M.S.W. Program Bulletin 2020-2021 - THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK - The University of Vermont

Page created by Clinton Garner
M.S.W. Program Bulletin 2020-2021 - THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK - The University of Vermont

M.S.W. Program Bulletin

M.S.W. Program Bulletin 2020-2021 - THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK - The University of Vermont

REVISED 7/2020

President                                      Suresh Garimella, Ph.D.

Interim Provost and Senior Vice-President      Patricia Prelock, Ph.D.

Vice President for Research and
Dean of the Graduate College                   Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D.

Dean of the College of Education
and Social Service, Interim                    Scott Thomas

Associate Dean, College of Education
and Social Services                            Penny Bishop

                     DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WORK


Chairperson                                         Janis Fook, Ph.D.

M.S.W. Program Coordinator                          Susan Comerford, Ph.D.

B.S.W. Program Coordinator                          JB Barna

Field Education Coordinator                         Jean Sienkewicz

The Department of Social Work
      Department History/Mission Statement                                          1
            Department History                                                      1

                Department Mission Statement                                        1
       Department Philosophy                                                        2
                Strengths Perspective                                               2
                Critical Social Construction                                        2
                Human Rights and Social Justice                                     2
       Institutional Affiliations and Communities                                   3
                College of Education and Social Services                            3
                Graduate College                                                    3
                University of Vermont                                               3
                Vermont and the Burlington Area                                     4
                Social Work Practice Communities                                    4
       Department Faculty and Staff Composition and Responsibilities                5
                Department Chairperson                                              5
                Program and Field Education Coordinators                            5
                Advisors                                                            5
                Field Liaisons                                                      7
                Department Staff Composition and Responsibilities                   7
       Department Communication Infrastructure                                      8
                Student, Faculty, and Staff Mailboxes                               8
                Electronic Mail and M.S.W. Student List-Serve                       8
                Postal Service and Telephone                                        9
       Department and Curriculum Decision Making                                    9

The M.S.W. Program
      Program Goals and Objectives                                                  11
             M.S.W. Program Goals                                                   11
             M.S.W. Program Objectives                                              11
            Liberal Arts Perspective                                                11
            General Liberal Arts Requirements                                       11
      The Master’s Curriculum Content                                               12
             Professional Foundation Curriculum                                     12
                     Courses                                                        13
                     Foundation Elective                                            13
                     Field Practicum I                                              14
                     Planning for the Concentration Year                            14
             Concentration Curriculum                                               14
                     Social Work Concentration in Transformative Social Work        14
                     Concentration Focus Courses                                    16
                     Field Practicum II                                              16
                     The Comprehensive Exam                                          16
      Timetables and Options for Completing the Program                        17
             Full-Time, Two Year Option                                             17
Advanced Standing Option                                                                                         18
               Part-Time Option                                                                                                 18
        Tables of Options                                                                                                       19
               Table 1: Full-Time, Two Year Course of Study (@ 60 credits)                                                      19
               Table 2: Full-Time, Advanced Standing, 1.5 Year Course of Study (@ 39 credits) 20
               Table 3: Part-Time, Four Year Course of Study (@ 60 credits)                                                     21
        Educational Approach                                                                                                    22
               Educational Philosophy and Methods.......................................................................22
               Transformative Education ........................................................................................22
               Relational Teaching and Learning ............................................................................22
               Learning and Teaching that are Profound ...............................................................23
               Generative Learning and Teaching...........................................................................23
               Professional Self-Awareness and Reflective Practice ..............................................23
               Integration of Field and Classroom Education .......................................................... 24
                Professional Conduct Policy                                                                                     24
        Evaluative Methods and Grading                                                                                          25
               Evaluation of Student Learning                                                                                   25
               Evaluation of Teaching                                                                                           25
        Specialized Learning Opportunities                                                                                      26
               Funded Opportunities                                                                                             26
                       Graduate Assistantships (GAs)                                                                            27
                       Partnership Grants, Traineeships, and Research Assistantships                                            27
                               Title IV-E Child Welfare Partnership                                                             27
                                       Child Welfare Trainee Project                                                            27
        Opportunities for Student Activism and Leadership                                                                       28
               Required and Optional Meetings                                                                                   28
               Department Committee Student Representatives                                                                     28
               Membership and Student Representation in the Vermont Chapter of the
                       National Association of Social Workers                                                                   28
               Graduate Student Senate                                                                                          29

     Appendix A: Anti-Discrimination, Rights, and Responsibilities                                                   30
           Anti-Discrimination Policy                                                                                31
           Students’ Rights and Responsibilities                                                                     31
           Request for Changes in Admission Status or Exceptions                                                     31
           Request for Change of Advisor                                                                             33
           Appeals                                                                                                   34
           Grievances                                                                                                34
           Sexual Harassment                                                                                         35
           Student Participation in Policy Formation                                                                 36
           Dismissal                                                                                                 36
     Appendix B: Social Work Graduate Course Offerings                                                               37
           Foundation Curriculum Courses                                                                             38
           Concentration Curriculum Courses                                                                          38
           Concentration Focus Courses .......................................................................... 39
     Appendix C: Sample List of Field Practicum Agencies                                                             40
     Appendix D: Department of Social Work Faculty and Staff                                                         44
The first ten years of the Department’s life
                                                         entailed maintaining and enhancing the
                                                         quality of the B.S.W. Program while
                                                         developing the M.S.W. Program. One aspect
                                                         of this has been to earn reaccredidation for
                                                         the B.S.W. Program and initial accreditation
                                                         for the M.S.W. Program in 1993 from the
                                                         Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
  DEPARTMENT HISTORY AND                                 Reaccredidation for the M.S.W. program was
                                                         achieved in 1998 and for both programs in
    MISSION STATEMENT                                    2003.

