Course Descriptions

Social Work Courses


Professors: Murali Nair (Director, School of Social Work), Maggie Jackson (MSW Program Director), Larry W. Foster, Lonnie Helton, Edward A. McKinney; Professors Emeritae: Winifred Bell, Zev Harel, Willa M. Hemmons, Elizabeth Lewis, Ruth Ellen Lindenberg; Associate Professors: Christopher Mallett (BSW Program Director), Elizabeth Cagan, Andrew W. Edwards, Michael R. Williams; Assistant Professors: Craig Boitel, Patricia Stoddard-Dare, Mamadou M. Seck, Lisa Workman Crenshaw; Coordinator of Field Education: Valerie Treisch-Chirdon; Assistant Coordinator of Field Education: Edith Anderson.

Course Descriptions

SWK 150 The Black Experience and Contemporary Society (3-0-3). This course is a comprehensive overview of the contemporary Black experience as viewed from the social work perspective. This perspective assumes that being Black exposes one to differential treatment by social institutions. It also strives to introduce students to effective strategies for use at the individual, family, group, and community levels which seek to offset racism's negative consequences. Return to top

SWK 200 Introduction to Social Work (3-0-3). Prerequisite to the major. Introduces students to concepts, settings, and vulnerable populations related to the field of social work. Emphasis placed on purposes, values, ethics, knowledge, and skills that characterize the professional social worker. Provides an overview of theoretical and practical knowledge about the social work profession needed for entry levels of practice in social work. Return to top

SWK 201 Contemporary Social Welfare (3-0-3). Prerequisite to SWK 300. Surveys the U.S. social welfare system, its purposes, historical development, and present functioning. Examines social welfare in a local, national, and international contexts and in relation to broader political, social, and economic systems. Addresses how social welfare responds to poverty, racism, sexism, and other institutionalized forms of oppression and injustice. Reviews alternative programs and policies that better meet human needs. Return to top

SWK 240 Administration of Justice (3-0-3). Study of criminal justice system. Topics include criminal prosecution, police and court functions, sentencing, and corrections, with critical examination of present practices and implications for change. Return to top

SWK 255 Community Leadership Development (4-0-4). The course introduces students to leadership issues, concepts, and situations that are evident in small groups, organizations and communities. Students will analyze leadership behavior through the use of assigned readings, written assignments, and service-activity. The course will assist students to reflect on their own leadership potentials, opportunities, learn from these experiences, and make transition from student leadership to professional/community leadership. The emphasis will be on citizen leadership in our diverse society. Return to top

SWK 259 The Child, the Family, and the Law (3-0-3). Defines, describes, and analyzes the legal situation of children in an adult-oriented society. Investigates children's rights with respect to major societal institutions, such as family, schools, the justice system, and the welfare system. Assesses societal attitudes, values, and beliefs to determine their impact upon the legal position of the child within these social systems. Explores current issues in adoption, abortion rights, and deinstitutionalization. Return to top

SWK 300 Social Welfare Policy (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 201. Examines the policy-making process in social welfare, from policy formulation and development to implementation and impact. Reviews major social welfare policy developments in U.S. history, such as income security, health care and civil rights. Emphasizes conceptual and analytic models for policy development and evaluation in relation to social work's commitment to serving populations at risk and promoting global social and economic justice. Return to top

SWK 302 Human Behavior and Social Environment - Micro (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Comparative analysis of selected theories of human behavior in the social environment through the life cycle for the purpose of understanding criteria for selection, use, and integration of theory and social intervention. Return to top

SWK 303 Human Behavior and Social Environment - Macro (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Comparative study of human behavior within the contexts of formal and informal social systems (families, small groups, neighborhoods, organizations), focusing on the relationship between social environment and human behavior. Return to top

SWK 304 Perspectives on Social Work Research I (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 201. Prerequisite to SWK 305. Introduction to the philosophy and methodology of science; acquaints the student with research techniques, strategies, and resources; develops critical readership ability; promotes consumership of research findings in social-work practice; instructs in the ethical and political considerations which are inherent in research. The course also provides students with skills to develop field research proposals. Return to top

SWK 305 Perspectives on Social Work Research II (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 304. This course builds on the knowledge acquired in Perspectives on Social Work Research I. This class aims to expand students' understanding of quantitative and qualitative methodologies and techniques and skills for data collection and management. It also aims to provide students with computer skills for text and data processing and data processing techniques for descriptive and inferential statistics from research data. This course will expand students' knowledge and skills for social-work practice-related research and evaluation. Return to top

