Graduate Social Work Course Descriptions

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Foundation Courses

These descriptions are taken from the graduate catalog.

SOWK6520 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I: A Life Cycle Perspective (3 credits)

This is the first of four HBSE courses which will examine human behavior from a
biopsychosocial perspective. HBSE I will examine the biological, psychological,
cognitive, spiritual, social, economic, racial, and cultural variables that influence human development from conception to late adulthood. Using a spiritually enriched ecological systems approach, the course is designed to present a variety of theories and knowledge about the range of social systems in which individuals live, including families, social groups, organizations, institutions, and communities. Special attention will be given to the social systems that exist in rural settings and small towns.

SOWK6522 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II: Person and Environment (3 credits)

This is the second of four HBSE courses which will examine human behavior from a biopsychosocial perspective. HBSE II will examine the spiritual and cultural variables which influence human development. Additionally, the environment within which individuals function, including families, groups, communities and organizations, will be explored. Prerequisite: SOWK6520 or permission of the instructor

SOWK6530 Social Welfare Policy and Services (3 credits)

This course is designed to help students understand what drives social welfare policy, how welfare policy affects peopleís lives, and the ways in which social workers can influence the development and implementation of social policy. Three general areas will be covered in this course. In area 1, the student will be introduced to the fundamental concepts, theories, and history of social welfare policy. In area 2, a description of social welfare policies and programs that are key to both the immediate and future development of rural and small town communities in the Northwest will be discussed. Finally, in area 3, social welfare policy practice techniques will be delineated with significance on the role of social workers in effecting change.

SOWK6540 Introduction to Research Methodology I (1 credit)

This course focuses on knowledge of social scientific research philosophies and methodologies with respect to their evolution and application to social work theory and practice. It introduces students to content, including research ethics, literature review, development of hypothesis and research questions, problem formalization, conceptualization and operationalization of both quantitative and qualitative levels of measurement, and construction of measures.

SOWK6541 Introduction to Research Methodology II (1 credit)

This course is a continuation of SOWK6540 and builds upon previously discussed concepts. Specific content covered includes the logic of sampling, causal inference and group design (including validity and reliability), single-case evaluation designs, quantitative and qualitative modes of observation, quantitative and qualitative research methods. Prerequisite: SOWK6540 or permission of the instructor

SOWK6551 Practice II: Organizations/Community Development (3 credits)

This course examines current issues and methods related to organizing for change in human service organizations and communities. The special needs, challenges, and contributions of rural populations and small towns will be addressed. Students are introduced to theories of human service organizations, community organizations, organizational and community dynamics, task group leadership, and strategies for planned change. Emphasis is on understanding the role of the social worker in a macro setting and on developing the macro skills required to effectively work for organizational and community development, planning, and change.

SOWK6561 Practice I: Individuals/Families/Groups (3 credits)

Social Work Practice I is the first course in the foundation sequence of practice courses. The course provides students with an introduction to generalist social work practice and prepares them to provide direct services to client systems of various sizes including, individuals, families, and small groups. Case studies will focus on the challenges of rural service delivery and the changing social patterns in rural areas and small towns. A spiritually enriched ecological systems model of practice will be presented.

SOWK6570 Field Instruction I (3 credits)

This course is the first part of the foundation practice supervised field experience. The purpose of field instruction is to provide students with an opportunity to integrate theory with practice in a supervised setting. The course includes a concurrent field seminar that is designed to support and supplement the studentís field instruction.   Prerequisite:  SOWK6561 or Field Director's permission. Corequisite: SOWK6571

SOWK6571 Field Instruction Seminar I (1 credit)

Emphasis in the foundation field instruction seminar will be on the organizational context of practice, the community context of practice, the planned change process, the strengths perspective, and the professional context of practice.   Corequisite: SOWK6570

SOWK6572 Field Instruction II (3 credits)

This course is the second part of the foundation practice supervised field experience. The purpose of this course is to enable students to continue to develop skills, clarify values, and engage in practice in a supervised setting. The course includes a concurrent field seminar that  is designed to support and supplement the studentís field instruction. Corequisite: SOWK6573

SOWK6573  Field Instruction Seminar  II (1 credit)

Emphasis in the foundation field instruction seminar will be on the organizational context of practice, the community context of practice, the planned change process, the strengths perspective, and the professional context of social work practice.  Corequisite: SOWK6572

Concentration/Advanced Courses

SOWK7610 Social Work Electives (1Ė2 credits)

Two or three elective topics will be offered each semester. Elective offerings will be assigned 1 or 2 credits, and students may complete as many or as few as needed or desired during the course of their program. One-credit classes offered as part of a concentration may be taken as electives by students completing other concentrations.

