Concentration Course Descriptions

SW 710: Advanced Multi-dimensional Assessment

Course Description

This course introduces students to the concepts and language of mental health and mental disorders with a primary focus on the widely used classification system of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Students learn to distinguish mental health diagnostic categories and gain skills in the diagnostic process. To facilitate a holistic, multidimensional assessment, biological, socioeconomic, cultural, genetic, and environmental factors as well as stress and coping strategies are incorporated. The goals of the course are to further students’ competence in incorporating strengths in a comprehensive, multidimensional assessment and to prepare students to practice in integrated health care settings.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Provide a strengths-based, person-in-environment social work perspective as a member of a multi-disciplinary team (C2, C31).
  • Analyze how assessment is used at various agencies and write professional assessments/reports that document assessment information (C8).
  • Integrate understandings from a range of perspectives in assessing clients across levels and fields of practice (C16, C12).
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct comprehensive assessments that identify strengths as well as weaknesses, protective factors as well as risks, are inter-culturally effective and include an assessment of the client’s readiness for change (C25).
  • Identify signs and symptoms that are used to differentiate diagnostic groups (C16).
  • Discuss cultural factors that impact the signs and symptoms that can lead to misdiagnosis of mental illness (C23).
  • Integrate information from multiple sources of information and research to inform assessments (C16).
  • Critically evaluate the risks of “diagnosing” and “misdiagnosing” clients (C2, C6).
  • Negotiate the social worker role as part of a multidisciplinary team in an integrated health setting (C2, C5, C6, C31).
  • Recognize ethical issues raised by the process of diagnosing mental illness and “labeling” clients with behavioral and/or addiction problems (C5).

SW 720: Intervention Approaches with Individuals

Course Description

Integration of theories of human behavior and various treatment models at the micro level of practice.
This is the first of two direct practice courses with a focus on integrating advanced theory and evidence-informed knowledge with social work practice skills. Students will learn to implement three approaches that are used widely to help individuals cope with obstacles and achieve their goals. These frameworks incorporate the group of practice techniques that students learned at the foundational / undergraduate level, support social work’s emphasis on resilience and strengths, and can be used with individuals across practice fields. This course provides students with opportunities for experiential learning and skill building in carrying out these intervention approaches. Ethnicity, culture, gender, and family life courses are central in this regard, as students learn to tailor individual interventions to the needs of clients. Professional responsibility for ongoing learning and self-development as a reflective practitioner is woven throughout the course.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple theoretical perspectives and differentially apply them to client situations (C6 & C29).
  • Integrate understandings from a range of theoretical perspectives in assessing and applying intervention plans for individuals (C7, C16, C29).
  • Develop skills in building a therapeutic relationship including developing self-awareness, affect management, cultural humility and effective relationship building techniques with individuals (C10, C23, C24).
  • Students will incorporate information from a comprehensive assessment into specific interventions including strengths as well as weaknesses, risks as well as protective factors, inter-cultural factors, and include an assessment of the individual’s readiness for change (C25, C26, C27).
  • Students learn how to apply a range of intervention models in working with individuals (C29-C30).
  • Students are expected to learn the evidence behind a range of intervention models and to understand the pro and con positions on the empirically supported intervention movement (C17).
  • Students will evaluate the impact of interventions on an individual (C32).

