Program Details

 

FEATURES OF THE PROGRAM

• Choose from three distinct specializations: Community Practice for Social Change, Direct Practice – Children, Youth & Families and Direct Practice – Mental Health with Adults

• Get hands-on field education experience integrated with coursework

 

COST OF ATTENDANCE

Tuition:

• Advanced Track = 36 credits*
• Traditional Track = 60 credits
• Per Credit Hour = $1,419**
• Total Tuition = $51,994 – $86,320

Other Fees:

• Activity Fee = $18 per credit hour
• Confirmation Fee = $100 upon acceptance into the program
• Books and Supplies = approximately $100-$200 per class for textbooks or approximately
$1,800-$2,500 throughout the full duration of the online MSSA program for textbooks
• Application Fee = None

*Students who have completed a BSW in the past seven years with social work grades B or better are granted Advanced Track standing.
**Tuition rates and fees are based on the 2016/2017 academic year and all information and prices are subject to change.

The MSSA degree fulfills many of the requirements of social work licensure in all 50 states in the United States. To become licensed in any state, you must also complete the licensure exam and complete supervised hours (post-masters). For an explanation of the various licensing requirements for social workers, please visit the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

Admission to the MSSA program at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences is granted on a selective basis determined by the quality of the total application. An applicant is expected to meet the following minimum requirements:

• A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
• Evidence of the capacity to succeed in graduate level social work education based on
undergraduate work and any previous graduate work. Previous work must include courses in
social and behavioral sciences strong enough to ensure the applicant’s ability to do creditable work
at the graduate level.
• Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
• A minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.7. A Miller Analogies Test Score or Graduate
Record Exam (GRE) score is required for a grade point average below 2.7.
• $100 Confirmation Fee upon acceptance into the MSSA program.

 

PROGRAM CURRICULUM

Case Western Reserve University’s online Master of Science in Social Administration features two tracks. The Traditional Track for Non-BSW students is a total of 60 credits over 8 semesters and takes as few as two-and-a-half years to complete. The Advanced Standing Track for students with a BSW is a total of 45 semester credits over 6 semesters and takes as few as 2 years to complete. Each semester has two terms with a short break between terms. Regardless of track, all students will take two courses per academic term and are required to participate in 11 total credit hours of Field Education course throughout the program.

SASS 426. RESEARCH METHODS IN SOCIAL WORK (3). This course is an introduction to the research methods and tools that are used in social work. It includes qualitative and quantitative research content that provides an understanding of scientific, analytic, and ethical approaches to building knowledge for practice. The content prepares students to develop, use, and effectively communicate empirically based knowledge, including evidence-based interventions. Research knowledge is used by students to (a) provide high-quality services; (b) initiate change; (c) improve practice, policy, and social service delivery; and (d) evaluate their own practices. The class employs a critical perspective with the goal that students will be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of research designs and the degree to which ethical standards have been met. Students are introduced to the formulation of scientifically testable research questions and hypotheses of importance in social work. They learn how to design studies so that they are effective in addressing social work research questions. The concept of validity is introduced and the course examines measurement, sampling and research design from the point of view of the degree of confidence that can be placed in research findings that are produced by these methods. The importance of conducting research in ways that respect cultural diversity and are valid across diverse populations is emphasized. The course includes qualitative and quantitative methods.

This course is structured to have a strong emphasis on skill development. Students gain experience with the following social work research skills: formulating a question that can be answered by research; assessing the relative validity of research designs and measures; interpreting effect sizes and confidence intervals; evaluating statistical and clinical significance; and communicating their evaluation of studies and the application of research findings to social work

SASS 440. HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT I: CHILD AND ADOLESCENT (3). This foundation course examines theories and research on the biological, social, cultural, and spiritual development from infancy through adolescence. Particular consideration is given to biological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and environmental influences and their contributions to child and adolescent development. Social and economic influences, like poverty, discrimination and parenting styles, are also considered. The course considers how social work values the impact and role of spirituality and the perspective of empowerment related to development. Equal consideration is given to factors supporting individual development, such as the strength of sociocultural belief systems, health, and capacity for resilience. The course stresses interactions between the individual and his/her environment (including family, peers, school, and community), and the reciprocal relationship between the child/adolescent and his/her environment. This course examines concepts of life course tasks, conflicts, attachment and loss, and self regulation. The roles of culture, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and family structure as they relate to development are presented during this course. The etiology of symptom formation in major developmental deficits during childhood and adolescence are addressed. However, the primary focus of this course is on the developmental achievements that are based on the completion of tasks through the child/adolescent’s strengths and ability to adapt to physical, biological, and emotional events and change, as well as the ability to deal with conflict.

