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Program Mission and Goals

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 Profession’s 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 that effectively prepares 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 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 and oppression and other populations-at-risk.  Faculty utilize and encourage current knowledge and technologies in social work education and practice, are committed to on-going 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 it actively serves.

BSW Program Context

The focus of the BSW Program is one of generalist social work practice.  The mission and values of the School of Social Work are consistent with the context of the BSW Program as its 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 allows people to live in freedom and dignity.  Preparing skilled generalist 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 upon 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 highest potential.

As our 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 his/her values, teach them to not force those values upon others and to assess and use the client’s own spirituality as appropriate in the intervention process.  Further, we believe that because we are a Christian university, which 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 consistent with social work’s value of client self-determination – people’s right to their own values and to make life choices without judgmental influence.

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.  Out of those statements, faculty derived one set of goals for both programs. 

These goals help develop professionals to provide ethical and competent social work practice to meet the needs of the variety of populations of the Northwest, to encourage professional development, leadership, excellence in scholarship and teaching on the part of faculty and to 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 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 BSW and first year students in the MSW Program are evaluated by the EPAS Foundation competencies and generalist practice behaviors and students in the 2nd year of the MSW Program are measured by the EPAS Advanced competencies and practices behaviors that focus more specifically on clinical practice.

BSW Program Goals

1.  To prepare students for generalist practice with individuals, families and other groups, organizations, and communities using social work values, knowledge, and practice skills.

2.  To assure that graduates understand and demonstrate professional conduct, values and ethics of the social work profession and have the sensitivity and skills to engage with, work with, and empower diverse populations and cultures.

3.  To prepare students for human rights advocacy with a commitment to social and economic justice that is based upon the Judeo-Christian appreciation of social caring.

4.  To encourage students to grow professionally and become life-long learners.

Last update on July 30, 2015