                                                         During its nearly two decades of operation,
The Department of Social Work at the
                                                         the M.S.W. program has continuously
University of Vermont (UVM) offers two
                                                         evolved and refined its curricula offering in
nationally accredited social work degrees, a
                                                         light of intellectual and social developments.
Bachelor of Science with a Major in Social
                                                         The program prides itself on being “cutting
Work (B.S.W.) and a Master of Social Work
                                                         edge” in its substantive and instructional
(M.S.W.). Social work education at UVM is
                                                         approaches. Faculty are active in pursuing
intended to prepare students for the multiple
                                                         scholarly interests and bringing new ideas to
role demands and organizationally based
                                                         the classroom.
settings characteristic of social work in
Vermont and northern New England. While
the program prepares students for social                      DEPARTMENT MISSION STATEMENT
work practice that is locally informed, it also is
mindful of national and global trends and                The Department of Social Work at the
influences. These include issues of human                University of Vermont, through its teaching,
rights, social justice, human diversity, and the         scholarship, and public service, prepares
globalization of economic, cultural, and                 students for entry level and advanced
political spheres of life. Therefore, emphases           professional social work practice; helps meet
are placed on preparing students to become               the human service needs of the State of
reflective, conscientious, lifelong learners and         Vermont, in particular, the needs of
professionals whose practice will reflect                vulnerable populations; advances social work
humane and empowering knowledge, skills,                 knowledge; and contributes to a more just
and values.                                              world order.

                                                         In carrying out these activities, we affirm our
                                                         commitment to human rights and social
                                                         justice. Our entire curriculum promotes this
                                                         commitment by emphasizing the historical,
Social work education at UVM began with the
                                                         social and political contexts of social work
establishment of the B.S.W. Program in 1974.
                                                         knowledge and practices; the individual and
The B.S.W. Program has been located in
                                                         collective strengths of people served by
several academic units at UVM, most recently
                                                         social workers; the values and ethical
in the former Department of Special
                                                         standards of the social work profession; and
Education. In 1989, when the University
                                                         our active opposition to all forms of
began the M.S.W. Program, the Department
of Social Work was formed as an academic
unit in the College of Education and Social
                                                         Together, MSW students and faculty
Services (CESS).
                                                         undertake mutual inquiry into the pursuit of
                                                         this mission statement according to the

program philosophy and the congruent                 Critical social construction provides a
postmodern/constructionist theoretical               conceptual framework for understanding and
orientation. In turn, these ideas are given          analyzing knowledge claims and for
further focus by the department philosophy           generating new perspectives. From a
and the program’s goals.                             constructionist standpoint, knowledge is
                                                     created through historically, culturally, and
                                                     politically situated processes of social
                                                     interchange rather than being the product of
                                                     individual minds or a reflection of the external
                                                     world. By viewing people and their
                                                     environments, as well as knowledge of
                                                     people and their environments, as historically
                                                     and socially embedded, critical social
                                                     construction supports and extends social
   DEPARTMENT PHILOSOPHY                             work’s traditional person-in-environment
Underlying the mission and goals of social
work programs in the department is a set of          Within critical social construction’s relational
core, interrelated beliefs that provide an           view of knowledge, language is the primary
orientation to the way in which social work is       currency, not merely mirroring the world but
understood and practiced. We label these             constituting it. This orientation highlights the
beliefs as the strengths perspective, critical       linguistic and regulatory influences of the
social construction, social justice, and human       cultural, institutional, structural, and
rights. Students will find these beliefs             interpersonal contexts within which language
integrated throughout the curriculum.                is shaped. By unfettering knowledge from a
                                                     foundational view of truth, critical social
A strengths perspective affirms the basic            construction invites and legitimates multiple
dignity, resourcefulness, and adaptability of        analytic frameworks and forms of knowledge,
people and their capacity for transformational       and value-explicit inquiry and practice. Since
growth and change. It orients services               no one perspective is considered to have
toward people’s capabilities, triumphs, and          privileged access of truth, social construction
resources, and encourages the development            supports intellectual diversity and tends to
of social policies and research that identify,       oppose the elimination or suppression of
nurture, and support these qualities. Social         forms or models of understanding. From a
workers practicing from a strengths                  critical social constructionist standpoint,
perspective respect the unique life worlds of        knowledge as a socio-historical product is
the people they serve and recognize the              intimately connected to power. This
creative and supportive potential of                 connection encourages social workers to
heterogeneous communities. Thus, they                engage in “oppositional discourses of
support the multiple ways in which people            criticism and resistance”.1 These qualities
choose or feel compelled to live their lives         connect critical social construction with the
and work against social processes that               Program’s third emphasis on human rights
marginalize.                                         and social justice.

The value-explicit position of the strengths         Human rights and social justice provide the
perspective and its emphases on social               moral
processes and language, place it within the          grounding for social work practice and
broader conceptual framework of critical             research. These concepts reflect our belief

                                                     1 Lather,
                                                            P. (1991) Getting Smart: Feminist Research and
                                                     Pedagogy Within the Postmodern. London. Routledge. P. xvii

that all people should fully participate in the          All BSW and MSW students have access to a
“culture’s construction of the good and the              small student lounge in the department where
real.”2 They direct social work resources and            they may study or congregate. Formal
activities toward people who are oppressed               opportunities to represent student
and marginalized. Since respect for basic                perspectives include serving on department
human rights (freedom and well-being)                    and program committees, the Graduate
provide the necessary conditions for a just              College Student Senate and the Board of the
society, they are both the starting points and           Vermont Chapter of the National Association
ultimate criteria by which we judge the value            of Social Workers (NASW-VT)
of social work practice and research. Social
workers contribute to a just society by helping
to create the structural arrangements and
social processes in which these fundamental
rights are honored, and resources are
obtained and distributed in an equitable

The above mission and philosophy
statements define the conceptual parameters
and commitments of the Program. They
articulate the purposes and assumptions that
underlie the curriculum and outline our vision            INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATIONS
of professional social work. Combined, they
provide students and faculty alike, an
                                                              AND COMMUNITIES
educated, principled stance from which to
question, decide and act as social workers.                  College of Education and Social