SASS 441: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CONTEXT II: ADULT (3). This course builds on SASS 440 Human Development I (child and adolescent) by comparing the general themes of feeling (emotion), thinking (cognition), and acting (behavior) with adult emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development. Students gain an understanding of the differences and similarities between earlier (child and adolescent) and later (adult, including older adult) emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development by examining, across the life-span, the idea/concept of: (1) adult development as gains/losses, (2) adult development as plasticity and variation (i.e., development can take many forms and can change), (3) adult development as risks, conflicts, protective factors, and resilience, and (4) adult development as context (e.g., family, society, gender, culture, ethnicity, social class, discrimination, sexual orientation, and socio-historical [i.e., cohort] contexts). This course adds new content and perspectives to Human Development I by beginning with the debates about the transition from adolescence to adulthood, what some scholars have called “late adolescence,” “emerging adulthood,” or “young adulthood” (ages 18-24), and ending with death. The course is not organized by assuming that a person’s chronological age is a predictor of developmental achievements — for example, training and education (ages 18-24), work/career (ages 24-35), intimacy/marriage/domestic partnership (ages 24-35), family/parenting (ages 35-55), retirement (age 65-85), and death (age 85 +). Instead, it assumes that gains/losses, plasticity, resilience, and context matter throughout adult life, regardless of age or developmental task. Emphasis is placed on variation in developmental task challenges, conflict, and change, not prescriptive, normative, or linear progressions from one developmental task to another, leading up to, for example, the “good” or “perfect” death. Overall, the course is designed to provide students a model for thinking about and assessing adult life-span development so that an adult client’s dysfunction, disorder, disease, or problems (social and/or psychological) can be situated in the context of a person’s developmental achievements, conflicts, and strengths.

SASS 470 SOCIAL POLICY AND SERVICE DELIVERY (3). This first semester foundation policy course examines the philosophical, historical, and socio/economic foundations of social welfare and the evolution of social policy and the social work profession in the United States. It then focuses on the problems of poverty and discrimination and analyzes the adequacy and effectiveness of policies and resulting programs designed to address those problems. Consideration is given to the principles of economic and social justice along with other values of the social work profession in this analysis. The connections between social policy and social work practices are also emphasized. The course then addresses social policy in an interdependent world. Attention is given to cross-national comparisons of social policies designed to prevent and alleviate poverty and social exclusion. Human rights issues and the programs of international organizations designed to promote and protect human rights are discussed. Finally, social work’s roles in the field of human rights, both at home and abroad, are considered.

SASS 477 DIRECT PRACTICE FOUNDATION METHODS AND SKILLS (3). The overarching goal of this course is to develop culturally competent social work generalist practitioners who are armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice ethically with individuals and families in diverse social work practice settings. This course is structured to include lecture and discussion (1.5 hours) and experiential laboratory (1.5 hours) learning. The lab portion provides the opportunity for students to practice skills and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and peers.

A historical view of social work practice is presented, as well as an overview of social work values and ethics. Also, the opportunity to apply the NASW Code of Ethics to direct practice cases is provided in lab. Major social work theories/approaches to practice, such as systems-ecological theory, empowerment, and strengths-based approaches and evidence-based practice are introduced to frame students’ learning in micro social work practice. Students are also introduced to systems-based, cognitive-behavioral, and relationship-based intervention approaches utilized in social work practice with individuals and families. Interviewing skills for beginning practitioners relevant to work with individuals and families are a major focus of work both in lectures and during the skills lab. The introduction and application of skills focuses on the skills needed to carry out generalist practice, namely engagement, assessment, goal-setting/treatment planning, intervention and evaluation, and termination and follow-up. The skills taught in the lab are intended to build a foundation, or core base, that students can build on in field placements and further in advanced methods courses. The role of race, ethnicity, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical and mental disability or illness, age and national origin in social work practice are highlighted throughout the course. Also, the transactions between individuals and families with community, organizational, economic and political environments are integrated to give attention to the importance of social and economic justice in micro practice. The development of reasoning and critical thinking skills are discussed and developed, including factors that influence decision-making processes and the need for ongoing self-evaluation.

SASS 478. MACRO AND POLICY PRACTICE SKILLS FOR WORK WITH GROUPS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND COMMUNITIES (3). The overarching goal of this course is to develop culturally competent social work generalist practitioners who are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice ethically with task groups, organizations, and communities in diverse social work practice and policy settings. Additionally, as a second semester course, it is built on first-semester learning in the areas of social policy, diversity, discrimination, and oppression. The skill development of the practitioner complements and reinforces that from the direct practice methods course and from the field practicum. Community assessment and change strategies are situated within the context of social policy and include policy analysis and the necessary skills for affecting policy. This course is structured to have a strong emphasis on skill development and includes a significant experiential learning laboratory component. The lab portion provides the opportunity for students to practice skills and receive constructive feedback from instructor and peers. The course is intended to integrate experiential laboratory learning with readings and discussion of relevant practice concepts. Accordingly, class time often includes a mix of experiential work, instructor input, discussion, and work in task groups. Students are introduced to task groups, community organizing and advocacy/policy practice approaches utilized in social work practice. Major social work theories/approaches to practice – such as group dynamics, community assessment, conflict and consensus organizing, power relations and community building approaches – are introduced to frame students’ learning in macro social work practice. Special attention is given to working with task groups and communities made up of varying race, ethnicity, social class, immigration status, and gender, and to advocating with and on behalf of disadvantaged groups.

