Welcome to the Virginia Union University Social Work Program! We are the only social work program in Virginia offering a Bachelor of Social Work at an private, faith-based HBCU. We offer small class sizes and direct, quality relationships with your faculty.
The mission of the VUU Department of Social Work is to produce generalist social work practitioners who have professional experience and academic training in social justice and discrimination, and who are competent in working with at-risk populations. Graduates will have client advocacy skills, a strong sense of self, adaptability and a sense of responsibility for their profession. Throughout the curriculum, the Department prepares students for professional employment and graduate study in social work.
The VUU Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and is scheduled for re-affirmation in 2019.
Students who receive a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from VUU are expected to:
The Department also offers a Social Work Minor Degree, and a Sociology Minor Degree. See the links below. Sociology courses include: Principles of Sociology, Social Problems, Race Relations, and Development of Social Thought.
To contact the Department Chairperson:
Vernita A. Elliott, EdD, MSW
Chair, Associate Professor of Social Work
Office: Martin E. Gray, 217
Office Phone: 804-257-5769
In addition, all social work students are required to supplement their curriculum with two interdisciplinary electives (in social work or other social sciences, 3 credits each) and two social work electives (3 credits each). In the general education curriculum, social work majors are required to take a statistics class, an economics class, a psychology class, and a speech class.
*Restricted Electives: Courses in Criminal Justice, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology (beyond required level), Public Administration (American Government), Religion, Education, or Sociology (beyond required level)
*SWK Electives (when offered): SWK 290 (Interpersonal Conflict and Interpersonal Skills); SWK 306 (Substance Abuse); SWK 307 (At Risk Populations); SWK 350 (Social Work and Spirituality); SWK 360 (Health and Aging); SWK 370 (Child Welfare Policy); SWK 490 (Selected Topics such as Death & Dying, Community Organizing, Military, School-age Children); SWK 499 (Leadership Seminar)
In order to receive a Social Work Minor Degree at VUU, a student must identify this intention with the VUU Registrar, and successfully complete the following courses:
Social Work Minor 18 hours
SWK 255 Introduction to Social Work 3
SWK 302 Human Behavior I 3
SWK 309 Research I* 3
SWK 311 Social Policy I 3
SWK 314 Ethics 3
Social Work Elective 3
*or the equivalent in PSY or CCJ
In addition, for every semester the student is enrolled in a Social Work course, he or she is required to complete 50 hours of community service.
In order to receive a Sociology Minor Degree at VUU, a student must identify this intention with the VUU Registrar, and successfully complete the following courses:
Sociology Minor 18 credit hours
SOC 200 Principles of Sociology 3 credit hours
SOC 301 The Development of Social Thought 3 credit hours
SOC 305 Modern Social Problems 3 credit hours
SWK 309 Research Methods I* 3 credit hours
Sociology Electives* 6 credit hours
*Or the equivalent approved by the Department Chairperson
Social Work Student Organizations at VUU
Social work students at VUU have many opportunities to participate in campus student organizations. Three organizations are led by social work students and address issues related to social work practice and social justice. The social work elective Leadership Seminar is a special leadership development service learning course designed to give students practical training and experience in leadership for these three organizations. Click on the links below to learn more about the organizations:
Application to the Social Work Program
Students may declare an intended major or minor in social work at the time they begin at VUU, or at any time while at VUU. Transfer students may also declare social work as their intended major or minor. The student will remain an intended social work major until the completion of the freshman and sophomore years. At this point, students must be formally admitted to the Social Work Program in order to enroll in upper division social work courses. Students who are not admitted to the Social Work Program may not be permitted to take upper division social work courses.
For acceptance into the Social Work Program, the following criteria must be met:
Typically, applicants will complete the application for admission to the Social Work Program during the spring of their sophomore year or at the beginning of the semester in which they transfer to VUU, if it is later. If the student has not met the criteria by that time, the student may apply in a subsequent fall or spring semester.
VUU Social Work Faculty 2017-2018
Sandra Flynn, Ph.D
Dr. Flynn teaches Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Ethics, Health and Aging, and is the Director of our Field Program.
Jacqueline White, M.S.W.
Ms. White teaches Introduction to Social Work, Oral Communication, social Work with At-Risk Populations, and the Practice sequence.
Jeffrey Harlow, Ph.D
Dr. Harlow is the Chair of the Department and teaches Written Communication, Policy, Research, Social Discrimination, Child Welfare Policy, and Leadership Seminar.
