Program Mission and Goals

Accreditation Standard 1.0 Program Mission and Goals: The social work program’s mission and goals reflect the profession’s purpose and values and the program’s context.

Walla Walla University Mission Statement

Walla Walla University, a Seventh-day Adventist Institution of Higher Education

A Christian community of faith and discovery committed to

       Excellence in thought

       Generosity in service

       Beauty in expression

       Faith in God

Walla Walla University is founded on Christian teachings and values as understood and appreciated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Central to these teachings is the belief that every person is created in the image of God as a being of inestimable value and worth, imbued with powers of intelligence, stewardship and creativity akin to those of the Creator.  Walla Walla University, therefore, seeks in its mission to foster the unique gifts of every individual within this Christian community of faith and discovery.  Committed to excellence in thought, the University seeks to impart a broad knowledge of the arts, sciences and professions by careful instruction and open inquiry at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Recognizing that God is the source of all truth, goodness and beauty, the University seeks to convey to students a wisdom that translates academic achievement into responsible citizenship, generous service, a deep respect for beauty in God’s creation and the promise of re-creation through Jesus Christ.

Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology Vision, Mission and Value Statements

Our Vision is:
A transforming learning community committed to excellence in scholarship, integrity in discourse, Christian faith, life-affirming values and ennobling service.  

Our Mission is to:
       Affirm the dignity and worth of every person.

       Prepare social work leaders in education, professional practice and public service—who challenge injustice and advance a more caring society.

       Change the world around us through compassionate service.

Our Values affirm the mission of Walla Walla University, are expressive of its highest ideals and include the following:
       Individual freedom, dignity and self-determination

       Empowerment of people to make life-affirming choices

       Service to humanity, with particular emphasis on issues of social and economic justice and human rights

       Cultural competence and respect for individual differences

       Advocacy for individual, institutional and societal well-being

       Professional ethics, integrity, humility and civility in human interaction

       Quality teaching and best practices in classroom and field instruction

       Programs oriented in current sociology and social work theoretical perspectives

       Personal attention to student growth and development within a holistic framework

       A strong emphasis in BSW on knowledge and competence in generalist social work practice

       A strong emphasis in MSW on advanced clinical knowledge and competence rooted in generalist social work practice

       Creativity and curiosity, building on foundational ideas and current research

       Collaboration within the University, our surrounding communities and with other institutions of higher learning

 Our Business is:

To work collaboratively within the University and the mission of Seventh-day Adventist higher education to provide a quality educational program that prepares graduates from a wide background of experiences and traditions for leadership roles in sociology and generalist and advanced clinical social work practice. 

Consistent with the Professions Purpose, Values and Program Context

The mission of the School of Social Work is to affirm the worth of each individual, provide a quality education in a Christian environment and implement change through service to others in order to effectively prepare BSW graduates for generalist social work practice and MSW graduates for advanced clinical social work practice.  The vision, mission and value statement speaks to faculty, staff, students and those they serve and embodies the larger vision of the institution.

Faculty are committed to the central tenant of the mission in the training of social work professionals who are ethical, think globally, respect diversity, promote human rights and compassionately serve the needs of populations in the Northwest, especially those suffering from abuse, poverty, oppression and other populations-at-risk.  Faculty members utilize and encourage current knowledge and technologies in social work education and practice and are committed to ongoing professional development, excellence in scholarship and teaching and participation in community service.  These mission concepts are consistent with the purposes of social work education: to develop social work knowledge and to provide leadership in the development of service delivery systems.

This mission reflects both the larger mission of the University and the Judeo-Christian response to the social, political and economic needs of our world, and, more specifically, to the quality of life for populations living in the Northwest, which the University actively serves.

MSW Program Context

The focus of the MSW program is one of advanced clinical practice working with individuals, families and groups.  The mission and values of the School are consistent with the context of the program since its foundation focus is on enhancement of human well-being through the use of the person and environment construct, the alleviation of poverty and oppression, the eradication of discrimination and economic injustice, affirmation and empowerment to populations-at-risk and creation of environments for positive change, growth and development that allow people to live in freedom and dignity.  The advanced year prepares students to work in social work clinical practice with individuals, families and groups within a variety of service settings.  Students in the advanced clinical year build on the knowledge, values and skills gained in the Foundation Year/BSW degree. 