             Students as Members                         The College of Education and Social Services
                                                         (CESS) includes the Department of Social
Reflective of both the mission and the                   Work, the Department of Education, and the
philosophy, students are considered by the               Department of Integrated Professional
Department of Social Work to be members of               Studies (comprised of Human Development
the department and the profession. As such,              and Family Studies, Early Childhood
they have privileges, rights and                         Education, Center for Disability and
responsibilities. Among the privileges and               Community Inclusion, Counseling, and Higher
rights are contributing to Department                    Education and Student Affairs
business, informally through collegiality and            Administration). Relationships among the
suggestions, and formally as representatives             various college and university units and
of committees. Among the responsibilities is             among faculty, staff, and students are
to be familiar with the institutional and                governed by the operating procedures and
program policies and to conduct oneself                  statutes of the University.
according to these policies and the social
work philosophy, values and ethics                       According to the mission statement of the
articulated in the program. (See Appendix A              College:
for a full accounting of Students’ Rights and            The College of Education and Social Services
Responsibilities)                                        educates and prepares outstanding
                                                         professionals in education, social work, and
                                                         human services; engages in scholarship of
2Gergen, K.J. (1994). Realities and Relationships.       high quality; and provides exemplary
Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

professional service to Vermont, nationally,            later, it initiated the first African-American into
and globally. We do this to create a more               the society.
humane and just society; free from
oppression that maximizes human potential               Since UVM has a combined heritage of a
and the quality of life for all individuals,            private university and a land-grant institution,
families and communities.                               it embraces a broad range of instructional
(CESS Bylaws, Amended 11/10/10)                         and research programs. It also focuses a
http://www.uvm.edu/~cess/resources/ByLaws201            significant portion of its resources on meeting
0.pdf                                                   the practical needs of the citizens of the state.
             GRADUATE COLLEGE                           The University is a dynamic and significant
                                                        part of life in the immediate community and in
The Graduate College of the University of               the state, itself. UVM is larger than most
Vermont is responsible for all advanced                 schools in New England, but the number of
degree programs except the Doctor of                    students it serves is relatively small – about
Medicine degree. Thus, it serves all who                10,700 undergraduates and 1627 graduate
pursue advanced, comprehensive                          and 478 medical students. The University
scholarship and research in those fields of             includes seven undergraduate colleges and
study that are beyond the bachelor’s degree.            schools, the College of Medicine, a graduate
An executive committee works with the                   college, and a Division of Continuing
Graduate College to ensure that its programs            Education that operates statewide. Of the
of study are comprehensive and outstanding.             faculty, 90% have earned a Ph.D. or the
Many of the academic requirements, policies,            highest degree in their fields. The faculty
and procedures governing the M.S.W.                     attracts research grants worth five times as
Program are based in the Graduate College.              much as those awarded to most other
                                                        universities of comparable size.
The Graduate College offers 4 pre-
professional programs, 54 different masters’                              UVM Vision
programs of study, 35 accelerated master’s
programs, 26 doctoral programs and an M.D.              To be among the nation’s premier small
program. The college currently enrolls more             research universities, preeminent in our
than 1,627 graduate students and more than              comprehensive commitment to liberal
651 of these pursuing the doctorate.                    education, environment, health and public
Since the establishment of the M.S.W.
Program, students in social work have often                              UVM Mission
comprised the largest number of master’s                To create, evaluate, share and apply
level students in any one discipline at UVM.            knowledge and to prepare students to be
                                                        accountable leaders who will bring to their
                                                        work dedication to the global community, a
          UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT                         grasp of complexity, effective problem-solving
                                                        and communication skills and an enduring
The University of Vermont (UVM) was                     commitment to learning and ethical conduct.
founded in 1791 by Ira Allen, and was the
fifth New England college to be chartered.
UVM was also the second college                           SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE COMMUNITIES
established by a state to grant the bachelor’s
degree, and the first college or university in          The Department has multiple enriching ties to
the country to declare a commitment to                  the local, national, and international social
religious freedom in its charter. UVM was               work practice communities. Local ties include
also one of the first universities in the country       relationships with field education instructors,
to admit women to full membership in the
scholarly society Phi Beta Kappa. Four years
Community Advisory Council members,
alumni, and colleagues with whom faculty               In accordance with the requirements of the
members collaborate as practitioners and               Council for Higher Education Accreditation,
scholars in Burlington and across the state.           the CSWE Office of Social Work
National ties include relationships with social        Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep
work colleagues in professional associations,          accreditation process that involves program
in research projects, on editorial review              self-students, site visits and Council of
boards, on inter-professional commissions,             Accreditation (COA) reviews. The CSWE
and in other professional practice and                 uses the Educational Policy and Accreditation
scholarship enterprises. International ties            Standards (EPAS) to accredit baccalaureate
include scholarly and practice relationships           and master’s level social work programs. (For
with social workers in international                   a complete description of CSWE go to:
associations, regional and national                    http://www.cswe.org and more specifically for
organizations, global and regional social              the most recent EPAS governing MSW
movements, and academic institutions                   curriculum go to:
located in other countries.                            http://www.CSWE.org/File.aspx?id=13780)

Faculty members provide field instructor
seminars and in-service training; co-sponsor
conferences; serve on boards and councils;
participate in NASW (the National Association
of Social Workers) and CSWE; and design,
evaluate, and provide services and technical
assistance in collaboration with various
communities. Relationships with national and             DEPARTMENT FACULTY AND
international social work and inter-
professional practice communities,                        STAFF COMPOSITION AND
indigenous and refugee communities, and
grass roots activist communities influence the               RESPONSIBILITIES
department’s commitments to protecting and
promoting multi-cultural, socially just policies       The Department of Social Work has eight
and professional practices. Likewise, these            full-time, and several adjunct (“part-time”)
commitments and ties to various communities            faculty members. Faculty represents a wide
shape the content and methods of the                   range of experience and expertise in social
Department’s teaching, research, writing, and          work practice and research. (See Appendix
service.                                               D for list of individual faculty members.)

