MSW - Program Goals and Mission Statement

The Advanced Generalist Model

This advanced generalist model is built on a liberal education foundation that promotes critical thinking and the conscientious application of advanced practice social work knowledge, skills, values, ethics, and cognitive and affective processes. The features of this model are designed to:

  • Enhance the depth and breadth of practice in a multi-method, multi-level, and theoretically grounded perspective;
  • Refine and shape advanced practitioners through acquisition of professional competencies to assess, intervene, and evaluate within all systems and within all practice environment;
  • Affirm that human problems derive from a complex interplay of psychological, social, cultural, economic, political, biological and physical forces;
  • Prepare students to effectively intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities;
  • Expand, extend and enhance the foundation of generalist social work core competencies with advanced knowledge and practice behaviors; and
  • Promote the development of advanced knowledge, skills, values and affective and cognitive processes in leadership, collaboration, administration, advocacy, assessment, problem solving, intervention, cultural competency, communication, collaboration, community building, program evaluation, organizational management, policy analysis, and scientific inquiry.

The integration of professional practice skills within the advanced generalist curriculum model culminates in the mastery of social work’s core competencies, so that MSW graduates are proficient in a wide range of settings, with a broad diversity of populations at all levels of professional practice in any geographic location.

MSW Program Goals

The MSW program’s goals are derived directly from its mission statement and are designed to meet the social service needs of its Program locations and beyond. The program goals are:

  1. To provide a foundational MSW curriculum and an advanced generalist social work curriculum that prepares MSW graduates for autonomous social work practice that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and endeavors to address poverty and other social problems within individual, organizational and community contexts within, but not limited to, West and Northern Michigan and the state of Michigan.
  2. To award the graduate degree to individuals who are skilled practitioners who adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics, incorporating diversity into their practice and are capable of assuming leadership and scholarly professional roles in the community, region, state, national and global communities.
  3. To contribute to the ongoing development of professional social work knowledge and practice through research and scholarly inquiry that employ state-of-the-art technology.
  4. To prepare students for continued professional development opportunities throughout their careers, including doctoral education.

MSW Mission Statement

The mission of the GVSU MSW Program is to prepare advanced generalist social workers who enhance and sustain the welfare and wellbeing of the individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities of West Michigan, the state, the nation, and the world; and who further the goals of the University and of the social work profession in this region and beyond. This is accomplished through professional leadership, advancement of the social work field’s knowledge through research and evaluation, and a focus on diversity, social justice and human rights.