Elective offerings vary from year to year. SP2 considers student interest when deciding which electives will be offered each semester.
SWRK 601: History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare
This course traces the development of social welfare policy in the United States and its relationship to social work. It analyzes the values and assumptions that form the foundation of existing welfare programs and institutions and explores the social, economic, political and cultural contexts in which they have developed.
The course examines the development of cash assistance and social service programs in light of the enduring legacy of poverty, racism, and sexism. The view of “outsiders” in U.S. society—low-income persons, people of color, gays and lesbians—allows us to gain perspective on the source of conflict and consensus in American history, which augments material about institutional racism learned in SWRK 603 and content about behavioral responses learned in SWRK 602. The course traces, as well, the roles that social workers have played in the formulation and implementation of social welfare policy and links these historical examples to contemporary policy practice.
SWRK 602: Human Behavior in the Social Environment
This course introduces the student to the individual and family components of social interaction in a variety of milieus. Theories of self and personality are studied along with theories related to traditional and non-traditional family styles, different social and ethnic groups, and assimilation and acculturation. Emphasis is given to the impact of different cultures and traditions on individual functioning. Additional attention is given to selected social characteristics of the larger society, such as factors of socio-economic class that influence individual and family behavior and functioning.
SWRK 603: American Racism and Social Work Practice
This course explores racism in America as an historical and contemporary phenomenon. It emphasizes the development of evidence-based knowledge about institutional systems of racism, analytical skill in understanding the complexity of institutional racism and other forms of oppression more broadly defined, self- awareness, and the implications of racism for social work services and practices.
SWRK 604: Foundations of Social Work Practice I
This is the first of a four-course sequence designed to help students develop a professional stance and evidence-based framework for social work services to individuals, groups, families, and communities. It integrates the student’s theoretical learning with the experience in the field placement agency. The student is introduced to a holistic process-oriented approach to social work practice and to methods for implementation. The course emphasizes the social context for practice with special attention to agency purpose, functions and structure; the client system and its perceptions of need; goals and resources; and the social worker as a facilitator of change.
SWRK 614: Foundations of Social Work Practice II
Required (Prerequisite SWRK 604)
This is the second in a four-course sequence and continues to examine varied practice frameworks and methods for service delivery in working with individuals, groups, families, and communities. It emphasizes the eradication of institutional racism and other forms of oppression along with the integration of a culturally-sensitive approach to social work practice. Attention is given to understanding client problems in the context of different social work practice approaches and service requirements and to increased use of professional values to guide and inform practice.
SWRK 615: Introduction to Social Work Research
Required; Formerly SWRK 715
This course presents the broad range of research tools that social workers can use to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their practice. The course emphasizes the process of theory development, conceptualization, and hypothesis formulation across a broad spectrum of social work practice situations. The course includes methodological considerations relating to concept operationalization, research design (experimental, survey, and field), sampling instrumentation, methods of data collection and analysis, and report preparation and dissemination. The course also emphasizes how social work research can help professionals better understand and more effectively impact problems of racism and sexism in contemporary American society.
SWRK 620: Integrative Practice Seminar
Required for Advanced Standing students
All Advanced Standing students are required to take the Integrative Seminar in the summer upon beginning the program. The seminar meets weekly during the second summer session and supports students as they begin their field placement. In order to enroll in the fall, students must achieve satisfactory performance in the Integrative Practice Seminar and summer field placement.
SWRK 626: Health and Social Justice
This course considers various theoretical approaches to justice and health, motivated by the idea that a moral framework is needed to address the ethical challenges posed by inequalities in access, quality, financial burdens, and resource priorities, as well as rising health care costs. The course includes four parts. The first part examines ethical frameworks that involve various approaches to medical and public health ethics. The second part presents an alternative theory of justice and health, the health capability paradigm (HCP), grounded in human flourishing. The third part explores domestic health policy applications of HCP, including equal access, equitable and efficient health financing and insurance, rising costs and allocating resources. The fourth and final part of the course investigates domestic health reform, particularly a normative theory of health policy decision making grounded in political and moral legitimacy. The course scrutinizes the relevance of health justice for governing health at the domestic level, that is within countries, offers a new theory of health and social justice, the health capability paradigm, and of health governance, shared health governance, evaluating current domestic health systems and proposals for reforming them in light of these alternative theoretical frameworks.
SWRK 629: Health Capability
This course examines the idea of health capability. Health capability is the ability to be healthy; it integrates health functioning and health agency. Health capability helps us understand the conditions that facilitate and barriers that impede health and the ability to make healthy choices. Health capabilities are key strengths resulting from individual and societal commitment of human, financial, and physical resources with the goal of helping people thrive. Differences in health capability explain why, for example, personal skills and determination or health beliefs are not enough to achieve health, why people with even the best external conditions can still have poor health, and why a narrow biomedical model of disease is insufficient. Health capability captures the dynamic, interactive, multidimensionality of health and flourishing. Health capability has the effect of creating a virtuous circle; developing people’s health capability enables them to create and support the conditions for their own and other’s health capability and so forth. It offers an evaluation of the aim and success of public policies in terms of people’s lived experiences. The course is motivated by the idea that health capabilities ought to be a primary dimension in which equity in health and public policy is sought. The course includes three parts. The first part engages with the health capability model. The second part examines the health capability profile. The third part explores health capability applications. Twin goals of the course include cultivating the development of students’ knowledge base, values and competencies as well as aiding students in identifying, assessing and expanding their own health capabilities for individual and community health and flourishing.
SWRK 701: Health and Mental Health Policy
Effective social policy and practice strategies promote social justice and ensure all individuals, groups, and communities have access to high quality, comprehensive, affordable health and social support services. In this course, we use a health equity lens to critically analyze how health and mental health policies are developed and implemented, and how such policies relate to social work practice, program planning, and research. A broad perspective is used in thinking about health and well-being, accounting for intersectional health equity considerations deriving from race, ethnicity, disability or gender. Key policy issues such as financing, cost, access, and the allocation of resources are explored in the context of existing systems and health reform proposals. Students learn about health and mental health policy through inquiry related to the social construction of illness, stigma, social determinants of health, health and behavioral health integration, and specific population groups such as children, families, LGBTQ individuals, or those with specific health conditions, among other topics.
SWRK 702: Social Work Practice in Health Care
Clinical Practice Elective
This course focuses on key issues in social work practice in health care settings. Social aspects of health and illness, including cultural variations, health beliefs and behavior, and the impact of illness on the patient and the family, are examined and their relevance for practice is discussed. Appropriate theoretical models for practice are identified and applied to practice in the areas of prevention, primary care, chronic and long-term care. New roles for social work in varied health delivery systems and inter-professional collaboration are explored.
SWRK 703: Impacting Government: Policy Analysis and Coalition Building
Macro Practice Elective
This course focuses on developing a theoretical foundation for actionable skills in policy analysis and coalition building across a wide-range of constituencies. The material begins with a structured focus on the ideological underpinnings of social welfare in the United States and the ways in which these perspectives shape our conception of equity, equality, and allocation of resources along the lines of race, class, gender, immigration status, and other identities. We will then utilize this basis for developing analysis frameworks, policy briefs, and media messaging that students will utilize when working with legislative bodies to advocate for and with the populations they serve. Distinct emphasis is placed on becoming conversant across differential systems, ideas, values, and assumptions while remaining grounded in relevant research and empirical approaches.
SWRK 704: Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice I
Required for Clinical Practice Concentration
Clinical Social Work Practice I and Field Practice builds on the generalist model of practice established in the foundation social work practice courses. The course work and assignments in SWRK 704 are closely linked to the students’ learning objectives and experiences in the field. This course has students critically examine and deepen their understanding of advanced theoretical frameworks and specific skills to be applied in clinical practice with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Students begin with classic and modern formulations of psychodynamic work and use this as a foundation for understanding theoretically and empirically drive models of family intervention. In addition, use of self and social work values and ethics and working with diverse clients are addressed at an advanced level.
SWRK 706: Policies for Children and Their Families
This course examines policies for children and their families with a specific focus on child welfare policy. The course examines the interrelationship between: the knowledge base on child abuse and neglect; evaluations of interventions; programs and policies designed to protect maltreated children; and child welfare policy at the state and national level. The course also examines federal and state laws that govern the funding and operation of child welfare systems; the history of child welfare policies; the operation of child welfare systems; and the legal, political and social forces that influence the structure and function of child welfare systems in the United States.
SWRK 708: Advanced Macro Social Work Practice I
Required for Macro Practice Concentration
SWRK 708, Advanced Macro Social Work Practice I and Field, builds on the foundation social work practice courses and focuses on three areas: (1) context of macro practice; (2) organizational structure with a focus on nonprofits; and (3) program design and development. The course begins with providing theoretical frameworks for macro practice and then moves to focus on delivery of services at the community level. Knowledge and skill development focuses primarily on social work practice within communities and organizations. Students learn how to organize and build relationships with communities and develop, plan, manage, fund and assess/evaluate community-based programs. Specific skill development includes learning how to research, develop, write, and pitch a grant proposal. Course content is integrated with fieldwork and is specific to the service needs of the populations with whom students are working in their field agencies.
SWRK 709: Heterosexism
This course builds on the foundation-year focus on institutional oppression by applying this model to the status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in U.S. society and in social welfare systems. The course assesses the relationship of heterosexism and homophobia to other forms of institutional oppression, including racism and sexism. The course includes an overview of the treatment of sexual minorities in the U.S. and in the social work profession with a focus on issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients as an under-served and mis-served population. The intersection of racism and heterosexism is a focal point to explore the concerns and needs of LGBTQ people of color. Current theoretical frameworks for understanding sexual identity and the unique situations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people throughout the life cycle will be identified. Social work strategies for addressing heterosexism in social welfare agencies and communities will be explored by examining both micro and macro social work practice issues. The course will include a critical assessment of the state of social work education on the topic.
SWRK 710: Supervision Seminar
Required for students in the Employed Practitioners Program or without an MSW supervisor at their Field Placement
Non-credit course required for students in the Employed Practitioners Program
Students in the Employed Practitioners Program are required to take this non-credit seminar in the fall and spring terms of their second year of study. The class meets every other week.
