Academics

Social Work

Program Details

Social Work provides a high quality educational experience, which serves a diverse population, contributes to the enhancement of social service delivery systems, and improves the quality of life for some of our nation's most vulnerable at-risk populations. Our program boasts a proud tradition of supporting social services in the west central Illinois region and throughout the state of Illinois. Our faculty is dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarly and professional activities, and the furthering of social and economic justice for all persons.

The Social Work Program began as an emphasis in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology in 1973 under the direction of Dr. Lillian Snyder. The BSW degree was approved by the Board of Governors in 1988.  The first BSW degrees were issued by Western Illinois University in 1989. The program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 1995 and the Department of Social Work was established in 1997.

Special Opportunities

The department offers accessible faculty; personalized professional, academic, and career advising; and opportunities to attend professional meetings and activities with faculty. The Practicum course, the final course in the professional curriculum, provides a minimum of 450 hours of social work experience in a social service agency under professional supervision. The Practicum course integrates theory and practice and allows for assessment of student competencies while preparing students to enter professional practice and/or go on to higher education. Through the practicum experience, Social Work majors have provided over 250,000 hours of service to the surrounding communities!

Additional Resources

Social Work Courses

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

All students seeking the Bachelor of Social Work must complete I, II, III, and IV below, and the foreign language/global issues requirement for the major#. The minimum semester hour requirement for the baccalaureate degree is 120 s.h. Social Work students must complete a one-semester practicum in a social service agency to gain experience in Social Work practice. The practicum is a closely supervised learning experience that helps prepare students for beginning level practice.

  1. University General Education Curriculum: 43 s.h.
    (To include: BIOL 100, COMM 241, 6 s.h. of Math/Science courses, a Foreign Language course or an additional Multicultural course, lower division Philosophy course, POLS 122, PSY 100, and SOC 100)
  2. Core Courses: 48 s.h.
    SW 100, 212, 213, 312, 313, 315, 316†, 325, 380, 415, 425, 440, 480
  3. Directed Electives
    Select 6 s.h. from the following: SW 330, 331, 332, 334, 335, 336, 337, 338, 340, 345, 496: 6 s.h.
  4. Minor or Open Electives: 17 s.h.
  5. Other: 6 s.h.
    1. Additional General Education Social Sciences course: 3 s.h.
    2. Additional General Education Humanities course: 3 s.h.

# The foreign language/global issues graduation requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following: 1) a designated foreign language requirement [see Foreign Language/Global Issues Requirement, p. 63]; 2) a General Education global issues course; 3) any major’s discipline-specific global issues course; or 4) an approved Study Abroad program.
† SW 316 fulfills the Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) graduation requirement.

SOCIAL WORK (SW)

100 Introduction to Social Work. (3) An introduction to professional values, ethics, history, policies, services, and fields of Social Work practice, emphasizing generalist Social Work. Twenty-five volunteer hours required. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum.

212 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I. (3) An exploration of human development theories in the context of biological, physical, psychological, social, and cultural environments that help shape behavior. The focus is on conception through adolescence. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: SW 100 (C grade or better); BIOL 100; or consent of instructor.

213 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II. (3) An exploration of human development theories in the context of biological, physical, psychological, social, and cultural environments that help shape behavior. The focus is on young adulthood through late adulthood. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisite: SW 212 (C grade or better); or consent of instructor.

312 Social Work Research Methodology. (3) The first of a two-course research sequence preparing students to be effective and ethical consumers and producers of research. Application of qualitative and quantitative methods for direct practice and program evaluation. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: SW 100 (C grade or better); completion of math competency; or consent of instructor.

313 Social Work Research Statistics. (3) The second of a two-course sequence. An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistical analyses for the assessment of practice and program effectiveness. Data analysis is conducted with statistical software. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisite: SW 312 (C grade or better); or consent of instructor.

315 Generalist Social Work Practice I. (4) Provides knowledge, values, and skills needed in the generalist method of Social Work, focusing on working with individuals. A concurrent lab provides skill development. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 212 (C grade or better); permission of advisor. Corequisite: SW 316.

316 Case Management in Social Work. (3) An introduction to case management as a Social Work function. Theories and models of case management will be studied and case management skills will be developed. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 212 (C grade or better); permission of advisor. Corequisite: SW 315.

325 Social Welfare Policy. (3) Study of the formulation and implementation of social welfare policy and its impact on all system levels. Policies are analyzed for their philosophical foundations, populations served, and social and political implications. Policy models, implementation strategies, and budgetary constraints are examined. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisite: SW 100 (C grade or better); or consent of instructor.

