Social Work at HPU
The mission of the Social Work Program is to prepare students in a Christian context as generalist practitioners for service at baccalaureate entry-level positions by ensuring that they will have the requisite competencies and corresponding practice behaviors to effectively assist those in their community and greater society with integrity and competence.
Infused throughout the Program are traditional social work values and ethics, including the need to provide services to the poor and oppressed, and to alleviate poverty, oppression and discrimination. Consistent with the purpose of the Social Work profession, the Program seeks to prepare practitioners who will engage in community service seeking the solutions for social problems, the promotion of social justice, and a high quality of life for all people. The Social Work Program has a special commitment to alleviate those problems which have an impact on at-risk, disadvantaged, and diverse populations in rural Texas.
Program goals evolve from the program’s mission and reflect the intent of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Curriculum Policy Statement. The goals of the Howard Payne University Social Work Program are:
- To ensure that students are committed to the social work profession, its value base and code of ethics.
- To enhance student awareness of the social context of practice, the changing nature of those contexts, the behavior of organizations and the dynamics of change.
- To equip students to work with sensitivity and understanding of dissimilar populations while embracing the diversity that exists in their cultural milieu.
- To develop graduates who possess the knowledge, skills and abilities required to promote the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, and social justice.
- To produce professionals who will provide leadership in advocating for and empowering those who experience discrimination and oppression
Social work courses at HPU are designed to give students the knowledge and skills to meet the objectives of the Social Work Program. Each course within the professional foundation contains content pertaining to diversity, social work values and ethics, promotion of social and economic justice, and populations at risk in order to complete the social work professional foundation.
Social work core curriculum is made up of thirty-six (36) semester hours of courses, including Introduction to Social Work, Human Behavior in the Social Environment I and II, Social Services in Rural Settings, Social Welfare Policy, Research Theory and Techniques, Social Work Practice I, II, and III, Field Instruction I, and the capstone seminar of Field Instruction II.
The social work core curriculum is made up of thirty-six (36) semester hours with a systems perspective and generalist methods infused throughout. Values and ethics are also an integral part of each course. Additionally, each course addresses work with persons of diversity. Course work reflects a strong emphasis on the themes of social and economic justice, alleviating discrimination and oppression, and the multiple roles and responsibilities that effective social workers must master for empowering individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The importance of understanding the role of public sector resources and services for empowering oppressed populations is emphasized, while also noting oppressive elements within public systems.
The two courses which make up the Field Instruction sequence, Field Instruction I and II, are taken by students in their final year. The sequence is designed to incorporate all learning from courses in the program and to afford an opportunity for the student to apply generalist social work knowledge, values and skills in an agency setting with actual clients of the agency. The second semester of Field Instruction contains the capstone seminar of our program and the student at this time is expected to be functioning at near-entry-level competency.
The field practicum in the Social Work Program is a two semester Field experience designed to integrate the concepts from previous and current program components and to afford an opportunity for the student to perform generalist social work practice. Students spend a minimum of 410 hours in the placement; 180 hours during the fall semester and 230 hours during spring semester. Seminar meets weekly for two hours to introduce new learning and to provide an opportunity for students to discuss field experiences in order to synthesize those experiences.
Students entering field are in their final year of study. They have completed all required course work through the third year and, upon successful completion of the course work, which makes up the fourth year, will be candidates for graduation. In this final year of education, as they complete the field practicum, students are able to put into action the social work knowledge, values and skills developed in the classroom. Field practicum provides the opportunity for students to demonstrate that they are ready to enter professional social work as well prepared generalist practitioners.