Non-credit course required for students without an MSW supervisor at their field placement
In a limited number of cases, advanced-year students may be placed in agencies where there is no available MSW field instructor. In such instances, the student is required to attend the Clinical or Macro Supervision Seminar (depending on their concentration), which meets every other week during the academic year. Students who are required to participate in the clinical or macro supervision seminars will be given 1.5 hours of compensatory time off from their field placement every other week.
SWRK 711: Contemporary Social Policy
Policy Option; Formerly listed as SWRK 611
This course introduces students to the analysis of contemporary social welfare policy. Several social welfare policy areas, including social inequality, poverty, health care, and housing are examined. Each topic area is also used to illustrate a component of the policy analysis process, including the analysis of ideologies and values as they shape policy formulation, the process by which legislation is proposed and enacted, the roles of advocacy and lobbying organizations, and the challenges of policy implementation and evaluation.
SWRK 712/URBS 401: City Limits: The Impact of Urban Policy
Students must have taken an introduction to research methods course.
This course assesses the changing role of public policy in American cities. In the past, government often believed that it could direct urban development. New realities—the rise of an informal labor market, global capital and labor flows, the flight of businesses and the middle class to the suburbs—have demonstrated that government must see itself as one—but only one—‘player’ in a more complex, transactional process of policy making that crosses political boundaries and involves business, organized interest groups, and citizens. This seminar uses a case study method to study how public policy can make a difference in the revitalization of distressed American cities. The seminar is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Seminar readings and projects will be organized around three themes: 1) history and vision, 2) data and analysis, and 3) policy development and implementation. Students will be divided into project teams assigned to work on current development issues that will be reviewed by both public- and private-sector experts. Extensive use will be made of real estate, economic development, and social indicator data to understand the complex forces at work in both large and small cities. Students will learn to access, analyze, and map information; to frame and interpret these data within a regional perspective; and to construct profiles of cities and neighborhoods. Students will study recent urban redevelopment initiatives in the Philadelphia region — including Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Transformations Initiative and New Jersey’s Camden Revitalization plans.
SWRK 713: Understanding Social Change: Issues of Race and Gender
Required (Prerequisite SWRK 603); Formerly listed as SWRK 613
This course builds upon the foundation of historical, psychological, sociological, economic, political, and personal knowledge about institutionalized forms of racism and discrimination developed in SWRK 603, American Racism and Social Work Practice. The course uses understanding elements of oppression to critically examine strategies for addressing racism and sexism in organizations and communities through systematic assessment and planning for social change. The course examines change at three levels: organizations, communities, and social movements.
SWRK 714: Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice II
Required for Clinical Practice Concentration (Prerequisite SWRK 704)
The focus of learning this semester is theories and skills related to clinical practice with individuals and groups, differential intervention, and the broadening of the professional role and repertoire. The course content and assignments for SWRK 714 are closely linked with the students’ learning objectives and experiences in the field. Students extend and refine their practice knowledge and skills and learn to intervene with cognitive, behavioral, and narrative modalities. This semester focuses also on work with complex trauma across systems and populations. Students consolidate their identification as professionals and learn to constructively use the environment to effect systems changes.
SWRK 717: Art and Social Work
How can the arts help us build a more just society? How can the arts transform social structures and systems? Public health crises involving clean water (Flint), police violence (Baltimore), and a lack of economic and educational opportunity following reentry (Philadelphia) make legible the need for a new visual language that critiques these conditions and challenges entrenched structural inequalities. We will engage the work of creative practitioners who are mapping new relationships between art and social justice and directly impacting individual and communal well-being. In so doing, the course seeks to challenge traditional constructions of public health, which often isolate individual histories from their social life and their relation to families, communities, and geographies. Readings will build upon disciplinary perspectives in the arts, humanities, and social policy. Requirements include weekly readings, class participation, and a collaborative final project. The course will meet in the Health Ecologies Lab at Slought Foundation, an arts organization on campus.
SWRK 718: Advanced Macro Social Work Practice II
Required for Macro Practice Concentration (Prerequisite SWRK 708)
SWRK 718, Advanced Macro Social Work Practice II and Field, helps students broaden and deepen the specific knowledge and skills required to become an effective and creative social work macro practitioner. The course focuses on five areas of macro practice: (1) community assessment and practice; (2) policy advocacy; (3) fiscal management and fundraising; (4) global human rights; and (5) emerging areas of macro practice. Students learn how to conduct a community practice analysis, engage in policy advocacy, develop an idea for a social enterprise, write an agency fundraising plan, and conduct an agency fiscal evaluation. Students learn to utilize administrative skills to promote social change within a variety of systems that influence the lives of client populations. Course content is integrated with fieldwork and is specific to the service needs of the populations with whom students are working in their field agencies.
SWRK 719: Prenatal and Early Childhood Development
This course presents a coherent portrait of the development that transforms a person from the prenatal period to infancy to young childhood. The course bridges standard theories of development with new approaches such as social learning, cognitive development, developmental psychobiology, and other psychological theories used to understand the child. Integration of different perspectives on development is geared to demonstrate the interrelated nature of growth in cognition, learning, language, emotions, personality, physical growth and social behaviors. Students research areas of individual interest.
SWRK 720: Middle Childhood and Adolescence
This course focuses initially on growth and behavior in the often overshadowed period of middle childhood, and in greater depth on the adolescent period. Change in the psychological, physical, cognitive and social domains of growth is examined and is related to changing relationships and overt behaviors. The influence of social factors is a continuing theme. Concepts like “adolescent rebellion” are questioned and re-evaluated. Connections between uneven development and social problem behavior are examined. Knowledge is salient to school social work as well as to other practice domains. Students research areas of individual interest.
SWRK 722: Practice with Children and Adolescents
Clinical Practice Elective ; Option for Home and School Visitor Certification Requirement
This course provides a foundation for social work practice with children and adolescents. Beginning with an overview of normative child and adolescent development and psychosocial developmental theory, the course covers various methods for helping at-risk children and adolescents and their families. Emphasizing the complex interplay between children and adolescents and their social environments, consideration will be given to biological, temperamental, and developmental status; the familial/cultural context; the school context; and other aspects of the physical and social environment. Particular attention is paid to working with socially, emotionally, financially, and physically challenged and deprived children and adolescents and their families.
SWRK 724: Developmental Disabilities
Clinical Practice Elective; Required for Home and School Visitor Certification
This course enhances the students’ ability to practice social work with and on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families. The course provides a base of knowledge about developmental disabilities and differences, their causes and characteristics. Students learn how disabilities and learning differences impact personal, familial, educational, social, and economic dimensions for the individual, family and society, with attention to the person’s special life cycle needs and characteristics. The course also emphasizes legislative, programmatic, political, economic, and theoretical formulations fundamental to service delivery.
SWRK 726: Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention
Clinical Practice Elective
This course focuses on theory and practice of planned brief treatment in social work practice, primarily with individuals but with attention to couples, families and other groupings. The course covers the history of and different approaches to brief treatment. Topics include treatment issues such as criteria for selection of clients, understanding the importance of time in the treatment relationship, the use of history, the importance of focusing, the process of termination and other issues related to brief interventions. Particular attention will be paid to the use of brief treatment approaches in crisis situations. The course presents various methods of assessing an individual’s crisis and of helping clients mobilize their strengths to utilize customary methods of coping and learn newer ways of coping.
SWRK 727: Practice with Families
Clinical Practice Elective
This course provides students with assessment and intervention skills for social work practice with varied family/partner configurations. The course begins with a grounding in family systems theory and proceeds to explore patterns of interaction in terms of the wide range of problems that families and partners bring to social agencies. Emphasis is given to exploring ways of supporting change in interaction patterns. Readings are augmented by videotapes of family sessions and simulations of clinical situations from students’ field practice.
SWRK 729: Social Statistics
This course provides students with a broad range of statistical methods and applications. It introduces social work students to the use of quantitative data for planning and evaluating social programs and social policy. Course topics include conceptualization and measurement of variables and basic techniques and concepts for exploring and categorizing data, for generalizing research findings and testing hypotheses, and for statistical data processing. Students will gain experience in using a Windows-based statistical software package on personal computers. Emphasis is placed on the practical application of data to address social policy and social work practice issues. Students have the opportunity to critique the application of data analysis and presentation in technical reports and professional journals.
SWRK 730: Community Mapping
Macro Practice Elective
Geographic space is important to family and community well-being, as we know. Community Mapping introduces students to geographic information systems (GIS), computer software for making maps and analyzing spatial data. Students will learn how maps have been used in social welfare history as well as how GIS can be used for needs assessments, asset mapping, program evaluation, and program planning. The course builds on research skills developed in SW 715. For the final project, students have an opportunity to apply their GIS skills to creating maps related to their field placement. The use of such maps may lead to both program and policy change in neighborhoods and communities.
SWRK 731: Clinical and Macro Child Welfare Practice
Clinical Practice Elective and Macro Practice Elective
Students enrolled in this course will learn about the various contexts in which child welfare practice and policy services take place and the skills and modalities that are used with children, youth, and families who are the focus of child welfare intervention. Students learn about the social conditions and unmet needs that have typically precipitated child welfare policy and ideological debates informing child welfare policy. How to structure organizations and implement planning in support of strengthening front-line practice is also addressed. Taking stock of these policies and organizational factors, students gain a firm understanding of how they influence, shape, and govern direct clinical practice in child protection and casework. Particular attention will be devoted to developing students’ practice skills in safety assessment and safety planning, risk assessment, and permanency planning. Implementation of evidence-based, trauma-informed interventions to promote positive developmental outcomes among the racially/ethnically diverse pool of children and adolescents placed in out-of-home care will also be a focus of attention. Other topics include separation, loss, and identity development; disproportionality and disparity; and self-care in child welfare practice. In the spirit of bridging connections between macro and clinical practice, course content will delve into how direct casework services influence dependency actions in the juvenile courts. How these direct practices or interventions influence case outcomes as reported by a number of federal data reporting systems will also be discussed. A social justice framework will be applied to understand how child welfare policies and organizational services sustain child and family inequalities, especially for historically oppressed and marginalized populations who are disproportionally represented in the child welfare system.
SWRK 732: Integrative Seminar in Child Welfare
Prerequisite: Acceptance to the Child Well-Being and Child Welfare Specialization
This capstone course in the Child Well-Being and Child Welfare specialization will integrate direct/micro and macro levels of practice; research in child welfare and related fields, as the research relates to all levels of practice; the relationship of child maltreatment and other social problems; and perspectives from several disciplines, specifically social work, other mental health professions, law, and medicine, as these disciplines address problems of child maltreatment and child welfare. The seminar will highlight issues of social justice, disproportionality – particularly the over-representation of children and families of color in the child welfare system, and disadvantaged populations, including children in general and poor children in particular. Faculty from other disciplines will be featured as guest speakers throughout the course.