Students gain experience in lab with the following social work practice skills: community and group assessment, recruitment, engagement and participation, leadership development, issue identification and analysis, group process, effective meetings, organizational development, the development and enactment of social policies, strategies to influence different types of policy, and evaluation. The skills taught in lab are intended to build a foundation, or core base, that students can build on in field placements and further develop in advanced methods courses.

SASS 484. THEORIES OF OPPRESSION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (3). This course provides students with theoretical understandings of how oppression operates to restrict the life chances of members of minority and disenfranchised groups. Increasing knowledge is one component of valuing a diverse world; internalizing knowledge about the nature and dynamics of oppression is a fundamental dimension of the ability to value a diverse world and requires self-assessment and reflection on discrimination, oppression, and privilege as components of individual insight. Such insight helps students become better practitioners so they can work with clients without discrimination and with respect, knowledge and skills related to age, class, color, culture, ability, ethnicity, family origins, gender, relationship status, national origin, race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. In this course, the emphasis is on how oppression manifests at the individual, institutional, and societal/cultural levels. It highlights the pervasive nature of inequality and bias woven throughout social, cultural, political, and economic institutional and interpersonal systems. Multiple theories are presented to explicate how structures of dominance, privilege, and subordination are manifested, paralleled, and interconnected. Major consideration is given to the structures of oppression and privilege related to racism, sexism, heterosexism/homophobia, religious bigotry/xenophobia, classism, ableism, and ageism. As a foundational course for developing the ability to value a diverse world, this course also provides students with an opportunity to enhance self-awareness and critical thinking through a systematic reflection of their own experiences with oppression and privilege. Students are challenged to understand and value the worldviews of persons different from themselves and develop the ability to take different perspectives in their work. This course elevates students’ skills to interview and participate in dialogue with persons different from themselves.

Equally important, this course expands students’ visioning of a “just” society through analyses of distributive justice theories. Students are equipped with micro and macro level practice strategies to promote a society that is inclusive and affirming of human similarities, differences, abilities, and capacities.

SASS 495V. FIELD EDUCATION SEMINAR (1). This course is designed to be taken by foundation level social work students in the first semester of their master’s program. Students enrolled in SASS 495 take SASS 601, Field Education concurrently. The Field Education Seminar provides the support and guidance necessary to assist the social work student in beginning to integrate professional experiences as a developing practitioner. The purpose of field education is to develop a social work practitioner, (1) who is grounded in the values and knowledge base of the social work profession; 2) who uses the full spectrum of the values and knowledge base to guide interventions with clients and client systems; 3) who evaluates the outcomes of interventions in order to improve the quality of service delivery; and 4) who is aware of the importance and value of professional use of self. This requires the ability to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom setting with the opportunity to apply and strengthen them in the field practicum. The overall goal of this course is to provide beginning social work students with a solid grounding in learning through field education, as well as opportunities to integrate classroom and field learning at the generalist practice level.

SASS 505. ADOPTION: POLICY AND PRACTICE (3). This course covers the concepts, knowledge, skills and policies associated with contemporary adoption practice. The practice method reflects a triad perspective, meaning that adoption is examined from the viewpoints of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. For each topic area, social work roles, activities, tasks and skills are explored along with policy issues. Exemplars and case studies are presented for illustration purposes. Consideration of triad needs at different life cycle stages are presented. The issues of ethnically competent adoption practice are emphasized throughout the course in each content area.

SASS 517. FAMILY SYSTEM INTERVENTIONS (3). This overall purpose of this course is to learn how to use a family systems framework to intervene with individuals and families who are experiencing a difficulty (e.g., child behavior problem) or facing a new challenge (e.g., adoption of a child). A family systems framework looks at individual behavior in the context of the family system, and seeks to understand the purpose the behavior may serve in the family system. Interventions, whether they be with an individual or a family group, are designed to help the family system and its members negotiate their current situation more effectively and move to a new and more satisfactory level of functioning. Learning to think and intervene systemically requires mindfulness and practice, because it is a departure from the more dominant individually-focused framework that views complaints as individual problems in need of individually-focused interventions. This course examines multiple approaches to family system interventions, and the strategies and methods that flow from each. Students learn a variety of ways of thinking about and working with families, and begin to develop their own personal approach to family systems intervention. Students will practice a variety of intervention methods and techniques, and will develop the ability to self-assess and modify their interventions as needed to be useful to the family.

The course incorporates a constructivist epistemology that acknowledges there are multiple ways of constructing the family’s situation, and that alternate constructions have a direct impact on how we assess and intervene with families and what families believe is possible for themselves. Ethical and cultural issues that arise out of a constructivist worldview are critically addressed.