SW 723: Social Work Administration I

Course Description

First in a two course sequence that prepares students for advanced macro social work practice. This course focuses on program and agency planning and development. This course focuses specifically on the knowledge and skills required to assume administrative and policy-practice roles within social service settings. Students will learn how to 1) use evidence in agency and program planning; 2) apply development models that include needs assessment, resource assessment, and gap analysis; 3) develop strategic and financial plans; 4) conduct a situational analysis/environmental scan and SWOT analysis; 5) create the organizational structure for starting a 501c3; 6) develop the vision, mission, goals and objectives of a 501c3; 7) develop a logic model and 8) write a grant.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Recognize ethical issues involved in social work administration and use strategies of ethical reasoning to explore, navigate and resolve these complex circumstances (C4 & C5).
  • Develop a logic model that lays out the components of a program and the underlying “theory of change.” (C6, C8, C10, C17, C21).
  • Identify, access and appropriately use census and epidemiological data for planning purposes (C13).
  • Identify, access, and appropriately use census and epidemiological data to show disproportionate distribution of social, economic, and health issues and access to services (C9, C10, C11).
  • Use a logic model process to facilitate effective and evidence-based program development with agency professionals and other stakeholders, agency activities and outcomes (C2, C20, C23, C32).
  • Integrate a variety of data (e.g., census data, published research, agency reports) to frame the issue or situation or provide a baseline for program development (C15, C25).
  • Write a mission statement and goals for an agency or program (C29, C30, C31).
  • Conduct environmental scan relevant to a specific agency’s mission and services (C18, C20, C22, C25, C26, C27).
  • Analyze the influence of organizational culture and policy on service delivery ( ).
  • Uses empirical data to identify organizational and community needs ( ).

SW 724: Therapeutic Interventions with Families

Course Description

Integration of theories of human behavior and select intervention approaches with families.
This is the second in a series of three direct practice courses with a focus on integrating advanced theory and evidence-informed knowledge with social work practice skills. Students will learn to implement three approaches that are used widely to help families cope with obstacles and achieve their goals—multigenerational family systems, behavioral, and postmodern. These frameworks incorporate the group practice techniques that students learned at the foundation level, support social work’s emphasis on resilience and strengths, and can be used with families across practice fields. This course will provide students with opportunities for experiential learning and skill building in carrying out these intervention approaches. Ethnicity, culture, gender, and family life course are central in this regard, as students learn to tailor family interventions to the needs of clients. Professional responsibility for ongoing learning and self-development as a reflective practitioner is woven throughout the course.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple theoretical perspectives and differentially apply them to client family situations (C6).
  • Integrate understandings from a range of theoretical perspectives in assessing and applying intervention plans for families (C7, C16 & C29).
  • Develop skills in building a therapeutic relationship including developing self-awareness, affect management, cultural humility and effective relationship building techniques with families (C10, C23, C24).
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct and incorporate comprehensive assessment information that identifies strengths as well as weaknesses, risks as well as protective factors, is inter-culturally effective, and includes an assessment of the individual’s readiness for change (C25, C26, C27).
  • Students learn how to apply a range of intervention models in working with families (C29, C30).
  • Students are expected to learn the evidence behind a range of intervention models and to understand the pro and con positions on the empirically supported intervention movement (C17).
  • Students will evaluate the impact of interventions on families (C32).

SW 725: Social Work Administration II

Course Description

SW 725 is second in a two course sequence that prepares students for advanced macro social work practice. These courses focus on program planning and administrative practice. This course focuses specifically on the knowledge and skills required to assume administrative and policy-practice roles within social service settings. In particular, the course highlights public and private budgetary processes as they influence and guide social service delivery, fundraising, management, ethics, supervision, staffing, budgeting, and grant management. Students will be encouraged to critically examine competing needs, differential power structures and value conflicts inherent to social service delivery within the United States.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze how cultural biases and power differentials influence human service delivery (C9, C10).
  • Analyze the fit between agency practices and social work ethics (C4 & C5).
  • Analyze the funding profile of a social service agency (C25, C26, C27, C28).
  • Communicate persuasively in both writing and speaking (C2, C6, C7, C8, C21, C30).
  • Identify the various roles associated with social work administration (C2, C6, C7, C8).
  • Develop a two-year budget (C29, C30, C31).
  • Write or develop an agency-related policy relevant to social work practice (C12, C19, C29, C30, C31).
  • Communicate proficiently using a variety of tools – social networking, blogging, etc. (C2, C6, C7, C8, C21, C30).
  • Understand the basic principles of public relations and communications as related to social work practice ( ).
  • Identify fundraising strategies relevant to agency needs and mission ( ).
  • Identify common practices in staffing and supervision ( ).
  • Identify important elements involved in grants management ( ).