Ms. Kathryn Bentley, M.S.W. teaches Social Work with School-Age Children and Leadership Seminar
Mr. Keith Preston, M.A. teaches Principles of Sociology
Ms. Cynthia Martin, M.A., teaches Principles of Sociology, Race Relations, Social Problems, and Development of Social Thought
The Social Work Program at VUU is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and is bound to rigorous standards for its curriculum. CSWE accreditation ensures that the Program implements and maintains a set of course offerings that result in students’ mastery of nine (9) professional competency areas, and thirty-one (31) practice behaviors. Every social work course addresses one or more of these academic standards. Moreover, all fourth-year students are required to enroll in a two-semester, 400 hour field placement experience, which is an intentional, supervised learning (service learning) experience. Additionally, at VUU, all second year social work students are required to complete a Sophomore Field Experience, which includes 100 hours of supervised field placement and classroom seminars.
CSWE Accreditation means that our Social Work Program meets the rigorous student learning outcomes or standards. Outcomes for students in the BSW Program are defined by the CSWE's nine core competencies and corresponding 31 practice behaviors. The Program’s entire upper division curriculum is designed to address these competencies and practice behaviors. Below are the nine core competencies and associated 31 practice behaviors:
Social workers understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards, as well as relevant laws and regulations that may impact practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Social workers understand frameworks of ethical decision-making and how to apply principles of critical thinking to those frameworks in practice, research, and policy arenas. Social workers recognize personal values and the distinction between personal and professional values. They also understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions influence their professional judgment and behavior. Social workers understand the profession’s history, its mission, and the roles and responsibilities of the profession. Social Workers also understand the role of other professions when engaged in inter-professional teams. Social workers recognize the importance of life-long learning and are committed to continually updating their skills to ensure they are relevant and effective. Social workers also understand emerging forms of technology and the ethical use of technology in social work practice. Social workers:
1.a. - make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context;
Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience and are critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including but not limited to age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. Social workers understand that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers also understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values, including social, economic, political, and cultural exclusions, may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create privilege and power. Social workers:
Social workers understand that every person regardless of position in society has fundamental human rights such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers understand the global interconnections of oppression and human rights violations, and are knowledgeable about theories of human need and social justice and strategies to promote social and economic justice and human rights. Social workers understand strategies designed to eliminate oppressive structural barriers to ensure that social goods, rights, and responsibilities are distributed equitably and that civil, political, environmental, economic, social, and cultural human rights are protected. Social workers:
Social workers understand quantitative and qualitative research methods and their respective roles in advancing a science of social work and in evaluating their practice. Social workers know the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and culturally informed and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers understand that evidence that informs practice derives from multi-disciplinary sources and multiple ways of knowing. They also understand the processes for translating research findings into effective practice. Social workers:
Social workers understand that human rights and social justice, as well as social welfare and services, are mediated by policy and its implementation at the federal, state, and local levels. Social workers understand the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery, and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers understand their role in policy development and implementation within their practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels and they actively engage in policy practice to effect change within those settings. Social workers recognize and understand the historical, social, cultural, economic, organizational, environmental, and global influences that affect social policy. They are also knowledgeable about policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and evaluation. Social workers:
Social workers understand that engagement is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers value the importance of human relationships. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to facilitate engagement with clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand strategies to engage diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Social workers understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions may impact their ability to effectively engage with diverse clients and constituencies. Social workers value principles of relationship-building and inter-professional collaboration to facilitate engagement with clients, constituencies, and other professionals as appropriate. Social workers:
Social workers understand that assessment is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in the assessment of diverse clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand methods of assessment with diverse clients and constituencies to advance practice effectiveness. Social workers recognize the implications of the larger practice context in the assessment process and value the importance of inter-professional collaboration in this process. Social workers understand how their personal experiences and affective reactions may affect their assessment and decision-making. Social workers:
7.b. - apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies;
Social workers understand that intervention is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are knowledgeable about evidence-informed interventions to achieve the goals of clients and constituencies, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge to effectively intervene with clients and constituencies. Social workers understand methods of identifying, analyzing and implementing evidence-informed interventions to achieve client and constituency goals. Social workers value the importance of inter-professional teamwork and communication in interventions, recognizing that beneficial outcomes may require interdisciplinary, inter-professional, and inter-organizational collaboration. Social workers:
Social workers understand that evaluation is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice with, and on behalf of, diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers recognize the importance of evaluating processes and outcomes to advance practice, policy, and service delivery effectiveness. Social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, and critically evaluate and apply this knowledge in evaluating outcomes. Social workers understand qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating outcomes and practice effectiveness. Social workers: