Foundation Course Descriptions

SW 610: Structural Oppression I

Course Description

SW 610 is the first course in a two course sequence that promotes a multidimensional understanding of human functioning across systems and the life course. This course specifically examines human behavior manifested in larger systems as well as the reciprocal relationship between individual functioning and social institutions. In particular, the course orients students to social work perspectives that view human behavior as being influenced and impinged upon by environmental forces. The course advances students’ ability to critically examine the role of power, privilege and oppression in shaping life experiences.

Throughout this course students will be introduced to topics and theoretical frameworks related to the concept of oppression, and will be asked to examine the experiences of a diverse set of populations through these concepts.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Use the person in environment approach to examine and explain complex human behavior and racial institutions (F23).
  • Identify tacit knowledge as it informs judgment and understandings of human functioning (F11, F24).
  • Analyze the fit between theories and social work values (F8).
  • Apply an evidence-informed approach to understanding racial phenomenon and structural oppression in a local and global context (F11, F22, F24).
  • Critically analyze the cultural biases, theoretical premises, and potential implications of a variety of theories to explain human behavior in the local and global context (F5, F24).
  • Identify and apply the central premises and concepts of conflict theory to understand human functioning (F1, F23, F24).
  • Analyze the structural causes and consequences oppression, prejudice, privilege and discrimination on human functioning (F14, F18, F23, F24).
  • Identify the central premises and concepts of the strengths-based, ecosystems and empowerment approaches (F24).
  • Identify common social institutions within society and the influence of social institutions on human functioning (F1, F24).
  • Analyze the role of norms, values, beliefs, traditions, and behaviors in shaping and perpetuating culture across system levels, including organizations, communities and societies (F14, F16).
  • Identify the role of the political economy in shaping other social institutions (F1, F23).
  • To demonstrate an understanding of the meaning and impact of globalization, colonization and imperialism on the well-being, rights and relations of nations, communities and individuals ( ).
  • To differentially apply theories of justice in the analysis of the global interconnectedness of oppression and in the formulation of strategies that promote human and civil rights ( ).
  • Examine the role of environmental justice in shaping life experiences ( ).
  • Analyze, access and availability of recent technology as it relates to the digital divide ( ).
  • Analyze the “fit” between varying rights frameworks (e. g. UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Bill of Rights, Indigenous Rights and other frameworks) in relation to existing racial institutions both locally and globally, as well as the ability of individuals to meaningfully access these rights in the context of structural oppression ( ).

SW 611: Structural Oppression II

Course Description

SW 611 is the second course in a two-course sequence that promotes a multidimensional understanding of human functioning and behavior across systems and the life course. This course specifically examines human behavior and functioning among individuals and families. In particular, the course emphasizes an evidence-informed approach to assessing human functioning. The course advances students’ ability to critically apply a range of theories and research to better understand and assess human behavior and development. The course incorporates information regarding substance abuse and neurobiology as well as the implications of gender, culture, class, age and other differences in technology usage in assessments of human behavior.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Use the person in environment approach to examine and explain complex human behavior and functioning (F24).
  • Analyze the fit between theories and social work values (F8).
  • Apply an evidence-informed approach to understanding human behavior (F22).
  • Critically analyze the cultural biases, theoretical premises, and potential implications of a variety of theories of human behavior (F11, F24).
  • Differentially apply theories and research to explain human functioning across system levels (F23).
  • Analyze the role of cultural norms, values, beliefs and traditions in shaping individual and family functioning ( ).
  • Identify the role of the political economy in shaping individual behavior and functioning (F16, F18).
  • Integrate biological, psychological, cognitive, spiritual, cultural and social aspects of human functioning to form holistic, multidimensional assessments (F23, F24).
  • Incorporate information regarding substance abuse in assessments of human behavior ( ).
  • Incorporate information regarding neurobiology in assessments of human behavior ( ).
  • Identify and define the central premises and concepts of systems theory and the ecological perspective (F23).
  • Identify and define the central premises and concepts of cognitive behavioral, behavioral, psychodynamic and developmental theories (F23).
  • Conduct a familial assessment supported by empirical evidence and theory (F22, F24).
  • Understand the gender, culture, class, age and other differences in technology usage, and the implications of these differences in assessments of human behavior ( ).
  • Apply the concept of intersectionality to explain human behavior in the local and global context ( ).

SW 620: SW Methods with Individuals

Course Description

One of a four course sequence emphasizing the application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. Focuses on competent intervention with individuals. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with individuals, including: rapport building, exploration, assessment, planning, implementation, goal attainment, evaluation and termination. This course furthers students’ understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective. In particular students will learn the various roles social workers may play in work with individuals. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which client characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) interact with the resources and demands of the environment in identifying appropriate intervention strategies. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with individuals that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Examine the effects of personal biases and judgments on professional interactions (F2, F7, F15).
  • Maintain healthy professional boundaries in all professional interactions (F3).
  • Engage in continuous self-reflection and professional-improvement (F2, F5, F6).
  • Enact the generalist social work roles in the context of helping relationships (F29).
  • Identify evidence-based practice for work with individuals (F5, F11, F12, F22).
  • Support assessments, case plans and intervention strategies with empirical evidence (F22).
  • Prepare accurate and non-biased written assessments, reports, case plans and documentation (F34, F35, F36).
  • Incorporate feedback to alter and improve interventions (F2, F6).
  • Apply models of ethical reasoning to explore complex ethical dilemmas in practice (F9, F10).
  • Apply the principles of cultural humility to build rapport, conduct thorough assessments and cultural-appropriate interventions with diverse client groups (F15, F16, F17).
  • Effectively uses verbal following, empathy, and non-verbal communication to build rapport with clients (F13, F30).
  • Clearly states purpose of and role within helping relationships with clients (F13, F31).
  • Identifies mutually agreed-upon goals with clients (F31, F34).
  • Effectively use basic communication skills and assessment tools to elicit relevant client information (F4, F13, F30, F32).
  • Complete a written multidimensional assessment involving an actual client (F13, F32, F33).
  • Prepare a case plan with goals, tasks, roles, and timelines (F13, F34).
  • Provide opportunities for closure upon terminating with clients (F40).
  • Critically analyze how power, role, & diverse statuses impact the helping relationship (F1, F14, F16, F18, F20).
  • Analyze the effectiveness of various SW intervention approaches with individuals (F12, F21, F40).
  • Apply techniques derived from the empowerment & strengths-based models to empower clients (F19, F20, F35, F38).
  • Clearly links theoretical & empirical understandings of human behavior with assessments & case plans (F22, F23, F41).
  • Analyze the influence of organizational culture & policy on service delivery (F19, F20, F27, F39).

SW 621: Social Work Methods with Groups

Course Description

SW 621 is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in intervening with small groups. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with groups, including: formation, initial/beginning stage, middle stage, termination stage and evaluation. Students will continue their use of an evidence-informed approach to practice through identification and critique of group curriculums. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which member characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) influence communication, interaction and dynamics within groups.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Examine the effects of personal biases and judgments on professional interactions (F7, F15)
  • Maintain healthy professional boundaries in all professional interactions (F3).
  • Engage in continuous self-reflection and professional-improvement (F2, F5, F6).
  • Incorporate feedback to alter and improve interventions (F6).
  • Apply models of ethical reasoning to explore complex ethical dilemmas in practice (F9, F10).
  • Apply the principles of cultural humility to build rapport, conduct thorough assessments and cultural-appropriate interventions with diverse client groups (F15, F16, F17).
  • Critically analyze how power, professional role, agency context and diverse statuses influence helping relationships with clients (F1, F14, F16, F18).
  • Effectively uses group skills to build rapport and engagement among group members (F4, F13, F30).
  • Clearly states the purpose(s) of the group as well as the role of the group facilitator (F13, F31, F34)
  • Identifies mutually agreed-upon goals with group members and the group (F13, F31, F34).
  • Identify the unique challenges present and demonstrates mastery of the skills needed for each stage of group work
  • Distinguish between varying types of groups (F32, F35).
  • Provide accurate and clear documentation and reports in relation to groups (F11, F12, F22).
  • Identify evidence-based practices for work with groups (F5, F11, F12, F22, F40).
  • Provide group members opportunities for closure upon termination from group (F12).
  • Identify and critique group curriculums (F35, F38).

