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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mary Lou Balassone
SOC WF 200
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Social Welfare Practice

Introduction to the field of social work, including the theoretical concepts and institutional framework that guide practice. Overview of social work profession and social welfare system within which it operates. Lectures supplemented by exercises, films, guest lectures, and class discussions. Offered: A.

Class description

Social Welfare 200 provides an introduction to the profession of social work and the social welfare system within which it operates. The course is intended for (1) students considering social welfare as a major and (2) students wanting a better understanding of the many roles social workers play in society.

This course provides an overview of the history as well as the social and political contexts central to the development of the social welfare professional and the formation of social welfare policies. The theoretical concepts and institutional frameworks that guide the practice and the organization of the contemporary profession of social work are also presented. The course will explore a variety of social work practice settings and social work roles as well as the social welfare policies that influence social work practice. In this class we will examine a number of social problems and the various solutions to these that social workers advocate. Throughout the course, the ethics and values underlying the profession of social work will be highlighted. Social work’s commitment to cultural diversity and social justice will be emphasized. The primary obligation of social workers is the enhancement of individual, family, group, organization, and community well being. Social workers meet this obligation by applying a combination of knowledge, values, and skills in a variety of settings, and with a variety of client populations. This course will introduce you to the range of knowledge, values, and skills used by social workers and will emphasize some unique aspects of social work profession: (1) emphasis on the strengths, talents, and resources of individuals and communities (as opposed to their deficits, pathologies, and weaknesses); (2) commitment to the empowerment of individuals, groups and communities to make their own choices and control their own lives; (3) respect for difference, whether that difference is racial, ethnic, class-based, age-based, disability-based, or based upon sexual orientation; and (4) obligation to work for a more socially and economically just, humane society.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course will include lecture, discussion, in-class exercises, films, guest speakers as well as readings and homework assignments to achieve the objective listed above.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

There will be 4 exams and 4 required assignments for this course. In addition, part of your grade will be based on class participation.

The assignments are designed to assist you in meeting the course learning objectives and to broaden your understanding of contemporary social welfare issues. Assignment #1: Calculating a Livable Income. Assignment #2: Interview With an Elderly Person. Assignment #3: Agency Visit & Social Worker Interview. Assignment #4: Reaction Paper. Fifteen percent of your grade will be based on class participation.

Your grade for this course will be based on your performance on the 4 exams and 4 assignments as well as on class participation. Your grade will be calculated using the following point distribution:

Mini-Test 1 10 Mini-Test 2 10 Mini-Test 3 10 Final Exam 10 Class Participation 15 Assignment 1 10 Assignment 2 10 Assignment 3 15 Assignment 4 10

Assignments need to be handed in at class time the day they are due. LATE ASSIGNMENTS will not be accepted.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mary Lou Balassone
Date: 03/03/2008