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SWK 511: Course Intro

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Course Description

This course emphasizes analytic models of welfare policies and lays framework for decision-making.  Contemporary issues will be discussed and international policies examined. As the advanced course in the social welfare policy and services sequence, this course aims both to continue examination of selected themes addressed in SWPS I, and to build on the foundation provided in the initial policy course.  By building on the introductory knowledge base gained in SWPS I, SWPS II students will receive analytical and comparative content to aid in understanding policy issues, as well as in understanding how policy issues shape policy formulations and ultimately become policy implementation.  

Accordingly, content on social policy (or social welfare policy), service issues and social problems will be examined in this course both to illustrate analytical concepts and to assess their impact on diverse social groups and especially disadvantaged populations (children, women, older individuals) and groups victimized by discrimination (racial minorities, gays/lesbians).  Policy analysis models will be applied to illustrate the avowed v. unavowed intent of policy decisions made in the past in addition to the impact of these decisions on social system entities (e.g., change agent, client system, action system, target system), vulnerable populations and disadvantaged social groups.  Student comprehension of policy analysis will also be promoted by employing practical learning exercises (both inside/outside the classroom) involving current policy issues that can be used in conceptualizing and drafting hypothetical policy proposals.

Emphasis will be placed on understanding contemporary developments in the social welfare enterprise (service industry network), including pro/con perspectives on classical ideologies v. neo-thinking (centering primarily on liberalism and conservatism), the emergence of private, nonprofit human services corporations, and comparative national v. international perspectives on social welfare thought and service delivery schemes.

Permeating throughout this course will be attention to issues/concerns of deprived and oppressed individuals and groups, including ways that society determines advantage v. disadvantage, as well as, who will be advantaged and disadvantaged, and who will receive social justice and social injustice.

Additionally, this course will identify pro v. con forces that influence the structure and dynamics of social welfare policies and services, including the historic but “spotty” tradition of professional social work within this context.  As such, course content plus instructional emphasis will be given throughout the term to the benefits/problems of applying social work knowledge, values, skills and ethics on behalf of professional practitioners, graduate social work students, and social work clients or consumers.  Differential models of policy assessment will be incorporated in this course within the EPPSE theoretical framework (ecological perspective, problem-solving process ant at the empowerment perspectives).


Learning Outcomes


  • Upon completion of SWPS II, the student will be able to demonstrate, in writing and/or orally, thinking and performance behavioral skills, and mastery of the following course competencies:
  •  An advanced perspective on the origins, nature and processes of social welfare policy, in addition to comprehension of the impact of policy on rural-urban systems (micro, mezzo, macro) and the ecological system (Course Objective #1).
  • An advanced perspective on the role and impact of professional ethics and values plus human and cultural diversity as social underpinnings of social welfare policies and services (Course Objective #2).
  • An advanced perspective on the nature, role and impact of push v. pull factors on social institutions and service delivery systems (Course Objective #3).
  • Demonstrate acquisition of the common attributes of service delivery systems and their impact on service organizations, organizational decision-making and provider-consumer relationships (Course Objective #4).
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the impact of the variability of common attributes of service delivery on social service systems (Course Objective #5).
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the differential benefits of the major service delivery systems among racial minorities, impoverished and vulnerable populations, disenfranchised and ostracized groups and among urban and rural community group (Course Objective #6).
  • Advanced critical and analytical thinking skills plus ethical consciousness with respect to the interrelationship between social policy and public policy, as well as, in relation to the ecological system, an in terms of the dynamics of service delivery from a micro, mezzo and macro perspective (Course Objective #7).
  • An advanced ability to comprehend the capabilities/incapabilities of both national and international welfare states to justly, ethically and adequately meet the needs of rural-urban dependent populations, organizations, institutions and communities (Course Objective #8).      
  • An advanced perspective on the affects and effects of social welfare policies on the ecological system in both urban and rural communities (Course Objective #9).
  • An advanced comprehension of theoretical and practical applications of social work values and ethics requisite for effective policymaking, plus the capability of assessing professional practice for quality and competent performance behavior (Course Objective #10).
  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of policy analysis skills and the ability to use these skills in evaluating policy analysis designs (Course Objective #11).
  • Internalization of the systemic relationship between graduate social work education components and SWPS II (Course Objective #12).
  • An advanced ability to use one (1) or two (2) models to be specified in conducting a policy assessment (analysis) of a given program or service, and taking into consideration such factors as professional ethics, values, human needs and cultural diversity  (Composite of Course Objectives #1-12).


Subject Guide

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Jaquatta Causey, MLIS
The J. F. Drake Memorial LRC
4900 Meridian Street #207A/B
Normal, AL 35762