SWRK 736: Building Community Capacity
Macro Practice Elective
This course provides an introduction to community organization and community capacity building. The course encompasses strategies, models, and techniques for the creation of organizations, the formation of federations of existing organizations, and coalition-building, all designed to address problems requiring institutional or policy changes or reallocation of resources to shift power and responsibility to those most negatively affected by current socio-economic and cultural arrangements. The course emphasizes development of strategies and techniques to organize low-income minority residents of urban neighborhoods, and to organize disenfranchised groups across geographic boundaries as the first required steps in an empowerment process.
SWRK 737: Bioethics and Social Work in Diverse Healthcare Settings
As medical technology develops and evolves, ethical dilemmas are occurring more frequently in many diverse healthcare settings. Social workers play an integral and unique role in bioethics: primarily as patient advocates but also as guardians of autonomy and dignity. This can come into direct conflict with decisions patients, families and healthcare teams are asked to make on a daily basis in healthcare settings.
This course will explore many of the major ethical challenges confronting medicine, social work and biomedical sciences. We will examine legal, institutional and personal positions, beliefs and values as we consider and debate opposing arguments. You will be challenged to think and write critically, utilizing philosophical, bioethical and social work frameworks to structure your arguments and ethical decision making.
This course will prepare students to actively participate in ethics committees, mediation, patient/family conferences with diverse populations and interdisciplinary collaborative discussions regarding ethical issues in medical settings.
SWRK 738: Anxiety and Depression
Clinical Practice Elective
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental disorders seen in social work clients, and frequently they occur concurrently. This course describes the medical and “physical” concomitants and psychosocial factors associated with both conditions and introduces diagnostic and assessment procedures and methods of intervention that social workers use in working with clients with these conditions. The course also considers how culture, social class, gender, and other social differences affect the expression of these disorders and their concomitant treatment.
SWRK 739: Illness and Family Caregiving
Clinical Practice Elective
This course focuses on social work practice in medicine and the relationships between physical health, social environments, and psychosocial functioning. Student learning will be grounded in the biopsychosocial-spiritual model, and will address a number of domains, including the impact of illness on families over the life course, the impact of a diagnosis on family functioning, medical decision making, coping, health beliefs and spirituality, culture and social class. Classroom content will include conceptualization of illness challenges from the presentation/prevention of symptoms to the end of life, in addition to writing case material, building self-awareness and identifying clinical interface issues, and the compilation of a “clinician’s toolbox” for direct practice on the front lines. Activities will include the unique opportunity to participate in hands-on, interdisciplinary training at the Simulation Center in the School of Nursing.
SWRK 740: Strategic Planning and Resource Development
Macro Practice Elective
Resilient organizations engage in a continuous process of self renewal. Referred to as “strategic planning,” this process requires the active participation of a broad range of organizational “stakeholders” who, in their work together, seek to realign the organization’s goals, structures, programs and funding patterns so as to make them more responsive to the changing needs of their service populations. Building on the content of the program’s other foundation courses. “Strategic Planning and Resource Development” has been designed to strengthen the student’s leadership capacity for engaging in strategic planning and resource development practice across a broad range of governmental (GOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs). The importance of organizational flexibility, innovation and the creation of cooperative public-private partnerships is emphasized throughout the course.
SWRK 741: Gender and Social Policy
Gender and Social Policy develops an advanced understanding of social policies through a focus on social issues and conditions through the lens of gender, economic and critical theory. The specialized focus on gender and social policy provides students with the opportunity to develop more specialized knowledge about how market dynamics and government policies respond to the needs and risks faced by women. Specific emphasis is placed on utilizing theoretical frameworks to evaluate the intersection between social policy, history and social science in relationship to gender issues. Students are also expected to conduct a policy analysis that includes an evaluation of how current and former social movements surrounding gender issues shaped their policy of interest.
SWRK 742: Practice with Youth Who are Marginalized
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective; Option for Home and School Visitor Requirement
The discourse on juvenile justice in the United States, once driven by themes of treatment and rehabilitation, has been dominated in recent years by vocabularies of punishment and incapacitation. The juvenile court, an enterprise founded by social reformers and the social work profession at the turn of the century to “save children,” is now under severe political and legislative pressure to impose harsher penalties on younger and younger offenders who are increasingly portrayed as violent “super-predators,” while its most vulnerable segments, children and youth, stand in greatest need of what a social service system can offer. Not surprisingly, those most likely to wind up under supervision are economically poor, under-educated, disproportionately of color and disproportionately at-risk to become victims of violent crimes. How does the profession situate itself in this discourse and what are individual social workers to do?
SWRK 743: Action Research
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 615)
Action research is a form of social research that combines research with intervention. It is characterized by a collaborative relationship between the researcher and a client organization that is in an immediate problematic situation. The research process is directed toward addressing the problem situation and producing knowledge that contributes to the goals of social science. Action research is compatible with many of the values and principles of social work. This course also addresses issues of social work ethics and values encountered by the action researcher.
SWRK 744: Direct Practice Research
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 615)
This course provides graduate social work students with research knowledge and skills aimed at enhancing their direct practice with clients. The course examines methods of assessment, methods for choosing and evaluating techniques of intervention, methods for determining the effectiveness of practice and the use of research in social work decision-making. A successful outcome of the course will be that students perceive a more positive relationship between research and social work practice and possess a set of tools that they will be able to utilize in their future careers as social workers. The course starts from an assumption that students have some familiarity with research and are primarily engaged in direct practice with individuals, families or groups.
SWRK 746: Political Social Work
Macro Practice Elective
This course focuses on the role of social workers and the social work profession in advocacy and the political arena. It examines the methods of advocacy (e.g., case, class, and legislative) and political action through which social workers can influence social policy development and community and institutional change. The course also analyzes selected strategies and tactics of change and seeks to develop alternative social work roles in the facilitation of purposive change efforts. Topics include individual and group advocacy, lobbying, public education and public relations, electoral politics, coalition building, and legal and ethical dilemmas in political action.
SWRK 748: Microfinance and Women's Empowerment in India
This course examines microfinance and its engagement with marginalized communities, such as those in India. It is designed to provide students with an understanding of the phenomena of microfinance and its role in poverty alleviation. By studying the use of self-help groups with NGO facilitation, their impact on women’s empowerment will be examined and understood through interaction with women engaged in microfinance activities.
SWRK 749: Civil Society Promoting Coexistence in Israel
Pre-approved for Global Human Rights certificate
This course offers a unique opportunity to experience the challenges and complexities of coexistence in Israel, the Holy Land for Christians, Jews and Muslims; a key point of interest and dispute for the international community, and the homeland shared and claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. The course will focus on activities carried out by nonprofit organizations operating within the Israeli civil society, dealing with issues related to co-existence and to the protection and advancement of the civil and social rights of different populations, with special emphasis on the Arab-Palestinian population in Israel. These activities include educational and social services programs, community work and advocacy activities, aimed at creating dialogues and building co-existence among the different populations in the Israeli society and in Palestine.
SWRK 755: International Social Policy & Practice: Perspectives from the Global South
Pre-approved for Global Human Rights certificate
This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to social policy and practice perspectives from outside the U.S. and especially from communities in the Global South. The course will familiarize them with global professions and help prepare them for overseas/cross-cultural practice. Through the course students will identify numerous strategies and skills professionals have used to collaboratively build interventions within human rights, social policy, social welfare, education, healthcare and sustainable development arenas.
development issue within a country and community.
SWRK 756: Human Sexuality
The aim of this course is to increase the student’s ability to deal more comfortably with the sexual aspect of human functioning. Readings, written assignments, and classroom presentations are directed to realizing the diversity, complexity, and range of human sexual expression. Current information about sexuality from the biological and physiological sciences is reviewed. To increase comfort and skill in discussion and handling of sex-related behavior, personal and societal attitudes are explored. A variety of sex-related social problems encountered by social workers in family, education, health, and criminal justice settings are discussed. Diagnostic interviewing and treatment methods are presented in role play, group exercises, and case studies.
SWRK 757: Loss Through the Life Cycle
Clinical Practice Elective
This course considers loss as a central theme throughout the life cycle. Content focuses on the physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and cultural aspects of loss, dying and bereavement processes and the interaction among individuals, families and professionals. Students examine historical trends of family, community, and institutional support for the terminally ill and those experiencing traumatic loss and learn ways to advocate for a system of services that supports full decision-making on the part of the client. Course materials, journals, and special projects identify how self and other factors impact service delivery to individuals, families, and communities experiencing loss, including ethical considerations prompted by cost, technology, and end of life issues.
SWRK 758: Faith-Based Practice and Management
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective
This course prepares students to work in existing and newly formed faith-based social service agencies. It also serves as a national laboratory to extract new knowledge of best practices and the variability of managing and practicing in faith-based social service agencies.
SWRK 759: Substance Use Interventions
Clinical Practice Elective
This course addresses intervention approaches used in social work practice with individuals, families, and groups who misuse addictive substances themselves or are affected by another’s misuse. Students learn about addictive substances, models of intervention, how to engage and assess clients, and how to intervene and evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions. The course incorporates theory and research findings on various strategies of intervention.
SWRK 760: Mental Health Diagnostics
Clinical Practice Elective; Required for Clinical Practice Concentration
Offered every Fall, Spring and Summer I. In the summer, it is offered in the 4:00 – 6:30 PM time slot in even years, and the 6:45 – 9:15 PM time slot in odd years.
This course familiarizes students with mental health and mental disorders within the context of the life cycle, viewed from a biopsychosocial perspective. Prevalent categories of psychiatric disorders are considered with respect to their differentiating characteristics, explanatory theories, and relevance for social work practice, according to the DSM and other diagnostic tools. The course includes biological information and addresses the impact of race, ethnicity, social class, age, gender, and other sociocultural variables on diagnostic processes.
