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Social Work

Division of Social Work website

Faculty: J. Squillace (Program Director), J. Williams (Field Director), J. Cox+, A. Trowbridge+.

Social Work Program Mission

The Social Work Program prepares graduates for beginning professional employment in social service agencies and/or the successful pursuit of graduate social work education. Students are educated to apply the generalist approach and humanitarian values toward the promotion of social and economic justice, the resolution of human problems, and improvement in quality of life for all people. The curriculum is built on a liberal arts foundation and supported by required social work courses and supervised field education within a small college environment.

Academic Program

The MacMurray Social Work Program prepares students for these challenges by combining a talented faculty, a rigorous course of study, and outstanding field practicum opportunities with the many advantages of a small college environment. Students completing the program earn a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree.

Generalist social work practice is grounded in the profession's core values and ethics with an emphasis on human diversity, the ecological systems perspective, and changing social conditions. The Social Work Program defines the generalist method as the application of multidimensional theory, skills, and knowledge to assess and intervene in each level of the social system. In the course of their studies, students will develop the analytical and interpersonal skills to confront social problems, relieve human suffering, and engage in political action.

To prepare generalist social work practitioners, the program begins with a firm liberal arts foundation and base in the social sciences. The program then provides a practice sequence to facilitate students in utilizing their social science foundation to actually assess and plan effective intervention at all social levels — individual, family, groups, organizations, and communities. Finally, the program combines academic study with supervised field experiences so that students have hands-on experience prior to graduation. This program prepares students to work with a diversity of populations.

History and Accreditation

The Social Work Program is housed in the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences of MacMurray College. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The program has been continually accredited since 1995. Accreditation ensures that the program meets or exceeds the curriculum standards, quality of instruction, faculty qualifications, integrity, and level of professional competencies required by the Commission.

Additional Opportunities

Students may enhance their qualifications with a minor in a related area — criminal justice, psychology, history (pre-law), art (art therapy), or language. Spanish is in high demand due to the increasing need for bilingual services. Students may also elect a minor in Deaf Studies.

Social Work majors earning the Bachelor of Social Work degree must complete the following courses: Sociology 201; Psychology 201, 221; Political Science 203; History 202; and any two of the following: Psychology 242, 246, or 305; Biology 110; or Spanish 100. Students complete 42 hours of required academic work in the major (Social Work 203, 250, 300, 304, 312, 314, 316, 345, 495), including 12 credit hours in field practicum (Social Work 475 and 476).

Academic Requirements

  1. Admission to MacMurray.
  2. Minimum 2.50 cumulative college grade point average at MacMurray.
  3. A grade of C or better in all prerequisite and required social work courses.
  4. Conformity with the College policy on academic honesty.
  5. Fulfillment of all Portfolio requirements.


SCWK 101. Introduction to Sociology. (3) An introduction to the general principles of sociology and its subfields, including an investigation into the development of culture and subcultures, the effects of groups and institutions on personal behavior, and structure and process in social interaction. (Formerly SOCG 201)

SCWK 201. Crisis Intervention. (3) This course explores methods and models for dealing with people experiencing a life crisis. This course will examine various types of crisis experiences and apply crisis intervention methods to their resolution. Students will be expected to complete 10 hours of volunteer service in an agency that provides crisis services. Prerequisite: Sociology 201.

SCWK 203. Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. (3) For pre-Social Work majors. Traces the historical development of the social work profession and social welfare as an institution in the U.S., emphasizing changing social responses to human need. No prerequisite.

SCWK 229. Introduction to Gerontology. (3) An overview of all aspects of the aging process, provision of services for the elderly, family relations, and the dynamics of death and dying. No prerequisite.

SCWK 250. Human Behavior and the Social Environment. (3) Students explore human development and behavior in the context of the person-in-environment perspective and human diversity. The course is an overview of theoretical perspectives applied to understanding the bio-psycho-social development of the person from infancy to old age within context of diverse family, group, community, organizational, and cultural systems. Prerequisites: Psychology 201 and Social Work 203 (or concurrent).

SCWK 275. Professional Social Work. (3) Students will learn about professional social work in the framework of the 21st century. Students will explore and integrate professional social work values and ethics into current generalist practice contexts and scenarios. Students will also strengthen professional social work skills in the areas of academic writing, professional documentation, competent social skills preparation, and professional use of social media. Prerequisites: Social Work 203 and 250.

SCWK 300. Social and Economic Justice, Human Rights, and Diversity. (3) Students will explore the local and global interconnections of oppression, theories of justice, and strategies to promote human and civil rights. The course will take into account how social and economic justice practices can be applied to organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice. Exploration of personal values and attitudes regarding diverse groups will be encouraged, including race; gender; religions; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. Prerequisites: Sociology 201 or permission of instructor.

SCWK 304. Social Welfare Policies and Services. (3) Students will learn the processes involved in the development of public policy, and how those decisions affect service delivery and client consumption of services. Students will learn the history and current structures of social policies and how to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being. Prerequisites: Social Work 203 and 300 and Political Science 203.