   Council on Social Work Education                    Full-time faculty responsibilities include three
The Department of Social Work is a member              major areas: graduate & undergraduate
of the Council on Social Work Education, a             teaching, research & scholarship, and
nonprofit national association representing            service. In addition to the roles of teacher,
more than 2,500 individual members, as well            scholar, and contributor to the university,
as graduate and undergraduate programs of              profession, and community, faculty members
professional social work education. This               carry out a variety of auxiliary roles that have
partnership of educational and professional            special implications for students in the
institutions, social welfare agencies, and             M.S.W. Program. These roles include the
private citizens is recognized by the Council          Department Chairperson/Chair, M.S.W.
for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole         Program Coordinator, B.S.W. Program
accrediting agency for social work education           Coordinator, Field Education Coordinator,
in the United States.                                  Advisor, Field Liaison, and Special Project
                                                       Chair (e.g., Title IV-E Chair).

DEPARTMENT CHAIRPERSON                         Field Education Coordinator is responsible for
                                                       the administration of the field education
The Department of Social Work is headed by             component of each program’s curriculum.
a Chairperson. In social work education,
chairpersons of departments are known as               The coordinators work closely with the Chair,
“Chairs.” The Chair provides leadership in             the faculty, staff, and students to ensure
formulating with the faculty the Programs’             timely and integrated planning,
philosophical orientation, curriculum, and             communicating, and completion of projects.
policies. The Chair supervises and works               They have no supervisory functions with the
collegially with the social work faculty and           full-time faculty, and they share supervisory
staff to conduct the affairs of the Department         responsibilities for part-time faculty with the
and to contribute to their professional                Department Chair. Each coordinator works
development and success. The Chair also                with a standing faculty committee.
carries the fiscal responsibility for the
Department of Social Work that includes the                              ADVISORS
development and management of department
resources.                                             As part of their teaching responsibilities, all
                                                       full-time faculty members serve as advisors to
In ensuring the viability of the Department,           a number of undergraduate and graduate
the Chair works collaboratively with other             students. In social work education, advisors
members of the College, University, state,             have two areas of responsibility, professional
and social work profession, locally, nationally,       advisement, and academic advisement.
and internationally. For example, our Chair            Specifically, the Council on Social Work
meets regularly with the Dean of the College           Education (Handbook of Accreditation
of Education and Social Services and the               Standards and Procedures, 1994) defines the
other department chairpersons in the College.          obligations of social work advisement as:
The Chair attends meetings of the National
Association of Deans and Chairs of social                 1. Orienting students and assisting them
work education programs in the United                        in assessing their aptitude and
States. The Chair has frequent                               motivation for a career in social work,
communication with key administrators in
                                                          2. Allowing for early and periodic
human service agencies in Vermont, and                       evaluation of each student’s
participates in professional associations,
including the National Association of Social
Workers and the Council on Social Work                    3. Guiding students in selecting areas of
Education.                                                   course work, and
                                                          4. Assessing with students the field
      PROGRAM AND FIELD EDUCATION                            settings that best meet their
            COORDINATORS                                     educational needs and career goals.
                                                             (p. 126)
The coordinators in the Department of Social
Work are the B.S.W. Program Coordinator,
the M.S.W. Program Coordinator, and the                All students are assigned an advisor when
Field Education Coordinator. Coordinators              they enter the M.S.W. Program. During the
are full-time faculty members who, in addition         first semester, advisors and students
to their regular faculty responsibilities, have        (advisees) plan together for students’
significant administrative duties. The B.S.W.          individual course of study in the Program
Program and M.S.W. Program Coordinators                according to the students’ interests and the
are responsible for most administrative                Program and University requirements.
aspects of their respective programs. The              Advisors meet at least once a semester with

their advisees to check with them on their
progress and to plan for the next semester.                        FIELD INSTRUCTORS
They are available at other times during the          Field Instructors are employees of the
semester as needed. They also must be                 organizations in which students complete
involved as soon as possible when serious             their field practica who hold MSW degrees
concerns about one of their advisees are              from CSWE accredited programs. These
raised.                                               individuals proved the on-sight teaching and
                                                      supervision for students. They often are
               FIELD LIAISONS                         referred to as “supervisors”. The Field
                                                      Education Coordinator must approve of all
Field liaisons are full-time, part-time, or           new field organizations and field instructors
adjunct faculty members with M.S.W.                   and the organization must complete an
degrees and strong practice backgrounds               Affiliation Agreement with UVM and the
who serve as administrative and educational           Department of Social Work. Before they
links between the Department of Social Work           begin to provide field instruction to students,
and the field practicum agencies, the student         they must participate in a New Field Instructor
and the field instructor. Their primary               Orientation that is conducted in August. All
function is to assist both parties to integrate       field instructors are strongly encouraged to
the field and classroom education into their          participate in the two field instructor seminars
activities, and to follow the Department’s            conducted by the Field Education Coordinator
policies and procedures for field education.          in the Fall and Spring semesters.
Broadly stated, field liaisons:
                                                        DEPARTMENT STAFF COMPOSITION AND
   1. Make at least two on-site visits to field                 RESPONSIBILITIES
      agencies each year to coordinate and
      monitor field learning assignments              The Department has two support staff
      and to review with students and field           members who provide assistance in carrying
      instructors’ student progress on                out the work of the Department. (See
      learning agreement tasks and                    Appendix D for a current list of staff
      assignments;                                    members.) The professional support staff is
   2. Meet regularly with their field students        comprised of the following positions: an
      in an integrative seminar for                   Office Manager for the Department, and an
      educational and administrative                  academic support person for the Field, BSW
      purposes;                                       and MSW programs and MSW admissions.
                                                      All support staff members can answer
   3. Consult with field instructors to               students’ general questions. However, they
      recommend a grade to the Field                  do not provide academic or professional
      Education Coordinator (who, as the              advisement.
      instructor of record at UVM, assigns
                                                      In addition to the department support staff,
      the grade);
                                                      there are a number of externally funded
   4. Meet regularly with the Coordinator of          project staff who students may meet while in
      Field Education and other field                 the MSW program.
      liaisons for planning and
      development; and
   5. Consult with the Coordinator of Field
      Education and as appropriate, with
      students and their advisors in cases of
      serious concern regarding a student’s
      field performance.

computers with a modem and the required
                                                    communication software. To activate the new
                                                    UVM e-mail account, students need to follow
                                                    the steps outlined on the UVM homepage at

