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The Baccalaureate Social Work Program

BSW Program Overview

The baccalaureate social work program at Kutztown University is a professional program dedicated to preparing beginning level generalist social work professionals. Trained in the generalist perspective, graduates subscribe to the purpose and values of the Social Work profession. They understand the need to promote, restore, maintain, and facilitate the functioning of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities by helping them accomplish tasks, prevent and alleviate distress, and use and create resources. They also understand the impact of major societal institutions upon client systems. Students are capable of initiating and participating in social change process and work toward elimination of the various forms of institutionalized oppression.


The BSW program aspires to restore and enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, institutions and communities in this rural, urban and suburban region. Accordingly, it focuses on creating functional social conditions in which differences within and between groups are respected, accepted and celebrated. The program prepares entry-level, generalist professionals and potential graduate students who have professional identities as social workers.

BSW Program Goals

Goal 1—Integrate Theory into Practice:  To help graduates use critical thinking and integrate liberal arts and professional knowledge, values and skills into the development of a generalist perspective for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Goal 2—Celebrate Diversity: To help graduates recognize the value of human diversity, acquire knowledge related to diverse populations for professional practice, and acquire skills for change to redress economic and social injustice. 

Goal 3—Conduct Policy Practice: To prepare graduates to understand social policy and its impact upon professional practice and to participate in efforts to assure that policy responds to human needs.

Goal 4—Assume Professional Identity:  To motivate graduates to assume responsibility for continuing professional growth and development.

BSW Competencies


Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly (EP 2.1.1).  

Social workers serve as representatives of the profession, its mission, and its core values.  They know the profession’s history.  Social workers commit themselves to the profession’s enhancement and to their own professional conduct and growth. 

Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice (EP 2.1.2).

Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision-making.  Social workers are knowledgeable about the value base of the profession, its ethical standards, and relevant law.       

Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (EP 2.1.3).

Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and reasoned discernment.  They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity.  Critical thinking also requires the synthesis and communication of relevant information. 

Engage diversity and difference in practice (EP2.1.4 [a]).

Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity.  The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.  Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power and acclaim. 

Employ self-awareness to understand and articulate the strengths inherent in diversity (EP 2.1.4 [b]).  (Program Specific Supplement) 

Ever cognizant of its diverse geographic service area, the Kutztown University Social Work Program places an emphasis on working with diverse client systems.  Graduates are comfortable enough with their own elements of diversity to recognize the strengths of diversity in others.  They understand that those elements of diversity that often result in oppression, poverty and marginalization are likely to include strengths that may be utilized to enhance individual and system functioning.

Advance human rights and social and economic justice (EP 2.1.5).

Each person, regardless of position in society, has basic human rights, such as freedom, safety, privacy, and adequate standard of living, health care, and education.  Social workers recognize the global interconnections of oppression and are knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human and civil rights.  Social work incorporates social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice. 

Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research (EP 2.1.6).

Social workers use practice experience to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice, and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery.  Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge. 

Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment (EP 2.1.7). 

Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life course; the range of social systems in which people live; and the ways social systems promote or deter people in maintaining or achieving health and well-being.  Social workers apply theories and knowledge from the liberal arts to understand biological, social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development. 

Engage in policy practice to deliver effective social work services (EP2.1.8). 

Social work practitioners understand that policy affects service delivery, and they actively engage in policy practice.  Social workers know the history and current structures of social policies and services; the role of policy in service delivery; and the role of practice in policy development. 

Respond to contexts that shape practice (EP2.1.9).

Social workers are informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and societal contexts at all levels of practice.  Social workers recognize that the context of practice is dynamic, and use knowledge and skill to respond proactively. 

Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (EP 2.1.10 [a-d]).

Professional practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multiple levels.  Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.  Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals, using research and technological advanced; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; and promoting social and economic justice.

                Engagement (EP 2.1.10[a]).

Social workers substantively and affectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities; use empathy and other interpersonal skills; and develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes.

Assessment (EP 2.1.10[b]).

Social workers collect, organize, and interpret client data; assess client strengths and limitations; develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives; and select appropriate intervention strategies.

Intervention (EP 2.1.10[c]).

Social workers initiate actions to achieve organizational goals; implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities; help clients resolve problems; negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients; and facilitate transitions and endings.

Evaluation (EP 2.1.10[d]).

Social workers critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.




Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
A Member of the State System of Higher Education

The BSW and MSW Programs at KU are Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Contact Info: 
Social Work Department
Old Main 27
Kutztown, PA 19530
Tel. (610) 683 4235
Fax (610) 683-4383

Dr. Janice A. Gasker
BSW Program Director
E-Mail:  gasker@kutztown.edu

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