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    Social Work

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    Social Work
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    Social Work
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    Social Work

The social work department exists to equip students to be competent, effective and ethical social workers committed to improving the well-being of others, and who exhibit Christian ideals through academic excellence, personal integrity, compassionate service and respect for human diversity.

We work to prepare students for beginning-level professional generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations as well as prepare students for lifelong professional development through graduate study.

We focus on helping our students to be competent professionals who respect and appreciate social and cultural diversity, have concern for the effects of oppression, and recognize the strengths and the role that diversity plays in helping professionals. We also prepare students to work with populations at risk who are served directly and indirectly by the public sector.

As a department, we continually strive to uphold and support the purposes and objectives of the University, developing cooperative relationships between professional and liberal arts education.

Grounded in a liberal arts perspective, Harding University’s Bachelor of Social Work graduates will:

  1. Develop a professional identity as a social worker and be prepared to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities;
  2. Deliver evidence-based, generalist social work practice consistent with social work values and theories, sensitive to diverse cultural contexts;
  3. Be equipped with critical thinking skills in the areas of practice, research, and ethics, engaging in practice consistent with the Social Work Code of Ethics;
  4. Understand systems of oppression and be equipped with strategies to advance social and economic justice through policy and advocacy;
  5. Apply spiritually sensitive social work practice with a Christian worldview that values social and economic justice and respect for human diversity; and
  6. Understand the importance of continuing educating and will be committed to being a lifelong learner.

These program goals are grounded in the Council on Social Work Education’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, which include the following nine competencies for effective social work practice:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior;
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice;
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice;
  4. Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice;
  5. Engage in Policy Practice;
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities;
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities;
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities;
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities; and
  10. Apply an ethical integration of faith and social work practice.

Academic Programs

The Profession

It is the business of social work to help people improve the quality of their lives. It is the goal of social work practice to foster productive interaction between people and their environment. This practice involves working with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations that encounter a wide range of problems including:

  • drug and substance abuse
  • mental illness
  • homeless persons
  • teenage pregnancy
  • abused and neglected children
  • victims of domestic violence
  • difficulties associated with aging
  • mentally and physically handicapped persons

In all areas of practice, the social worker serves as both a counselor and advocate for his/her clients. Working within the larger context of the client's family and community, the social worker seeks to intervene with those factors in the client's environment that contribute to poverty, racism, poor health, mental illness, or any other condition that interferes with persons reaching their potential as an individual, as a family, as a group, or as a community.

The Program

The bachelor of social work degree at Harding University prepares students for entry-level employment as generalist social work practitioners. The program addresses problem-solving processes that equip the beginning professional with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for generalist practice with individuals, families, groups and communities. Liberal arts requirements complement the foundation and core courses in the major. Social work majors must complete a minimum of 60 hours of courses in human behavior, social policy, social work practice and research methods. Professional skills are further enhanced by a community practicum and field placement within a social service agency.

Application to the program is made after the completion of Social Work 2750: Introduction to Social Work, usually during the sophomore year. All students are assigned an academic advisor within the social work program.

Field Experience

The last semester of the senior year is spent in a field placement in a social service agency. This experience is designed to assist students to develop practice skills through performance in settings typically served by social workers. Students can choose field placements from a number of social service agencies in close proximity to the university. Field placements range from hospitals, mental health centers, residential facilities for children and adolescents, teen pregnancy programs, and the Department of Human Services.

Child Welfare Trainee-ship Program

The Harding University Social Work Program is a member of Partnerships in Public Child Welfare (PPCW). The PPCW consists of BSW programs in Arkansas committed to the recruitment and retention of professionals in the public child welfare arena.

Member schools in the PPCW receive Title IV-E grant money to accomplish its goals. This results in funds for equipment, faculty development, supplies and student stipends.
Students who participate in the Child Welfare Traineeship Program receive a $4,000 stipend and complete a field placement at the Division of Children and Family Services. Traineeship students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Complete SWK 3990 (Child Welfare Service) and SWK 4110 (Law and Social Work Practice) or SWK 3950 (Child Abuse and Neglect).
  2. Apply for employment with DCFS prior to graduation.
  3. Accept employment with DCFS in one of three counties designated by the student. If employment is not offered by DCFS within two months following graduation, the Trainee's commitment is null and void.


Harding University's Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education for the bachelor of social work degree. CSWE accreditation assures prospective students and employers that the program has met the minimum standards of undergraduate education as established by the Commission on Accreditation. Graduation from an accredited program could assist a student in gaining advanced standing in master of social work programs.



This form is used to assist the COA in the evaluation of the program’s compliance with the accreditation standards below:

4.0.2 The program provides summary data and outcomes for the assessment of each of its competencies, identifying the percentage of students achieving the benchmark.

4.0.4 The program uses Form AS 4 (B) and/or AS4 (M) to report assessment outcomes to its constituents and the public on its website and routinely updates (minimally every 2 years) these postings.

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes.  Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies that comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education.  These competencies are dimensions of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training.  A measurement benchmark of 4.0 has been set for each competency.  An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency. The following summary data are based on student field placement final evaluations for 2014.



Identify as a Professional Social Worker



Apply Ethical Principles



Apply Critical Thinking



Engage Diversity in Practice



Advance Human Rights/Social and Economic Justice



Engage Research Informed Practice/ Practice Informed Research



Apply Human Behavior Knowledge



Engage Policy Practice to Advance Well-Being and Deliver Services



Respond to Practice Contexts



Practice Engagement



Practice Assessment



Practice Intervention



Practice Evaluation



Integration of Faith and Practice



Additional Resources

grandchallengesforsocialwork.org Initiated by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare, the Grand Challenges for Social Work is a groundbreaking initiative to champion social progress powered by science.  It's a call to action for all of us to work together to tackle our nation's toughest social problems.

socialworklicensemap.com  The Social Work License Map provides the social work licensing information for each state.  One can click on any state and find the specific licensing requirements and process for application.

www.naswdc.org  National Association of Social Workers

www.hhs.gov  Department of Health and Human Services

www.arkleg.state.ar.us  Can access all 28 titles of the Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated. Click on "Research Resources." Statutes will appear in their most recently amended forms and will be searchable by words or phrases.

www.nacsw.org  North American Association of Christians in Social Work.

Resource Room Listing pdf
Those wishing to access material in the resource room may contact Terry Smith at 501-279-4561 or at tsmith@harding.edu.

Competency Assessment Data

Social Work Program Yearly Outcomes Assessment Report (PDF)
This form is used to assist the COA in the evaluation of the program’s compliance with accreditation standards.

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