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North Idaho College • Coeur d'Alene • Social & Behavioral Sciences • Social Work

Introduction to Social Work SOWK-240

  • Fall 2012
  • Section 02
  • 3 Credits
  • 08/27/2012 to 12/21/2012
  • Modified 09/19/2012

Contact Information

Instructor:KateriPicard Ray, LCSW

Phone: 208-292-2682

Email: [email protected]

Location:University   Place,Suite144

Term: Fall 2012


The focus of this course is to help social work and non-social work majors gain an understanding of the professional foundation of social work. Students will be introduced to the knowledge, skills and ethics involved in generalist social work practice. Students will explore the theoretical, political, social and economic contexts of social work practice. Attention is given to the many settings and roles in which social workers work with diverse client groups whom social workers serve. Volunteer service learning project is required. This course is required for social work majors.


This course presents a survey of social welfare and human service programs in the United States as a response to problems and needs within our society. Issues relating to historical and contemporary social service institutions and their place in both an ethical and public context are examined. The course begins the professional foundation for social work.


Program Goals met in this course:


1.  To provide learning experiences and opportunities in a variety of settings that develop generalist practice social work knowledge and skills needed to achieve BSW career objectives and meet client needs.

2.  To educate students on the ethical foundation of social work as stated in the NASW Code of Ethics where self reflection on one’s own values and the understanding of how they influence relationships is emphasized.

3.  To teach generalist practice social work knowledge and skills that prepare students to enhance human well-being and alleviate poverty, oppression, and other forms of social injustice through an understanding of social work history, social welfare policy analysis and development, advocacy, resource development, and other social or political actions that promote social and economic justice.

4.  Relying on a liberal arts foundation, teach generalist practice social work knowledge and skills that prepare students to enhance the social functioning and interactions of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities by involving them in accomplishing goals, developing resources, and preventing and alleviating distress.


Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:


  1. Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of social welfare history;
  2. Explore and describe the process of helping by participating in a volunteer experience;
  3. Evaluate personal values, beliefs, and life experiences that inform the ways that you construct knowledge and make meaning in life;
  4. Acquire knowledge that will allow for an opportunity to self-assess if social work or related human services field are a potential career option for the student;
  5. Understand and describe generalist social work practice, the nature of social work education at the baccalaureate level, and the relationship of the BSW practitioner to other levels of professional practice;
  6. Acquire a basic understanding of generalist social work practice, including  awareness and appreciation of essential knowledge, values and skills of the profession;
  7. Identify the steps of the planned change model and how it can be used in practice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels;
  8. Explore a framework for understanding and evaluating the social welfare system;
  9. Understand the importance of social justice, strengths based practice, client empowerment, and cultural competence in social work practice;
  10. Understand the various roles of the social work profession in promoting social and economic justice and working toward eliminating oppression at all levels of the environment;
  11. Understand the various types of client populations and the context in which social workers provide service to these client populations;
  12. Understand the various dimensions of human diversity;
  13. Acquire a basic understanding of the uses of research in the social work profession;
  14. Contribute as a group member in group exercises and class discussions;
  15. Demonstrate good oral and written skills through class assignments;
  16. Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking skills in relation to course work.


Grades are based on:




Course   Objectives

Journal Assignments


C, D, O, P

Social Justice Paper


C, I, J, K, M, O, P

Volunteer Experience


 B, F, K, O

In-Class Group Exercises


D, E, F, H, J, K, L, N, P

Exam I


E, F, G, I, J, L, P

Exam II


A, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, P

Exam III


E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, P

Exam IV


F, G, I, J, K, L, O, P



A - P


Grading Scale


A                    95-100%

A-                      90-94.9%

B+                     87-89.9%

B                     83 -86.9%

            B-                    80-82.9%

            C+                    77-79.9%

C                     73-76.9%

C-                       70-72.9%

D                     63-69.9%

            F                      62.9% and below

Course Policies

 The primary teaching approach in this class will be a combination of lecture and self-directed, experience-based, and problem-centered activities. Teaching methods include: lecture, discussion, modeling, quizzes, exams, guest speakers, video, and small group exercises.


There will be times during this course when societal "isms" or prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory practices are examined.  Because of our commitment to social and economic justice, we are open to hearing all views and all perspectives will be carefully examined.  Students are expected to be respectful of the opinions of others while at the same time striving to attain the ideals of social justice.


In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities. Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor. Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester, 665-4520.



Shared Client And Agency Information:  In the classroom, students and professors will occasionally discuss clients and agencies.  In these discussions, it is expected that information about clients and agencies should be disguised or eliminated if clients could be identified and that this information is to be held in confidence within the bounds of the Code of Ethics. You must disguise the identity of clients in written assignments including changing the name of the client.