SOWK7622 HBSE III: Social Work & Religion: Justice/Values/Ethics (3 credits)

This is one of four required HBSE courses. It is designed to build upon a studentís liberal arts undergraduate education and to offer a more in-depth examination of Christian faith and social work practice. Religion often has a profound influence on the lives of clients seen by social work practitioners, as well as on social workers themselves. This course considers the role of religion in the socialization process of both the client and the professional. It will examine religious values, ethics, and principles of justice as influences on personal, societal, and professional interactions.

SOWK7629 Policy Issues with Health Care (3 credits)

This course will examine many critical policy areas that are currently affecting social work practice with adults living in rural and small town communities, both locally and domestically. These include: Medicare, Medicaid, Managed Care Systems, Long-Term Health Care Initiatives, Reverse Mortgages, Spousal Impoverishment Issues, Miller Trusts, Nutritional and Home Health Programs, and Volunteerism and Employment for adults. Students will also practice effective skill building techniques to be used as they enter social work practice in their respective communities with the goal of combining knowledge and action in promoting advocacy efforts for adults.

SOWK7630 Policy Issues in Rural America (3 credits)

This course prepares advanced social work practitioners to examine contemporary policy issues, especially as they relate to future development of human services in rural and small town communities in the Northwest. Public policy and legislative issues that are affecting the rural Pacific Northwest (particularly Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) will also be addressed. Different perspectives and models for interpreting and analyzing social policy will be presented in an effort to enhance understanding of the American societal responses to social, economic, political, and health needs within the context of a Christian worldview.

SOWK7631. Practice III: Clinical Theories in Medical Social Work with Adults in Rural and Small Town Settings (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of optimal aging through the review of biological, social, cognitive, and spiritual perspectives. The course will be organized into two segments. The first segment will focus on psychotherapeutic processes in adults, the theory behind group and expressive therapy with adults and their families, and intergenerational, social, and community interviewing skills. The second segment of the course will emphasize specific treatment approaches for selected mental health issues/problems in adults, including personality disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, behavioral disorders, and ethical and legal challenges in adult psychology in institutional settings, e.g., rehab.

SOWK7632. Practice IV: Clinical Assessment/Intervention/Evaluation of Cognitively and Physically Impaired Adults in Out-of-Home Settings (3 credits)

This course examines the many challenges faced by adults and their extended family members when cognitive and physical impairments lead to out-of-home placement. Students will explore the etiology and natural course of aging and learn how to link assessment (diagnosis) with treatment (intervention) when an adult requires out-of-home care. Emphasis will be placed on avoidance of labeling and stigmatization by employing a strengths-based approach with clients who suffer from cognitive and/or physical impairments. Therapeutic care giving modalities for use in assisted living, nursing home, and other institutional facilities will be reviewed.  Corequisite: SOWK7635     

SOWK7633. Practice V: End-of-Life and Grief Counseling with Adults and Their Families (3 credits)

This course is designed to examine the multiple factors that affect individuals and families as they encounter end-of-life issues. The course will include content on legal, ethical, and therapeutic challenges related to treatment options, palliative care, and hospice care for individuals facing the end of life. Multiple theories of grief work will be explored and compared from a best practice perspective, and students will review and examine their own belief and value systems as those relate to death and dying. Treatment with the bereaved will be discussed in the context of support groups, family interventions, cognitive interventions, and behavioral interventions. In each of the above areas, the impact of diverse spiritual, cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, gender, and sexual orientation will be considered.

