Feb 22, 2024  
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-14 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

School of Social Work

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View Programs and Courses 

View Social Work Flowsheet 


Director Cheryl Springer

Associate Professor Mary P. Byrne, Chairperson

Professors: Sarah Greenberg, Christopher G. Hudson, Robert K. McAndrews

Associate Professors: Felix Amato, Patricia M. Connolly, Helen Glikman, Carol L. Owen, Yvonne Ruiz, Shelley A. Steenrod, Elspeth Slayter

Assistant Professors: Jeffrey R. Driskell, Sandra Yudilevich Espinoza, Lisa M. Johnson, Minoca Leisey, Shannon Mokoro

Faculty Emeriti

Professors: Carol G. Deanow, Barbara L. Nicholson. Leroy H. Pelton, Marguerite G. Rosenthal

Associate Professors: Theresa Bouthot, Lois M. Martin

Programs Offered

Bachelor of Social Work

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Social Work 


Programs in Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree provides a balanced mixture of liberal arts courses with a heavy concentration in the behavioral and social sciences. In addition to completing the required courses in the major, students spend a minimum of 425 hours doing field work in a Social Work agency during their senior year. The curriculum provides an in-depth knowledge of Social Work values, methods, skills and practice areas, equipping students with entry level Social Work competencies in a variety of helping settings and for entrance to graduate Social Work programs. Upon receiving their BSW degree, graduates are eligible to take the exam for licensure at the Licensed Social Workers (LSW) level from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The primary objective of the BSW Program is to prepare students as generalists for beginning practice in Social Work. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

BSW Program Mission Statement

The mission of the BSW Program of the School of Social Work is to provide an excellent generalist foundation for baccalaureate students in the knowledge necessary for beginning professional practice and to enable them to learn about and rehearse the skills necessary for that practice. Central to the mission of the program is to ground all students in the values and ethics of the profession and in the fundamentals of social and economic justice, non-discrimination and openness to other cultures. The professional curriculum builds on a rigorous and comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum. Courses in the Social Work major address professional knowledge, skills and values, building to a substantive senior field education experience that emphasizes professional attitudes and behaviors.

Our program is student-centered. In recognition of the needs of many of the students served, the program is committed to both academic rigor and to providing support for students who might otherwise struggle to complete a baccalaureate degree. The program is committed to providing a variety of means of access, including creation of articulation agreements with community college programs and offering our undergraduate courses to working students enrolled in our evening division. The program welcomes a diverse student body and fosters an atmosphere of openness, collegiality and respect between students and faculty.

The Bachelor of Social Work consists of 51 credit hours of Social Work courses in the behavioral and social sciences; 48 credit hours of distribution courses in the humanities, natural sciences/mathematics and social sciences; 9 credit hours of support courses and 12 credit hours for free electives.

BSW Program

Students are typically accepted into the BSW Program in one of three ways: freshman admission; transfer; or change of major.  Beginning on January 1, 2011, a BSW student will first enter the social work program, then will advance to the practice phase of the social work program through a multi-step process, outlined below.

STEP 1: A student is accepted into the major via one of three routes: (1) freshman admission to Salem State University, with social work as a chosen major; (2) the change of major process; or (3) transfer from another two- or four-year institution. Students with a 2.3 GPA or higher will be accepted into the social work program through change of majors or transfer.

STEP 2: The student must have completed, or have received BSW program-approved TCE equivalency for, SWK 101 , SWK 102 , SWK 200 ,

  (or SWK 510 ), and SWK 270 .  Students are also required to maintain a 2.7 average in these five courses.  At the same point, the student must have completed, or have TCE equivalency for 45 total SSU credits, including at least 30 credits of SSU core curriculum credits and 6 credits in cognate disciplines.

STEP 3: When Steps 1 and 2 are satisfied, the student may make application to continue in the major and advance to the practice courses (SWK 301  and SWK 302 ).  Students can submit material to advance to the practice courses during the academic year in either the fall or spring semester.  The student will submit:

A. An Application Form

B. A Personal Statement (2 typed pages, double-spaced, 12 font; one paragraph apiece, addressing these 4 topics):

1. reason for choosing social work as a major and career

2. assessment of personal strengths and challenges

3. assessment of life experience and their integration with career choice

4. assessment of personal values and their alignment with social work’s professional value system

C. Instructors’ Review Forms, from at least 2 instructors in social work courses including SWK 101 , SWK 102 , SWK 200 

  and SWK 270 .

