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Social Work

Department of Social Work

The College of Arts and Sciences


Diane Bonfiglio, Professor of Psychology


Carly George, Field Director and Program Director, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work

Ian Zapcic, Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Work

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Science in Social Work

Mission and Goals

The Department of Social Work prepares beginning generalist social work practitioners for leadership in service to those people who are at risk and oppressed. It provides students with an academic program, founded in the liberal arts, that develops social work knowledge, values, and skills. It also incorporates an appreciation of diversity, a commitment to social justice, and an understanding of the need for continuing professional development in the ever-changing local, national and global contexts of social work practice.

Student Program Goals

Program goal #1: Prepare students for competent professional generalist social work practice with diverse individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities in local, national, and global contexts.

Program goal #2: Prepare students for critical thinking through an educational process combining the liberal arts core curriculum with professional social work education.

Program goal #3: Prepare students to incorporate the values and ethics of the social work profession into their professional practice.

Program goal #4: Prepare students to advocate for change in policies, programs, and resource allocations that seek to advance human well-being, promote social and economic justice, empower clients, and respect diversity.

Program goal #5: Prepare students with a foundation for lifelong learning, continuing professional development, and advanced study.

Student Learning Outcomes:

A student graduating with a degree in Social Work will be able to:

  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-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


The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) at the baccalaureate level.


Graduates are eligible to take the standardized national licensing examination required for licensure in the State of Ohio.

Field Experience in Social Work

Field experience is integrated into every social work course. Students complete an agency observation, interview persons who work in agencies, interview individuals and families for specific assignments, visit a nursing home resident for a semester and attend support groups. In addition, social work majors have the option of adding one credit of service-learning to each practice class.

Seniors complete a 468-hour agency placement in their final semester. They must meet field entrance requirements before being admitted to SOCWK 418 Field Instruction.

Students are advised that licensure in social work requires a criminal background check. In addition, many internship agencies require background checks and drug screening to be admitted as a student intern.

Admission Requirements

Students may provisionally declare a social work major early in their academic careers at Ashland University. However, in accordance with requirements set forth by the Council on Social Work Education, the Social Work Program conducts an admission-to-the-major process which must be successfully completed before the student is permitted to proceed with taking SOCWK 310 and any other subsequent practice related courses. In order for a student to be considered for admission to the major, the following requirements must be met:

  1. A course grade of C or better in SOCWK 221 (Introduction to Social Work) or an equivalent transfer course approved by the Social Work Program;

  2. A cumulative GPA of 2.50. However, a student may be accepted on provisional status with a cumulative GPA that is between 2.25 and 2.50. The student must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.50 after one semester of being on provisional status in order to continue on in the program;

  3. Completion of an application packet that contains the following:

    a)  signed Application for Admission to the Major;

    b)  signed Student Agreement;

    c)  current transcript; and

    d)  autobiographical summary completed according to program guidelines;

  4. Three written references;

  5. Completion of an interview conducted by social work faculty (Note: a student who transfers to Ashland University as a junior or who changes his or her major to social work during their sophomore year may take SOCWK 221 during the same semester that SOCWK 310 is taken with the program’s permission, and may be admitted on a conditional basis.)

Student Honor Society

Epsilon Tau chapter of the Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society honors senior social work majors who have attained excellence of scholarship and distinction of achievement as students of social work. Requirements include being a senior with an overall GPA of 3.4 and being in the top 35% of graduating seniors.

Description of Major

Social work is an action-oriented, value-based profession that assists people in society who are facing a variety of social problems. The social work major is designed to give students an understanding of human functioning in contemporary society, the challenges and problems people face, and the social policies and services designed to help them. The program’s faculty creatively engages and challenges students in an educational process that prepares them for professional practice, graduate education, and for leadership roles in the social work profession. Students develop an awareness of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social influences on human behavior within the social environment, an understanding of the impact of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression on at-risk groups within society, and an appreciation of and dedication to working for social, political, and economic justice. They learn practice skills such as interviewing, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, and termination. Social workers serve people of all ages in a variety of settings including mental health centers, schools, hospitals, social service agencies, correctional facilities, and programs serving older adults.

Degree Requirements

Assessment – All social work majors with graduating senior status are required to participate at year's end in the department's Montana Social Work Competency Exam and the Field Instructor's Evaluation, which are elements of the assessment process. In compliance with the Council on Social Work Education guidelines, the Ashland University Social Work Program does not grant academic credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Social Work Courses and Descriptions

See Course Descriptions section of catalog.