B.S.W. Mission, Goals, and Practice Competencies

B.S.W. Program Mission

The mission of the Ferris State University Social Work Program is to educate professional social workers who will be leaders in their field, promoting social and economic justice, diversity, and empowerment and eliminating oppressive social conditions. We inspire students to be critical thinkers to meet the challenges of a global society through lifelong learning, innovation, political engagement, service and community collaboration.

B.S.W. Program Goals

  1. Prepare social workers to be qualified generalist social work practitioners with individuals, families, organizations and communities toward the enhancement of social interaction and human functioning.
  2. Prepare social workers to practice without prejudice or discrimination towards those marginalized populations in the global community with respect to social work values and standards. Promote and be an advocate for social diversity.
  3. Prepare social workers to engage in activities that promote lifelong learning toward the effective performance of personal and professional responsibilities.
  4. Prepare social workers to engage in activities that promote collaboration and reciprocal environmental relationships within diverse socio-political systems towards the enhancement of social functioning.

B.S.W. Program Practice Competencies and Learning Outcomes

Practice Competency #1:
Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

Social workers serve as representatives of the profession, its mission, and its core values. They know the professions history. Social workers commit themselves to the profession’s enhancement and to their own professional conduct and growth.

Social Workers:

  1. Advocate for client access to the services of social work
  2. Practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development
  3. Attend to professional roles and boundaries
  4. Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication
  5. Utilize supervision and consultation effectively
  6. Engage in career long learning.

Practice Competency #2:
Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.

Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision-making. Social workers are knowledgeable about the value base of the profession, its ethical standards, and relevant law.

Social Workers:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the NASW Code of Ethics
  2. Abide by the ethical standards of the profession
  3. Utilize the Code of Ethics to guide ethical reasoning
  4. Recognize and manage personal values to be consistent with the Code of Ethics
  5. Tolerate different views in resolving ethical dilemmas.

Practice Competency #3:
Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, and reasoned discernment. They use critical thinking augmented by creativity and curiosity. Critical thinking also requires the synthesis and communication of relevant information.

Social Workers:

  1. Utilize effective problem solving and critical thinking skills
  2. Integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research findings
  3. Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention and evaluation
  4. Utilize effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Practice Competency #4:
Engage diversity and difference in practice.

Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersectionality of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power and acclaim.

Social workers:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and respect for diversity
  2. Treat all clients with dignity and respect
  3. Recognize the extent to which social structure and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate or enhance privilege and power
  4. Identify selves as learners and engage with whom they work as educators
  5. Demonstrate self- awareness to eliminate influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups.

Practice Competency #5:
Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Each person, regardless of position in society, has basic human rights, such as freedom, safety, privacy, an adequate standard of living, health care, and education. Social workers recognize the global interconnectedness of oppression and are knowledgeable about theories of justice and strategies to promote human and civil rights. Social workers incorporate social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice.

Social workers:

  1. Recognize that each person, regardless of position in society has basic human rights
  2. Recognize the global interconnections of oppression and promote human and civil rights
  3. Recognize oppression and discrimination and their harmful effects
  4. Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice.

Practice Competency #6:
Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Social workers use practice experience to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery. Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge

Social workers:

  1. Use practice experience to inform research
  2. Use research evidence to inform practice, policy and social service delivery
  3. Demonstrate the ability to design and execute evaluation research.

Practice Competency #7:
Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life course; the range of social systems in which people live; and the ways social systems promote or deter people in maintaining or achieving health and well-being. Social workers apply theories and knowledge from the liberal arts to understand biological, social, cultural, psychological, and spiritual development

Social workers:

  1. Utilize knowledge about human behavior across the life span.
  2. Utilize knowledge about the range of social systems in which people live and how social systems affect client health and well-being (Person in Environment).

Practice Competency #8:
Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

Social work practitioners understand that policy affects service delivery, and they engage actively in policy practice. Social workers know the history of current structures of social policies and services; the role of policy in service delivery; and the role of practice in policy development.

Social workers:

  1. Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
  2. Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.

Practice Competency #9:
Respond to contexts that shape practice

Social workers are informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and societal contexts at all levels of practice. Social workers recognize that the context of practice is dynamic, and use knowledge and skill to respond proactively

Social workers:

  1. Continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services
  2. Promote sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

Practice Competency #10:
Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. (Planned Change Model)

Professional practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multiple levels. Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; and promoting social and economic justice.


Social workers:

  • Engage effectively (prepare for action, use empathy, develop mutually agreed upon focus for work) with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.


Social workers:

  • Assess through collection, organization and interpretation of data, assess strengths and limitations, and select appropriate intervention strategies with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Planning and Contracting:

Social workers:

  • Effectively develop treatment goals with clients
  • Identify, analyze and implement evidence based interventions designed to achieve client goals.


Social workers:

  • Intervene through initiating actions to achieve goals, implementing prevention interventions that enhance client capacities, help clients resolve problems; negotiate, mediate and advocate for clients) with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Termination and Evaluation:

Social workers:

  • Recognize and understand the psychological and social significance of separation and terminate services appropriately with clients.
  • Evaluate their practice.
  • Evaluate program outcomes.

Political Advocacy and Community Organization:

Social workers:

  • Promote social and economic justice causes
  • Are aware of the political processes that affect client well-being