SOWK7635. Demography, Medical Terminology, and Psychopharmacology with Adults (1 credit)

This course will focus on the demographic changes in the adult population, medical terminology used in clinical practice with adults, and the composition, uses, and effects of drugs on the mental activities and processes of adults.

SOWK7639 Introduction to SPSS Software (1 credit)

This is a lab-style course designed to prepare students in the use of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The focus of this course will be a basic use of the SPSS program and a review of general research information pertinent to the usage of the program. The use of Basic Statistics will be included in this class. Grade of Pass/Fail.  Corequisite: SOWK7642. [Required for students completing a thesis with quantitative data]

SOWK7640 Advanced Research Design (3 credits)

This course is designed to support students in identifying a research topic within their area of concentration, initiating a literature review on that topic, determining the feasibility of continuing with the selected topic, and establishing a finalized research question or hypothesis, and review both qualitative and quantitative research designs to determine which will best fit the studentís research project. Note: It is expected that students will have completed a solid working draft of chapters one and two of their project by the completion of this course.

SOWK7641 Advanced Research Methodology (2 credits)

This course provides students with an opportunity to continue working on a research problem within their area of concentration, complete their literature review, identify a sample population, design a research tool, select an appropriate data analysis approach, collect, measure, and establish a ďdecision planĒ related to accepting or rejecting their hypothesis (or research question), and complete a formal written research proposal. Note: It is expected that students will have completed a solid proposal document, which includes Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of their thesis project, by the end of this course.  Prerequisite: SOWK7640

SOWK7642. Completion of Thesis (1-3 credits)

Students may choose to complete a thesis in lieu of the comprehensive examination presentation. The proposal (first 3 chapters) will have been written in SOWK7640 and SOWK7641. The student will now gather data, analyze the data, and discuss the research findings in the final two chapters. Grade of Pass/Fail.  May be taken or repeated for a maximum of 3 credits. Prerequisites: SOWK7640 and SOWK7641. 

SOWK7651 Practice IV: Community Organizing in Rural and Small Town Settings (3 credits)

This advanced social work course builds upon SOWK6530 and SOWK6551 content by examining community organizing and its impact on the delivery of human services in rural and small town communities. The primary focus is on using community organizing as a means for people working together to improve their neighborhoods and cities. This includes a wide variety of issues: housing, environment, public safety, public health and health care, childcare, jobs, poverty, discrimination, and many others. The impact of grassroots organizations (that is, organizations that are constituted of, by, and for local people using local knowledge and assets) on social change that enhances the common good and addresses issues of poverty, political disenfranchisement, and environmental and community degradation will be explored. Through a Christian worldview, strategies for initiating change in organizations and communities are identified, including different points of intervention, sources of resistance to change, and methods for overcoming such resistance. Throughout the course, special attention is given to factors affecting diverse population groups, including, but not limited to, groups distinguished by race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental ability, age, and national origin.  Corequisite: SOWK7655

SOWK7652 Practice III: Social Work Leadership in Rural and Small Town Settings in the 21st Century (3 credits)

Today's social work leaders operate in a complex global environment that is constantly influencing systems in both urban and rural environments. This course focuses on preparing students to assume leadership roles in the development, implementation, management, and evaluation of both public and private human service delivery systems in rural and small town America. Students will be provided the opportunity to explore many leadership and management issues, including those that present special challenges in rural and small town communities, from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

SOWK7654 Practice V: Financial Management and Resource Development in Rural and Small Town Settings (3 credits)

This course examines administrative decision making related to financial planning and resource allocation in rural and small town human service organizations. Technical aids to budgeting and other aspects of financial management are considered. Knowledge and skills in budgeting, allocating, expenditure control, fundraising, grant writing, marketing, and evaluation will be studied. Traditional as well as innovative resource management and development strategies will be discussed with the realization that, while rural and small town communities face many unique economic challenges, technology is now increasing the interdependence of urban and rural areas and making it possible for rural and small communities to embrace the world economy.  Prerequisite: SOWK7652, SOWK7651, or instructor's permission

SOWK7655. Program Evaluation in Rural and Small Town Communities (2)

Effective social work practice is dependent upon meeting the stated goals and objectives of clients, programs, and agencies. The primary tool used in collecting and measuring programmatic data in the typical social service setting comes in the form of various program evaluation tools. Evaluative tools vary in degree and complexity; this course, therefore, will look at the wide variety of ways being used to measure program effectiveness, as well as the most current literature around this topic. Students will also be given an opportunity to actively participate in producing and critiquing evaluative materials in the classroom setting.