SWRK 761: Spirituality and Social Work Practice
Clinical Practice Elective
Spirituality is a critical anchor of a holistic approach to social work, which views individuals, couples, families, groups, and communities in a bio-psycho-social-spiritual context. It varies in extent to which spiritual aspects of social work practice have been addressed explicitly in social work education. In a post September 11th, 2001 world, however, drawing from the wellsprings of spirituality seems more widespread, and even more crucial.
Current trends in social work education, including the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards support the inclusion of content on religious and spiritual diversity. Accordingly, this course is an advanced clinical practice elective that focuses on spiritual aspects of social work practice. The professional values of client self-determination and empowerment will be stressed as diverse spiritual perspectives are explored.
This course will strive to seek a balance of exploring the universalistic as well as the particularistic in relationship to spirituality. Some particularistic religious and/or spiritual traditions will be studied as they exemplify commitments of spirituality and as they intersect with a more universalistic spirituality. The impacts of spiritual and religious systems in relation to diversity (e.g. by gender, social class, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) will be considered.
As a practice elective, this course will make linkages directly to students’ practice experience in the field as well as to other curriculum areas such as human behavior theory, social policy, and research.
SWRK 763: Global Human Rights and US Immigration: Implications for Policy and Practice
Policy Option; Macro Practice Elective
Pre-approved for Global Human Rights certificate
This course will begin with the history of migration to the US, as well as legal definitions of newcomers, including obtaining documents for lawful permanent residence, refugee status, as well as grounds for exclusion and deportation, and paths to naturalized citizenship. We will then review how a framework of cultural competence, and a strength or asset-based approach can inform service to immigrant clients. The core portion of the course will then focus first on the intersection of immigrants and health, mental health, employment, crimes, public entitlements, and public education. The course will conclude with family issues relevant to immigrant families: women, children, lesbian and gay, and elderly immigrants. Public policy issues will be integrated throughout, and the course will end with specific suggestions on systems change at various levels. By the end of the course students should be able to identify strategies for individual clients advocacy (micro); agency and community strategies (mezzo), and government advocacy (macro) to empower immigrant clients to become full community participants.
SWRK 765: Supervision and Leadership in Human Services Organizations
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective
This course builds on social work knowledge, values, and skills gained in foundation practice courses and links them to the roles and functions of social workers as supervisors and managers in human service organizations. Course focus is on providing students with an overview of basic supervisory and human resource development concepts so they may be better prepared as professional social workers to enter agencies and provide direct reports (supervisees) with meaningful and appropriate direction, support, and motivation.
SWRK 766: Organizational Politics & the Dynamics of Change
This is one of the two courses referred to as “The Power Lab at Penn.” The other is NPLD 791.
This course explores how and when organizational change is possible. It is based on two bodies of thought: (1) the behavior of individuals within groups and the behavior of groups within organizations; and (2) the ways conflicts emerge and develop a “life of their own” within human systems. The dilemmas associated with both creating and changing human systems are investigated using a paradoxical lens, spotlighting counterintuitive ideas such as “to change, preserve the status quo,” and “to grow, cutback.” The effectiveness of the change strategies adopted by the “powerful,” “the powerless,” and those caught “in the middle” is examined.
This intensely experiential course is designed for those providing group and institutional leadership at any level of a human enterprise, managing work groups, chairing committees, serving on special task forces, conducting support groups facilitating groups in clinical settings, etc.
Participants will focus on two topics:
- An in-depth understanding of group dynamics while they are in action.
- The organizational relationships between groups that are in a powerful position, groups locked in a powerless state and those caught in the middle between the powerful and the powerless.
This course has six components: (1) A pre-course discerning process, which consists of a one evening plus one full day Primer workshop; (2) Module 1 which is focused on group dynamics; (3) reading an assigned book and writing a paper based on Module 1 experiences; (4) Module 2 which addresses power relationships among groups with differential resources; (5) reading two assigned books and writing a paper based on Module 2 experiences; and (6) a post-course debriefing.
The Primer provides all potential participants with a common conceptual base for engaging in the essential learning and lays out the intellectual foundations of the course. Permits will be issued soon after participants have taken the primer.
Module 1: A primary goal of SWRK 766 is to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of intra-group dynamics while they are in action. It is easy to determine what is going well or poorly when looking back on our past experiences in groups or when observing other groups’ behaviors. But tuning into and gaining a comprehensive grasp of these dynamics when caught up in them ourselves, and creating wholesome actions in the seconds when it can have a meaningful impact, requires cognitive and emotional processing that draws on multiple logics simultaneously. This module offers new ways of understanding the relationship between out-of-awareness and unrecognized processes, along with the overt behavior of groups and their members. Participants will be introduced to and invited to practice the science and crafts of right brain, analogic, paradoxical ways of reasoning about group functioning, to be used in tandem with the classic reasoning systems of left-brain, digital, casual logic.
Module 2: This component explores the dynamics of power, powerlessness, and being caught-in-the-middle. People in positions of power rarely have the opportunity to live through what it is like to be powerless, or to see what impact their exercise of power has on others. Those who are classically powerless rarely get to experience what it is like to be in a position of power, etc. In this three-day, intensive, residential module referred to as a Power Lab, participants are given the opportunity to learn experientially from being in simulated “real-life” power positions unfamiliar to them. This module will introduce participants to new understandings of organizational political processes. The only way to acquaint oneself with a power lab is to read about it. So, those who wish to apply for SWRK 766 are given the opportunity to read the story of a previous Power Lab.
SWRK 768: Social Policy Through Literature
Fiction provides a lens to look at social issues and social policy through the rich and understandable lives of human beings, their challenges, and their triumphs in the holistic context of their worlds. Through appreciation of the human condition as portrayed in literature, students learn to frame issues more precisely and present arguments in compelling and convincing ways, thus enhancing the capabilities of social workers, social policymakers, and other agents to influence policy change.
SWRK 769: Aging: The Intersection of Policy and Practice
Macro Practice Elective; Policy Option
This course examines a variety of social welfare policies that affect the rights and interests of older adults. These include policies related to economic security, health, long term care, and civil rights. In addition, the course reviews the policy-making process with a discussion of the influence of legislative sanctions and case law in establishing aging policy in the U.S. The focus of the course is on critical analysis of the key assumptions driving policy and policy change, e.g. social responsibility vs. individual responsibility. Finally, the course includes a critical examination of the intersection between policy and practice, that is, the influence that policy has on the design of interventions and service delivery practices at the state and local level and the impact of changing policies on communities, providers and older adults.
SWRK 771: Social Work Values and Ethics
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the philosophical base, theory and practice of ethical decision making in social work. We will first review some of the foundational readings in ethics including Mill, Kant, and Aristotle. We will develop ways of becoming aware of our own moral ideas and search for their impact on our professional actions. The basics of ethical decision-making will be studied. A critical examination of social and economic policies in the light of moral values will also be performed. In addition, social work distinguishes itself from other professions through its code of ethics, and in particular, its focus on issues of social justice. Accordingly, this course will explore concepts regarding the nature of rights and social justice by prominent thinkers such as Rawls, Sen, and Nozick. This course will also focus on the role of ethics in clinical decision making by addressing the unique moral challenges associated with clinical work in hospital settings as well as work with children, adolescents, and persons with mental illness.
SWRK 772: Postcolonial Social Work Practice: International Social Welfare in India
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective
Pre-approved for Global Human Rights certificate
In this course, students examine the global welfare system and its engagement with marginalized communities. This six-week course in Kolkata, India, centers around a sex workers’ collaborative in Sonagachi, one of Asia’s largest red light districts. Interviews with the collaborative’s workers and study of their grassroots movement are combined with class discussions and research projects in which students engage with texts on HIV, sex work, feminist postcolonial theory and international social work.
SWRK 773: Mental Health Challenges in Childhood and Adolescence
Option for Home and School Visitor Certification Requirement
This course will be an opportunity for the student and the instructor to explore the concept “psychopathology” as it has been and is applied to childhood and adolescence. There are some psychopathological challenges that are unique to childhood and some which can manifest themselves throughout childhood into adolescence and adulthood. The social worker/practitioner will encounter a wide range of symptomatic presentations among his/her clients. At this time in the fields of clinical social work, psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy there are numerous frameworks available to the practitioner to aid in an understanding of symptoms in children and adolescents. During the next several weeks three conceptual frameworks will be articulated. These three frameworks will elucidate the possible meaning, origin and/or function of the symptoms and offer to the student a vocabulary with which to engage the situation. At the turn of the 19th century into the 20th century, psychoanalysis emerged in Europe as a method of understanding symptoms from the point of view of internal conflict within the child or adolescent. After World War II in the U.S.A., a model of understanding symptoms from a systemic/cybernetic point of view revolutionized the diagnostic processes involved in working with children and adolescents. Since the late 1980’s postmodern ideas, primarily from Europe and Australia, have greatly influenced and informed the understanding of psychopathology in children and adolescents. Narrative, social constructivist, and linguistic usage patterns have become a common vocabulary in the discourse on psychopathology. This course is not intended to be a reading of the history of child psychopathology. It is intended to expose the student to the most influential paradigms in the field of child psychopathology. This is an elective that builds on knowledge of human behavior over the life cycle and the foundation practice courses SWRK 604 and SWRK 614. It continues to sensitize students to populations at risk and those affected by racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression learned across the foundation curriculum. It informs social work practice with children and adolescents in a variety of settings and practice roles.
SWRK 774: Program Evaluation
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 615)
This course introduces students to theoretical and practical aspects of social service program evaluation. Students learn about the design and implementation of all phases of an evaluation, from needs assessment to analysis of findings. Skills such as survey construction and budgeting are introduced. Intensive analysis of existing studies illustrates how evaluations are designed and how findings affect social programs and policy.
SWRK 775: Intimate Violence
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the definition, theories, causes, processes, consequences, and social interventions in intimate violence. The course will attempt to provide insight on the phenomenon of intimate violence by examining the ways in which it affects survivors, perpetrators, and their children. This will be accomplished by reviewing the current research as well as by exploring how intimate violence is constructed by the participants on the personal, interpersonal, and social structural level.
SWRK 777: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Clinical Practice Elective; Prerequisite: Completion of MSW Foundation year curriculum
CBT is offered in both a one-week intensive and semester-long format, with the two formats usually offered in various terms throughout the year. The one-week format requires students to start a pre-course assignment approximately 2 months prior to the first day of the course. Students will receive an information request from the instructor during course registration and must reply in a timely fashion.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the world’s most effective, empirically-based psychotherapy with strong scientific evidence. CBT is a collaborative and empowering psychotherapy that educates and helps clients to motivate themselves, set goals, develop, and implement treatment plans to reach those goals. This experiential/didactic advanced clinical skills course will present a CBT model to evidence-based practice that can serve as a conceptual framework for clinical applications to a wide variety of presenting problems and populations. The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to the theory of CBT and to begin to apply the basic principles through the stages of a self-directed case.