SW 741: Practice and Program Evaluation

Course Description

The goal of this course is to develop evaluation practice skills. In this course, emphasis is placed on middle and later stages of the evaluation process, including learning to 1) use a logic model to develop evaluation questions and an evaluation plan; 2) developing data collection plans for both process and outcome evaluations; 3) use multiple sources of data to triangulate evaluation findings and include diverse perspectives; 4) analyze qualitative and quantitative evaluation data using descriptive statistics and content analysis; and 5) present evaluation findings to a variety of audiences. Special attention will be paid to the purpose, context, and the interpretation of evaluation findings in a profession that serves disenfranchised populations. Thus values, ethics, issues of social justice and diversity will be incorporated throughout.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Use a logic model to develop process and evaluation questions (C23, C24, C30, C31, C32).
  • Use administrative data to answer process evaluation questions (C30).
  • Identify and incorporate multiple sources of data to address evaluation questions, including administrative agency data, key informant and focus group data, and client survey data (C6, C7, C13, C14, C21, C25, C26, C27, C29, C30, C31).
  • Write interview questions for focus group and key informant interviews, conduct interviews and capture the information for analysis (C12, C13).
  • Analyze administrative agency data for descriptive statistics and interview data using content analysis (C21).
  • Be able to prepare and present evaluation findings to disparate audiences including funders, key stakeholders, community members and the professional social work community (C2, C8, C15).
  • Identify and negotiate ethical, social justice, measurement, and data collection issues related to evaluation activities (C4, C5, C9, C10, C12, C13).

SW 780: Advanced Practicum I

Course Description

Integration of professional content through a weekly one hour seminar and development of advanced generalist practice skills through supervised placement in community agencies.

This course is the first in the sequence of two, four-credit courses constituting the social work field education program required of all Concentration year students. It consists of a practicum within a field setting that provides advanced generalist practice opportunities for students to demonstrate their Concentration year competencies. In the advanced generalist practicum, the student is expected to build upon the practice behaviors from their Foundation year and demonstrate all of the practice behaviors identified for the Concentration year. Additionally, the student begins to assume greater autonomy, learns to apply the knowledge and skills of practice to more complex situations, and begins to demonstrate leadership as they develop into a professional social worker.

To earn their degree, MSW students must complete a total of 900 hours of field education. The School of Social Work breaks this down into two blocks of 450 hours each. Each block is associated with the Foundation and MSW Concentration curriculum. At the Concentration level students must complete 225 hours by the end of Fall semester (SW 780) and 225 hours by the end of Spring semester (SW 781). To meet this requirement, students must complete 15 hours of field education for 15 weeks each semester. Additionally, students participate in a weekly seminar that structures learning activities that will help students integrate theory and practice skills gained from academic course work with authentic field experiences.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Engage with peers from a variety of practicum settings to learn about the unique field settings, their strengths, their challenges, and from each other’s experiences (C1, C3-C6, C9-C12, C15-18, C21,
    C22).
  • Participate in learning activities that will help the student connect the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom with field-based experiences. Such activities include, but are not limited to: discussions, student presentations, demonstrations, completion of Individual Practice Assessments, completion of Time Logs, completion of a Learning Agreement, Site Visit Form, and an Evaluation of Student Performance (C2-13, C15-18, C21, C22).
  • Participate in a forum of engaged and authentic dialogue with peers and Faculty Liaison and demonstrate leadership in processing complex field experiences while acknowledging the development of their professional identity (C1-C6, C9-C18, C21, C22).
  • Adhere to principles and policies set forth in the University of Nevada Reno Student Code of Conduct, the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, the International Federation of Social Workers, the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996, State laws governing social workers, mandated reporting laws, and other pertinent laws associated with the field setting in which student is placed (C1-C8).
  • Participate in a forum of engaged and authentic dialogue with peers and Faculty Liaison and demonstrate leadership while both autonomously and collaboratively examining complex social, cultural, and economic justice issues that arise in the field practicum (C1, C9-C18, C21, C22).
  • Participate in a forum of engaged and authentic dialogue with peers and Faculty Liaison in addition to other learning activities to connect the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the “practice” classes to field-based experiences aimed at assessing, intervening, and evaluating complex issues facing individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities encountered during the field practicum (C23-C33).
  • Complete all required reading, forms, materials, and 225 hours of field education by specified deadlines (C2, C3, C4, C5).
  • Demonstrate leadership, autonomy, and competence in advanced generalist practice by integrating the knowledge, values, and skills of the concentration year practice behaviors in all 10 competencies and applying these behaviors to complex social issues within their field practicum setting (C1-C33).

