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Class Descriptions

Foundation Topics in Social Work SW503

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is taught by various members of the program faculty. Each version of the course has its own subtitle, some being offered one time only while others are repeated and may evolve into regular courses with their own course number and title. This is an appropriate selection for upper-level undergraduate students.

Engaging Social Justice, Diversity, and Oppression in Social Work SW505

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This required essentials course is designed to increase students’ awareness, knowledge, and critical skills related to diversity, human rights, social and economic justice. The course focuses heavily on engaging diversity and differences in social work practice and advancing human rights and social and economic justice, through understanding power and oppression across micro, meso, and macro levels. We will explore the knowledge base that underlies skills needed to work towards justice. These include types and sources of power, multiple social locations, social constructions, social processes, social identities, conflicts, and how all these interact. A major emphasis is on self reflexivity and developing skills in critical contextual thinking and analyses, as well as learning to use knowledge and theory to recognize critique, and engage underlying assumptions, and inform working for change. Multiple kinds of understanding are especially important—across groups, between organizations and system levels, and within and between people, related to intersecting social locations.

Essentials of Interpersonal Practice SW506

Credits: 4
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course presents knowledge and skills essential to interpersonal practice while considering the community, organizational, and policy contexts in which social workers practice. Students learn how to perform various social work roles (i.e. counselor, group facilitator, mediator, broker, and advocate), recognizing that these roles must be based on the adherence to social work values and ethics. All phases of the IP treatment and prevention process (i.e. engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation,and termination) will be presented with attention to how they are applied to work with individuals, families, and small groups. Using an evidence informed approach, students will learn to assess problems in clients' lives that relate to attributes of the client (e.g. age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and spirituality) as well as situational and environmental factors relevant to the client's social functioning. Students will understand patterns of functioning, to assess strengths and limitations, and to plan, implement and monitor change strategies. Students also learn how self-awareness and the conscious use of self affect the helping relationship and how to apply practice skills such as active listening, empathic responding, contracting, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking in practice. Students learn how to apply various evidence informed strategies in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of change efforts based on whether their implementation enhances the client's capacity for self-determination and the system's capacity for justice.

Research Basics for Social Work Practice SW507

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will provide students with an orientation to research, scientific inquiry, and the contribution of research in social work practice. The course will help students define research terminology, the social work ethical standards pertaining to research and evaluation, and the role of the researcher in social work practice. Students will understand the ethical, political and cultural context of research to inform micro, mezzo and macro social work. This course is not required for Advanced Standing students.

Essentials of Social Welfare Policy SW508

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course surveys the history of social welfare policy, services, and the social work profession. It explores current social welfare issues in the context of their history and the underlying rationale and values that support different approaches. Emphasis is placed on major fields of social work service such as: income support, health care, mental health, and services to the elderly. Analytic frameworks with regard to social welfare policies and services are presented. These frameworks identify strengths and weaknesses in the current social welfare system with respect to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; behavioral and social science theory and research; and social work relevant promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs and services in relation to diverse dimensions (including ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation).

Essentials of Community and Organizational Practice SW509

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is partly survey in nature, touching on a range of methods, strategies, and skills in macro practice, specifically community organization, management, and advocacy. It provides an appreciation of the historical and contemporary importance of these social work methods as well as opportunities for students to develop practical skills. With opportunities for hands-on experience and training using tangible tools that are critical for success in macro practice, the course places special emphasis on approaches that strengthen socially just and culturally sensitive practice. Students focus on: (1) understanding the context of macro practice; (2) identifying community and organizational interventions to address social needs and problems; (3) organizing and building relationships within communities and organizations; and (4) organization-based and community-based policymaking, planning, and program development. Course content addresses concepts and practice skills involving assessment, engagement, and intervention planning at the macro level, and strategies to work effectively with communities, organizations and groups. Content also includes reflective practice and utilizing interpersonal skills in macro practice. The course will offer skill-building in some tasks that are important to beginning social work practice, such as understanding and developing spreadsheets, meeting facilitation, teamwork, collecting and presenting basic data, and communicating effectively.

Topics in Social Work SW513

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is taught by various members of the program faculty. Each version of the course has its own subtitle, some being offered one time only while others are repeated and may evolve into regular courses with their own course number and title.

Foundation Field Education SW515

Credits: 2
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Foundation field education assists students applying and integrating Foundation knowledge of social work skills, values, and ethics with practice and in developing a professional social work identity. The field experience provides students with a series of supervised field-based assignments and tasks selected to complement Foundation academic courses. Students may be exposed to a variety of social work roles such as case manager, counselor, advocate, organizer, administrator, facilitator, mediator, educator, and planner. In this context, students are expected to develop knowledge, understanding, and skills concerning relationships with clients, supervisors, co-workers and external constituencies. In addition, students will be expected to develop a Foundation understanding of the context of social work practice as it relates to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation and research-based practice. Within the field curriculum student learning will involve experiential learning and is based on the identification of field-based assignments and learning activities, and regular supervision with a field instructor.