SWRK 778: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Clinical Practice Elective
In this 5-day intensive course we will examine the underlying theories, empirical foundations, and fundamental skill sets associated with dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Students will be expected to participate in role plays, lead mindfulness exercises, and carry out chain analyses. Prior to the class start date, students will have to submit an 15 to 30 page outline of the required text (Linehan, M.M. (1993). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of borderline personality disorder. Guilford Press) and to review and complete the study guide for the HBSE text. Students will not be admitted to the first day of class unless these requirements have been met prior to class. No Exceptions. Students who do not meet these requirements will either fail the course or will need to withdraw without receiving a tuition refund.
SWRK 780: Policy and 'Difference' in Postmodernity
Social constructions of “difference” permeate the institutions, spaces, and assumptions of our society. These social constructions include but are not limited to the racialized, gendered, sexed, classed, and dis/abled constructions of the body. By leaning on postmodern thinkers such as Iris Marion Young, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Ernesto Laclau, and Michel Foucault, this seminar course will begin by engaging the questions of what is “difference” and how is “difference” discursively constructed and reproduced in society. Using a postmodern lens, the remainder two-thirds of the course will engage various social science text that deal with the varieties of “difference” (i.e. race, gender, class, sexuality) and the explicit and/or implicit policy implications of these works. Thus, we will critically engage policies such as welfare, affirmative action, economic policies of taxation, and same-gender marriage among others. The underlying questions throughout the course will be to what extent does social policy enable the possibilities of freedom, justice, and democracy for the “Other”, the deviant, the abject, the marginalized, those of assumed “difference”? And, to what extent does policy constrain those possibilities at the same time?
SWRK 781: Qualitative Research
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 615)
Qualitative research encompasses a variety of methods that enable the researcher to enter into the “lived experience” of research participants. These methods are particularly sensitive to the voices of populations whose perspectives are silenced by dominant societal discourses. The course begins by giving attention to underlying philosophical issues and traditions of qualitative research and proceeds to examine qualitative research design, methods of data collection, strategies to ensure rigor, data analysis, and presentation of findings. Students will learn about research interviewing, focus groups, and participant observation and ways in which qualitative research can be used to inform and evaluate social work practice and programs. Students will have the opportunity to apply qualitative research methods to in-class activities and individual or group projects.
SWRK 783: Advanced Mental Health Practice with U.S. Veterans
Clinical Practice Elective
Although this course is open to all students, it is designed for students in the clinical concentration and is required for students in the Cohen Veterans Network Scholars program. The course will focus on clinical knowledge and evidence-based practice skills for common mental health problems in veteran settings. The course will introduce students to the assessment and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Substance Abuse, Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and Suicide Assessment and Management among veteran populations. Other topics may include cultural competency, homelessness, and combat stress disorders. Since this is a seminar course, some classes will be taught by social workers/psychologists from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia and the Cohen Veterans Outpatient Clinic.
SWRK 785: Criminal Justice Policies: Implications for Social Work
The United States prison population has risen more than three hundred percent in the last three decades. More people are currently incarcerated than at any other point in the history of the United States, and that of the world. This unprecedented period of incarceration has gone largely invisible although it represents one of the greatest social epidemics in the history of the United States. This course provides a critical analysis of the criminal justice system in the United States from a historical and contemporary perspective. It examines the implications of significant criminal justice policies such as the Rockefeller Drug Laws, 3-Strike Legislations, and Mandatory Minimums on the current state of incarceration, and the phenomenon of “Reentry” and “Recidivism”. The intersections of criminal justice and social work practice are unmistakable when examining staples of social work practice such as homelessness, mental health and substance abuse, thus the course is intended to facilitate a more informed/holistic practice for all social work students.
SWRK 786: Addressing Trauma in Practice
Clinical Practice Elective
This course integrates trauma theory and practice and expands practice knowledge to include the treatment and assessment of the survivors of trauma. Emphasis is placed on differentiating PTSD from Complex Trauma in order to identify appropriate, evidence-based intervention strategies. Topics covered in the this course include an historical overview of the development of our understanding of trauma and the exploration of various types of trauma including war trauma, domestic violence, childhood sexual and physical abuse, natural disasters, the experiences of political refugees and organizational trauma. Among the interventions covered in this course are CBT, EMDR, group and psychodynamic treatment. Students will consider issues that affect those treating the survivors of trauma, such as vicarious trauma, and will explore approaches to self-care. This is an advanced clinical course. Through assignments and class discussions students are encouraged to use their experiences in the field to deepen their understanding of the material covered in the course.
SWRK 787: Social Impact Strategy, Analyis, and Leadership
Around the world, new types of organizations are emerging, advances in technology and access to information continue, and there is a growing recognition that all sectors – business, public, and private nonprofit – have a role to play in creating social impact. While the desire to create social impact is clear, the field is just beginning to grapple with ways to translate these aspirations into real and meaningful change. Since 2006, Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy has been a pioneer in developing approaches for identifying, assessing and growing opportunities for social impact. Team-taught by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the course will be directed by the Center’s founding executive director, Katherina ‘Kat’ Rosqueta, and will include guest lectures from other leading faculty and social impact innovators working in Philadelphia and around the world. Through hands-on practice, team projects, and highly interactive case-based discussions, students will gain: knowledge of how to analyze opportunities for impact and potential for impact; frameworks to address the strategic issues and key tasks faced by managers/leaders with a social impact mandate; tools for influencing others towards social impact; and hands-on experience applying analytical skills, effective storytelling approaches, and stakeholder engagement strategies to different formats.
SWRK 788: Harm Reduction on the Borders: Substance Use and HIV Treatment in Puerto Rico
Clinical Practice Elective and Macro Practice Elective
This course examines the U.S.-based substance use and HIV treatment system, and its engagement with injection drug users in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. It is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the political economy of harm reduction initiatives, and the manner in which it is shaped by the complicated relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Students are expected to gain an understanding of Puerto Rico’s welfare environment, the role of social welfare and social workers in such a context, and the interweaving of social control and social change embedded in welfare initiatives in “borderlands” such as Fajardo. During the four week course in Fajardo, students will complete a placement in a needle exchange program, and engage with texts on HIV, substance use, postcolonial theory and international social work.
SWRK 792: Psychodynamic Theory and Clinical Social Work Practice
Clinical Practice Elective
The purpose of this course is to review the evolution of psychodynamic theory and consider key concepts in psychoanalysis, ego psychology, object relations theory, self-psychology, attachment theory, relational and intersubjective theories and current findings in cognitive neuroscience. Participants will explore human psychological functioning as explained by these various psychodynamic theories and through the biopsychosocial lens that informs social work practice. Students will examine how external factors such as race, class, gender, culture and biology are interwoven with often unconscious, internal psychological determinants, creating the complexities of human behavior that challenge us in our clinical work. Case presentations by students, the instructor and guest lecturers will demonstrate how concepts from psychodynamic theory can be applied to social work practice with diverse clients in varied settings.
SWRK 793/NURS 640: Global Health Policy
This participatory interdisciplinary seminar course examines contemporary issues in public health policy and global health. The organizing framework is social determinants of health. We consider evidence that inequalities in education, income, and occupation influence health status, and the policy dilemma that broad interventions to improve population health may increase health disparities. We critically examine whether prevention is always better than cure, and what modern medicine has to offer in terms of health. We explore the public policy process in health using the “tobacco wars” as a case example, of how politics, policy, law, commercial interests, and research intersect to affect the public’s health. We examine whether global health is in a state of decline, and the extent to which failures in public health, public policy, and foreign policy have contributed to increasing threats to world health. Likewise we will examine the potential for greater integration of health into foreign policy to create global infrastructure upon which to advance health. We will examine the global health workforce and the impact of widespread global migration of health professionals on receiving and sending countries. There are no prerequisites. The course is designed for graduate students in the social and behavioral sciences, health professions, public health, business and law.
SWRK 794: Practice with Older Adults and Families
Clinical Practice Elective
This course focuses on practice with older adults and families within a life course and resiliency perspective. It examines the nature of the aging process, needs and life issues, the ways in which persons adapt to changes, and the ways in which interventions may assist with these adaptations. Students learn assessment, case management, and intervention skills, including the use of rapid assessment and diagnostic tools, needed to work effectively with older populations and family caregivers in a variety of community-based and institutional settings. The course emphasizes evidence-based practices that enhance quality of life, dignity, respect for differences, and maximum independent functioning.
SWRK 796: Family Economic Mobility: Problems and Policies
Policy Option, Macro Elective
The experiences and voices of mothers, fathers, children, employers, children’s teachers, human service workers, job training providers, policymakers and others in cities across America graphically show us the “real life” challenges to economic mobility facing today’s families and organizations. These voices particularly illustrate how economic, social, and cultural policies, practices, and beliefs intersect to perpetuate economic inequality for low-income and many middle-income working families alike. The labor market, welfare and workforce programs, public schools and government are some of the institutions implicated in this intersection. In the course we deconstruct concepts such as the “work ethic,” “family-friendly workplace,” and “good jobs” in terms of economic, racial and cultural inequalities and, more broadly, in terms of their meaning, aims and rhetoric. At base, this course examines occupational mobility in America within the broad framework of capitalism, democracy, race, ethnicity and gender. Students from GSE, SAS, City Planning, and Communications often join SP2 students to read and critique classic and contemporary literature from multiple disciplines and explore generative roles for “meso-oriented” social change professionals.
SWRK 798: The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration
In this course, students work closely with the instructor and partner agencies to experiment a social entrepreneurial approach to community reintegration for formerly incarcerated people. This course provides a unique and flexible opportunity for students to work together on an ongoing SP2-driven initiative called Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP). Founded by Prof. Charlotte Ren and currently led by Prof. Chao Guo, PREP identifies a small group of formerly incarcerated individuals based on survey and interview results and selects students from various schools at Penn to offer ten-week intensive training on starting and running a small business. After the curriculum training, PREP continues to provide a support system to help them turn business ideas into reality. Through PREP, we hope to develop and demonstrate a sustainable and replicable model to effectively transition formerly incarcerated individuals back to the community.