SASS 531. STRATEGIC ALLIANCES (3). The development of strategic alliances is being used increasingly as a key strategy for nonprofit organizations to carry out their missions. This course is designed to provide students with the conceptual and practical resources necessary for leadership in the formation and maintenance of such alliances. Various models and strategies for creating and sustaining local, community-based, and national relationships are explored. The course is based on “practical theory,” builds on current knowledge about creating multi-organizational partnerships, and expands capabilities to participate in these efforts. The overarching goals of this course are that students, as members of this “learning community,” will (a) develop a deeper understanding of the core knowledge required for successful collaboration, (b) deepen their appreciation of the values and ethics involved in creating strategic alliances, and (c) enhance their ability to apply acquired skills in the area of inter-organizational relations.

SASS 532. NEEDS ASSESSMENT AND PROGRAM EVALUATION (3). This course covers research methods and analytic tools that are used in community and social development (CSD). It builds upon the research methods course in the foundation curriculum and deepens and expands this content as applicable in CSD. The content prepares students to use quantitative and qualitative research methods in community and social development practice and to evaluate community and social development programs and practices. These research methods and tools are used by students to successfully engage in community and social development; to improve practice, policy, and programs of community and social development; and to evaluate their own practice. The class covers the conceptual and technical aspects of conducting research in the community and applying the tools and findings in community social change and development processes. The course employs a critical perspective with the goal that students will be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of various tools and approaches and the degree to which ethical standards have been met. Students are introduced to a variety of methods for community and needs assessment, demographic, statistical and geographic analysis, qualitative and quantitative data gathering methods, and program and policy evaluation designs. The importance of conducting research in ways that respect cultural diversity and are valid across diverse populations is emphasized. This course is structured to have a strong emphasis on skill development. Students gain experience with the following research skills: designing evaluation studies, fielding a community survey, conducting rapid ethnographic assessments, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, and calculating and interpreting development and demographic indicators.

SASS 534. COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES (3). This course enables students to understand the organizational conditions, processes and structures, and the nature of nonprofit organizations. The course covers various theoretical perspectives on organizations, including the issues of goals, power, leadership, effectiveness, efficiency, performance, clients and staffing. It begins with the exploration of the concept of organizational culture, how given cultures are embedded in different structures, and the dilemmas of managing these different structural configurations. This course focuses on social and behavioral theories and underlying management practice methods.

SASS 544. BUDGETING AND FINANCE (3). Social service organizations operate in an extremely competitive environment in which stable funding assures that the fundamental resources required for operation are present. To properly plan for and use financial resources, social service managers should be skilled in understanding, managing, and monitoring the use of resources. The ability of an organization to increase its financial base, maintain services and develop new ones, and compete in the marketplace greatly affects services to clients and expected outcomes for those clients. Social service managers must be both responsible and accountable for the management of resources that enhance the provision of effective and efficient services to clients. In this course, students gain an understanding of the skills, tools, and strategies needed to plan for the financial stability of their organizations. Students use a critical thinking perspective to examine budgetary and financial choices, and gain an understanding of the impact of power and politics in budget and financial processes. In addition, they recognize ethical dilemmas that are often inherent in financial decision-making. Students demonstrate their understanding of program budgeting, financial reporting and monitoring, as well as other resource management concerns that affect human service managers and organizations.

SASS 545. PROGRAM DESIGN (3). Program design and development are of critical importance to the success of nonprofit organizations. In this course students will gain a practical, hands-on understanding of strategies for designing programs. The course focuses on program development approaches that attempt to maximize a program’s relevance to the need being addressed and increase the likelihood that the program will attain its identified outcomes. Emphasis is placed on learning to understand a community’s need/problem, reviewing evidence on potential strategies and identifying promising practices, anticipating potential implementation challenges and addressing them, and identifying potential funders. The link between program design and the development of effective program proposals is stressed.

Through this course students will have the opportunity to design a program using a specific analytic framework. Students will learn: (1) to address the demands of multiple constituencies and competing values in program development process, (2) skills for developing and implementing programs in the nonprofit sector, and (3) to examine issues of diversity as they affect organizations and community efforts and explore personal values and ethics as these influence programs and interventions.

SASS 547. PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION, SCREENING AND ASSESSMENT/ DIAGNOSIS (3). This course provides a biopsychosocial approach to identification, screening, assessment, and diagnoses of common psychosocial problems/dysfunctions experienced by clients. The course builds upon foundation content of SASS 477 and introduces the student to the etiology, recognition, and diagnoses of these problems in the context of social work practice. Through use of a competency-based model, students are introduced to techniques used to screen, assess, and diagnose problems such as serious mental illness, suicidality, depression and anxiety, substance abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and exposure trauma. Students become familiar with the use of the DSM IV TR in providing axis I diagnostic formulations. A skills-based approach is used in presenting students with specific screening, assessment, and diagnostic protocols. This course is designed to incorporate a range of issues associated with stages across the lifespan from childhood to late adulthood.