SWK 340 Legal Aspects of Human Services (3-0-3). This course provides an opportunity to become familiar with legislative process, litigation and the courts, and administrative law; analysis of the relationship between individual rights and human services, including mental-health law, juvenile, narcotics, and housing laws. Return to top

SWK 341 Corrections: Institutional and Community-Based (3-0-3). Prerequisite SWK 240. Juvenile and adult correctional settings are explored. Study of the modes of organization and management which are applicable to correctional settings, examination of the resources and constraints in current community-based corrections practice as an alternative to incarceration, emphasis on current theory and innovative approaches in various countries. Return to top

SWK 342 Prisoners' Rights (3-0-3). Overview of how the legal system deals with persons convicted of a crime or in the custody of correctional facilities, the correctional process itself as it relates to interests of defendants as well as to the interests of society, how correctional authorities mediate between these two interests and to whom they are accountable. Return to top

SWK 350 Basic Generalist Practice (3-0-3). Prerequisite to SWK 385. This course is the first of the Intervention sequence, which prepares social work majors for generalist social work practice. It is designed to develop and enhance the students' knowledge, skills and affective development in forming working relationships necessary for generalist social work practice with individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities within a diverse society. Return to top

SWK 351 Social Work in Community Development (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Builds knowledge about and awareness of practice with adult community groups, including self-help, social development and advocacy. Issues and policies associated with citizen development, and citizen participation activities - whether at service/program initiation, resource development or structural change levels - are analyzed. The course is aimed at identification and understanding of the problems/issues; the policies at federal, state and local levels; and the range of agencies, programs and autonomous community organizations which have a community-development orientation. Return to top

SWK 352 Practice in Health Settings (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Provides content and experiences which help the student understand the impact of illness on individuals and families and the settings in which health personnel function; knowledge and skills requisite for practice are considered along with issues stemming from current health-care policies and service delivery. Return to top

SWK 353 Child Welfare Service (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. The history of child welfare, family problems as they affect child welfare, and issues and alternatives in child-care services; discussion of settings where services are provided, as well as perspectives concerning child welfare as an area of practice. Return to top

SWK 354 Mental Health (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Introduces students to conceptual alternatives in mental health and acquaints them with consequences of these various conceptual approaches, encourages a scientific perspective in the mental-health field, educates students to seek new approaches to practice in the mental health field. Return to top

SWK 355 Asian American Experience (4-0-4). This course deals with developing a better understanding of the evolution and settlement patterns, religious and social institutions, and help-seeking patterns of Asian Americans, one of the fastest growing visible minority groups in our society. The course will focus on Indian Americans and Chinese Americans, the two largest Asian American groups in Northeast Ohio. Other Asian groups, such as Filipinos, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Southeastern and South Asian communities will also be highlighted, with special emphasis on Asian communities in Northeast Ohio. Return to top

SWK 356 AIDS & Intervention (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Reviews the etiology of the HIV-AIDS virus, populations at risk, policies affecting public education, prevention, and treatment of AIDS. Interventions with persons, significant others/families and program/policy agencies will be identified. Return to top

SWK 357 Social Work Values and Ethics (3-0-3). This course focuses on the foundations for ethical reasoning in practice, utilizing social work values, codes of ethics, and philosophic ethics. Case material that includes controversial issues in social work ethics, values and obligations are utilized. The distinction and relationship between practice competence and ethical competence in the profession is examined. Students learn how discipline-specific perspectives and practices interact to shape the ethical and moral issues in practice, and how to identify and respond to ethical issues that arise with diverse populations in a variety of practice settings, including health, mental health, corrections, family and child welfare. Return to top

SWK 360 Alcoholism (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Examination of the disease concept of alcoholism; including prevention, treatment, and recovery of the alcoholic and members of his/her family; considers questions of social policy and strategies and tactics in the field. Other forms of substance addiction are also considered. Return to top

SWK 371 Constitutional Criminal Procedure (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 240. Course includes the major constitutional doctrines and issues relating to, and eliminating, criminal investigation (including the securing of physical and oral evidence) and the prosecution of crime. The history and purpose of these constitutional doctrines will be studied to enable students to understand that violations of any of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights must not be viewed as "technicalities" but as attacks on the freedom of all U.S. citizens. Return to top