Our field partner, Rescue Mission of Trenton, is a 103-year-old public charity located in Trenton, New Jersey that provides a variety of support services to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, which complements well with the entrepreneurship training that PREP offers.
For more information about PREP, watch a brief video.
Spring 2020 Course Dates:
- 12:00 – 3:00 PM: Friday, January 17
- Saturday, January 25: exact time TBA; class travels to Rescue Mission of Trenton
- 12:00 – 3:00 PM on the following Saturdays: 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4
- 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM on Saturday, April 18
SWRK 798: Clinical Consultation with Children, Adolescents, and Families
Clinical Practice Elective
This off-site course, held at Hall Mercer Community Mental Health Center, is designed to give students a unique environment in which to learn therapy with children and families. During each class, students will be located behind a one-way mirror to observe an interview with a child and family from the outpatient department at the Center. Students will discuss the case with the referring clinician prior to the interview, and the family will be invited to meet the students after the interview. Course readings are drawn from the writings of a wide range of practitioners illustrating numerous interview methods and theoretical frameworks. Each class will include a one hour discussion of the readings, linking readings to practice through the observed interviews.
SWRK 798: Methods for Community Research
This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of research skills involved in studying neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid change. The course takes a project-based approach by focusing on a particular neighborhood during the entire semester. Among the approaches taught during the semester are: historical sources (Including maps, newspapers), aggregate census data analysis, microdata analysis (using PHMC community health surveys), interviewing, and observation.
SWRK 798: Practice in Schools
Clinical Practice Elective; Macro Practice Elective
This course examines the various roles that a school social worker may have in a school setting. Knowing educational law, delivering mental health services, and advocating on behalf of students are just some of the many expectations of a social worker within the school environment. School social workers have unique training, which enables them to assist students, parents, and the school with connections to community services and resources, and to support the students’ social and emotional needs within the school. This course utilizes the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) outlined requirements for the Home and School Visitor (HSV) certification. While this course is not currently part of the HSV curriculum at SP2, it is highly recommended for students who are interested in school social work.
SWRK 798: Housing Policy and Social Inclusion
This course examines the challenges to creating integrated housing and community opportunities for adults with complex needs. This includes people with unique physical and mental health challenges, people who experience homelessness, people returning to their communities from prison, veterans, and young adults who have recently transitioned out of foster care or juvenile justice. All of these groups face potential challenges to accessing safe and adequate housing. Further, even if housed, they may not be in environments that provide the appropriate supports to facilitate their connection to work, family, social activities, and civic participation. Recent action by the US Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch are advancing the cause of improved housing and social inclusion for many of these vulnerable groups. This course will use a combination of research syntheses, policy reviews, and engagement with policymakers and others to better understand the challenges and opportunities ahead.
SWRK 798: Foundations of Animal Assisted Interventions and Social Work
This course incorporates students’ foundational knowledge, values and skills in social work with the therapeutic use of animals among various client populations. It addresses the impact of companion animals in clients’ lives and environments, and considers animal abuse’s inter-relationships with domestic violence, child maltreatment and elder abuse. By incorporating animals therapeutically and by responding to clients’ concerns about animals that are meaningful in their lives, social workers can help people more effectively, make a difference in challenging societal issues, and influence social change and public policy. The course builds upon interdisciplinary research and practice in four conceptual frameworks: the human-animal bond, animal-assisted interventions, animal abuse and interpersonal violence, and cultural competence.
SWRK 798: Motivational Interviewing in Social Work
Clinical Practice Elective
Motivational interviewing is a person-centered, collaborative method for exploring ambivalence and enhancing motivation to change. This course will familiarize the students with the philosophy, theory, and spirit of motivation interviewing and its compatibility with social work values and ethics. It will delve into the techniques of motivational interviewing so that students will understand the applicability of the model with clients that are mandated to attend services or are initially unwilling to change within the context of regard for human dignity, respect, and client self-determination.
SWRK 798: Social Work Direct and Macro Practice in the Affordable Care Act Era
Clinical Practice Elective, Macro Practice Elective, Policy Option
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has transformed the landscape of social work direct and macro practice. Marked by new regimes of networked agencies, insurance plans and wrap-around services, the ACA presents unique challenges to social workers at every level of practice. What does direct and macro practice look like, and what are the new clinical and macro skills that social workers will need in the ACA era? How will social workers need to justify their services to agencies, networks of care, and reimbursement providers? What is the role of evidence-based practice in this new healthcare system, and how will social workers advocate for marginalized communities? These are some of the questions with which the class will engage, while training students in the skills, protocols, and systems necessary to negotiate the ACA landscape, at the clinical, agency and policy levels. Students will engage with, and learn from clinicians, heads of agencies and policy formulators from across the country with experience negotiating the ACA regime. In particular, students will be trained in the clinical and macro skills necessary to operate in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams and environments that the ACA now mandates. The class seeks to bring together the macro and direct practice skills that will be required in the ACA era, and connect students to the actual work conditions with which they will be confronted when they graduate.
SWRK 798: Social Work Practice with Groups
Clinical Practice Elective; Macro Practice Elective
Group work is an essential part of social work direct practice. Every social service agency utilizes groups, and social workers will engage with a variety of groups during the course of their careers. Given the fact that collective group processes are especially salient for marginalized communities, group work is essential to direct practice that is embedded in the principles of social justice. Moreover, group work has been shown to be a superior form of intervention for clients battling chronic conditions, entrenched behaviors and social stigma. In an era of evidence-based practice, successful and cost-effective group skills are a vital component of every social worker’s toolkit. Students will learn about different types of groups and modalities, facilitate groups in class and in field settings, and engage with social workers who have implemented group interventions in various communities in diverse contexts. The class will train students to facilitate therapeutic, psychoeducational, task, and decision groups, while helping them to explore how to start, manage and terminate groups in various social work settings.
SWRK 798: LGBTQ Communities and Social Policy
The course will explore and analyze the development of social policy within the context of LGBTQ social movements both assimilationist and liberationist. Among the policies examined are: HIV/AIDS, Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Same-Sex Marriage, Adoption of Children, the DSM and Pathologizing the LGBT Community, Legal Issues, Non-Discrimination, and Hate Law Legislation. Social Services for the LGBTQ community will be discussed as well as support for LGBTQ youth. The particular difficulties confronting transpeople and their acceptance will be examined in the context of the social construction of gender; in this, the work of philosophers Judith Butler and Michel Foucault will be introduced. Questions of social justice will be threaded throughout the course, as will social work advocacy and coalition building.
SWRK 798: Supporting LGBTQ Across the Lifespan
Clinical Elective; Macro Practice Elective
As recognition and acceptance of individuals across and beyond both the sexual orientation and gender identity spectrums continues to progress within the United States, clinical theory and applications for working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer plus (LGBTQ+) individuals has also expanded. This course will explore the clinical theories and treatment approaches geared towards affirming and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals within their romantic and/or sexual relationships, families of origin, and families of choice. Areas of development will be addressed across the lifespan including specific milestones related to gender and sexuality development as well as psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual influences upon development. Centering on a social justice approach, learners will be encouraged to critically examine systemic factors impacting LGBTQ+ individuals as well as the intersectionality of various identities including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, mental and physical health, and other identities (both self-assigned and externally applied) that can impact development. Each stage of development will include multiple cases for review and consideration of potential practice implications at the individual, relationship, family, community, and systemic levels. Upon conclusion of the course, learners will have a stronger understanding of the practice theories that exist, the practice models that best fit their professional style, and clear understanding of practice application in regards to affirming and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals.
SWRK 798: Social Change through Participatory Filmmaking
This course is a unique opportunity for University of Pennsylvania undergraduates and graduate students to work with high school students in a Philadelphia high school to create film projects that reflect the experiences of those in the Philadelphia-community and the dilemmas inherent in conducting participatory research. Co-sponsored by the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and the School of Social Policy & Practice, the course challenges students to think beyond the borders of the university space by engaging with school communities to “learn through service” and creating context-relevant film products which will be shown to students, parents, and teachers at their school-site. Each group of Penn students will work with 3-4 high school students and one graduate student teaching assistant to create a film on a documentary topic of their choosing, working together to conceptualize their theme, storyboard, produce, and, finally, edit a complete film of approximately 10 minutes.
SWRK 798: Relationship Theory
Clinical Practice Elective
The goal of this course is to introduce the participants to the basic principles and practice of couple therapy. With its rich history as a distinct discipline integrating both individual and systemic theory, students will explore a broad range of theoretical and clinical approaches within this field. Issues such as intimacy, gender, power, class, race, orientation, family of origin, affairs, separation, divorce, domestic violence, sex, parent-child relationships, and money will be discussed.
SWRK 798: Global Social Impact 360
All societies face the same needs to provide access to health care, education, a robust economy, and a sustainable environment, among others. In most societies, the three major sectors – government, commercial-for-profit, and non-profit sectors – all play their role in affecting and meeting these social needs. In many situations, the lack of trust, poor coordination, silo-operations, and misaligned goals and objectives among the sectors lead to missed opportunities and suboptimal outcome in delivering social goods. Furthermore, decision makers in all sectors often struggle with balancing immediate needs with long term goals. This course introduces students to a holistic strategic framework in designing and implementing meaningful and effective social change initiatives. We will develop perspectives that critically consider the impact of social intervention from macro/micro and short/long term view, and will actively explore opportunities for synergistic collaboration across sectors in order to achieve enhanced social impact.
SWRK 798: Social Work Research Practicum and Seminar
Research Option; Prequisite: SWRK 615
The research practicum and seminar provides students with supervised, hands-on, practical experience with a member of the SP2 Faculty in a new or an ongoing research project. Rather than learn research methods in the abstract, students will engage in the full process of producing new knowledge. Typical activities will include discussing research problems, summary of literature, developing hypotheses, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of results, and research report writing. The practicum, based on the specific project, may also involve activities such as subject recruitment and screening, instrument development, participant observations, and statistical analysis. This is an experiential class and the progression of the class will be different every time the class is offered based on the research topics, students, and class instructor. Students who find learning in a fluid environment difficult are advised against taking this social work research practicum and seminar.
