SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK
Admission and Retention Requirements
Academic Achievement Awards and Scholarships
Special Services and Programs
General Degree Requirements
Minor in Social Welfare
Administrative Officers and Faculty
HISTORY AND OBJECTIVES
The School of Social Work was established in 1965, when an act of the Alabama legislature created a graduate school of social work, the first and only graduate social work program in the state. The undergraduate program began in 1970 and a doctoral program was added in 1975. The undergraduate program is the only such program in the state offered within a comprehensive school of social work.
Social work is a challenging and rewarding profession that has as its goal helping people live satisfying lives within their families and their communities. The profession's focus is on action to help people effect positive changes in their lives.
At the bachelor's and master's levels, the School of Social Work prepares social workers to plan, administer, deliver, and evaluate social services for citizens of the state, region, and nation. The bachelor of social work degree prepares the graduate to begin generalist practice in a variety of settings. The master of social work degree prepares the graduate for advanced, specialized practice. The doctor of philosophy degree prepares graduates to develop and impart knowledge to advance the profession. The faculty of the School engage in research and professional activities that are designed to enrich educational programs, improve social conditions, and meet the special needs of the state, region, and nation.
The undergraduate program leads to the bachelor of social work degree. The primary objective of the undergraduate program in social work is the preparation of students for effective practice of professional social work in beginning-level positions. The graduate is prepared as a social work generalist, with skills to assist individuals, families, groups, and communities in achieving goals, solving problems, and bringing about change where it is needed. Additionally, this program prepares students to enter graduate study in social work or related fields. It also provides interested persons with knowledge of social welfare needs and of the means of providing for those needs. These objectives, however, are secondary to the primary objective of preparation for practice.
There are five basic requirements of the B.S.W. program that prepare the student for practice as a generalist social worker: required liberal arts courses; elective courses; required social work courses; elective social work courses; and supervised social work field education.
The Profession of Social Work
Social work, unlike many other helping professions, recognizes the bachelor's degree as the first practice degree. The bachelor's-degree social worker deals directly with people to help prevent or to resolve problems. Such professionals can be found working in medical hospitals, mental-health clinics, and psychiatric hospitals. They are employed in both public and private agencies. They are heavily involved in child welfare in public welfare agencies, in schools, in adolescent and children's group homes, in child guidance, and in family counseling agencies. They work in nursing homes, helping the aged and their families, and with home health care programs. These professionals work with the physically handicapped and mentally retarded in state schools, in foster homes, in transition homes, and in clinics and rehabilitation centers. They work in juvenile and family court and in neighborhood and community centers. They also work to help make organizations and communities more responsive to the human needs of individuals.
Historically, social work has had the mission of helping the disadvantaged, those who have been excluded from participation in the ideal of a just and equitable society. The contemporary social worker is prepared to assist people of all ages, from all walks of life, with all kinds of problems, in a variety of settings.