SWK 372 Substance Abuse in Society (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Course provides a historical perspective regarding the use of mind-altering substances and views the impact(s) of use/abuse on the individual, family, and society. In addition, the course will examine various treatment modalities and the impact on vulnerable groups (such as adolescents, delinquents, elderly, and minorities). Return to top

SWK 373 Honors Program in Social Work (4-0-4). The purpose of this didactic, interactive program is to encourage students to develop a closer identification with social work scholars, practitioners and academicians. The Honors Program is designed for social work majors during the junior/senior year of study for an undergraduate degree in social work. In order to qualify for this program social work majors need a 3.50 cumulative GPA in all courses. The successful completion of the requirements for this program with a grade of "B" or better, leads to a graduation with Honors in Social Work. Return to top

SWK 374 Law Enforcement in Society (3-0-3). Examination of law enforcement at different levels of society - local, state, federal, and international - with special emphasis upon law enforcement's role and impact upon society and vice versa; includes presentation of law enforcement's purposes, methods, structure, and community interaction. Return to top

SWK 375 Criminal Law (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 240. The nature and general provisions of criminal law, interpretation of criminal statutes, elements and parties to crime, defenses to criminal culpability, crimes against persons and property. Return to top

SWK 385 Interventions I (4-0-4). Prerequisites: SWK 200, SWK 201, SWK 300, SWK 302, SWK 303, SWK 304, SWK 305, SWK 350; written permission of adviser. Fundamental and basic professional course that allows students to develop, expand, and utilize knowledge of human development and social structure to initiate a framework for social-work practice; uses generalist model which requires development of skills that can be used in various social contexts. First of a two-semester sequence which encompasses a full range of strategies and skills necessary when working with individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities. Emphasis on an inquiry model of social work practice. A lab experience is required of all students as part of the course. Open to social work majors only. Student must achieve a grade of B or better to continue into SWK 485, SWK 490, and SWK 495. Additionally, SWK 385, SWK 390, and SWK 395 must be taken concurrently. Return to top

SWK 390 Field Practicum I (0-16-6). Prerequisite: Written permission of field coordinator. SWK 385, SWK 390, and SWK 395 must be taken concurrently. Placement in a selected community service agency for 16 hours per week provides an opportunity to gain experience in the application of concepts and principles of interventions through actual problem-solving in the human service context. The student is required to demonstrate the integration of skills and a professional attitude in their work with clients and the agency. Continuation onto a second field practicum (SWK 490) and completion of the major are contingent on a grade of B or better. Return to top

SWK 395 Field Seminar I (2-0-2). Prerequisite: Written permission of field coordinator. This course is taken concurrently with SWK 385 and SWK 490. Students are expected to synthesize practicum learning with knowledge gained in field experience and other courses. Themes addressed are practicum agency, policies, programs, current issues, and various practice strategies and approaches. Student must achieve a grade of B or better to continue into SWK 485, SWK 490, and SWK 495. A log will be required of each student. Return to top

SWK 396 Readings in Social Work (2-0-2). Prerequisites: Written permission of instructor and Director. Readings and assignments in areas of special interest to the Social Work major. Return to top

SWK 398 Africa Experience (Zimbabwe) (4-0-4). This course will explore in detail selected social welfare, economic, and cultural issues prevalent in Zimbabwe, with special emphasis given to African University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe, Africa. Students will have the opportunity to explore and develop a topic of choice. Visitations at community organizations, social welfare agencies, and orphanages will be arranged. Tours to historical sites will be provided to help students comprehend the complexities of Zimbabwe as a country. Activities will introduce students to the nature of social and political issues in the context of Zimbabwe. Study Abroad. Return to top

SWK 465 Aging and Social Work (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Junior standing or permission of instructor. Conceptual and methodological perspectives for understanding the basic needs of the aging and the contingencies they face; includes the principles of and strategies for assessing needs, establishing objectives, estimating resources, and determining and evaluating interventions at individual, family, group, and community levels. Opportunity for students to become familiar with programs for the aged, service delivery networks, and strategies for influencing social policy and legislation. Return to top

SWK 470 Problems and Issues in Criminal Justice (3-0-3). Prerequisite: SWK 240. Examination of contemporary social issues, including alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, poverty, family crisis, nonvictim crime, child abuse, senility, and racism as they intersect the criminal-justice system. Interaction of social issues and criminal behavior is analyzed with the focus on alternatives to arrest and incarceration through the use of community resources. Course expectations assume a background in criminal justice or administration of justice system. Return to top