SWRK 798: Spanish for the Social Service Professions
Spanish for the Social Service Professions is a semester-long elementary Spanish Language that incorporates activities, vocabulary, and readings of particular interest to social service practitioners. The course is designed to develop the fundamentals of practical Spanish, with a special focus on social service situations and basic terminology. In this course, particular attention will be given to developing speaking and listening skills, as well as cultural competency. Students will be expected to participate in classroom activities such as role-plays based on typical office and case study procedures in order to develop meaningful and accurate communication skills in the target language.
SWRK 798: Forensic Social Work
Forensic social work is an area of specialty within social work that focuses on issues related to the law and legal systems. Forensic social workers are called upon to provide a variety of services including: recommendations on adult and child mental health status for court evaluation, testifying as an expert witness regarding child welfare and/or domestic violence cases, interfacing with juvenile courts, drug courts, and/or mental health courts, as well as child custody issues involving separation, divorce, neglect, and termination of parental rights, to name a few. The purpose of this course is to gain familiarity with the principles and practices of forensic social work. Class lectures and discussions will include the following: diverse methods for forensic risk assessment, relevant theories and models of offender behaviors, the role of the legal system as it pertains to forensic practices, treatment approaches with juvenile and adult offenders, intervening with incarcerated populations, including those with severe mental illness, and/or drug and alcohol addictions, and the fundamentals of expert witness testimony. Class discussions will be framed within the prism of broader contextual issues and will examine their impact on forensic populations. Lectures, class discussions, case examples, videos, and power point presentations will be utilized throughout the course.
SWRK 798: Play Therapy
Clinical Practice Elective
Play is the method children use to master and understand their worlds. When working with children and adolescents social workers often utilize play as a primary treatment intervention. This course will provide students with a foundation in play therapy theories, techniques, and practice intervention models. Play therapy philosophies will be critically analyzed. Play therapy will be presented for application in a variety of practice settings as well as with individuals, families, and groups. Students will be taught how to apply play therapy to address issues such as trauma, loss, mood disturbance, relational stress, anxiety, and academic performance. Emphasis will be placed on approaching play therapy from perspectives of multicultural competence, empowerment, social justice, and inclusion.
SWRK 798: The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration
The School of Social Policy and Practice is pleased to offer a Special Topics course for spring semester 2021: The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Re-Integration (SWRK798003) on Thursdays 4pm-6:30pm. The class, an integral part of the Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), will offer a group of previously incarcerated people intensive training on opening and running a new business. Students from SP2, Wharton, and Penn Law will work with returning citizens on teams throughout the semester which will learn to craft a viable business plan while also learning to recognize and overcome barriers to successful reintegration frequently encountered by formerly incarcerated individuals. In the final meeting, the teams will make pitches to a panel of angel investors who intend to provide funding to the most promising proposals.
The course aims to not only play an important role in reducing recidivism but to also enable University of Pennsylvania students the opportunity to connect with members of our broader community and engage in meaningful social change in a cross-disciplinary setting where the expectation is that all of us has something to learn from and to teach to everyone else.
The returning citizens will be referred to the program by two field partners:
Re-Entry Court of the Eastern District of PA, Supervision to Aid Re-entry (STAR) STAR is a program founded in 2007 by Federal Judges Felipe Restrepo and Tim Rice and is supported by the US attorneys’ Office which aims to reduce recidivism and aid successful reentry by offering an array of social programs and supports to returning citizens. https://www.paep.uscourts.gov/re-entry-court
Rescue Mission of Trenton is public charity located in Trenton, New Jersey, which for over a century has provided a variety of support services to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals. https://rescuemissionoftrenton.org
SWRK 798: Effective Interventions with Latino Youth and Families
Clinical Practice Elective
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of clinical and macro practices with the Latino population and subgroups across the life-span. The course seeks to deepen students’ awareness and understanding of the historical, political, economic, social, and cultural contexts of Latinos in the U.S. Students will gain practice-based knowledge by critically examining the variety of practice frameworks, socio-ecological concepts and theories (e.g., acculturation social stratification, racial and ethnic identity), and cultural constructs (e.g., familismo, respecto) that inform culturally enriching practices with different Latino groups. Students will also examine the research literature on socio-demographic correlates of Latino biopsychosocial problems and disparities; and outreach, prevention, and treatment interventions across Latino subgroups and service settings. This knowledge will then be applied to understanding and effectively intervening in the array of biopsychosocial issues (e.g., poverty, health and mental health disparities, violence, child welfare system involvement, discrimination) impacting the Latino population. Students will identify and critically evaluate evidence-based practices and approaches for working with the Latino population in a wide array of clinical and macro level practices and contexts. The value of research and community-based approaches for developing, testing and implementing culturally congruent, evidence-based practices will be discussed. This course assumes that students have already acquired a strong knowledge base in the basic concepts of diversity, human behaviors, social and economic justice, and basic research methods. Concepts, issues, and methodologies learned through previous course work and/or experience will now be applied to critically analyze empirically based practice with Latino youth and families.
SWRK 798: Postmodern Social Work Practice
The course is based on the view that social work as a discipline and a practice can comfortably locate itself more squarely within a postmodern frame of reference. Postmodernism articulates a world that is culturally one of multiplicity, diversity, contingency, fragmentation and rupture and accepts that we now live in a state of perpetual incompleteness and permanent unresolve. Postmodernism promotes the notion of radical pluralism, many ways of knowing, and many truths. From a postmodern perspective knowledge is articulated from local perspectives, with all its uncertainties, complexity and paradox. This viewpoint suggests that knowledge is relational and that all reality is woven and rewoven on shared linguistic looms. The course will initially explore the cultural, social and intellectual transition from modernity to postmodernity and the implications for social work at the direct practice, community and social policy levels. The thought of some of the key philosophers who have and continue to shape the texture of the postmodern present will be considered: Nietzsche, Foucault, Derrida, Cixous, Kristeva, Butler. The course will introduce the idea that the arts and humanities and popular culture can be important sources of understanding for social work and specific examples will be discussed.
SWRK 798: Problem Solving Therapy: An Evidence-Based Model
This advanced course in problem solving therapy is intended to teach the application of theory integrated into clinical practice. Problem identification, problem definition, assessment, coping style, diagnosis, treatment planning, decision-making, solution implementation, and evaluation are structured processes of problem solving therapy practice that serve as an organizing framework for clinical application to a variety of problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, cancer, substance abuse, caregiving) and populations (children, adults, couples, older adults) The purpose of this course is for students to acquire direct practice skills of problem solving therapy and to begin to apply the components of the model through the stages of a treatment case. In addition, students will develop knowledge and skills in which to track change and evaluate the effectiveness of their clinical practice.
SWRK 798: The Latino/a & Puerto Rican Experience: Philadelphia and nationally
The Latino population in the United States was estimated at 35.5 million in the 2000 U.S. Census (about 14.2% of the total US population). The US Census update report of 2006 now estimates the Latino population at 42.7 million, making Hispanics the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. These estimates do not include the 4 million residents of Puerto Rico. The Latino community is increasing almost four times as fast as the rest of the U.S. population. Some of the reasons attributed to this growth are increased immigration and a relative young population. It is projected that the US Hispanic population will constitute 24% of the nation’s total population by July 1, 2050. Currently there are 19 States in which Hispanics are the largest race or ethnic minority group (US Census, 2006). At the same time there were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002 (US Census, 2006). The median income of Hispanic households in 2005 was $35,967. That year 21.8% of Hispanics lived in poverty. 32.7% of Hispanics lacked health insurance in 2005. The percentage of Hispanics age 25 and older who had at least a high school education in 2004 was 58% and only 12% of the Hispanic population 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2004. Philadelphia has the third largest Puerto Rican community in the United States (NYC, Chicago and Philadelphia). The 2000 U.S. Census affirms that there are 91,527 persons residing in the city that self-identified as Puerto Rican and the community is growing in Philadlephia. This community is part of an ever-increasing Latino presence in Philadelphia. Of the 400,000 Latinos in Pennsylvania, 128,928 of those Latinos live in Philadelphia. 58% of all Latinos in Pennsylvania are Puerto Rican; the 2nd largest in the US after Connecticut (60.7%). This course will examine political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the Puerto Rican Diaspora to Philadelphia and Latinos in the United States, making connections between the experiences of Puerto Ricans/Latinos in Philadelphia with that of Puerto Ricans/Latinos in other Cities across the United States and its impact in the delivery of social services and the policies that drive services to these communities.
SWRK 798: Philanthropy and Fundraising Tools for Managers of Nonprofit Organizations
Macro Practice Elective
This course reviews the knowledge base and tools that nonprofit managers and development officers need to raise funds from individuals and other sources of private philanthropy. Last year, Americans gave approximately $300 million and 83% of it was from individuals. The fundraising and development profession has created a significant body of knowledge in the past twenty years that guide effective fundraising programs so that charitable organizations can support their mission. The course sessions review the theoretical and practical techniques that development professionals use everyday in large and small organizations including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, cultivation of donors, making your case for support, the Seven Faces of Philanthropy, special events, and prospect research. There will also be discussions of philanthropic trends, donors and their styles of giving and current giving patterns. For those who are interested in nonprofit administration, these will be critical tools to have and understand in your workplace.
SWRK 798: Measuring Sensitive Topics
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 615)
This course is designed to improve the measurement of sensitive topics in human behavior by increasing the skill of those who do the measuring. We will focus largely, albeit not exclusively, on the behavior of individuals. The course will focus on behaviors that typically are not and, for a variety of reasons, usually cannot be directly observed. Nonetheless, researchers are called upon to measure these behaviors that are key to understanding important social and health issues facing society. The course will review current best practices in data collection as well as the specific areas of attitudes, drug use, sexual activity, interpersonal violence, and standard demographic characteristics. Social context of the work as well as human subjects considerations will be addressed.
SWRK 798: Loss and Crisis Intervention
Clinical Practice Elective
This second-year practice elective is designed to support the student’s development of clinical practice skills in working with loss and grief. Students will explore the impact of loss & grief on individuals, families and communities. Students will develop the ability to assess and intervene with a wide array of grieving populations. Clinical social work interventions will be explored from the perspectives of immediate crisis intervention and long-term engagement. Specific topics for the class include: ambiguous loss, chronic sorrow, acute grief, treating grief, treating children and youth, complicated grief, traumatic loss, community grief support, and critical incident stress debriefing.