SCWK 309. Child Welfare Services. (3) Designed to provide a student with an overview of child welfare services from a historical, theoretical, and practice perspective and to help each student develop basic competencies for entry into the field of child welfare. Each service is considered from point of view of etiology, rationale of services, the provision of services, and how the consumer and other stakeholders view the service. Services are examined from the perspectives of diverse populations. Students within the generalist perspective will learn how to assess, plan, implement, evaluate, terminate, and follow-up with diverse children and families in need of services, as well as how to develop resources, make referrals, and ensure child safety. Prerequisites: Social Work 203 and 250.

SCWK 311. Substance Use and Abuse: Theory, Practice, and Prevention. (3) Understanding alcohol and drug abuse from biological, sociological, psychological, and cultural perspectives. Students will examine the causes and consequences of alcohol/drug abuse, diagnostic issues, intervention, treatment, aftercare, and prevention, as well as their own personal values and attitudes toward alcohol/drug use. The impact of alcohol/drug abuse on families, special groups (e.g., women, elderly, minority populations), and the larger societal context will be addressed. Students will also be introduced to psychotropic medications, their therapeutic uses, side effects, and potential risk. No prerequisite. (Cross-listed with PSYC 311.)

SCWK 312. Practice I: Working with Individuals. (3) Using the generalist approach, students learn and practice the values, knowledge, and skills of interviewing; the data gathering necessary for effective treatment planning; goal setting; and problem solving. Students practice assessment, learn to develop detailed intervention plans, and write contracts. The student will learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions, revise the plan, and how and when to terminate with the client. The course emphasizes, through case examples, the application of the generalist method to diverse populations. Prerequisites: Social Work 203 and 250.

SCWK 314. Practice II: Working with Groups and Family. (3) Within the context of the generalist approach, students will learn and put into practice the values, knowledge, and skills of forming both treatment and task groups with all segments of society. Students learn to assess group dynamics and develop interventions, which may include individual, group, family, and community change. Students learn to evaluate change within group members, in the group, and in the larger environment. Students will learn to evaluate the implementation of the plan, modify interventions as needed, and terminate when appropriate. Group skills with diverse populations are interwoven throughout the course. Prerequisite: Social Work 312.

SCWK 316. Practice III: Working with Communities and Organizations. (3) Within the context of the generalist method, students learn the values, skills, and knowledge required for practice within organizations and communities. Students will conduct community needs assessments, assess nonprofit organizations, and help organizations and communities develop plans for change, including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Students learn to identify and work effectively with the political forces within organizations and communities. No prerequisite.

SCWK 330. Social Work Practice with Children. (3) Dynamics, services, and intervention methods in children's issues including parent-child conflict, family problems, child development, abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and other specific childhood issues, such as ageism, are explored. Prerequisite: Sociology 201.

SCWK 345. Research Methods in Social Work. (3) An introduction to research methods in social work. Topics include evidence-based practice, ethics in human subjects research, construction of literature reviews, research design, formulation of hypothesis, construction of measurement instruments, administration of questionnaires, data analysis, interpretation of results, and report writing. Students develop and conduct a research project throughout the semester. Prerequisites: Sociology 201, Psychology 221. Same as Sociology 345.

SCWK 350. Rural Social Work: Caring for the Rural Community. (3) Explores the social, cultural, and technological characteristics of living in rural America. The course emphasizes the application of social work values and methods in providing human services in rural environments. Topics include rural poverty, rural people and special populations, strengths and problems of rural communities, and rural communities in transition. No prerequisite.

SCWK 475. Field Practicum I. (6) Supervised field instruction and practice in a social work direct service setting. This course requires 200 hours in the practicum setting and participation in the weekly Seminar Class in field instruction. Field instruction gives students the opportunity to integrate classroom theory and social work practice. This course provides instruction and practice in a variety of social work methods with individuals, groups, and families. Prerequisites: Social Work 312 and 314.

SCWK 476. Field Practicum II. (6) Supervised field instruction and practice in a social work organization, community, or other mezzo or macro setting with approval of the Director of Field Instruction. This course requires 200 hours in the practicum setting and participation in the weekly Seminar Class in field instruction. Field instruction gives students the opportunity to integrate classroom theory and social work practice. This course provides instruction and practice in a variety of social work methods with organizations and communities. Prerequisites: Social Work 312 and 316.

SCWK 495. Professional Seminar in Social Work. (3) The Seminar course focuses on the development of a professional portfolio and examination of the student's grasp of the 10 professional social work competencies. The course is designed as a hybrid course, meeting face-to-face 5 times over the semester, and using online environments for the rest of the semester for communication and portfolio development. Students are taught online web development, how to use tools in both synchronous and asynchronous environments (Moodle and Google), and ultimately critically assess and reflect on their whole academic and professional development in the process of creating an emergent professional identity. The overall goal is to think ethically, critically, and reflectively in all areas of social work practice. Prerequisites: all required Social Work 200 and 300 level courses or permission of instructor. The course is open to social work majors only and preference is for student to be in field placement (Social Work 475 or 476).