D. Evidence of at least a 2.3 Salem State University overall GPA, a minimum 2.7 average among BSW courses taken to date, and at least a 2.0 in every social work course taken to date (or transferred into SSU) social work program.

STEP 4: The BSW faculty will consider the data in A through D, above.  The BSW faculty will look for evidence of solid written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills, as determined by faculty input and student writing. The BSW faculty will also glean from those sources evidence of emotional stability sufficient to safely and effectively practice social work, as articulated in the SSU School of Social Work’s Professional Standards.

STEP 5: Once the packet of material is complete, the Continuation Committee Chair will inform applicants about their acceptance status into the major. The status could be:

A. Acceptance, with notification of the student’s new social work advisor.

B. Pending Acceptance (with specific written reasons for the decision and criteria for full acceptance, with clear timelines on meeting those criteria).  A conditionally accepted student will be informally advised by the Continuation Committee Chair, during the timeline for change/completion.  At the end of that timeline, the Chairperson will subsequently issue a new Announcement of Status for that student.

C. Rejection

STEP 6: A rejected student is welcome to re-apply to the practice sequence if and when factors in the rejection have been ameliorated. 

Field Work Readiness–Academic Requirements      

Ideally students proceed sequentially in the major by taking SWK 101  and SWK 102  in freshman year and SWK 200 , SWK 261 , and SWK 270  in sophomore year and SWK 301  and SWK 302  in junior year. Regardless, students in the BSW program are required to take seven Social Work courses prior to beginning field work.  These are:

The student must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least “B-” (2.7) in these six Social Work courses prior to being considered for field education placement assignment. In addition to the B- cumulative grade point average the student must earn a B- or better in GP-I and a B- or better in GP-II. Students who earn below a B- in GP-I or GP-II are permitted to repeat the course one time to improve their grade. If they earn below a B- a second time, they must withdraw from the Social Work major. 

Social Work majors and pre-majors must earn a grade of C or higher in all other Social Work courses (these courses include, but are not limited to SWK 261 ,

   and  ). A student may repeat a Social Work course only once. A second grade below a C in the same course mandates withdrawal from the Social Work major.

Additionally, Field Work I and II (SWK 404 /SWK 405 ) and Field Education Seminar I and II (SWK 406 /SWK 407 ) are co-requisites. In order to successfully pass one course a student must pass the other. Therefore, a student must earn a B- or better in Field Seminar I and a “P” in Field Work I in order to continue into Field Work II and Field Seminar II. If a student does not earn a B- or better in Field Seminar I and a “P” in Field Work I, then he/she must retake both Field Work I and Field Seminar I. A second grade of lower than a B- in Field Seminar and/or a grade of “P” in Field Work I mandates that a student withdraw from the Social Work major. Likewise if a student does not earn a B- or better in Field Seminar II and a “P” in Field Work II then he/she must retake both Field Work II and Field Seminar II. A second grade of lower than a B- in Field Seminar and/ or grade of “P” in Field Work II mandates that a student withdraw from the Social Work major.

At the end of his/her field education experience, the student may have no more than 12 credits to complete his/her degree.

Non-Academic Requirements

The students’ readiness for assignment to a field placement will be assessed by their level of maturity and responsibility and their commitment to the values and ethics of the field of Social Work as ascertained in consultation with their academic advisor. The student should consult with and abide by the BSW Student Handbook and BSW Field Education Handbooks.

Because of the nature of professional Social Work practice, the School of Social Work has different expectations than do non-professional programs. The standards are linked to students’ abilities to become effective Social Work professionals and are provided to clarify expectations and procedures regarding concerns about academic and field education performance. The ultimate goal of the Standards is to help students have a successful experience at the School of Social Work. Students will be asked to abide by the School’s Professional Standards for Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.

Additional Information

Students who have had considerable volunteer and/or employment experience in the social services should consult with the BSW Program Coordinator. Opportunity to reflect on and analyze this prior experience may be arranged through enrollment in the course, SWK 510 - Directed Study in the Generalist Approach  (3 credit hours).

For a Minor in Social Work

Please consult the Social Work Minor  section of this catalog for minor requirements.



The School of Social Work Student Handbook issued to all departmental majors contains details on all aspects of the BSW program.


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