The School of Social Work derives its mission from Grand Valley State University's mission of liberally educating students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. Toward that end, the School prepares its students to attain social work practice and professional leadership; advance the field's knowledge of effective professional practice and education through research and evaluation; enhance and sustain the welfare and well-being of the citizens, organizations and communities of West Michigan, the state, the nation, and the world; and further the goals of the University and of the social work profession in this region and beyond.
All of the School's programs are grounded in the profession's body of knowledge, values and skills that support and enhance the opportunities, resources, and capacities of people to achieve their full potential; prevent and alleviate personal, interpersonal, organizational and societal problems; and improve the conditions that limit human development and adversely impact the quality of human life. The School celebrates and affirms the importance of diversity in all of its forms, and it supports the expansion of human rights, cultural competence, empowerment, social and political justice, civic participation and equality in West Michigan and around the world.
The School's legacy emphases on social justice and on meeting the significant professional workforce needs of an expansive West Michigan social services sector remain strong. A third distinctive feature of the School is its integration and promotion of domestic and international service learning opportunities that prepare of students for 21st century practice in increasingly global economic and social contexts.
The School of Social Work's goals are derived from its mission to serve Western Michigan and the broader world through effective teaching, the provision of a professional curriculum rooted in the tenets of a liberal education, focused scholarship; an emphasis on diversity and social justice, and a commitment to serve individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in need.
The goals of the School also reflect and help operationalize Grand Valley State University's mission to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies. Acknowledging the unique geographic position of the School within West Michigan, which has many impoverished rural, suburban and urban communities as well with a thriving core of philanthropic family foundations; these goals also reflect the School's longstanding commitment to promoting, achieving and sustaining social and economic justice, multiculturalism, and diversity through the efforts of its faculty, students and professional staff.
The School's goals further reflect its commitment to prepare competent and effective professionals, develop and promulgate social work knowledge, and provide leadership to human service delivery systems and the social work profession as a means of achieving its mission. Echoing the profession's history, purposes, and philosophy, these goals are based on a shared commitment to educate social workers for effective practice in the 21st century; contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of the profession's knowledge, value, and skill bases; and, provide leadership and other key supports to the social services communities and the social work profession in West Michigan and beyond.
The School's overarching goals are:
1. The School of Social Work provides a generalist social work curriculum in a high quality learning environment that prepares BSW graduates for entry level social work practice that promotes social and economic justice and endeavors to address poverty and other social problems within organizational, individual, and community contexts within, but not limited to, West Michigan and the state of Michigan.
2. The School of Social Work provides an MSW foundation curriculum in a high quality learning environment that prepares students for success in the advanced generalist community social work concentration.
3. The School of Social Work provides an advanced generalist social work curriculum that prepares MSW graduates for autonomous social work practice that promotes social and economic justice and endeavors to address poverty and other social problems within organizational, individual, and community contexts within, but not limited to, West Michigan and the state of Michigan.
4. Graduates of all programs of the School of Social work exhibit a professional commitment to enhancing social justice, promoting human rights, ensuring the dignity and worth of all individuals, practicing with integrity, upholding one or more of the profession's Code of Ethics, incorporating diversity into their practice, and advancing the profession's reputation and knowledge base.
5. Graduates of all programs of the School have the knowledge, skills and values they need to create and/or identify and acquire new information about professional social work practice as such information becomes available throughout the course of their careers.
6. Graduates of all programs of the School are competent users of technologies and proficient consumers of training opportunities that support their lifelong professional development, and they are committed to remaining professionally and technologically proficient throughout the course of their careers in the social work profession.