330 Child and Family Services. (3) An introduction to theories, policies, and practices in child welfare. Current trends in protective services, family preservation, adoption, and substitute care will be studied. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

331 Social Work and Addictions. (3) An introduction to addictions and their effects on individuals, families, and society. Current theories, treatments, and Social Work roles and functions will be studied. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

332 Social Work with Aging Persons. (3) An introduction to working with persons as they age and as their circumstances change. Social Work roles and personal, familial, and societal implications of aging will be studied. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

334 Social Work and Disabilities. (3) An introduction to disabilities and rehabilitative Social Work. Issues of access, managed care, ethics, social policies, and Social Work roles will be studied. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

335 Domestic Violence and Social Work Intervention. (3) An introduction to major topics in the area of domestic violence. Definitions, warning signs, use of appropriate Social Work services, and prevention will be studied. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

336 Medical Social Work. (3) An introduction to a generalist Social Work perspective of medical Social Work. Theoretical perspectives integrated within medical Social Work will be discussed within a practice-oriented learning environment. Specific skills required in medical Social Work will be emphasized and practiced. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

337 Social Work in Rural Environments. (3) An introduction to the special considerations of Social Work services in rural and small town environments. Content focuses on the characteristics of rural areas, rural populations, lack of social service resources, and appropriate roles for master’s and baccalaureate social workers. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

338 Social Work and Mental Health. (3) Introduction to mental health; impact of mental illness on individuals, families, and society; roles and functions of social workers in mental health services. Introduction to the DSM V will be provided. Focus will be on generalist Social Work. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

340 Topics in Social Work. (3, repeatable for different topics to 6) Varied topics of interest to Social Work and other human service majors. Topics might include diversity, advocacy, spirituality, political activity, criminal justice issues, professional ethics, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

345 Investigation in Social Work. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Investigation into a specific area of Social Work that requires more intense study of longer duration. Prerequisite: junior standing or consent of instructor.

380 Social Justice and Diversity. (3) (Global Issues) Explores how societies and their cultures’ structures and values may oppress, discriminate, or create or enhance power. Develops skills to engage in socially just professional practice with diverse populations. Prerequisites: Social Work major and SW 100 (C grade or better); or consent of instructor.

400 Learning through Community Service. (3) Introduction to applied human service skills through community service in an agency setting. A minimum of 60 volunteer hours required. A concurrent seminar provides opportunities for direction from the instructor and for discussion. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 312 (C grade or better); SW 325 (C grade or better); SW 315 (C grade or better).

415 Generalist Social Work Practice II. (3) Covers the theory and skills of the generalist method of Social Work. Its focus is on families and small groups. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 315 (C grade or better); SW 316 (C grade or better).

425 Generalist Social Work Practice III. (3) Covers the theory and skills of the generalist method of Social Work. Its focus is on organizations, communities, society, and international issues. Thirty hours of community service required. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 315 (C grade or better); SW 316 (C grade or better).

440 Pre-Practicum. (1) Prepares majors for the practicum. Content includes resume preparation; investigation of agency placement opportunities; interviews for placement; overview of ethical, safety, and liability issues; and the role of participants as adult learners. A grade of C or better is required to continue through the curriculum. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 315 (C grade or better); permission of the director of Field Education.

480 Generalist Social Work Practicum. (13) An educational experience in an agency setting that offers practical application of Social Work knowledge, values, and skills. A concurrent integrative seminar provides opportunities for discussion and direction from the instructor. A grade of C or better is required to graduate. Prerequisites: Social Work major; SW 415 (C grade or better); SW 425 (C grade or better); SW 440 (C grade or better); 2.50 GPA in the major; completion of all other required Social Work courses (C grade or better); being within 20 s.h. of completion of degree; permission of the Direction of Field Education and chairperson.

496 Senior Honors Thesis in Social Work. (3–6, repeatable to 6) Thesis research under the direction of at least two Social Work faculty members on a topic of mutual agreement. Minimum of 3 s.h. required for honors. Prerequisite: approval of departmental honors advisor.

499 Senior Assessment Exam. (0) An exam that all social work majors must take at the completion of SW 480. This exam assesses the knowledge gained through completing the social work curriculum. Completion of the exam will result in a grade of S. Prerequisites: Social Work major; senior standing. Corequisite: SW 480. Graded S/U only.

Contact Information

Department of Health Sciences and Social Work

Karen Zellman, Program Coordinator
Stipes Hall 402e
Phone: (309) 298-2109
Email: KT-Zellmann@ wiu . edu

Dr. Lorette S. Oden, Chairperson
Email: HealthSciences@wiu.edu 
Location: Stipes Hall 402
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1076
Phone: (309) 298-1981

Health Sciences & Social Work Website

Health Sciences & Social Work Directory

College of Education & Human Services (COEHS)

Dr. Erskine Smith, Dean
Email: ER-Smith@wiu.edu
COEHS Email: coehs@wiu.edu
Location: Horrabin Hall 117G
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1690

COEHS Website

Health Services Management Advising

Cindy Dadello
Horrabin Hall 91c
Phone: (309) 298-1438
Email: SE-Dorsett@wiu.edu

Brophy Hall