SASS 549. THEORY/PRACTICE APPROACHES IN DIRECT PRACTICE SOCIAL WORK (3). This required three-credit-course introduces selected theories and practice approaches commonly used in social work with individuals, families, and groups. Students are invited to examine theories of change using three broad categories: interpersonal theories, cognitive and behavioral theories, and theories of systems and groups. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical explanations and practice frameworks commonly used in direct social work practice. The course also encourages students to apply critical thinking skills to theory and its practical applications. Case presentations, class discussions and assignments require students to apply various theoretical perspectives to common problems and issues in social work practice. The course highlights the use of professional social work values and attention to human development issues, diversity, and cultural perspectives as they apply in each theory or framework.

SASS 563. RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (3). This course covers methods to identify, garner, and effectively use resources that promote community and social development. Financial resource methods can be used to position an agency or an organization to attract and receive resources and collaborate with others to put those resources to their most efficient use. The content prepares students to expand resources for individuals, families, communities and society, as well as to generate resources for organizations. These financial resources are used by students to successfully engage in community and social development; and to improve practice, policy and programs of community and social development.

The class covers practices in fundraising, grant development, financing, budget analysis, cost savings and cost cutting, strategic partnerships and social entrepreneurship, and result-based planning, implementation, and reporting. The history and current status of the Community Development Block Grant program is a particular focus. Students are introduced to proven models, such as low-income tax credits, micro-enterprises, individual development accounts, and revolving loan programs. Students explore trends in resource provision and resource-seeking in the community and social development field, domestically and internationally. Students also learn how to analyze and understand key domestic and international policies and institutions (e.g., foundations, banks, businesses, government, and associations) that relate to resource development. There is a strong emphasis on practice skill development and social policy.

SASS 564. SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG ABUSE (3). SASS 564 is an advanced direct practice concentration course focused upon knowledge, skills and values important for social work practice with people who abuse and/or are dependent on alcohol and other drugs. The content of SASS 564 directly builds upon the foundation direct practice course (SASS 477) and the required advanced course in screening and assessment (SASS 574). SASS 564 takes a bio-psycho-social approach to prevention, assessment and treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency (AODA) problems. This course introduces the student to the etiology and treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse in the context of social work practice. The historical background and the development of the evidence base of alcohol and other drug treatment interventions, self-help groups, and conceptual models of addiction will be presented. Students will explore their own attitudes and values toward AODA problems and how these affect treatment outcome as well as the development of programs. Students will be encouraged to evaluate the evidence base for current screening and assessment techniques as well as commonly used prevention and treatment approaches in social work practice with alcohol and other drug abuse. The course encourages skill development and the application of evidence-based practices in social work with people who abuse and/or are dependent upon alcohol and other drugs. The course will use case materials to illustrate similarities and differences among various populations including minority/ethnic identity groups.

SASS 565 COMMUNITY-BASED PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES (3). This course covers knowledge, concepts, and tools associated with contemporary community-based practice. The practice method reflects a family-centered and a community-based approach, meaning that the welfare of children cannot be considered separately from the families and communities of which they are a part. The course has substantial content on child welfare practice, but is not limited to this area. For each topic area, major social work roles, activities, tasks and skills are explored along with problems and issues in implementation. Program exemplars and case studies are presented for illustration purposes and practical application of the skills and techniques discussed. Community-based services that promote safety, permanency, and child well-being are addressed. Consideration of family needs at different developmental stages of the child and family life cycle are also addressed. The issue of culturally competent community-based social work practice is stressed throughout the course for each content area. While this is primarily a methods course, program delivery and policy issues are discussed as they relate to the socio-political and organizational contexts of practice.

SASS 567. CSD PRACTICE I: STRATEGIES FOR ASSESSING, BUILDING, AND ORGANIZING COMMUNITY (3). The purpose of this course is to examine theories and strategies of focusing on communities as a means of impacting social change. This course explores the ideas behind using community as an organizing principle and unit of action and the history of such efforts in the United States. A particular focus is on efforts to improve the quality of life for individuals and families in low-income urban communities of color. We examine some of the assumptions about community that drive these efforts, as well as the goals, strategies, and roles played by community organizers, community builders, community-based organizations, and community initiatives that seek to mobilize communities for social change.

We explore the potential and the challenges that these efforts have faced and the lessons learned to date. We pay particular attention to the broader economic, social, demographic, institutional, and policy contexts in which community-based efforts must function. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the complexity of community structure and processes and some of the possibilities and limitations of community-based approaches to social change.