                                                    In addition to receiving an e-mail account,
                                                    each student in the Program will be
                                                    subscribed to the electronic M.S.W.
            DEPARTMENT                              Student List. Information posted to the list
                                                    address will be received simultaneously by all
          COMMUNICATION                             subscribers (in this case, M.S.W. students,
                                                    Department faculty members, and
          INFRASTRUCTURE                            Department staff members). The list is used
                                                    by faculty members, staff members, and
STUDENT, FACULTY, AND STAFF MAILBOXES               students to convey information to all M.S.W.
                                                    students at UVM about upcoming meetings,
The mailboxes located in the Department are         deadlines, issues, and job opportunities.
one of the primary channels of written              Please see Appendix XX for the
communication among members of the                  Department list-serve policy.
Department.                                         When students graduate their e-mail,
                                                    addresses are moved to the social work
  ELECTRONIC MAIL AND M.S.W. STUDENT                alumni list, unless they ask to be removed
                                                    from this list altogether. UVM student e-mail
                                                    accounts may be used for one year after a
                                                    student graduates from the Program.
E-mail is the faculty’s and staff’s primary
mode of written communication with students.
                                                    Some professors create electronic class lists
All students, faculty members, and staff
                                                    so that members of a class can communicate
members are provided with an e-mail account
                                                    with each other about matters that pertain
and address when they join the Department.
                                                    only to their particular course. Likewise,
This account permits the individual to
                                                    some groups of students with shared
correspond with others on and off-campus via
                                                    interests start electronic lists in order to
e-mail; to subscribe to, and receive and post
                                                    communicate with each other and social
communication on electronic list-serves; and
                                                    workers in other parts of the country or world.
to connect to a vast network of information
                                                    Social work education is a communal project
                                                    that relies on being able to reach each other
Upon admittance to the program, students
                                                    outside of classes. It is highly
are assigned an e-mail address that is
                                                    recommended that students check their
typically firstname.lastname followed by
                                                    e-mail accounts daily. Those who do not
“@uvm.edu.” Students may gain access to
                                                    have a means of doing so from home, or who
their e-mail and send e-mail to others at any
                                                    would rather not, should develop an alternate
of the computer terminals available on
                                                    means of checking emails at least once a day
campus (e.g., in the libraries and in the
                                                    to be sure not to miss important information
computer center) and from off-campus
                                                    from faculty and staff, classmates and field

Written communication rarely will be sent
through the U.S. postal service. However,              Blackboard is an online course management
some circumstances make it the most                    system that supports the sharing of learning
appropriate avenue of written communication.           resources, student collaboration, learning
Therefore, all students are responsible to             assessment, and multiple means of
keep the Department up to date on their                communication between course members.
most current home mailing addresses for                Every course in the Banner system has n
those occasions. Ideally, after students               associated Blackboard course space that is
graduate, they will continue to keep their             automatically populated with registered
mailing addresses and phone numbers up to              student. UVM is currently using Blackboard
date with the Department so that the                   Learn (Release 9.1.13)
Department can maintain communication with
alumni.                                                Many courses in the Program us various
                                                       Blackboard features. To learn how to use
Telephone communication between                        Blackboard, got to the following link:
Department faculty or staff and students is            http://blog.uvm.edu/ctl/category/blackboard-
often necessary. For this reason, all                  tips/
students (and alumni) are asked to keep
the Department up to date on their most
current telephone numbers. Printed
student lists containing students’ names,
telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and
mailing addresses are created each year and
distributed to the staff and faculty. If a
student needs this information to be kept
off such a list, s/he should discuss this
with the M.S.W. Program Coordinator, or
his/her advisor and an arrangement may
be made for more limited use of this
information. Students may also opt to grant
permission for their address, phone, and
email information to be distributed to other
M.S.W. students in the Program.                               DEPARTMENT AND
In addition to the Department phone number
                                                             CURRICULUM DECISION
(802-656-8800), all full-time and part-time
faculty and full-time staff members each have
individual office extensions. Faculty phone
                                                       The governance of the Department is carried
numbers are printed at the top of their syllabi.
                                                       out according to policies and procedures of
Faculty and staff home phone numbers may
                                                       the University, the colleges, the profession of
only be given out by the individual faculty or
                                                       social work, and the Department itself.
staff member him/herself unless s/he has
                                                       Academic and social work traditions and
made a prior arrangement for someone else
                                                       practices, and state and federal laws shape
to do so. The Department business hours are
                                                       these policies and procedures. The Chair of
between 8:00am and 4:30pm. After hours,
                                                       the Department holds the institutionally and
messages can be left by calling the individual
                                                       professionally sanctioned decision-making
extensions or the main Department phone
number.                                                authority for matters regarding department
                                                       personnel, finances, external relations, and

department operating policies. The Chair               the instructor in integrating the Department’s
may delegate some decisions to coordinators            philosophy of social work and the faculty’s
and to other members of the faculty, such as           expectations for the course. If a course has
student requests for exceptions, the hiring, or        only one section, or only part-time faculty
deployment of part-time instructors, and               instructors, the relevant coordinator provides
scheduling courses.                                    this support and oversight. If it has more than
                                                       one section, and only one part-time instructor,
The program committees (MSW & BSW)                     the full-time instructor teaching the course
develop the objectives, policies and                   provides these functions.
procedures for the content, delivery and
evaluation of the curriculum. They develop             Since February 2003, full-time faculty are
and propose broad policy changes to the full           represented by a union, United Academics
department faculty. Department and program             (UA). UA and the University of Vermont have
level decisions are passed on to individual            entered into collective bargaining
faculty members who implement them                     agreements that cover working conditions,
through their course designs, teaching and             including terms of appointment, for faculty
advising.                                              members.

The instructors of more than one section of a
course are usually work collaboratively in
shaping the requirements and methods of
that course to achieve general congruence
across sections and with the overall
curriculum. In the case of courses taught by
part-time faculty, a full-time faculty member

social workers and their potential
                                                      expressions in practice.