SOWK7661 Practice III: Mental Health Theories: Emphasis on Rural and Small Town Populations (3 credits)

This course is designed to assist students in exploring three theoretical frameworks and treatment models commonly utilized in advanced clinical social work practice among small town and rural populations. The models are: cognitive-behavioral intervention, crisis intervention, and strengths based brief-therapy. Issues related to cultural/ethnic diversity, the impact of economic discrimination/oppression on client populations, and the role of values and ethics in mental health treatment will also be addressed in an effort to emphasize a holistic view of the person-in-environment.   

SOWK7662 Practice IV: Clinical Assessment/Intervention/Evaluation in Rural and Small Town Communities (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding (both cognitive and empathic) of the various kinds of disorders that social work clients in physical and mental health settings may experience. It will help students define those clinical entities, explore their etiology and natural course, and learn how to link diagnosis with treatment. Emphasis will be placed on the concepts of labeling and stigmatization and employing an empowerment approach with clients who suffer from mental or emotional disorders. The complexity of the intersection between the mental/emotional and physical selves will be explored.

SOWK7664 Practice V: Group Treatment in Rural and Small Town Communities (3 credits)

This course focuses on the development of knowledge and skills in the use of group counseling methods in social work practice. The historical development of the use of groups in social work will be traced and current trends in group work will be reviewed. The classroom will serve as a laboratory for students to practice and develop their group counseling leadership skills. Emphasis will be placed on forming the group, facilitating a group, assessing member needs, setting goals, structuring group tasks, activities, and experiences, understanding and enhancing group functioning, enabling collaborative processes, facilitating transfer of change, evaluating individual and group change, and terminating the group.  Prerequisite: SOWK7661 or SOWK7662

SOWK7665. DSM-IV with Children and Adolescents (1)
This course investigates the major classifications and symptoms of mental disorders for children and adolescents as detailed in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The behavioral manifestations and dynamics of mental disorders will be explored, focusing on therapeutic assessment issues and differential diagnosis for treatment planning.  Prerequisite: SOWK7632, 7662, or 7682

SOWK7666. DSM-IV with Adults (1)
This course investigates the major classifications and symptoms of mental disorders for adults as detailed in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The behavioral manifestations and dynamics of mental disorders will be explored, focusing on therapeutic assessment issues and differential diagnosis for treatment planning.  Prerequisite: SOWK7632, 7662, or 7682

SOWK7670 Field Instruction III (3 credits)

This is the first of two concentration field placements. Building upon the content and skills learned in the foundational/baccalaureate program in social work, this course is designed to guide students in an evaluation of their mastery of generalist knowledge and theory, values, ethics, and practice skills.  Prerequisite:  SOWK7631, SOWK7652, SOWK7661, or SOWK7681. Corequisite: SOWK7671

SOWK7671  Field Instruction Seminar III (1 credit)

Seminar will require students to begin the process of integrating social work knowledge and skills from their earlier experiences in practicum/employment with the advanced knowledge, theories, and skills they are currently gaining and apply this learning (with supervision) to the provision of human services in their community. In this process, emphasis is placed upon assisting students in identifying with the profession of social work and increasing their awareness of the professional use of self. Students will attend a seminar designed for their area of concentration.  Corequisite: SOWK7670

SOWK7672 Field Instruction IV (3 credits)

Students will continue their instruction in a selected, organized field setting and seek to integrate and apply the knowledge, theories, and concepts of social work practice they are developing by building on previous educational, life, and work experiences to develop new areas of professional competence.  Prerequisites: SOWK7670 and SOWK7671. Corequisite: SOWK7673

SOWK7673 Field Instruction Seminar IV (1 credit) 