As students advance, the curriculum assists them with integrating the professional use of self, supervision, transference, counter-transference, critical thinking, issues of diversity and the implementation of the NASW Code of Ethics.  Clinical social work practice and methods require students to understand and use evidenced, theory based practice for clients, perform assessments and have the ability and critical thinking skills to evaluate practice interventions.  Preparing skilled clinical social workers within the context of the School’s vision, mission and values is in harmony with the purpose of social work education. 

Consistent with Institution’s Mission

The School of Social Work at Walla Walla University embodies the mission of the University.  Social Work’s commitment to compassionate service demonstrates the University’s mission of “Generosity in service.”  Social Work’s emphasis on a quality education, skilled social work practice and excellence in teaching is consistent with the University’s mission of “Excellence in thought.” 

The institutional and Christian value “that every person is created in the image of God” and is of “inestimable value and worth, imbued with powers of intelligence, stewardship and creativity akin to those of the Creator” reflects well our social work mission and value of affirming the dignity and worth of every person and advocating for human rights and social and economic justice.  Our belief in the value and worth of each human being is the starting point for living and teaching social work methods of empowerment that help each individual reach his or her highest potential.

Because the school provides a program in the context of Christian faith, we value and appreciate each student’s spirituality and philosophy of life, even if it is different than our own.  It is not our practice to impose our religious values upon our students; instead we endeavor to help them be fully aware of their spiritual values and show them how to assess and use the client’s own spirituality where appropriate in the intervention process.  Further, we believe that because we are a Christian university that looks to Christ as an example, we will not judge or discriminate against others because of race, sexual orientation, religion or disability.  These views are consistent with the mission of the School and with Social Work’s value of client self-determination—a person’s right to hold his or her own values and to make life choices without judgmental influence.

The faculty chose to develop one mission for the School of Social Work that reflects the vision, mission, and values for both the BSW program and the MSW program.  The faculty derived one set of goals for both programs out of the mission statement.

These goals help develop professionals to provide ethical and competent social work practice to meet the needs of the varied populations of the Northwest, encourage professional development, leadership and excellence in scholarship and teaching on the part of faculty and promote community service for both faculty and students.  They also reflect the School’s mission to produce competent and caring social workers who have a commitment to social and economic justice and protecting human rights.

The goals and mission reflect the spiritual emphasis of the University, the two levels of practice (generalist—BSW and clinical practice—MSW), and the integration of the knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession for competent practice.


The goals of the MSW program reflect the integration of knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession necessary for competent clinical practice. 

“The practice of clinical social work requires the application of advanced clinical knowledge and clinical skills in multidimensional assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychosocial dysfunction, disability, or impairment including emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders, conditions and addictions” (p.2, Advanced Social Work Practice in Clinical Social Work, CSWE).   Treatment methods focus on individual, group, and family work and clinical assessment is used to evaluate effective clinical practice.  Students are evaluated for competency through the demonstration of advanced level competencies and clinical practice behaviors.

MSW Program Goals

1.  To prepare students for clinical social work practice that integrates critical thinking, advanced knowledge and practice of assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and evaluation of individuals, families and groups and is built on professional values, ethics, principles, practice methods, and the person-in-environment perspective of the profession.

2.  To ensure that students are knowledgeable about evidence-based interventions, best practices, and evidenced-based research processes in clinical practice.

3.  To prepare students to be caring and culturally competent clinical social workers, with the sensitivity and skills to engage and work with diverse populations and provide appropriate services to clients in diverse settings.

4.  To prepare students to provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice of social services and to promote human rights and social and economic justice by advocating for and empowering clients who experience oppression or vulnerability.

5. To assure students understand professional use of self with clients, demonstrate professional conduct, values, and ethics, use supervision and consultation and engage in career-long learning.

Page maintained by Kisna Toruno
Last update on November 15, 2011