Jul 24, 2024  
2022-23 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2022-23 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work

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Tamara L. Faux, Chair; Tricia J. Coleman-Waterbury

Mission and Goals

The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education to grant the baccalaureate-level social work degree.  Grounded in the institutional mission of preparing students for lives of service and leadership as a spirited expression of their faith and learning, it develops graduates who are prepared for beginning generalist social work practice or graduate school entry at the advanced level.  The Social work program and its curriculum are based on the conviction that every person is worthy of respect and dignity and that these ideals cannot be achieved without a deep and active commitment to social justice.  Ultimately the program strives to develop competent, proficient practitioners who reflect the ideals of a liberal arts education and the knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession.

The social work program’s goals are to:

  • Instill in students an appreciation for the community as an essential context for professional practice.
  • Develop graduates with the vision, skills, and appreciation for advocacy to assume positions of professional and community leadership.
  • Equip students with an appreciation for professional ethics and the skills needed to apply ethical principles consistently in everyday practice.
  • Enable students to seek and skillfully use resources and research methods that enhance quality professional practice and service delivery.
  • Develop students who do not merely tolerate human differences, but view diversity as a strength and vital element of social life.


The goals of the program are met through a progressive curriculum of courses and field experiences that enable students to attain eleven core professional competencies that have been identified by the Council on Social Work Education as being essential to beginning generalist practice.  In addition, the curriculum is grounded in a strong liberal arts background and requires foundational coursework in human biology, psychology, and sociology.  With the exception of Social Work Practice I, II, and III, the Senior Integrative Seminar, and the (senior) Supervised Field Experience, all social work courses are open to students with other majors.

Field-based experiential education is regarded as the profession’s signature pedagogy, and social work students at Wartburg College undertake a minimum of two field experiences: a one-month May Term and a one-semester senior practicum.  An additional field experience is available as an option to those who desire exposure to social work practice with diverse settings and populations.  Field experiences are managed by social work faculty and supervised by trained, qualified professional field instructors. Students are placed in agencies locally and through Wartburg West in Denver, CO.

Specific information about the social work curriculum, course details, and the program’s operational policies are contained in the Social Work Student Handbook and the Field Education Manual, both of which can be found on the department’s web page.

Admission to the Social Work Program

Students apply to formally enter the program at the end of the second year.  Those who transfer to Wartburg as third or fourth-year students complete one term before applying.  Admission criteria for the social work major include:

  • Third-year standing
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00
  • A grade of C- or higher in each course required for the social work major
  • A grade of C- or higher in EN 115 College Composition 
  • Satisfactory completion of SW 181 Beginning Field Experience  
  • Demonstration of professional comportment (integrity, work habits, professional conduct)
  • Submission of an application for admission to the major and required attachments

Detailed policies and procedures for application to the major are contained in the Social Work Student Handbook.


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