SASS 569. CSD PRACTICE II: STRATEGIES FOR DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL CHANGE (3). This course builds on Strategies for Assessing, Building, and Organizing Community by further expanding how social work history, values, ethics, and theory become operationalized in the management of community based development. This course expands on the application of social science theory to the issues of community development. It explores techniques in community analysis and strategy development by focusing on how major federal policies have influenced the implementation of community development programs and tools. The course content is structured around local community factors, national/international trends, multi-disciplinary professional teams, development-related industries, and the unintended consequences that influence contemporary community development. The course focuses on 14 units, which include key factors that influence community development activities, trends, and investments. Community practice is both a people and place-based approach that must consider changes in the demographic makeup of communities, globalizations that have changed commerce and labor, physical development (with an emphasis on the real estate and financial services industry), housing revitalization, community services and resources (such as education, health, religious and other services), and changes in public policy and government funding.

The question of the appropriateness of place-based strategies is explored, as this approach is currently argued in the context of widespread recognition that urban neighborhoods have been the locus of concentrated poverty and disinvestment. The organizing framework for place-based strategies is presented in the context of four major types of capital: financial, human, social, and environmental.

The required text and course begins with the history and theory of community development, how that history and theory is interrelated to grassroots community organizing and empowerment strategies, and moves through the work of community development corporations, planning and physical development strategies, and concludes with an examination of policy level development issues and new frontiers.

SASS 580. SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN MENTAL HEALTH: CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS (3). This advanced methods course builds on the content from required foundation social work methods, policy, and human development courses including Direct Practice Methods and Skills, Mental Health Policy and Service Delivery. This course complements the content of advanced methods courses including Social Work with People Who Have Chronic Mental Illness, Social Work in Child Abuse and Family Violence, and Interventions in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. This course develops biopsychosocial knowledge and intervention techniques related to professional settings specializing in child and adolescent mental health: hospitals, child guidance agencies, family service agencies, mental health centers, and residential treatment centers. Students learn to use development and clinical theory to guide interventions, while maximizing individual strengths, social work values and ethics, and empowerment. Social and economic risk factors, such as poverty, discrimination, and oppression, are considered in the intervention process and in the utilization of mental health services. In addition, students learn to think critically about the myriad ways cultural diversity influences parenting, child and adolescent norms and expectations. Students utilize assessment skills, coupled with knowledge of development and clinical theory to explore clinical case studies.

SASS 583. SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE IN MENTAL HEALTH: ADULTS (3). This course examines the current state of behavioral mental health practice, and explores currently prevailing theoretical perspectives to mental health practice with adults, including ego psychology, cognitive theory, behavior theory, and object relations. Risk status including the effects of poverty, gender, culture, discrimination, and oppression are considered in the treatment process and in the utilization of mental health services to adults. The empirical and value base of interventions are examined. This advanced social work methods course builds on the content from required foundation social work methods, policy, research, theory and field courses as well as advanced courses including Mental Health Policy and Service Delivery (SPPP 510), Advanced Adult Development and Dysfunction (SSBT 508), and Adult Psychopathology (SSBT 548). This course complements the content of advanced methods courses such as Social Work with People Who Have Serious Mental Illness (SSWM 575), Social Work in Child Abuse and Family Violence (SSWM 582), and Interventions in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SSWM 564).

SASS 587: INTEGRATIVE SEMINAR IN MENTAL HEALTH: ADULTS (3). The Integrative Seminar in Social Work Practice with Adults is an advanced level course, a capstone course in the Mental Health Adult Specialization, that provides opportunities for students to increase their knowledge of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. This course builds on course material in SASS 583, SASS 477, SASS 549 and SASS 574. The seminar is intended to help students integrate theory and practice, especially in the context of public mental health and community-based, social service practice. The Integrative Seminar in Social Work Practice with Adults uses a seminar format and provides students the opportunity to interact with professionals from various treatment and practice settings. The seminar format facilitates individual learning and promotes a learning-to-practice, reflective approach. The seminar assumes there are numerous evidenced-based models and practices and focuses student learning on the role of the professional use of self in the implementation of theory, technique, model, or intervention.

SASS 651A: Field Education I-A (1). This course is designed to be taken by entering Non-Advanced Standing social work students in the first semester of their master’s program. Students enrolled in SASS 651A take SASS 495, Field Education Seminar concurrently for the entire field period. The SASS 651A course is 16 weeks in duration. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to develop foundation level competencies in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent developing practitioners. The field instructor is based at the social service setting and provides the direct instruction of the student. The faculty advisor, who is based at the School, serves as a link between all parties, interprets the requirements and standards of the School, and participates and consults in the design of the student’s learning experience. The field instructor assigns tasks to the student according to the requirements of the School and the educational and experiential level of the student. Student, field instructor, and faculty field advisor all participate in various ways in the evaluation if student’s work; the faculty advisor is responsible for assigning the grade. Students spend 75 hours in field and professional development

SASS 651B: Field Education I-B (1). This course is designed to be taken by entering Non-Advanced Standing social work students in the second semester of their master’s program. The SASS 651B course is 16 weeks in duration. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to develop foundation level competencies in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. The field instructor is based at the social service setting and provides the direct instruction of the student. The faculty advisor, who is based at the School, services as a link between all parties, interprets the requirements and standards of the School, and participates and consults in the design of the student’s learning experiences. The field instructor assigns tasks to the student according to the requirement of the School and the educational and experiential level of the student. Student, field instructor, and faculty field advisor all participate in various ways in the evaluation of student’s work; the faculty advisor is responsible for assigning the grade. Students spend 75 hours in field and professional development.