Independent Studies for Peace Corps Master's International SW527

Credits: 6
Prerequisites: Must be in the MSW PCMI program
Course Description: The primary goal of this special studies course is to have students reflect on their experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer and relate these experiences to the social work courses completed during their first year of the MSW program as well as their professional goals as social workers. Students are expected to participate in a C-tools site (if they have internet access at their placement) and keep a journal or blog about their Peace Corps experience relating it back to their academic coursework.

Independent Studies in a Global Setting SW528

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Special Studies abroad

Independent Studies: Welfare of Children & Families SW529

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Trauma Basics SW540

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is currently taught as SW 540, which is a workshop-based inter-professional education course offered by UM School of Social Work in partnership with the School of Nursing and School of Education. It is the first course in a 3-course sequence in Trauma-Informed Practice (TIP). SW 541 and SW 542 are also included as electives in the WCF pathway. Completion of all 3 courses fulfills the requirement of a trauma certificate. This first course will provide basic, foundational knowledge about the cognitive, social-emotional, behavioral, and health-related outcomes of trauma in children. A key focus of the course will be on enhancing awareness of trauma in children; assessing and responding to the needs of children who encounter trauma; and changing systems to become more responsive to vulnerable children and their families. Exploration of factors known to promote resilience and well-being will be emphasized and examined throughout the course. The course will examine principles of interprofessional education, which focuses on helping students in the professions of social work, nursing, and education work collaboratively in generalist and specialty practice roles.

Trauma Informed Practice (Education) SW541

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: SW 540
Course Description: This course will provide foundational knowledge about trauma-informed practice. A primary goal is preparing students for interprofessional approaches to trauma-informed prevention and intervention. A key focus will be on teachers, social workers, and nurses collaborating to use specific trauma-informed practices for addressing young people's academic, social-emotional, behavioral, and health needs.

Creating and Sustaining Trauma-Informed Systems (Nursing) SW542

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: SW 540
Course Description: This course will provide foundational knowledge about developing and sustaining a school or organizational culture that is trauma-informed. The course will incorporate principles of interprofessional education, which focuses on helping students in the professions work collaboratively in generalist and specialty practice roles. A primary goal of the course is to prepare students to use interprofessional and team-based strategies to achieve organizational change. A key focus will be on teachers, social workers, and nurses going beyond their practice role to collaborate on organizational work. Examples including educating colleagues, planning for a long-term project, evaluating programs, and obtaining resources to sustain collaborative models and programs to address trauma in schools.

Independent Studies: Policy & Political Social Work SW548

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Independent Studies: Community Change SW551

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Independent Studies: Management & Leadership SW561

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Independent Studies: Program Evaluation and Applied Research SW571

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Topics in Disability Studies (Rackham) SW572

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: An Interdisciplinary approach to disability studies, including focus on the arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, and professional schools. Some topics include history and cultural representation of disability, advocacy, health, rehabilitation, built environment, independent living, public policy. Team taught with visiting speakers. Accessible classroom with realtime captioning.

Independent Studies: Global Social Work Practice SW589

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Introduction to Social Work Practice SW590

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Introduction to Social Work Practice will prepare students to successfully approach both social work education and social work practice. The course will introduce social work students to key social work ideas, values, concepts, and skills, including the code of ethics, social work’s grand challenges and P.O.D.S. (privilege, oppression, diversity and social justice). Students will be oriented to social work education at the University of Michigan, including how professional graduate education may differ from past educational experiences, specialization options available, and the role of lifelong learning. Students will be introduced to a professional portfolio that they will use throughout their time in the program.

Independent Studies: Social Work SW596

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Behavioral, Psychosocial and Ecological Aspects of Health, Mental Health and Disease SW600

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course will survey the distribution, determinants, and biomedical, psychological and behavioral aspects of health inclusive of physical, mental and behavioral health and disease across the life span from pre-birth to death. Social, economic, environmental, structural and cultural variations in and determinants of health, disease, and quality of life will be addressed, including the influence of factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, geography, ability, biological, genetic and epigenetic factors. Barriers to access and utilization, geopolitical influences, environmental justice, social injustice, oppression and racism, historical trends, and future directions will be reviewed. Health beliefs and models of health behavior (e.g. Health Belief Model,Theory of Planned Behavior,) and structural determinants of health (e.g. Minority Stress Theory) will be presented, including help-seeking and utilization of health services. Stress, allostatic load, coping and social support, adaptation to chronic illness, the influences of privilege, stigma and discrimination, quality of life, and death and dying will also be covered.

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