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Class Descriptions

Neighborhood Planning (Urban Planning) SW655

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The course focuses on concepts and issues that characterize community planning for neighborhoods and explores interdisciplinary approaches to neighborhood analysis and intervention.  The initiatives of community development corporations, city agencies, and the federal government are examined through lectures, readings, and guest speakers.  The central questions the course examines are: Why do neighborhoods experience prosperity and decline? Which approaches (e.g. economic development, urban design, social service delivery, housing rehabilitation, community organizing and empowerment) are likely to be most effective in revitalizing neighborhoods?  How do we assess existing approaches to neighborhood revitalization?  Emphasis is placed on discovering appropriate information sources, learning to ask relevant planning questions, and formulating program alternatives and recommendations.

Youth Empowerment and Organizing SW656

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course examines strategies for engaging and empowering young people, with emphasis on approaches in racially segregated and economically disinvested areas. It considers core concepts of youth empowerment at the individual, organizational, and community levels; models and methods of practice; age-appropriate and culturally-responsive approaches; roles of young people and adult allies; and perspectives on practice in a diverse democracy. The course will draw upon best practices from grassroots organizing, civic engagement, youth development, and child welfare.

Multicultural, Multilingual and Global Organizing SW657

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine organizing in multicultural, multilingual and global contexts. The course will examine the process of promoting intergroup relations and social development and the skills needed to facilitate change across settings. In particular, students will explore the roles of power, privilege, oppression, and social identities in organizing for change in diverse communities and coalitions, and across cultural and global contexts. Students will also examine contemporary and historic efforts to engage in multicultural, multilingual coalitions and multi-national and global change efforts, including climate justice and racial justice.

Feminist and Critical Intersectionality Approaches to Community Change SW658

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine feminist and critical intersectionality theories as an approach and framework for community change. It will emphasize understanding the role of power embedded in structures, how power manifests in privilege and oppression and in social patterns of inequality. Students will engage in learning frameworks identifying and analyzing injustice through a feminist and critical intersectional lens as well as developing skills to utilizing these frameworks in community change practice. Students will also use this lens to explore examples of feminist and critical intersectional change efforts in the US and globally.

Prevention and intervention strategies with racial microaggressions SW659

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Participants in this course will examine racial microaggressions in practice as a source of these outcomes. Participants will define and identify racial microaggressions and their impact on clients and on the professional relationship. Attention will be given to the cultural context in the way racial microaggressions are experienced and dilemmas about how to respond. The effect of power differentials on the interpretation of racial microaggressions will be examined. Using an African-centered perspective, the course will be knowledge-, skills-, and values-based.

Project and Program Design and Implementation SW660

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Traditional project management tools enable social workers to conceive, plan, design, implement, manage, assess, and change projects effectively. Whereas projects are time-bound and discrete, programs are an ongoing collection of projects that can be managed together. Managing programs and projects in an inclusive and socially just manner necessarily requires engaging all people involved or affected by a project in meaningful and deliberate ways. Students will weave technical—and technological—tools together with inclusive structures in order to include and engage all stakeholders in the success of projects and programs. Technical skills developed in this course involve selecting and implementing tools to strategically design and manage projects in rapidly changing environments, as well as maximizing inclusion and equity with diverse populations. Management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving. This course will concentrate on single service projects as planned systems of action that engage the perspectives of clients, program and project staff, directors and managers, as well as the full organization. This course will prepare students to assist in tasks common to all phases of project development and assume independent responsibility for performing tasks some of these tasks (e.g., documenting program plans, developing initial budgets, program process analysis, and scheduling change). Specific attention will be given to issues in program design and development and the differential impacts on social identity groups that traditionally have been marginalized.

Budgeting and Fiscal Management SW661

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will present the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage the budget and finances of a social impact organization and its programs. Students will learn to use the techniques necessary to: 1) Plan, develop, display, revise, monitor, and evaluate a program budget using different kinds of budget formats; 2) Evaluate past financial performance; 3) Evaluate and propose financial changes for the future; 4) Monitor and evaluate the cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of social impact programs and organizations. The course will include exercises to develop and manage a budget for a program in an organization, along with a review of relevant policies and procedures in these organizations. Students will learn to understand cost analysis, and calculate income and expense estimates. The pros and cons of using various types of budgets will be compared. Students will receive an introduction to the process of overall organizational financial planning and auditing, including such topics as the role of Boards of Directors and consultants in financial management, planning, and evaluation. Calculation of indirect (overhead) costs, allocation methods, and issues of continuation funding will be discussed. Students will learn to develop an annual budget.. Development of a budget will include estimating and allocating all costs, including that of of personnel, which is the major expense in human service programs. Students will learn how basic financial transactions are reported through standard accounting procedures, how revenues and expenses are monitored and how all the finances of the agency are consolidated into typical financial statements . Additional topics are introduced to highlight contemporary issues affecting financial stability and sustainability.