SW 623: Social Work Methods with Organizations, Communities and Legislatures

Course Description

SW 623 is one of a four-course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in working with organizations, communities and legislative bodies. This course furthers the understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective. In this course students will learn public speaking, elements of grant writing, budgets, advocacy, lobbying, policy analysis, board management, community organizing and written and oral persuasion techniques as methods of assessing and responding to community and organizational issues. Students will learn to attend to the cultural, ideological, and diverse nuances present in large groups of people and within complex problems while maintaining a critically reflexive position in relation to their own culture, privilege, ideology, personal values, and biases. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with organizations and communities that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Examine the effects of personal biases and judgments on professional interactions and engage in continuous self-reflection and professional-improvement (F2, F5, F6, F7, F15).
  • Apply models of ethical reasoning to explore complex ethical dilemmas in macro practice (F9).
  • Application of evidence-based information and logic to persuade others in relation to policy positions (F13, F20, F22, F25).
  • Critically analyze policies using various analytic frameworks (F12, F25).
  • Apply cultural humility to build rapport, conduct thorough assessments and cultural-appropriate interventions with diverse client groups in community settings (F15, F16, F17).
    • Analyze issues of access, equality, and equity within social service policies, programs and procedures (F1, F12, F18, F20, F25).
    • Identify theoretical and ideological assumptions influencing policies and organizational practices (F23, F25).
    • Prepare line-item budget in support of a grant proposal (F13, F36).
    • Identify strategies involved in lobbying elected officials, including preparing fact sheets, and legislative testimony as well as bill tracking (F19, F20, F25, F26).
    • Identify types of boards and their uses in practice settings ( ).
    • Locate and understand impact of organizational mission statements to service delivery ( ).
    • Articulate public budgeting and organizational processes and analyze the relationships of these processes to service ( ).
    • To adapt and apply international approaches to social development to address local problems, needs and injustices ( ).
    • Articulate how technology can be used in community organizations ( ).

SW 624 – Social Work Methods with Couples and Families

Course Description

SW 624 is one of a four course sequence that emphasizes the competent application of skills, knowledge and values to social work practice. This course focuses on developing competency in intervening with couples and families. Students will learn how to engage in each stage of the social work intervention process with couples and families, including: rapport building, exploration, assessment, planning, implementation, goal attainment, evaluation and termination. This course furthers students’ understanding of the strengths-based, generalist social work perspective. Special emphasis is placed on analyzing the ways in which client characteristics (i.e., biological, psychological and socioeconomic factors as well as class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation) interact with the resources and demands of the environment in identifying appropriate intervention strategies. Students will be asked to use critical thinking skills to identify and implement interventions with couples and families that are evidenced-informed, as well as contextually and culturally relevant.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Enact the generalist social work roles in work with couples and families (F29).
  • Maintain healthy professional boundaries in all professional interactions (F3).
  • Incorporate feedback to alter and improve interventions with couples and families (F6).
  • Apply models of ethical reasoning to explore complex ethical dilemmas in practice (F4, F9, F10).
  • Explore how personal beliefs and cultural practices in relation to families shape our understandings and interventions with clients (F2, F15).
  • Apply basic communication principles to effectively engage, assess, intervene and terminate with couples and families (F13, F30).
  • Analyze the influence of power, professional role, agency context and diverse statuses in work with couples and families (F1, F14, F18, F20).
  • Prepare accurate and non-biased written assessments, reports, case plans and documentation (F13).
  • Apply the principles of cultural humility to build rapport, conduct thorough assessments and identify cultural-appropriate interventions with diverse client groups (F15, F16, F17).
  • Identify evidence-based practices for work with couples and families (F11, F12, F22).
  • Support assessments, case plans and intervention strategies with empirical evidence (F11, F22).
  • Identify theoretical assumptions influencing understandings of families (F11, F23).
  • Analyze the influence of organizational culture and policy on service delivery (F19,
    • F20, F27).
    • Articulate the purpose of and role within helping relationships with couples and families (F31).
    • Identify mutually agreed-upon goals with couples and families (F31, F35).
    • Use assessment tools to elicit relevant client information (F33).
    • Provide accurate and clear documentation for work with couples and families (F13).
    • Complete written assessment, including family timelines, genograms, and eco-maps with a family (F13, F33).
    • Prepare a case plan with goals, tasks, roles, and timelines (F13, F34, F39).
    • Provide opportunities for closure upon terminating with couples and families (F40).
    • Engage in evaluation of outcomes in work with couples and families ( ).