  1. Assignments will be submitted via Blackboard unless otherwise noted.


  1. Tests and assignments are due on the dates listed on the syllabus or as scheduled by the instructor of this course.  Late papers and tests will not be accepted.  On the rare occasion of a medical, personal, or family emergency, the student may write a letter of explanation requesting permission to hand in a late paper.  This letter must be received by the instructor within 24 hours of the original due date.  Malfunctioning computers, word processors and/or printers does not qualify as an acceptable excuse for late papers and no extensions will be given for these reasons.  Discretion of late paper acceptance is entirely up to the instructor.  Grade will automatically be reduced by 50%. 

Participation requires being present in the classroom during the whole class session, being prepared for class, answering questions based upon the readings, and participating in class activities. Being part of the class is included in your evaluation for four important reasons: One, when you are not present, the class is diminished by not having your ideas, your presence, and/or your influence on our thinking. Two, being in class also expresses your interest in the class, your ability to keep appointments, and your ability to conduct yourself in a professional manner. Three, participation also exemplifies your commitment to the work to be done and your professionalism which is so important to your future employers.


  1. In the event a quiz or test is missed, to make up the work, the student must immediately contact the instructor and request permission to make up the work. Makeup work is due within 7 days of the test, or the student will receive a failing grade for the test.  A student may not miss the final exam.  Students will be given a different exam that covers the same material as the original exam.


  1. Only work submitted before the close of the last scheduled class session of the course will be accepted for inclusion in the grade for that semester. 


** Note: Extra-Credit:  There is no extra credit in this course.



Policy Regarding Course Incompletes

Students are expected to complete all work before the final session of the class.  Incompletes are not granted automatically.  A grade of “I” may be assigned only in cases of illness, accident, or other catastrophic occurrence beyond the student’s control.  It is the responsibility of the student to request an Incomplete grade from the instructor before the end of the term.  All work must be completed by the deadline specified by the instructor, which must be on or before the last day of the next term, excluding summer session.  Students who fail to complete the required work, will be assigned a grade of “F”.


Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

Part of the mission of this college is to educate students to be ethical.  Students share with the faculty the responsibility for academic honesty and integrity.  The University expects its students to do their own academic work.  In addition, it expects active participation and equitable contributions of students involved in group assignments.  Violation of the Academic Integrity Statement, in whole or part, could result in an “F” grade for the course.  The following acts of academic dishonesty are not acceptable:


  • Cheating: using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise (e.g., an exam).
  • Fabrication: unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an academic exercise (e.g., a paper reference).
  • Plagiarism: representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own in any academic exercise (e.g., failing to cite references appropriately or taking verbatim from another source).
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty:  helping or attempting to help another to commit academic dishonesty (e.g., allowing another to copy from your test or use your work).
  • In addition to action by the professor, all incidents will be reported to Student Affairs.


Professional Writing Standards

All printed work submitted to this professor should be prepared at a college standard of professional editing in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th Ed.)*.  Therefore, allow sufficient preparation time for proofreading and correction of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors.


The reason for this expectation is that professionals are often judged based upon the quality of their written work.  Carelessness in spelling and editing suggests that there will also be mistakes in the substance of the work.  Therefore, written work, which has misspellings and other editing problems, will be graded down on this basis alone.


* Recommended for 140/240/241. Required for all others.


The instructor reserves the right to waive one or more of the policies listed above in rare, but special circumstances.






Readings (to be completed   BEFORE class)



August 27

Introduction   to Course and Syllabus; Elements of Generalist Practice; Social Welfare   Perspectives; Continuum of Social Work Careers


Guest speakers from SOSW   and Phi Alpha

Review APA Guidelines and   requirements

Social Worker Dispositions

A, D, E, F

Sept. 03


Labor Day


No Class


Sept. 10


Critical   thinking; Focus on systems; social work competencies.

Chapter 1

Volunteer Opportunities; In-class group exercise #1 (brainstorm   volunteer ideas, write them down, each student commit to contact two (10   pts).  Post receipt and understanding   of syllabus (10 pts)

B,   D, E, N, P

Sept. 17

NASW Ethics and Values; Focus on critical thinking; Identifying   personal values

Chapter 2


Small   group work (learn, teach, apply)


C,   D, F

Sept. 24

Empowerment   and Human Diversity; Strengths approach

Chapter   3

Racial self-awareness   activity

Journal Assignment #1 Due (25 points)

F,   I, J, K, O



The   process of generalist practice;    Planned change process;    Professional Roles


Chapter   4

Exam I, Chapters 1 – 3,   (100 points)




E,   G, J


Oct. 08


Practice settings; Micro,   mezzo, and macro practice; Careers in social work;

Chapter   5

Types   of Groups

What   are future issues in social welfare?