SASS 652A: Field Education II-A (1.5). This course is designed to be taken by entering Advanced Standing students in the first semester of their master’s program and by Non-Advanced Standing social work students in the third semester of their master’s program. The SASS 652A course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. For students entering the program with advanced standing, there is an additional requirement of four logs and an integrative assignment, and periodic meetings with a field faculty advisor in addition to the field conference. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop foundation level competencies in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values, and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Students spend 150 hours in field and professional development Prereq: SASS 651A and SASS 651B or SASS 400-TR.

SASS 652B: Field Education II-B (1.5). This course is designed to be taken by entering Advanced Standing students in the second semesters of their master¿s program and by Non-Advanced Standing social work students in the fourth semester of their master¿s program. The SASS 652B course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. For students entering the program with advanced standing, there is an additional requirement of four logs and an integrative assignment, and periodic meetings with a field faculty advisor in addition to the field conference. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop foundation level competencies in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values, and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Students spend 150 hours in field and professional development Prereq: SASS 652A

SASS 653A: Field Education III-A (1.5). This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the third semester of their master’s program. Non-Advanced Standing social work students take it in the fifth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 653A course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop advanced level competencies in their area of concentration in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Student spend 150 hours in field and professional development. Prereq: SASS 652A and SASS 652B

SASS 653B: Field Education III-B (1.5). This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the third semester of their master’s program. Non-Advanced Standing social work students take it in the fifth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 653A course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop advanced level competencies in their area of concentration in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Student spend 150 hours in field and professional development Prereq: SASS 652A and SASS 652B

SASS 654A: Field Education IV-A (1.5).This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the fifth semester of their master’s program. Non-Advanced Standing social work students take it in the seventh semester of their master’s program. The SASS 654A course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop their advanced level competencies in their area of concentration in the eight abilities by helping students apply ethic acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Student, field instructor, and field faculty advisor all participate in the evaluation of the student’s work; the faculty advisor is responsible for assigning the grade. Students spend 150 hours in field and professional development Prereq: SASS 653A and SASS 653B.

SASS 654B: Field Education IV-B (1.5). This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the fifth semester of their master’s program. Non-Advanced Standing social work students take it in the seventh semester of their master’s program. The SASS 654A course is 16 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate level social work students with field related opportunities to continue to develop their advanced level competencies in their area of concentration in the eight abilities by helping students apply ethic acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. The periodic meetings with the field faculty advisor are designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate classroom and field learning. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent, developing practitioners. Student, field instructor, and field faculty advisor all participate in the evaluation of the student’s work; the faculty advisor is responsible for assigning the grade. Students spend 150 hours in field and professional development Prereq: SASS 654A

SPPP 510. MENTAL HEALTH POLICY AND SERVICE DELIVERY (3). This course is designed to acquaint students preparing for careers as social workers in the mental health field with an understanding of mental health policy and the organization and functioning of the mental health delivery system at state and local levels. Collectively, through readings, lectures, discussions, and written assignments, the course aims at the development by students of a broad macro-level perspective of community mental health policies and programs, as well as deeper insights into several major issues in the field.

The course focuses on the following topic areas: historical trends, current problems and issues in mental health; different conceptions of mental health and illness; epidemiology of mental disorders; recent federal and state legislation and implementation issues; legal issues, including involuntary commitment, dangerousness, and the right to receive and/or refuse treatment; community support programs for children and adults with severe mental illness: planning, monitoring, coordinating, and evaluating services and systems with a focus on collaboration; barriers to mental health service delivery; special populations: persons with dual diagnoses, family caregivers, racial/ethnic/SES subgroups, etc.

SPPP 512. LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL PROCESSES (3). This is a “hands on” course for learning how to deal effectively with legislators, their staff, and legislative bodies. Attention is given to the unspoken rules that govern legislative activities and legislators’ behaviors. The roles of money and information in legislative and political systems are examined. The process through which a bill moves to become law is explored through the critical points of intervention in the process, with special focus on the committee structure and the strategies used for passing or killing a bill. Lobbying legislators, including the preparation and presentation of testimony, receive special attention. The development and use of coalitions in the legislative arena also are featured.