                                                      To prepare students for advanced social
                                                      work practice with people who are devalued,
                                                      marginalized, or underserved.
           OBJECTIVES                                 To foster awareness of social work from a
                                                      global perspective and its’ implications for
In making programmatic decisions and                  practice with people from diverse
developing the curriculum, the faculty is guided      backgrounds.
by broad program goals that are informed by the
mission and philosophy of the Department.             Social Construction
Periodically, the faculty reviews the entire          To help students understand the human
M.S.W. curriculum, and based on this analysis,        experience and social work practice from
sets specific program objectives that lead to the     historical, cultural, and social perspectives.
fulfillment of the goals. These program
objectives provide students with a set of             Strengths
expectations regarding their graduate,                To help students appreciate and understand
professional education.                               people’s capacity for resilience and
                                                      transformation and to develop and employ
The program objectives are further divided            practices based on these qualities.
according to the level of social work education
into objectives for the professional foundation
curriculum (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, and       Human Rights/Social Justice
basic application) and concentration curriculum       To familiarize students with theories of
(i.e., more autonomous application of acquired        human rights and social justice and their
skills and knowledge, critical analysis, synthesis,   expression in social work.
and evaluation). Course and field practicum
objectives derive from the foundation and             Leadership
concentration objectives. They are presented in       To prepare students for leadership roles in
syllabi as knowledge, values, and skills              the development, implementation and
objectives that students are expected to meet by      evaluation of services and the work of social
the end of the academic year.                         change.

           M.S.W. PROGRAM GOALS
                                                      Professional Development
   Learning Context                                   To inspire students to on-going professional
   To create a learning community of students         development, critical self-reflection and
   and faculty where ideas and actions can be         renewal.
   freely explored, discussed and analyzed

   Values and Ethics
   To enable students to understand the values
   and ethical commitments of professional

M.S.W. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES                      on human/social issues. There is no
                                                       requirement for applicants to present a specified
   Graduates of the M.S.W. Program should be           number of course credits in each subject area.
able to:                                               However, the educational background and
                                                       coursework should show adequate preparation
   1. Demonstrate knowledge of social work             to pursue graduate study in social work.
      values and ethics and the skills for their
      expression in advanced social work practice.     Previous Work and Life Experience
   2. Demonstrate an approach to social work           The faculty views life experience and previous
      practice informed by human rights and social
                                                       work experience as valuable and helpful to
                                                       prospective students. Nevertheless, the MSW
   3. Demonstrate an approach to social work           Program does not waive its academic
      practice informed by critical social             requirements, including field requirements, for
      construction.                                    these experiences.

   4. Demonstrate an approach to social work
      practice informed by the strengths

   5. Demonstrate an understanding of the
      relationship of social exclusion,
      marginalization and oppression on social and
      individual problems.

   6. Demonstrate knowledge of human diversity,
      its social construction, and the ability to
      practice in a manner sensitive to social

   7. Demonstrate awareness of a global
                                                          THE MASTER’S CURRICULUM
      perspectives, their relationship to local
      issues, and their implications for social work
                                                       The M.S.W. curriculum has a professional
   8. Demonstrate an understanding of the              foundation, and one concentration. The
      importance of on-going professional              theories, perspectives, research, and methods
      development and supervision.                     that are offered in the curriculum are selected
                                                       according to their congruence with a strengths-
                                                       oriented, critical constructionist perspective, and
         LIBERAL ARTS PERSPECTIVE                      their capacity to promote diversity, social justice,
                                                       and human rights.
General Liberal Arts Requirements

Social work draws on multidisciplinary theory            PROFESSIONAL FOUNDATION CURRICULUM
and research and requires critical and creative
thinking and communicating. Therefore, all             The professional foundation curriculum is
M.S.W. candidates should have acquired a               designed to assist students to explore and
broad liberal arts education as a function of          develop generalist knowledge, values, and skills
successfully completing their baccalaureate            for professional social work with individuals,
programs. A minimum of 18 credits are required         families, small groups, organizations, and
                                                       communities. Students take 30 credits of
in the following areas: social sciences,
                                                       professional foundation coursework, including
humanities, and psychology with an emphasis

one elective. This period of study is often          Following a field orientation period in their first
referred to as the “first year” (even though part-   semester, students spend a minimum of 225
time students will complete it in more than one      hours each semester in an agency setting.
year) or the “foundation year.”                      Generally, a student’s employment site is not
                                                     an appropriate field practicum site.
                                                              Additional Required Content
The professional foundation curriculum is
comprised of courses in the following five areas:    In addition to the courses provided in the
1) human behavior in the social environment, 2)      above content areas, seven other required
social welfare policy & practice, 3) social work     content areas are infused across the
practice, 4) field practica, and 5) research. It     courses. These include: identification as a
also includes content that is taught across the      professional social worker, values and
curriculum, including: values and ethics,            ethics, critical thinking, diversity and
diversity, promotion of social, economic &           difference, human rights, social and
environmental justice, populations-at- risk, and     economic justice and contextual thinking.
introductory aspects of the Department               Moreover, each MSW program articulates its
philosophy. This content is integrated               own theoretical orientation. At UVM students are
throughout all five areas of coursework.             introduced to a postmodern-constructionist
Additionally, the professional foundation            theoretical orientation in the foundation
curriculum engages students in considering           curriculum.
social work as a profession, themselves as
reflective practitioners, and the meaning that       The theories, research and methods that are
their learning experiences have for them, as         taught in both years of the program are selected
practioners, and their social work practice.         according to their congruence with the
Please note that the foundation curriculum           theoretical orientation, and their capacity to
must be completed before taking any                  promote diversity, social, economic and
concentration courses, including summer              environmental justice, and human rights with an
focus courses.                                       emphasis on people’s strengths.

Foundation Elective                            By the end of the foundation curriculum,
                                               students are expected to have developed an
The foundation elective must be taken within   introductory understanding of these key
the Department of Social Work. Options will be concepts. They should be able to demonstrate
available in the Fall and Summer. Title IV-E   their application to generalist social work that
funded students are required to take SWSS 224, combines analytical and relational practices as
Child Abuse & Neglect in the Fall Semester.    defined by course and field practica objectives.

