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Department of Social Work and Sociology

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:

  1. Demonstrate competence in social work practice with individuals, families, groups and communities;
  2. Utilize current social work knowledge in making responsible decision based on self-awareness and knowledge of the values and ethics of the profession;
  3. Demonstrate an ability to apply knowledge of social policy formulation in advocating for desired social change;
  4. Understand and be able to work with clients from different racial, cultural, ethnic, sexual and religious backgrounds, and be able to combat the effects of social inequalities;
  5. Be able to evaluate one’s own practice;
  6. Be prepared to pursue graduate education.

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:

Jeffrey Y. Harlow, Ph.D  

jyharlow@vuu.edu

804.257.5759

For more information, follow the toggle links to learn about:

VUU Social Work Curriculum (What classes will I take to earn the degree Bachelor of Social Work, or B.S.W.?)

Sequence of Social Work Program Courses for Social Work Students   

The list of required, core social work courses for the B.S.W. includes the following (See below for a list of the entire four-year curriculum, including general education requirements):

Freshman Year

  • General Studies for Social Work Majors (GST) (1 credit)
  • Introduction to Social Work (SWK 255, 3 credits)

Sophomore Year

  • Social Work Oral Communication (SWK 257, 3 credits)
  • Social Work Written Communication (SWK 258, 3 credits)
  • Sophomore Seminar and Field Placement (SWK 490-01, 2 credits)

Junior Year

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment I and II (SWK 302 & 303, 6 credits)
  • Social Work Ethics (SWK 314, 3 credits)
  • Social Welfare Policy (SWK 311, 3 credits)
  • Social Work Research Methods I and II (SWK 309 & 310, 6 credits)
  • Social Work Practice I (SWK 324, 3 credits)
  • Social Discrimination (SWK 380, 3 credits)

Senior Year

  • Social Work Practice II (SWK 424, 3 credits)
  • Social Work Practice III (SWK 425, 3 credits)
  • Senior Seminar I and II and Field Placement I and II (SWK 426, 427, 428, & 429, 12 credits)

Electives

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.

Sequence of All Courses Required for B.S.W. Including General Education Requirements   

Freshman Year

(plus 40 hrs community service per semester)

Credit Hours

Credit Hours

English 101 or above*

3

English 102 or above*

3

Math 115 or above

3

Math 121 or above

3

Physical Ed 101 OR intercollegiate sport

1

CSC 160 (or higher keyboarding course)  (Keyboarding)

2

General Studies 004 Orientation                        

1

Speech 217 (Informative & Persuasive Speaking)

2

Health 101 Personal & Community Health

1

SWK 255 (Introduction to Social Work)*

3

Foreign Language 101or above

3

Foreign Language 102 or above          

3

History 145 OR 146 OR  201 OR 202

3

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

16

Sophomore Year

(plus 50 hrs community service per semester)

Credit Hours

Credit Hours

Sociology 200 (Principles of Sociology)

3

BIO 101 (Biology)

4

Psychology 101 (Gen Psychology 1) OR Psy  201

3

CCJ 335  OR Math 201 OR PSY 203 (Statistics)

3

Literature: Hum 225 or 226  (World Lit)

3

Literature: Hum  225 or 226 (World  Lit) OR Eng 323, 324, 328, 329, 354

3

Economics – 231 (Economics)

3

SWK 260 (Sophomore Field Placement and Seminar)* 100 hrs of field, 1 hour in classroom

2

SWK 257 (Oral  Communication Skills)

3

SWK 258 (Written  Communication Skills)

3

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

Junior Year   

(plus 60 hrs community service per semester)

Credit Hours

Credit Hours

SWK 302 (Human Behavior 1) *

3

SWK 303 (Human Behavior 2) *

3

Restricted Elective*

3

SWK 324 (Practice 1)*

3

SWK 311 (Social Welfare Policy) *

3

African American Heritage: Art 310; Rel 235; His 225 , 226; Eng 331, 337, 338; Mus 321, 333; 480; Nsc 290

