University of Portland Bulletin 2021-2022

Social Work

Alice Gates, Ph.D., chair

Faculty: Gates, Gooding, Jones, Schallert

In keeping with the missions of the University of Portland and of the College of Arts and Sciences , the social work major offers an academically rigorous program enriched by intensive, educationally directed field experiences which prepare students to “respond to the needs of the world and its human family.” As an academic discipline and practice-based profession, social work integrates social science knowledge with values and skills to promote social change, human development, and the liberation of people and communities. Social work at UP introduces students to the social justice foundations of the profession and prepares them for effective engagement with individuals, families, groups, and communities, with an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized populations. Our program affirms the core values of equity, self-determination, antiracism, and solidarity.

Social work majors take courses across the curriculum to enhance their understanding of the biopsychosocial and person-in-environment frameworks. Theories of human development are complemented by critical theory and models for anti-oppressive practice. Students in this program receive training in how to address social problems through systematic and empirically grounded approaches to planned change. Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education; as such, our graduates are eligible to apply for advanced standing in many Master of Social Work programs across the United States.

The social work program contributes to a multidisciplinary department that includes the discipline of sociology. Faculty of the entire department are committed to offering rigorous core and major courses, regularly assessing the quality of our programs, and working to support the education of students across disciplines.

Dorothy Day Social Work Program Goals

The Dorothy Day Social Work Program will:

  1. Provide a generalist social work curriculum based on a foundation of social, economic, and environmental justice.
  2. Promote educational and experiential contexts that emphasize ethical, value-based, and culturally responsive social work practice.
  3. Offer curricular and field opportunities that facilitate and support advanced graduate study and service leadership roles in diverse settings and communities.


Learning Outcomes for Social Work Majors

Social work graduates of the University of Portland should be able to:

  1. Articulate social work values that form the foundation of practice such as advocacy for human rights and social and economic justice.
    1. Demonstrate professional behaviors congruent with social work's mission and values.
    2. Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
  2. Utilize critical thinking and ethical conceptualization skills when addressing social problems and approaches to working with those problems.
    1. Apply ethical principles in practice.
    2. Apply critical thinking in practice.
  3. Competently apply social work skills that are informed by theory, research, and best practices and that consider the cultural and other contexts in which practice occurs.
    1. Incorporate knowledge of how diversity, oppression, and power affect social work practice.
    2. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being.
    3. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities utilizing evidence-based methods and knowledge of human behavior in the social environment.

Student Handbook and Program Standards

The Social Work Program Student Handbook is available on the social work website at this link. Students have the responsibility to acquaint themselves with its contents and are held accountable for all statements therein. To remain in good standing with the program and to enter the senior year practicum, students must maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.5 in all courses required for the major, among other standards outlined in the handbook.

Capstone Experience

During the senior year, students complete a year-long practicum placement in a community agency. Students also take two corequisite Theory and Methods of Social Work Practice courses, which focus on helping students learn to apply skills and knowledge to their work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.