Field Practicum I
                                                          Transition from Foundation Year
The required foundation field practicum is taken               to Concentration Year
concurrently with the rest of the foundation
coursework. Students are assigned to an              Proceeding to the concentration curriculum is
approved field practicum in a non-profit             not automatic, because the curriculum becomes
organization by the Field Education Coordinator,     progressively more complex. The foundation
taking into account their interests and foundation   curriculum, including professional conduct, must
practicum site availability. During the field        be mastered, and any conditions of admission
practicum, they carry out a social work              that were designated in acceptance materials
assignment under the supervision of a qualified      must be met.
field instructor according to educational
requirements set by the MSW Program.
By the mid-point in the spring foundation year        be important to a student’s application for the
semester, the MSW faculty broadly reviews             concentration year field practicum. As the field
students’ readiness for study in the                  practicum placement process begins early in the
concentration curriculum. Academic                    spring semester of the foundation year, it is best
performance and professional conduct are              for students to have a working sense of their
considered, as indicated by grades,                   individualized learning plans by that time. To
assignments, field practicum evaluations and          begin the field practicum placement process,
observations. (For more discussion of                 students submit the concentration field
professional conduct see Appendix A and the           practicum application and schedule a meeting
university policies on academic integrity and on      with the Field Education Coordinator to discuss
student rights and responsibilities.)                 their learning objectives and identify with the
                                                      coordinator the practicum sites that might best
If a faculty member has serious concerns about        assist them in meeting these objectives.
an individual’s performance, they will convey
these to the student, the MSW Coordinator and         The sequencing of this process is somewhat
the student’s advisor. The faculty member             different for advanced standing students and
discusses these with the student in the context       some part-time students.
of their work together. The advisor discusses
these with the student in the broader context
that engages them in assessing their                          CONCENTRATION CURRICULUM
performance within and between classes and
the field practicum. The purposes of both             The identifiable area of concentration in this
discussions are consultative and remedial, to         Program is Transformative Social Work. The
assist the student to make improvements that          concentration provides the foci around which the
may be necessary to complete the program.             last thirty credits of the Program are organized.
                                                      This period of study is frequently referred to as
   Planning for the Concentration Year                “the second year” (even though part-time
                                                      students take these courses after their second
In the spring semester before the concentration       year in the Program), “the concentration year,”
year, students should meet with their advisors        or “the advanced year.”
and discuss their concentration year plan of
study and coursework. In the concentration            The concentration curriculum is comprised of the
year, students take several courses in common         following requirements: two advanced practice
aimed to extend and deepen their knowledge,           courses (Transformative Social Work I & II); one
skills, and values associated with the program        advanced social work theory application and
concentration, transformative social work. At the     integration course (Integrative Applications of
same time, students are encouraged to                 Transformative Social Work) one advanced
individualize their learning within the               social work research course (Advanced Social
concentration year through the selection of 4         Work Research), four concentration focus
focus courses. Focus courses are offered              courses; and a concentration field practicum
during the summer session, between the                (Concentration Year Field Practicum)).
foundation and concentration years, as well as
during both semesters of the concentration year.             SOCIAL WORK CONCENTRATIONS

Although students will enter the concentration        Transformative Social Work
field practicum in the fall of the following
academic year, many students schedule at least        The primary aim is to support and facilitate ways
one of their concentration focus courses in the       of transforming relationships at all levels.
summer between the two years. Deciding on             Transformative change is viewed as relational,
individualized learning or an area of focus is also

profound, and generative. The approach to             autonomy, skill, and self-awareness in variously
change is relational in that it requires the          situated professional relationships with clients
coordinated action of many people working in a        and others and in the choices they make as
context of mutuality and respect, it is profound in   learners, professionals, and practitioners. They
that it goes beyond the surface of incremental        are also required to synthesize a broad range of
change to question and dislodge the uncritical        knowledge and apply this knowledge to a variety
acceptance of taken for granted discourses and        of direct, inter-professional, and inter-
practices, and it is generative in that it is meant   organizational practice situations that are
to envision and support new and better futures        characterized by complexity, ambiguity,
at all levels of the community.                       contradiction, and intensity.

The concentration year curriculum explores the        Common across coursework in the
knowledge, values and skills in transformative        concentration is the shared emphasis on
social work by drawing upon a number of               strengths, human rights, social justice, and
ongoing dialogues that highlight the social,          critical social construction with attention to
cultural, and historical contexts of meaning.         family-centered and community-based social
These dialogues, integrated under the label of        work practice issues involving various
social construction, complement and augment           populations, services, and methods, such as
social work's traditional social change mission,      victims of abuse, groups who are underserved,
its values of social justice and human rights, its    managed care, and client-system mediation.
strengths orientation, and its commitment to
serve marginalized groups.                            Learning in the concentration is also shaped by
                                                      state and national trends that reflect the need for
Transformative social work research is a form of      more advanced level practitioners to provide
social work practice that is conceptualized as a      family-centered, community-based, inter-
vehicle for change, rather than as a systematic       professional services, and the correlating
observation or "discovery" of the extant world.       systemic leadership for increased coordination
The new understandings that are generated hold        and collaboration among service providers. The
transformative potential for social work practice     family-centered orientation that has grown
and for the lives and relationships of the people     across the country in many fields of practice
most directly affected by the actions of social       (e.g., health, mental health, child welfare,
workers.                                              juvenile justice, developmental disabilities, and
                                                      aging) has created the need for advanced
Students consider transformative social work          practitioners with the distinctive mission and
                                                      orientation of social work. The professional
from an individualized focus in a field-of-practice
and/or population-at-risk.                            orientation to the person-environment and the
                                                      integral relationship between personal and
Accordingly, students learn to select and utilize     socio-cultural experience is particularly
congruent social work roles and methods in            conducive for responding to the multi-
direct, organizational, and community practice.       dimensional strengths and challenges of people
More specifically, students learn to apply roles      who are oppressed, socially marginalized, and
and methods critically and differentially,            underserved. A transformative social work
assessing the strengths, needs and resources of       engagement of human suffering and social
socially at-risk children, youth, adults, families,   problems places UVM social work graduate
and elders; and interdependently, intervening at      students at the intersection of innovative
multiple levels of practice to build on and expand    theorizing, creative policy and practice
the strengths and resources and meet the needs        advances, and the assemblage of viable
of various populations. In the process, students      contexts for help to individuals, families, and
are required to demonstrate increasing                local and global communities.

Required Concentration Courses            concentration area and to develop advanced
                                                  social work practice skills. Students spend at
The required courses are organized sequentially least 225 hours each semester in the field and
with the spring courses building on the fall      earn three credits per semester. Advanced
courses and all of these building on and          standing students spend 300 hours in the field
expanding learning from the foundation            each semester and earn four credits per
curriculum. Some year’s students remain in the semester.
same section of a fall and a related spring
course taught by the same instructor. This is     The Comprehensive Exam
made clear in the town meeting preceding
registration for concentration course. The        The University of Vermont Graduate College
following four required concentration courses     requires that “All master’s degree students …
are: SWSS 314 and 315, Transformative Social pass a written and/or oral comprehensive
Work Practice I and II; SWSS 316, Integrative     examination in their field of specialization. If
Applications of Transformative Social Work;       both formats are used, satisfactory completion of
SWSS 327 Advanced Social Work Research.           the written examination is prerequisite to
Advanced standing students take an                standing for the oral examination” (on-line UVM
additional fifth required course in the summer,   Graduate Catalogue at
SWSS 280 Perspectives in Social Work. All of      http://catalogue.uvm.edu/graduate/
these are considered “practice” courses.
                                                  It leaves to each program the specification of the
Concentration Focus Courses                       format and criteria to be employed. The
                                                  Department of Social Work uses an assignment
In addition to the six required courses in the    embedded within a course to meet this
concentration year (including spring and fall     requirement. (SWSS 316 Integrative
semesters of field), students take four Social    Applications of Transformative Social Work).
Work courses that are intended to generate an     The assignment itself can be seen in the course
area of focus for their concentration in          syllabus but in general, the goals of the
transformative social work. Selecting these       Department Comprehensive Exam are to
courses is part of the students’ individual       deepen and demonstrate the following:
planning with their advisors. Concentration
Focus Courses are offered in the summer,          1. Integration of the program philosophy and its
between the foundation and concentration          implications for all aspects of social work
years, and during both semesters of the           practice;
concentration year. Students are not required to
                                                  2. Connections between professional
take focus courses during the summer, but
                                                  knowledge and theory and their application in
many do, so in order to lighten their course load
                                                  social work practice;
during the academic year. Students must
complete all of their professional foundation 3. Critical, analytical, and generative thinking as
courses before they can begin their               a professional social worker;
concentration year course work.
                                                  4. Clear professional communication.
Field Practicum II                                There is one alternative option to completing the
                                                     Comprehensive Exam outside of enrolling in and
In addition to the four required courses, students   completing SWSS 316. This would be an
must take SWSS 390, Concentration Field              individualized, scholarly option of working with a
Practicum I and II. The concentration practicum      faculty member on the faculty member’s
is a two-semester, advanced level field              particular scholarly project. Selection of students
experience. It provides opportunities for            for these projects would be at the discretion of
students to gain practice experience in their        the faculty member.

concentration practice courses and
                                                     concentration field practicum simultaneously
                                                     because they are interdependent. Students
                                                     are guaranteed to get into every required
                                                     course in the semester needed. However, if a
                                                     required course has more than one section,
                                                     they may not be able to enroll in the section
                                                     they prefer. Likewise, students may not be
                                                     able to enroll in the foundation elective or
 TIMETABLES AND OPTIONS FOR                          every focus course they prefer.

  COMPLETING THE PROGRAM                                             THE OPTIONS DEFINED
Upon admission to the program, the option and        Full-time, Two Year Option
timetable for each student’s completion of the
program are determined. These include a full-        During the first 30 credits of study (the
time, two-year course of study; an advanced          “foundation year”) students focus on learning,
standing, one summer and one full year course        understanding, and applying the generic
of study; and one part-time four-year option. See    knowledge, values, and skills of professional
Tables 1 through 3 at the end of this section for    social work. The typical full-time course load is
these options and timetables. A student’s            15 credits per semester that includes four
admission status within the Program can only be      courses on campus and a concurrent field
changed through a formal request to and              placement off campus.3 Students spend a
approval from the M.S.W. Program Coordinator         minimum of 15 hours per week in the field
or Committee.                                        practicum.

                                                     During the second 30 credits of study, (the
In determining the appropriate option, the
                                                     “concentration year”) students develop
Admission Committee must be confident that the
                                                     advanced social work knowledge, ethics, skills,
students’ education will not be adversely
                                                     and inter-professional leadership in the area of
affected by taking courses out of the preferred
                                                     the concentration, transformative social work,
full-time sequence. Therefore, the decision to
                                                     and with regard to their individualized area of
grant part-time status to applicants is not
                                                     focus. This curriculum enables students to
automatic. It is based on careful appraisal of
                                                     synthesize their learning and develop greater
their prior academic performance and their
                                                     depth and autonomy in their practice. Specific
rationale for requesting part-time status. This is
                                                     courses, the field practicum, and the final project
also true for students admitted with full-time,
                                                     (completed in SWSS 316: Integrative
two-year status who later request a change to
                                                     Applications of Transformative Social Work)
part-time status.
                                                     create contexts for students to advance their
The number of days and times of the week that
foundation and concentration year courses are
                                                     3 Please
scheduled and specific courses meet often                      note that the concept of full-time status is defined
varies from semester to semester and year to         differently according to the University unit and purpose.
                                                     Whereas, within the Department of Social Work, full-time,
year according to many factors. Typically,           M.S.W. status typically involves a minimum of 15 credits a
students are in their field practica during the      semester, the Graduate College defines full-time status as
weekdays at times when classes are not               a minimum of nine credits. “Full time” is a floating definition
scheduled.                                           and may have implications for students’ particular
                                                     experience at UVM. For example, cost of living estimates
The Program requires that students take
                                                     provided by the Graduate College, Registrar, and financial
their foundation practice courses and                aid definitions may be based on the assumption of nine
foundation field practicum, and their                credits per semester rather than 15.

You can also read