3

SWK 314 (Ethics)*

3

SWK 380 (Social Discrimination)*

3

SWK 309 (Social Work Research 1)*

3

SWK 310 (Social Work Research 2)*

3

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

Senior Year

Credit Hours

Credit Hours

SWK 424 (Practice 2)*

3

SWK 425 (Practice 3)*

3

SWK 426 (Senior Field Placement 1)*

4

SWK 427 (Field Placement 2)*

4

SWK 428 (Senior Seminar 1)*

2

SWK 429 (Senior Seminar 2)*

2

Restricted Elective*/ Social Work Elective*

3

Social Work Elective*

3

Social Work Elective*

3

Free Elective

3

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

TOTAL HOURS  FOR SEMESTER

15

*Literature Classes: 6 cr required: Students must take either HUM 225 OR HUM 226; ENG 323, 324, 328, 329, 354
can be used as the other 3 cr, but student may take both HUM 225 & 226

*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)

*Social Work courses must be taken in sequence: 200 level courses must be taken before 300 level and 300 before 400 level. For all 2 part classes, the (1) class must be taken before the (2) class. 

*All SWK core courses and general education with (*) require a “C” or better for a final grade; all Social Work courses may only be repeated once.

Social Work Minor Degree

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.  

Sociology Minor Degree

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

Field Education

Student Organizations

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:

The Social Work Club at VUU

Association of Black Social Workers (VUU Campus Organization in affiliation with the Richmond Chapter of the NASBW) 

Phi Alpha Academic Honor Society

Leadership Seminar (3 credit independent study course for leadership development) 

Community Service

Application to the Social Work Program

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:

  1. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.4 or higher;
  2. Grade of “C” or above in each of the social work classes: (SWK 200, SWK 255, SWK 256 OR SWK Communication 1 and 2) and in English 101 and 102;
  3. Completed 45 credit hours, which includes Eng 101 and 102, Mat 115 and 121 (or higher), Statistics, SWK 256 and 257 (SWK Communication 1 and 2), or finished one Communication class and currently enrolled in the other);
  4. Completed the required community service hours for each semester the student was a social work major.

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.

Social Work Program Application

Faculty 

VUU Social Work Faculty 2017-2018

Sandra Flynn, Ph.D

  • Ph.D, 2003, Social Work, The University of Alabama
  • M.S.W, 1996, Radford University
  • B.G.S., 1994, Radford University
  • A.A.S., 1978, New River Community College

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.

  • M.S.W., 2002, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • B.S., 1998, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ms. White teaches Introduction to Social Work, Oral Communication, social Work with At-Risk Populations, and the Practice sequence.

Jeffrey Harlow, Ph.D

  • Ph.D, 1998, Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research
  • M.A, 1985, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Harlow is the Chair of the Department and teaches Written Communication, Policy, Research, Social Discrimination, Child Welfare Policy, and Leadership Seminar.

Adjunct Faculty

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  

CSWE Accreditation: What does it mean?

CSWE Accreditation: What does it mean?

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.  

The VUU Social Work Program is accredited through 2019 and is scheduled for re-affirmation in 2019. 

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:

Competency 1:  Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

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;

1.b. - use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;

1.c. - demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication;

1.d. - use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and

1.e. - use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.

Competency 2:  Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

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:

2.a. -apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels;

2.b. - present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and

2.c. - apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 3:  Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

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:

3.a. - apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and

3.b. - engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 4:  Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice

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:

4.a. - use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;

4.b. - apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and

4.c. - use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery

Competency 5:  Engage in Policy Practice

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:

5.a. - Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services;

5.b. - assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services;

5.c. - apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Competency 6:  Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

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:

6.a. - apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and

6.b. ­- use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.

Competency 7:  Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

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.a. - collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies;

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;

7.c. - develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and

7.d. - select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies.

Competency 8:  Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

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:

8.a. - critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies;

8.b. - apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;

8.c. - use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes;

8.d. - negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies; and

8.e. - facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.

Competency 9:  Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

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:

9.a. - select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes;

9.b. - apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes;

9.c. - critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and

9.d. - apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (CSWE)

VUU Social Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (CSWE)

Follow the links below for Form AS4(B):

Assessment of 2013-2014 Student Learning Outcomes 

Assessment of 2014-2015 Student Learning Outcomes 

Assessment of 2015-2016 Student Learning Outcomes 

Assessment of 2016-2017 Student Learning Outcomes