SWK6201 Social Welfare and Social Change
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WSSW course syllabus / Open Access
¶The power of the relationship between an individual social worker and a client can be life-changing to a client. But the power of many social workers working together to address social problems can make a lasting positive impact on society. This is why organizing to support social welfare is at the heart of the development of the social work profession. ¶The mission of the social work profession is to “enhance human well-being” (NASW Code of Ethics, Preamble, Revised 2017). But, unlike other professions with a related mission, fundamental to social work is our Ethical Principle that implores us to look beyond the needs of individual clients, and to challenge social injustice, “particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people.” (NASW Code of Ethics, Ethical Principles, 2017). The NASW Code of Ethics further outlines social workers’ ethical responsibility to the broader society through section 6 of the NASW Code of Ethics. ¶“Social workers should promote the general welfare of society, from local to global levels, and the development of people, their communities, and their environments. Social workers should advocate for living conditions conducive to the fulfillment of basic human needs and should promote social, economic, political, and cultural values and institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.” (NASW Code of Ethics, 6.01) ¶This foundation level course lays the groundwork in preparing students to be informed and competent professionals who implement programs and work to create policy change within organizations and beyond. Starting with an understanding of the development of the social work profession over time, students learn how theory impacts policy and agency work, with a focus on how social work values and ethics impact this trajectory. ¶This course introduces basic concepts related to social welfare (i.e. the wellbeing of groups of people in society), with particular focus on economic inequality, poverty, and systematic oppression through a human rights perspective. These areas are analyzed in view of the interrelationship of political, economic and social factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status. Students begin the application of social policy analysis that deepens their understanding of the political processes relevant to shaping and influencing the institution of social welfare. Throughout the course, the unique and important role and function of the social work profession is stressed. ¶This course is generally taken in the first semester of study, because it relates to, and builds upon, the content covered in courses such as Cultural Diversity, Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Generalist Social Work Practice. This course is important to help connect students with content infused throughout the curriculum related to social justice, and equality for oppressed and vulnerable populations. This course is a pre-requisite to Policy Advocacy in Practice, SWK 6210, taken during the advanced year of the MSW program.
Lane, Shannon. (2021), Syllabus, SWK6201 Social Welfare and Social Change, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University.
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