SW 781 Advanced Practicum II

Course Description

Continuation of integration of professional content through a weekly one hour seminar and development of advanced generalist practice skills through supervised placement in community agencies.

This course is the second in the sequence of two, four-credit courses constituting the social work field education program required of all Concentration year students. It consists of a practicum within a field setting that provides advanced generalist practice opportunities for students to demonstrate their Concentration year competencies. In the advanced generalist practicum, the student is expected to build upon the practice behaviors from their Foundation year and demonstrate all of the practice behaviors identified for the Concentration year (see Appendix A for both). Additionally, the student begins to assume greater autonomy, learns to apply the knowledge and skills of practice to more complex situations, and begins to demonstrate leadership as they develop into a professional social worker.

To earn their degree, MSW students must complete a total of 900 hours of field education. The School of Social Work breaks this down into two blocks of 450 hours each. Each block is associated with the Foundation and MSW Concentration curriculum. At the Concentration level students must complete 225 hours by the end of Fall semester (SW 780) and 225 hours by the end of Spring semester (SW 781). To meet this requirement, students must complete 15 hours of field education for 15 weeks each semester. Additionally, students participate in a weekly seminar that structures learning activities that will help students integrate theory and practice skills gained from academic course work with authentic field experiences.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Initiate authentic and engaged dialogue with peers from a variety of practicum settings to critically analyze experiences from their unique field settings (C1, C3-C6, C9-C12, C15-18, C21, C22).
  • Synthesize knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom and apply to field-based experiences by participating in specific learning activities. Such activities include, but are not limited to: discussions, student presentations, demonstrations, completion of Individual Practice Assessments, completion of Time Logs, completion of a Learning Agreement, Site Visit Form, and an Evaluation of Student Performance (C2-13, C15-18, C21, C22).
  • Apply critical thinking skills to examine readiness to merge self (i.e. cultural and professional identity) with the profession and skills needed to leadership and autonomy in working through complex field experiences (C1-C6, C9-C18, C21, C22).
  • Demonstrate leadership in analyzing experiences of self and peers to comply with principles and policies set forth in the University of Nevada Reno Student Code of Conduct, the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics, the International Federation of Social Workers, the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996, State laws governing social workers, mandated reporting laws, and other pertinent laws associated with the field setting in which student is placed (C1-C8).
  • Demonstrate leadership while both autonomously and collaboratively examining with peers and Faculty Liaison complex social, cultural, and economic justice issues that arise from field experiences (C1, C9-C18, C21, C22).
  • Initiate authentic and engaged dialogue with peers and Faculty Liaison in addition to other learning activities to distinguish, appraise, and apply the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the “practice” classes to field-based experiences aimed at assessing, intervening, and evaluating complex issues facing individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities encountered during the field practicum (C23-C33).
  • Comply with all course requirements such as required reading, forms, materials, and 225 hours of field education by specified deadlines (C2, C3, C4, C5).
  • Demonstrate leadership, autonomy, competence, and readiness practice as an advanced generalist practitioner by integrating the knowledge, values, and skills of the concentration year practice behaviors in all 10 competencies and applying these behaviors to complex social issues within their field practicum setting (C1-C33).

SW XX Culminating Class Project

Course Description

Description of Culminating Class is being developed and is forthcoming…

Student Learning Outcomes