Seminar will encourage the student to bring together and to integrate for professional growth and use: cognitive learning, professional competence, values and ethics, life experience, and learning/work activities which will enhance critical thinking, the processing of theory, and the utilization of professional skills for social work practice.  Corequisite: SOWK7672

SOWK7681: Practice III: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning in Substance Abuse (3 credits)
This course focuses on screening, assessing, diagnosing, and developing treatment plans for individuals with alcohol and other drug problems. Various screening tools, including the American Society of Addiction Medicine Patient Placement Criteria will be introduced. In addition, students will be instructed in the use of a biopsychosocial model which utilizes the DSM-IV-TR to diagnose and assist in facilitating an effective link between assessment and treatment planning for individuals and families addressing drug and alcohol problems.  Corequisite: SOWK7685

SOWK7682: Practice IV: Individual and Family Counseling for Alcohol and Drug Problems (3 credits)
This course focuses on theories of counseling related to addiction treatment, the treatment process for addictions, and crisis intervention with individuals and families. Current and evolving therapeutic approaches and techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, resilience, the stages-of-change model, motivational interviewing, and brief therapy, are explored. In addition, personal and professional development of the counselor is addressed, including self-care and adherence to ethical and behavioral standards of conduct.  Corequisite: SOWK7686

SOWK7683: Practice V: Group Work in Substance Abuse Treatment (3 credits)
This course focuses on the development of knowledge and skills associated with the use of group modalities in the treatment of individuals with drug and alcohol problems. The historical development of the use of groups in the treatment of persons with drug and alcohol problems will be traced and current trends and theories in group work with the above population will be reviewed. The classroom will serve as a laboratory for students to practice and develop their group therapy skills. Emphasis will be placed on the development of empowerment strategies which can be employed in forming groups, assessing the needs of group members, setting individual and group goals, and structuring group tasks and activities for clients with alcohol and other drug problems. The development of alternative methods of coping, including training in problem solving, healthy assertiveness, and mutual support, will be explored. Corequisite: SOWK7687

SOWK7684: Practice VI: Alcohol and Drug Education/Pharmacology (3 credits)
The main focus of this course is to review the impact of alcohol, illegal drugs, and misused prescription medications. Issues such as prevention, transmission, pathophysiology, associated health problems, and common blood-borne pathogens (including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B) will be discussed. Prevention of other communicable diseases, such as TB and STIís, will be covered.

SOWK7685: Introduction to Drugs and Alcohol in Society (1 credit)
This course is an overview of the phenomenon of addictions in general and addictions to substances in particular. The course will focus on the role of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in American society, the abuse of these substances, and the strategies and policies for prevention and intervention in abuse. The skills required of professional social workers and allied treatment professionals in working with substance abusers will be considered.

SOWK7686: Case Management of Drug and Alcohol Problems (1 credit)
This course will focus on assisting students in gaining the key skills necessary to identify, obtain, and maintain information related to a wide range of community resources and referral services for clients seeking substance abuse treatment. Basic assessment skills, communication skills (oral and written), documentation and maintenance of client records, sensitivity to the multi-cultural and lifestyle characteristics of clients, and an understanding of the client referral process will be covered.

SOWK7687: Ethical and Legal Issues in Substance Abuse Treatment (1 credit)
This course focuses on understanding and practicing ethical and legal standards as related to critical professional issues for addiction counselors. These include: 1) giving particular attention to the relationship and integration of professional values in the roles of trainer, practitioner, supervisor, and consultant; 2). adhering to Federal and State laws as well as agency regulations regarding treatment of substance users; and 3) developing strategies to promote self-awareness, self-care, maintenance of confidentiality in record keeping and sharing of information, and participation in preventive education as well as treatment activities.

SOWK7690: MSW Capstone (1 credit)
The capstone course provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate competency in their respective area(s) of concentration through weekly discussions and the writing of a final narrative project. The University outcomes of Christlike Character, Academic Excellence, Creative Engagement, and Social Responsiveness are integrated into the program's curriculum and must be visibly present in each student's final written project. [Note: Students must be in their final semester or have completed the final semester prior to enrollment in the capstone class.]