice System

Kirst-Ashman Chapter 16

Grobman Chapters 32,33, and 36



Working with BSW/MSW students as a field instructor


Grobman – Part 13 Higher Education



No Class

Happy Thanksgiving





Criminal Justice Speaker








Prepare for Exam




Prepare for Exam




Deadline for turning in Service Learning Time logs to Community Engagement Center (copy to instructor as well).

Prepare for Exam



12/12 Final Exam- Cumulative exam Chapters 1-16

Review Kirst-Ashman Chapters 1-16

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