SW 630: Social Work History and Social Welfare Policy

Course Description

SW 630 explores the historical development of the social work profession and current policies governing the social service delivery system within the United States. Social policy is presented as a social construction influenced by a range of ideologies and interests. Special attention is paid to social welfare policy and programs relevant to the practice of social work, including poverty, child and family well-being, mental and physical disability, health, and racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities. The course includes a focus on the role of policy in creating, maintaining or eradicating social inequities.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Articulate the historical development of the social work profession (F1).
  • Identify the ideological positions and underlying values inherent to conservative, liberal, and radical political ideologies (F25).
  • Analyze the fit between ideological positions, policy solutions and social work values (F8, F25).
  • Critically examine the differential effects of social welfare policies on diverse groups (F1, F14, F18, F25).
  • Use electronic data sources to examine social problems (F11, F22, F25, F27).
  • Articulate the central provisions of major social welfare policies and how these policies influence practice (F25).
  • Use written communication to effectively describe and explain social welfare programs and policies (F13, F26).
  • Analyze the role of social policy in eradicating, establishing or maintaining inequality and oppression (F18, F25).
  • Identify and describe pivotal polices shaping social services and the profession (F25, F29).
  • Identify the steps involved in the legislative process (F25).
  • Distinguish between the roles all three branches of government play in policy.
  • Analyze the effects of economic structures on social service needs and provisions (F14, F24, F25).
  • Distinguish between public, non-profit and for-profit organizations.
  • Analyze the effects of current trends and policy choices on social service provision and clients (F25, F27).

SW 640: Elements of Evidence Informed Practice

Course Description

Prepare students to access, evaluate and synthesize evidence needed to guide practice decisions.

The primary purpose of this course is to develop the skills needed to use evidence to guide social work practice. Emphasis is placed on learning to a) formulate relevant, answerable practice questions; b) locate and critically evaluate different types of evidence; and, c) integrate the evidence gathered from a variety of sources to address the practice questions posed. Additionally, students will advance their understanding of the ethical standards guiding studies, the impact of power and privilege in shaping research, and when to use qualitative verses quantitative approaches.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify and address ethical issues encountered in research (F10).
  • Articulate how power dynamics as well as social, political & cultural factors influence the conceptualization, funding, “doing”, and use of research (F18).
  • Conduct reviews of the various forms of evidence that inform social work practice (F21, F22).
  • Identify and distinguish between major research designs and their applications (F21, F22).
  • Differentiate between evidence-based practice and evidence-based practices (F11-F13
  • Use empirically based data to define the scope and nature of social problems
  • Use empirically based data to identify evidence-informed approaches to practice (F21, F22).

SW 680 & 681: Foundation Practicum I & II

Course Description

Continued integration of professional content through at least 15 hours/week of social worker supervised placement in an approved practicum site. This course is the second in the sequence of two, three-credit courses constituting the social work field education program required of all foundation Master of Social Work (MSW) students. It consists of a practicum within a field setting that provides opportunities for students to demonstrate the foundation year of social work competencies (see Appendix A). To earn their degree, MSW students must complete a total of 900 hours of field education. At the Foundation level students must complete 225 hours by the end of Fall semester (SW 680) and 225 hours by the end of Spring semester (SW 681). The remainder of the hours will be completed during the student’s concentration year. To meet this requirement, students must complete 15 hours of field education for 15 weeks each semester. Additionally, students participate in structured online learning activities and discussion that will help students integrate theory and practice skills gained from this course with authentic field experiences.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Synthesize knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom and apply to field-based experiences by participating in specific learning activities.
  • Critically analyze the agency context, client needs and power and privilege evident in helping relationships within the field practicum.
  • Continuously apply 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.
  • Demonstrate competence in the field practicum site on all of the practice behaviors indicative of generalist social work practice as outlined by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Apply knowledge, values, and skills from coursework to assess and intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities encountered during the field practicum.
  • Integrate knowledge, values and skills acquired through coursework to analyze and respond to complex social and economic justice issues that arise in practice.
  • Complete 225 hours of supervised fieldwork in an approved health, human or social services agency