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About the MSW Program

Mission of the MSW Program

The mission of the Master of Social Work Program is to prepare competent, compassionate and research-informed social work professionals to advocate for social and economic justice and human well-being, while honoring diversity and within the context of the social environment. An emphasis on caring  human relationships, and freedom from all forms of oppression, while supporting strengths, empowerment, and enhancing quality of life, will be the focus of practice.  As advanced generalist practitioners, students will become effective leaders through planning and problem solving, multi-system and interdisciplinary collaboration, and excellence in service to individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations, all from a global perspective. In line with the greater mission of Ramapo College, the MSW Program will emphasize individual attention to students and promote diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement, and community involvement through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding.

Program Goals

The goals and outcomes of the MSW program are derived from the program’s mission as follows:

  • To educate social workers effectively with the knowledge, values and skills of the profession at the advanced practice level.
  • To prepare social workers who are life-long learners and who will advocate, personally and professionally, for the alleviation and eradication of social problems and the promotion of global, social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
  • To advance social justice by preparing leaders to effectively advocate for the development of social policies and social service delivery systems that improve the wellbeing of client systems.
  • To prepare competent social work professionals for advanced generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in an ever-changing and diverse context, locally and internationally.

Preparation of students for advanced generalist practice is based on a person-in-environment perspective that is global and dynamic, respect for human diversity, advocacy for human rights, a strengths perspective, and scientific inquiry. The program’s aim is to equip students for practice in an ever-changing world fraught with infinite variation and persistent obstacles to justice. Excellent advanced generalist practice results from understanding and acknowledging the transitory nature of human interaction and the incremental development of services necessary to respond with a client-centered approach, whether that client is an individual, family, group, community, or organization.

The central means to accomplish the MSW program’s mission and goals is through an integrated learning process that values classroom and field learning equally.  The classroom integrates on-site learning in agency field internships with knowledge, values, and skills. Field internships are arranged through the Social Work Office of Field Education. Each student completes 600 hours of field internship per year in qualified agencies under qualified field instructors to graduate.

Competencies and Practice Behaviors

The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS 2015) of CSWE measure learning outcomes according to competencies defined by practice behaviors appearing at foundation and concentration levels of learning. The MSW program at Ramapo College has adopted CSWE’s competencies, practice behaviors, and advanced generalist practice behaviors.

Ramapo

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

  • 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
  • Use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain
    professionalism in practice situations
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral,
    written, and electronic communication
  • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes
  • Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and
    behavior
  • Continually employ and model conscious use of self, including: self-reflection, self-monitoring, self-correction and boundaries in practice situations.
  • Demonstrate leadership in applying ethical reasoning for problem resolution.
  • Systematically question statements of value and recognize the underlying ethics of policies, theories, and models

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

  • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and
    difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and
    macro levels
  • Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as
    experts of their own experiences
  • Apply self-awareness and self- regulation to manage the influence of
    personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.
  • Critically analyzing research informed practice approaches and self-reflect to meet the needs of diverse populations.
  • Analyze specific policies and practices and their impact on diverse populations.

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

  • Apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice for
    human rights at the individual and system levels
  • Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice
  • Identify weakness in various systems and develop and propose social policies that promote social justice.

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

  • Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research
  • Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative
    research methods and research findings
  • Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy,
    and service delivery
  • Differentially select and implement strategies for assessment and intervention utilizing research informed approaches.
  • Critically evaluate current research and use it to support all practice interventions

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts wellbeing, service delivery, and access to social services
  • Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and
    access to social services
  • Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that
    advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Analyze, evaluate, formulate, and advocate for policies that respond to emerging local, regional, and societal trends to advance well-being

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

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage
    with clients and constituencies
  • Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse
    clients and constituencies
  • Differentially apply theories and frameworks of human behavior and the environment, recognizing underlying assumptions, values, strengths, and weaknesses of these theories.
  • Analyze context and demonstrate the ability to initiate innovative and resourceful action with regard to emerging local, regional, and societal trends and needs.
  • Engagement: Further develop the ability to engage diverse clients as equal participants including those who are mandated and resistant

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

  • Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information
    from clients and constituencies
  • 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
  • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies
  • Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research
    knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies
  • Differentially select and implement strategies for assessment and intervention utilizing research informed approaches.
  • Differentially apply theories and frameworks of human behavior and the environment, recognizing underlying assumptions, values, strengths, and weaknesses of these theories
  • Analyze context and demonstrate the ability to initiate innovative and resourceful action with regard to emerging local, regional, and societal trends and needs.
  • Assessment: The ability to independently conduct both qualitative and quantitative assessments, including diagnosing, and synthesizing the results as a continuing and dynamic process that guides interventions.

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

  • Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and
    enhance capacities of clients and constituencies
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment,
    person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in
    interventions with clients and constituencies
  • Use interprofessional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial
    practice outcomes
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and
    constituencies
  • Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on
    goals
  • Differentially select and implement strategies for assessment and intervention utilizing research informed approaches
  • Differentially apply theories and frameworks of human behavior and the environment, recognizing underlying assumptions, values, strengths, and weaknesses of these theories.
  • Analyze context and demonstrate the ability to initiate innovative and resourceful action with regard to emerging local, regional, and societal trends and needs.
  • Intervention: Differentially and simultaneously utilize a variety of evidence-based strategies tailored to the clients’ identified prioritized needs.

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

  • Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in- environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes
  • Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes
  • Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels
  • Evaluation: Critically evaluate practice interventions and programmatic functioning using valid and reliable methodological approaches
Assessment of MSW Student Learning Outcomes

All programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) are required to measure and report student learning outcomes. All students are assessed using a minimum of two measures on their mastery of the nine competencies that comprise the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) and any additional competencies programs may choose to add. These holistic competencies reflect the dimensions (knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive & affective processes) of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional
training.