SWRK 798: Social Policy and the Latinx Immigrant Community
MSW Policy Option
In this course on social policy and the Latinx immigrant community in the US, students will develop a broad understanding of how social policy at the local, state and federal levels affect Latinx immigrants’ access to and interactions with social services. After developing a critical understanding of the diversity of the Latinx immigrant community and of the socio-political and –historical context for the development of social policies impacting this community, students will explore social policy and related social services around immigration, health, education, and labor that deeply affect the lived experiences of Latinx immigrants. Students will then investigate Latinx immigrants’ participation in the development of social policies as well as the ways in which Latinx grassroots movements and organizations influence national debates on public policy and social services for the Latinx immigrant community. Students will also learn about this group’s economic contributions to funding at local, state and national levels to the U.S. social welfare system, as well as new and current initiatives promoting social policies geared towards social and economic justice for Latinx immigrants. Through course readings, lectures and discussions students will develop tools for critical thinking and analysis about how social services and the daily lived experiences of Latinx immigrants are mediated by policy and its implementation at local, state and federal levels. Students will also develop skills in case study analysis through interactions and interviews with invited guests – local Latinx immigrant community members and social leaders – who will share their own perspectives, knowledge and firsthand experience around issues related to social policy and Latinx immigrants. Over the course of the semester, students will formulate plans for social policy advocating for social justice and human rights within the Latinx immigrant community.
SWRK 798: Critical Race Theory
This course explores Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT refers to a body of work that emerged during the 1980s and 90s among legal educators to try and explain why there seemingly has been racial progress on the one hand through laws and court decisions that outlaw the most visible symbols of racial discrimination, but growing signs of racial inequality on the other in education, health, criminal justice, housing, politics, and other areas.During the past ten years, fields such as women’s studies, sociology, education, gender studies, history, criminology, and postcolonial studies have begun to look to the insights developed by critical race theorists. Without a doubt, CRT has spawned and/or influenced new areas of inquiry such as Latino/a critical studies, queer studies, critical race feminism, and critical white studies. Although social work researchers have begun to use CRT ideas such as intersectionality, the application of Critical Race Theory to the field remains largely unexplored.
SWRK 798: Violence in Relationships through the Lifespan
The primary objective of the course is for students to gain specific knowledge and to develop critical thinking skills so as to better understand violence in relationships, which is pervasive in most societies. Using a life course perspective, SW799 will address abuse from childhood through late life. We will examine how norms and gender and generational differences in resource distribution shape the occurrence, experience, and individual and societal/structural responses to non-stranger violence. Students will learn about the definitions, conceptual frameworks, myths, processes, consequences, and societal interventions regarding violence in relationships. In addition, the course is designed to motivate students to examine their perceptions about these issues so that they can be more effective in their careers as well as more effective as members of a society that, like almost all societies, seems to hold a deep ambivalence about violence in relationships.
SWRK 798: Taking Down the Prison Industrial Complex: Macro, Meso, and Individual-Level Direct Practice with People Emerging from Incarceration
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, and more than any nation has ever done in history. The racial disparities that mark this carceral regime have led scholars to describe the prison industrial complex as a new form of Jim Crow. Philadelphia has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, and one of the largest populations on parole and probation. This class explores structural and individual-level pathways to re-engage the vast population of recently incarcerated people who cycle through prisons, jails, juvenile homes and other detention centers. Drawing on practice informed by critical race, postcolonial, feminist and queer theories, the class prepares the conceptual and practice foundations for a prison abolitionist orientation in social work engagement with this community. Utilizing a daily workshop format that incorporates members of the Philadelphia decarcerate landscape, students will be trained in direct and macro practice, to engage with people and the carceral systems they are embedded in. The class will engage students with the innovative psychotherapeutic and macro practices being implemented in the Center for Carceral Communities at SP2, alternative programs in Philadelphia’s municipal and federal courts, educational degree programs at community colleges in Philadelphia, co-operative business initiatives for people emerging from incarceration, and social movements such as Black Lives Matter that are shaping the prison abolition landscape. The class blends morning sessions dedicated to discussions of texts with afternoon sessions dedicated to hands-on implementation workshops. At the end of the class, students will be prepared to immediately start engaging with members of the community emerging from incarceration.
SWRK 798: “The Ghetto”: Race, Place, and the Ethnographic Impossible
There has been a recent resurgence in explicit academic invocations of “the ghetto” to describe contemporary urban life in 21st century America. Most of these scholarly interventions, from sociology to philosophy, are offered as a way to talk about how race and class continue to get mapped onto concrete geographical spaces in ways that reproduce or even compound social inequities and injustice. Using mostly (though not exclusively) ethnographic texts, this course seeks to unpack the key concepts/themes, theoretical frameworks, political controversies and local activism/activities/organizing that define and overdetermine engagements with “the ghetto” as a material and symbolic site of contestation. Several key questions will guide our explorations: Is “the ghetto” ethnographically or analytically accessible? How might one attempt to represent the nexus of racial and class-based vulnerability in newfangled and transformative ways? What kinds of issues tend to get fetishized, vulgarized, or rendered invisible in conventional depictions of “the ghetto” and the “ghetto dwellers” who reside there? Students will be asked to contribute to a single, class-wide, multi-modal research project on the intersections of race and class in the city of Philadelphia. As part of that collective effort, students will choose from one of the following as the format/genre for their term assignment: short films, audio or written ethnographies, photo-essays/exhibits, and VR tours.
SWRK 798: Brief Mental Health Treatments for Primary Care Settings
This course is proposed for students in social work or a related clinical degree program and will be co-taught by an interdisciplinary team that includes social work and psychology. This course will also serve as a prerequisite for the Collaborative Care for Behavioral Health practicum. Increasingly, mental health interventions are moving beyond specialty mental health settings into clinical care settings where individuals already receive other health services, such as their primary care office (often referred to as “integrated care”). The goal of this course will be to teach trainees the fundamental skills needed to delivery evidence-based practices in these integrated settings. The course will teach the skills needed to collaborate with other professionals within the context of an integrated care team (e.g., social work, physicians, nurses, etc.), conduct brief assessment, and deliver brief, evidence-based interventions for commonly presenting behavioral health concerns (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use).
SWRK 798/898: Mental Health Policy
The focus of this course will be on policies and policy issues that define and influence the care and treatment of persons with mental illness from colonial times to the present. The course will examine the primary social, political, economic, legal, and philosophical forces that have influenced mental health delivery in the United States over different historical time periods and the resulting organizational, financial, administrative, and management structures of mental health service delivery systems. The interface with other major service delivery systems, including welfare, criminal justice, primary health care, and social security will be addressed. Topics to be included will be deinstitutionalization, managed care, psychiatric rehabilitation, cultural issues and disparities of care, children’s treatment and services, professional certification and roles, and family and consumer advocacy. Major legal cases and legislation relevant to these topics will be covered. This will be an interdisciplinary course taught by faculty trained in social work, psychiatry, law, and health policy and management. It is open to masters and doctoral students.
SWRK 799/URBS 476: Bankers, Activists and Government: The Making of Housing Policy in America
This course examines how public policy influences housing markets. The course reviews the development of housing policy since World War II and how shifts in policy have influenced people’s ability to find suitable shelter. Topics include: poverty and affordability, residential segregation, the financial crisis of 2008, foreclosure, affordable housing, and homelessness. The course focuses on the changing roles of different levels of government in housing policy and how the financial sector, the construction industry, and non-governmental organizations influence Americans’ housing options.
SWRK 799: Independent Study
Independent studies provide a flexible opportunity for standing faculty and students to work together in pursuing a topic of special interest that is not sufficiently covered by other courses in the curriculum. The content of indepent studies is highly specialized and, as such, requires a plan of study developed jointly by the student(s) and the supervising standing faculty member. Part-time faculty members are not eligible to offer independent studies. Plans for an Independent Study should include: a statement of the issue(s) to be studied; a rationale for why the identified issue(s) should be pursued via an independent study; a statement of how the independent study fits into the student’s overall educational plan; a summary of the independent study’s major learning objectives; the methods to be used in carrying out the study; a workable plan; the educational “products” that will result from the study (normally a written report or paper); and the expected date by which the independent study will be completed. The process for arranging an independent study requires approval of both the student’s academic advisor and a standing faculty member who has agreed to conduct the independent study. The procedures to be followed are: 1) the student discusses interest in doing an independent study with the academic advisor; 2) if the advisor concurs with the student’s submission, the advisor and student will discuss potential standing faculty sponsors; 3) if a standing faculty sponsor can be located, the student and standing faculty sponsor craft the specific plan, including learning objectives, content, and structure for the course; and 4) the academic advisor informs the registrar that an independent study for the student has been approved.
On the rare occasions that a student is unable to schedule a regular School course, the academic advisor makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will try to identify a standing or adjunct faculty member able to supervise the course delivered as an independent study.
SWRK 897: Applied Linear Modeling
(Prerequisite: Introductory Graduate Statistics)
This course deals with the underlying assumptions and applications of the general linear model with social science, education, and social welfare policy related questions/data. The first half of the course begins by covering simple linear regression and the assumptions of the general linear model, assumption diagnostics, consequences of violation, and how to correct for violated assumptions. This will also include methods of incomplete data analysis (i.e. missing data analysis). Then various aspects of regression analysis with multiple independent variables will be covered including categorical explanatory variables (e.g. to estimate group differences), interaction effects, mediating effects (e.g. to estimate the indirect effect of social processes), and non-linear effects. The course will then cover some of the applications of the general(ized) linear model including logistic regression, some elements of path modeling (structural equation modeling), and multilevel analysis (hierarchical linear modeling). The course will be taught using SAS, but students are welcome to use any statistical package of comfort.
SWRK 899: Structural Equation Modeling
(Prerequisite: Graduate Course on Regression or Linear Modeling)
This course is an introduction to linear structural equation modeling and its application to social and policy research. This course will cover various data analytic techniques ranging from simple regression, path models, and factor analysis to multiple group analysis, incomplete case analysis, and advanced longitudinal models. Within each technique we will examine algebraic and graphic model specification, estimation procedures, identification, goodness-of-fit criteria, and alternative models comparison. The goals of this course are to develop an understanding of the conceptual, mathematical, and application bases of structural equation modeling, to learn how to specify and estimate models, and to evaluate them in relation to alternative models using statistical and practical criteria. Classes will include both theoretical and practical sections using M/plus/.