Social Work at Xavier

Social work at Xavier is a four-year undergraduate program grounded in the liberal arts which grants the student a bachelor of social work degree (BSW). Students graduate with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary to practice as a generalist social worker and/or to continue their education through graduate school.

Vision Statement

The vision of Xavier University's program in Social Work in the College of Social Sciences, Health, and Education is to be a leader in social justice oriented undergraduate social work education through innovative educational partnerships with a strong adherence to diversity and the values of Jesuit and Social Work education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Social Work is to educate students for generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities within an academic environment fostering critical thinking with specific attention to diversity, values, ethics, and social justice.

Generalist Practice: Definition adopted by Xavier's Program in 2002:

"The application of an eclectic knowledge base, professional values, and a wide range of skills to target systems of any size, for change within the context of four primary processes. First, generalist practice involves working effectively with an organizational structure and doing so under supervision. Second, it requires the assumption of a wide range of professional roles. Third, generalist practice involves the application of critical thinking skills to the planned change process. Fourth, it emphasizes client empowerment" (p. 7).

Kirst-Ashman, K., Hull, G. (2002). Understanding Generalist Practice. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishers.

The Program

To be a generalist practitioner, the student must acquire knowledge of social work theory and develop his or her skills as a practitioner under professional supervision. The social work student invests 53 credit hours in related classroom courses and over 460 clock hours (eight credit hours) in a field placement site practicing social work. In order to complete this course of study, the student devotes nearly the entire third and fourth years of study to social work classes, field education and supporting courses in the social sciences.

Social work at Xavier is unique in that it is grounded in and reflects the mission of Jesuit education. The shared values of service, solidarity, and social justice with an emphasis on human diversity make social work at Xavier a challenging and rewarding program for our students. As well, the Jesuit focus on cura personalis, or care of the whole person, reflects the approach of Xavier University towards its students and fits well with social work's underlying philosophy of Person-in-Environment.

Department Learning Outcome Goals

The following five goals of Xavier University's Social work program are linked to the student learning outcomes of the university:

  • Critical Thinking & Research: students will apply critical thinking skills in order to engage as both a consumer and producer of research informed practice and practice informed research.
  • Professional Practice: students will identify as professional social worker and become leaders in shaping the areas of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation to effectively address societal trends.
  • Ethics & Values: students will engage in an ethical decision making process based on the core values and ethical principles of socialwork including identifying personal and professional values that play a role in that process.
  • Policy & Social Justice: students will engage in analysis and action regarding policy and practice standards that are informed by knowledge of institutional discrimination, oppression, and privilege and that advance social justice for all.
  • Human Behavior & Diversity: students will know and utilize social work cultural competency standards and theories of human behavior grounded in a person-in-environment perspective.

In addition, the five departmental goals are also linked to social work program accreditation standards, competencies, and practice behaviors. The BSW Program at Xavier University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.