“The purpose of the social work profession is to promote human and community well-being. Guided by a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, social work’s purpose is to actualize through its quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons.” (CSWE, EPAS, 2008)
The social work program at Northwestern prepares students in the generalist perspective for entry-level professional positions and for advanced graduate training in social work. The generalist perspective means that social workers are trained in a holistic-interactionist paradigm for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social Workers work within a distinct value orientation including service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry.
Social work students at Northwestern College are equipped for the profession through a curriculum of courses in social work theory and practice built on a broad foundation in the liberal arts and in the social and behavioral sciences. The signature pedagogy for social work is the field practicum experience in a professional setting. “The intent of the field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting.” (CSWE, EPAS, 2008) The course requirements of the social work program are extensive due to the broad spectrum of knowledge required to become an effective social work practitioner. Northwestern’s social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (since 1986).
The social work faculty is committed to the preparation of graduates who have integrated their faith into all areas of their life: competent professionals, whose integrity is centered in Christ-like compassion and whose spiritual strength enables them to enter with confidence the varied contexts of human need.