Department Profile

By learning about the needs of diverse communities, broadening perspectives about social justice, and staying rooted in the belief that all people are image bearers of God, the Dordt College social work program aims to equip students for professional practice and for lives of service in the contexts to which they are called.

Program Strengths

Students identify the following as strengths of the Dordt College social work program:

  • Opportunities to practice what is learned in class through a semester-long internship with an agency, volunteer opportunities in the community, and hands-on assignments and projects in class. The social work program offers one of the most substantial internships requiring that students spend 440 hours working in an agency.
  • Gifted professors who use a variety of teaching techniques, are helpful, and establish a close working relationship with students. Professors in the program are good teachers, consistently receiving positive ratings from students.
  • Christian perspective: The biblical call to justice and to care for the widow, orphan, oppressed, and poor is clear. Students and professors spend a considerable amount of time exploring what it means to be a Christian social worker in a broken world.

The Dordt College social work program has a strong reputation for preparing students well for work as professional social workers. Field supervisors identify the following as strengths of Dordt College social work students:

  • Students act professionally, understanding how to use supervisors for guidance in their work.
  • Students think critically and analyze interventions to determine effectiveness.
  • Students are self-aware, able to work well with people with different values and from diverse groups.
  • Students recognize and manage personal and professional values to guide their practice.
  • Students are skilled in working with clients to develop goals for improvement.

Learning Objectives

The bachelor of social work major at Dordt College will be prepare you to:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct yourself accordingly.
  2. Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10. Develop practice skills in engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
  11. Articulate and understand a Reformed Christian response to social work and social welfare.

Goals

To accomplish our mission we seek to:

  1. Develop and deliver a social work curriculum that builds on Dordt's General Education Program and encompasses eight foundational components: values and ethics; diversity; populations-at-risk and social and economic justice; human behavior and the social environment; social welfare policy and services; social work practice; research; and field education.
  2. Inspire, encourage, select, and guide students for successful participation in the program.
  3. Promote social work education and the social work profession to Dordt College constituents and the wider communities of which the social work program is a part.

Program Objectives

B.S.W. graduates from the social work program at Dordt College will be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work practice.
  2. Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly.
  3. Practice without discrimination and with respect, knowledge, and skills related to clients' age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
  4. Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice.
  5. Understand and interpret the history of the social work profession and its contemporary structures and issues.
  6. Apply the knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes.
  7. Use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand individual development and behavior across the life span and the interactions among individuals and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  8. Analyze, formulate, and influence social policies.
  9. Evaluate research studies, apply research findings to practice, and evaluate their own practice interventions.
  10. Use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities.
  11. Use supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice.
  12. Function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and seek necessary organizational change.
  13. Understand how a Reformed, Christian perspective informs professional social work practice.