SPPP 529. CHILD AND FAMILY POLICY AND SERVICE DELIVERY (3). This course focuses on major social policies related to children, youth, and families, especially those affecting poor and vulnerable groups, including people of color, women, and individuals and groups with special needs. The course uses a policy/practice framework to examine the creation and implementation of child and family policy and to prepare students to participate in policy change. A policy practice project provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in planning, advocacy, and policy development.

530. PRACTICE EVALUATION (3). This course prepares students to evaluate their clinical practices with an empirical framework using single-system design methods. Students learn to use research methodology and findings to inform their practices. The course draws from the existing literature on client populations and effective social work practice methods. Single system evaluation methods require specifying the intended outcome of worker intervention, systematically collecting and analyzing client outcome data throughout service delivery, and using this information to guide clinical decision making. Major topics include goal setting, measurement, assessment of change, and research design. In addition, students learn to evaluate the empirical literature on social work practice based on knowledge of research principles and social work practice.

SSWM 518. SOCIAL WORK WITH DEATH, GRIEF, AND LOSS (3). This course focuses on concepts of death and loss from a social work perspective. Such topics include the role of death in American culture; the dying process and its institutions; assessment and intervention strategies for the terminally ill and the bereaved; life span and family considerations at the time of loss; and end-of-life decisions. The course provides both theoretical and experiential exposure to the experiences of death as they relate to the self or the social worker, the dying person, and the bereaved. Students gain insight into serving the terminally ill, those who need assistance with mourning and grief, and clients dealing with difficult life-and-death decisions regarding loved ones. Creation of personal learning objectives is an additional focus.

SSWM 563. SOCIAL WORK INTERVENTIONS IN CO-OCCURRING MENTAL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS (3). This advanced methods course provides a basic orientation to substance use disorders in persons with mental illness (SAMI). A bio-psychosocial framework is used to explore the etiology, the maintenance and the recovery of both mental and substance use disorders. The historical background of practitioner, programmatic and institutional barriers that impede the development and application of clinical skills to dually diagnosed individuals is explored. Emphasis is placed on strategies for the implementation of services to deal with individuals with co-occurring problems and their families using the evidence-based New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center Dual Disorder Integrated Treatment (DDIT) Model. Current assessment techniques and treatment of special populations, including but not limited to women, minorities, and adolescents, are discussed.

SSWM 579. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS (3). This course introduces students to the clinical practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and how the theory and application of CBT apply to clinical social work practice. The focus is on understanding how CBT is used as an empirically supported technique. Primary emphasis is placed on case conceptualization, treatment planning, and application of CBT techniques for a variety of psychological disorders. Drawing from professional training and personal experiences, this course illustrates the application of CBT concepts and skills.

SSWM 582. SOCIAL WORK WITH CHILD ABUSE AND FAMILY VIOLENCE (3). This advanced level elective course is directed to students in the mental health and children, youth, and families concentrations. This course conducts an in depth assessment of the process and content of the impact and dynamics of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The impact of abuse on the physical and emotional development of the child and adolescent is explored. This course explores the history of abuse and family violence in our culture and examines strategies employed by the social service and legal communities to address the issues of family victimization.

The course includes issues of cultural sensitivity, social justice and advocacy as they specifically relate to abuse perpetrated on children and adults. The impact of physical and/or mental disabilities and diseases resulting from the abuse are explored. Strategic partnerships, roles, and responsibilities of community, legal, and social services are critically analyzed within the context of family and community. Strategies for victim advocacy are developed. Attention is given to sound investigative techniques; analyzing the grooming process and social work treatment methods is emphasized through classroom lecture and reading assignments. The written requirements draw on an extensive understanding of the literature and one’s experiences in the advanced field practicum.

SSWM 585. SOCIAL WORK WITH GROUPS (3). This course is designed to present a social group work process. The use of assessments and diagnostics, the worker’s role in facilitating group functioning through her/his interventions in the group process and/or structure, and her/his use of various program media are covered. Attention is given to the significance of group goals, agency environment, and social policy. While much of the material covered is vital in the utilization of therapy groups, the course covers the group process in other contexts as well. This course combines didactic and experiential learning to prepare students for practice with groups. The classroom is a learning laboratory for students to become more knowledgeable and skillful as group workers; this includes developing and practicing group leadership and facilitation skills. The course is organized around the phases of group development and the appropriate tasks and interventions for each phase. Students have an opportunity to lead and participate in group experiences. In addition to this experiential component, there are reading and written assignments. Students are encouraged to lead or co-lead a group during the semester in their field experience.

 

PROGRAM FACULTY

For CWRU Mandel School faculty information click here and navigate along the Faculty selection in the left-hand navigation bar.

 

ACADEMIC CALENDAR AND DEADLINES

Important Deadlines for the 2017 Academic Year:

  • Spring 2017 Application Deadline 11/4/2016 (for the 1/2/2017 start date)
  • Summer 2017 Application Deadline 3/3/2017(for the 5/1/2017 start date)
  • Fall 2017 Application Deadline 6/30/2017(for the 8/28/2017 start date)