Social Justice activity   assignments

(in-class group exercise   #2)

Journal Assignment #2 Due (25 points)


E, J, K, N, O

Oct. 15


Highlights   in history and relationship to current social work practice

Chapter   6


Small groups report on   social justice assignments  (in-class   group exercise #2)

A, N, P

Oct. 22


How   policies structure and coordinate life

Chapter   7

Social Justice Paper Due


H,   J, M, O

Oct. 29


Stereotypes   about people on welfare; hidden rules about class.

Chapter   8

In-class   group exercise #3 (bring to class current article that relates to social work   history or social work policy.  Brief   written explanation of how it applies to social work)

Exam II, Chapters 4-7, (100   points)

C, H, I, J, N

Nov. 05


Child   Protective Services; Child and family service systems

Chapter   9

In-class   group exercise #4

Guest   Speaker

Journal Assignment #3 Due (25 points)

I,   K, P

Nov. 12


Disability   Services; Working with the Elderly Population; Confronting myths about the   elderly

Chapter 10/11


Guest Speaker

B, O

Nov. 19


Finalize Volunteer Project


No Class Meeting


Nov. 26


 Improving health care provision; ethical   dilemmas in managed care; HIV and AIDS


Chapter 12

Guest speaker

Volunteer Experience Paper Due


F,   I, J, K

Dec. 03

Hazards   of over generalizing; Shortcomings of DSM-IV-TR; Mental Health and community   resources; Mental disorders; Least restrictive settings and continuum of care

Chapter   13

Exam III, Chapter 8-12 (100 points)

NAMI   Presentation

In-class   group exercise #5 (develop one question with answer and hand in)


F,   I, J, K, O, P

Dec. 10

Substance use, abuse and   dependence

Chapter 14

Journal Assignment #4 Due (25 points)

I,   J, K

Week of Dec. 17

Final   Exam


Exam IV, Comprehensive   (100 points)

O,   P

Institutional Policies

Student Responsibilities

As students undertake to fulfill the obligations and duties outlined in this document, the college community of which they are a part undertakes to respect the basic freedoms of students. In recognition of students’ rights and dignity as members of the college, North Idaho College is committed to the principles found in the NIC Student Handbook.

Center for Educational Access/Disability Support Services

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, North Idaho College provides accommodations to eligible students who experience barriers in the educational setting due to learning, emotional / mental, physical, visual, or hearing disabilities.  Instructors will provide accommodations to students only after having received a Letter of Accommodation from the Center for Educational Access. 

If a student would like to request accommodations, he or she must contact the Center for Educational Access so that a Letter of Accommodation may be sent to the instructor.  Students requesting accommodations must contact the Center for Educational Access at the beginning of each semester.


By registering at North Idaho College, you agree to provide payment by the due dates. You also understand that collection costs and legal fees will be added if the services of a collection agency are utilized.

If you are registered for a class and do not attend, you will still be liable for the tuition unless you drop the class.


Last day for students to withdraw from semester-length classes for the fall term: November 7, 2011. 

Instructor-Initiated Withdrawal: Instructors have the right to withdraw students for academic reasons up until the same date; in doing so, instructors must notify students through NIC e-mail within 48 hours of submitting documentation to the Registrar's office, and students have the right to appeal the instructor's decision. For more information, see the NIC Procedure:

Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy: All withdrawals, whether for individual classes, total withdrawal from school, or instructor-initiated are not considered to be satisfactory progress for financial aid.  See the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Policy:

Additional withdrawal information:


An incomplete is assigned only if the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work to within three weeks of the end of the semester (or proportional length of time for a course of less than a semester in length).  Incompletes are issued only in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness or injury.  Incompletes are not issued in cases in which the student is simply unable to complete his/her work within the specified semester or session.  If a final grade of "I" is recorded, the instructor will indicate in writing to the Registrar what the student must do to make up the deficiency.  The instructor will indicate in the written statement what permanent grade should be entered if the Incomplete is not removed by the deadline.

All incomplete grades must be removed within six weeks after the first class day of the following term, excluding the summer session.  If the Incomplete is not removed by that date, the grade reverts to the grade indicated by the instructor's written statement authorizing the incomplete.

Discrimination and Harassment

North Idaho College has a zero tolerance policy for any acts of discrimination or harassment of any kind.  For more information, please see the NIC Student Handbook, Code of Conduct Article III and Article VIII. Compliance efforts with respect to these laws and regulations are the responsibility of each member of the campus community and are under the direction of the Dean of Students Office for Student Issues (2nd floor, ESU, 676-7156) and the Human Resources Office (Sherman Administration Building, 769-3304) for employee issues.