Social Work for social justice: School of Social Work unveils new curriculum

audrey shillington, director of the school of social work
“Our students, faculty, alumni, and community partners all contributed to the new curriculum for our B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs,” said School of Social Work Director Audrey Shillington.

This fall, Colorado State University’s School of Social Work will launch a new curriculum focused more definitively on economic, environmental, and social justice, for preparing versatile leaders in professional and ethical generalist social work practice.

Administrators in the undergraduate and graduate social work programs, course designers, curriculum review teams at CSU, advisory board members, alumni, and students all provided input that successfully brought the revitalized curriculum to completion.

“We had a vision for improvements partly in response to public policy trends and requirements,” said Director Audrey Shillington, “but our students and many new members of our faculty provided real inspiration. They are passionate about this direction and wanted to go further to make diversity and social justice prime foci of our programs.”

The new curriculum is designed to meet evolving standards of the profession, incorporate new developments in course design and pedagogical best practices, and respond to direct feedback from students and alumni.

students in social work curriculum

Changes to social work curriculum undergraduate and graduate programs

In the undergraduate social work program, the school improved the balance of instruction between macro- and micro-level practice. It also broadened the number of courses that meet requirements in areas such as health and wellness. Undergrads also can dovetail required courses with popular minors, such as ethnic studies and women’s studies, to tailor learning towards their interests.

For social work graduate students, electives have been added to allow two-year students to complete a graduate certificate. The school currently offers five certificate programs, including new offerings Military and Veteran Culture and Nonprofit Administration, both launched in 2017.

Settings where CSU social work graduates are quickly employed include healthcare, substance use treatment, mental health, schools, and nonprofit organizations.

The School of Social Work will also be the first at CSU to capture individual and cohort data from Canvas, the online platform used by all faculty and students. Thanks to partnerships with Canvas administrators for both CSU and the College of Health and Human Sciences, Canvas Outcomes data will be used to show student competency mastery and enhance program feedback.

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.