SWK 475 Alternative Health Systems (4-0-4). Prerequisite: Sophomore. This course provides an introduction to the phenomenon of America's interest in alternative and complementary health-care systems. It utilizes an ecological-systems perspective in developing the knowledge base necessary for an understanding of this phenomenon. This course will survey and critique a wide variety of scientific and general literature on this topic from different professional perspectives. The major domains identified by the National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine at the National Institute of Health are also discussed in this course. Though newly being discovered in the west, some of these health beliefs are centuries old. Special emphasis will be given to the healing practices of far-eastern countries, such as India. This is a WEB-CT (Internet)-based course. Students are expected to be knowledgeable about working with the Internet. Return to top

SWK 485 Interventions II (4-0-4). Prerequisites: SWK 385, SWK 390, SWK 395 and written permission of field coordinator. SWK 485, SWK 490 and SWK 495 must be taken concurrently. Course is designed to give the student an opportunity to study the theory and develop the skills related to small groups and community dynamics. Organizational dynamics and community services will be the primary focus for this course. Advocacy and various strategies to promote social/organizational change will be considered. Completion of the major is contingent upon a grade of B or better. Return to top

SWK 490 Field Practicum II (0-16-6). Prerequisites: SWK 385, SWK 390, SWK 395 and written permission of field coordinator. SWK 483, SWK 490 and SWK 495 must be taken concurrently. Continuation of SWK 390 involving an additional 16 hours per week minimum in community-service agency. Students may not receive field practicum experience for concurrent job experience; however, under exceptional circumstances, the department may agree to a field experience plan that incorporates part of a student's experience into the field practicum. Completion of the major is contingent upon a grade of B or better. Return to top

SWK 492 Group Work Practice (3-0-3). Examines the fundamental knowledge and skills required for social work practice with groups across multiple client systems. Knowledge of social work values and ethics is applied as it related to all aspects of group work. Dynamics of working with special populations will be emphasized (e.g. the effects of the addictive processes on group therapy, age-appropriate communication with children.) Return to top

SWK 493 Special Topics in Social Welfare (3-0-3). Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor. Study of special topics not regularly appearing in curriculum, including new developments in practice, programs, policy, and fields of service; intensive study of specific problem areas. Course may be repeated for credit not more than three times. Return to top

SWK 494 Theories and Procedures in Addiction Studies (3-0-3). This course explores historical perspective of substance abuse in society, models and theories that describe addiction and the effects of addiction on individuals and families, effects of addiction on individuals, techniques and practices that have positive outcomes in treatment and prevention fields, and professional issues facing the addiction field. Return to top

SWK 495 Field Seminar II (2-0-2). Prerequisite: Written permission of field coordinator. This is a continuation of SWK 395 and is taken concurrently with SWK 485 and SWK 490. Specific macro practices are addressed and students are expected to be more advanced in their ability to participate in dialogue. Completion of the major is contingent upon a grade of B or better. The log continues to be required. Return to top

SWK 496 Independent Study in Social Work (3-0-3). Prerequisites: Written permission of instructor and Director. Individual research or project conducted by Social Work majors. Return to top

SWK 497 Independent Study in Criminal Justice (3-0-3). Prerequisites: Written permission of instructor and chairperson. Individual research and projects conducted in the domain of criminal justice. Return to top

SWK 499 India Experience: Contemporary Social Issues in India (9-0-9). This course will explore in detail selected social welfare, economic and cultural issues prevalent in India with special emphasis given to Southwestern state of Kerala. The course will focus on such issues as adult literacy, alternate health-care practices, community development and self-sufficiency, the electronic industrialization of rural communities, and the role of women. Students will have pre-departure orientation of an interview of India: social welfare, political, socioeconomic, Malayalam language and other cultural aspects, followed by four weeks of structured learning and intensive analysis of Kerala, involving lectures by local area experts and professors from the University of Kerala, visits and mini-internships to social welfare agencies, educational and health care organizations and rural communities. Students will have an opportunity to stay and interact with university students and their family members. As part of the program, students will participate in reflected discussions, write daily logs, learn to communicate in Malayalam, upload day-to-day experiences into CSU India Experience website, prepare two major papers and give a presentation in front of an invited audience. Study Abroad. Return to top

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