Frameworks for Understanding Social Impact Organizations SW662

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials required
Course Description: This course will provide an overview of traditional and contemporary organizational theories and strategic frameworks relevant to understanding social impact organizations. A wide range of topics will be covered including but not limited to: organizational survival and adaptation to environmental changes, power asymmetry/dynamics between service providers and clients, staff and client diversity and inclusion, and informal strategies that providers develop to legitimize their practices while satisfying multiple stakeholders’ expectations. Using multiple theories and perspectives, students will develop a conceptual framework for recognizing how various environmental-, organizational-, and individual-level attributes shape social impact organizational behaviors and service provider’s practices. The framework will help students to reflect on organizational experiences and critically analyze institutionalized assumptions and beliefs that reside within social impact organizations. Using the conceptual basis acquired from this course, students will be asked to analyze a social impact organization and recommend strategies to improve organizational functioning.

Fundraising and Grant Writing SW663

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Social impact organizations secure resources through a variety of methods, including fees, grants, contracts, financial gifts, in-kind (non-cash) contributions, and investments. This course involves assessing an agency’s resource mix and developing tactics and strategies to sustain or expand its revenue streams. Students will explore the range of possible income sources that organizations can allocate to advance social justice by expanding and improving services, empowering groups, reaching populations in need, improving social conditions or anticipating and responding to new challenges. The implications of using alternative approaches of income generation and of changing the income mix will be analyzed in terms of mission accomplishment, program viability, adherence to ethics and values, and organizational sustainability. Skill development will be emphasized in areas such as grant seeking, proposal writing, donor development, direct solicitation of gifts, service contracting, and strategically communicating mission. Students will learn how to identify prospective funding sources, build relationships with potential donors, funders and collaborators, write, package and submit grant proposals, and communicate strategically. This course will also address emerging and changing trends in philanthropy.

Human Resource Development and Management SW664

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will focus on how administrators of social impact organizations can increase their effectiveness by supporting quality staff performance and employee engagement through structured human resource practice methods. This course will present ways to develop an equitable, healthy, and viable workplace for employees and employers. It will explore the role of social workers as change agents within organizations and the societal level impact of those changes. Students will learn relevant skills in staff recruitment, hiring, retention and termination, staff development, compensation and performance, and the development of benefit packages. Relevant laws and legislation governing workplace relationships such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will also be reviewed. Students will learn about work organization and job design, personnel recruitment and selection, performance monitoring and improvement, and compensation management. Students will learn that personnel management and staff development within human service organizations involve shared responsibility and active participation. Issues pertaining to dimensions of identity (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) will be given special attention, particularly in the areas of recruitment, promotion, compensation, and benefits. Emphasis will also be placed on assessing and developing organizational cultures that are inclusive and maximize their positive impact.

Social Impact Leadership and Governance SW665

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course will examine the attributes, skills, behaviors, problems, and issues associated with leadership in social impact organizations, both in the public and private sectors. Students will explore multiple styles of leadership, as well as the application of those styles in various settings. Some emphasis will be placed on the basic rudiments of executive positions and roles in relation to decision-making and facilitation, organizational governance, and relationships with boards of directors and external stakeholders. Issues pertaining to intersectional dimensions of identity (ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender identity and gender expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, spirituality, sex, sexual orientation) will be given special attention, particularly as students develop their own identity as leaders and manage relationships and conflict in the workplace. Leadership will also be analyzed in relation to the stages of organizational development. Concomitant with the above executive roles and skills, this course will address strategies for organizational development that are directed toward advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as enhancing adaptability, effectiveness, and efficiency to serving populations that have traditionally experienced marginalization.

Qualitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry SW670

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed as an introduction to the process of qualitative inquiry with a particular focus on the challenges of engaging in anti-oppressive, socially just, culturally sensitive, and decolonizing research activities. It will introduce students to the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative inquiry as well as expose them to basic issues in designing and implementing qualitative research projects. Students enrolled in the Evaluation and Research Pathway must select from one of two required foundational courses before completing their specialized electives in methodologies and methods. This course will meet that foundational requirement

Quantitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry SW671

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed to advance the foundational ideas of quantitative research in social work and the social sciences, with a particular focus on applied quantitative research dedicated to the study of social problems and the development of social interventions at the macro, meso and micro levels. The course will deepen students’ understanding of such issues as sample selection, measurement, and questionnaire design, research design, and basic analytic approaches. Students enrolled in the Evaluation and Research Pathway must select from one of two required foundational courses before completing their specialized electives in methodologies and methods. This course will meet that foundational requirement.

Data Visualization Applications SW672

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In an era of evidence based practice, community workers, advocates, and evaluators will likely find that they need to interpret and visualize data from a wide variety of sources. Understanding, interpreting and visualizing data (including some basic coding) can make the difference in successfully or unsuccessfully advocating for communities, clients or programs, and for understanding the impact of programs on clients. Increasingly, data relevant to community, participant and client well-being are available from a broad range of sources, whether those be databases of volunteers and donors, the Census, the World Bank, in addition to many others. This course will be focused on the acquisition of concrete applicable skills and strategies for interpreting and visualizing community data, including learning in R, Tableau and QGIS. Some learning of basic coding in R will be involved in this course.

Advanced Statistics SW673

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to statistics and statistical methods. It is intended and designed for students who already have some familiarity with statistics. Students in this course will acquire the skills to create and comprehend statistical reports related to program evaluation and research practice. Students will be able to assess the value and limitations of measures of central tendency (means, medians and modes), rates, and statistical estimates such as correlations and regression parameters. This course will help students develop the ability to use advanced quantitative methods to describe and analyze real world situations in social work settings and to make ethical inferences and decisions based on the statistical results. Students will learn to choose methods of statistical analysis to improve social policy decisions, service delivery, and intervention programs. Students will learn to understand and use appropriate language with their statistical analyses to clarify meaning and to explain the inferences (e.g. causal inferences) that can be appropriately made from specific data. 

Advanced Qualitative Analysis SW674

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is designed to enable students to explore and apply a variety of methods of analyzing non-numeric empirical evidence. It builds on the epistemological and methodological approaches covered in the Qualitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry. Students will be introduced to the theoretical justifications for selecting among different strategies for qualitative analysis, including deductive, abductive, and inductive approaches. Methods covered might include thematic analysis, content analysis, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, grounded theory, or ethnomethodology.

Project-based Evaluation Practice SW675

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Students will obtain practical community-based experience in data collection, interpretation, presentation and dissemination of evaluation results.This course will focus on the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to monitor and evaluate social services. Students will assess service needs of target populations and communities, monitor the implementation and operation of social welfare programs, and/or evaluate outcomes. Students will develop skills in choosing and implementing appropriate evaluation strategies and designs to inform practice.

Mixed Methods SW676

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In this course, students will be introduced to mixed methods research in the social and behavioral sciences. Mixed methods, here, include both qualitative and quantitative inquiry and can be situated in either positivistic and constructivist paradigms. The course will explore the kinds of research questions that are best answered with mixed methods, and this understanding will enable students to determine if mixed methods are advantageous, given their problem statement and research questions. In this course, less attention will be given to the single methods alone, but rather, how they integrate during each stage of the research process for a mixed methods study. The focus of the course is to consider how each method can inform each step of the research process to answer complex research questions. The course is best suited for students with comfort and familiarity using one or both of the single methods (qualitative or quantitative).

Community Engaged Research with Indigenous Communities SW677

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Indigenous communities in the U.S. are unique in their status as sovereign nations. This unique status creates particular opportunities and limitations for doing research. The course will identify different levels of engagement with Indigeous communities for developing and implementing research within them. Students will consider the underlying values, ethics, commitments, mutual respect and relationships from which these inquiry efforts are built and extended.

Power in the Global Context SW680

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: Social problems affecting individuals, families, groups, communities, and nations are globally interconnected. This course is designed to introduce students to an understanding of power in the global context and to help students develop a critical and reflexive understanding of how such power informs social work practice, utilizing decolonizing and social justice-oriented perspectives (e.g., feminist, participatory, liberatory/emancipatory). Students will gain an analytic de-centering framework for critical understanding and assessment of pressing social problems (e.g., human trafficking, climate change, and environmental disasters) and models of social interventions across global contexts. Students will learn to develop research- and policy-related questions and procedures that may address these pressing social problems. In exploring these themes, we will review underpinning theories and practice in global social work, such as: colonization, international aid and development, and democratization.

Critical Reflexive Global Practices SW681

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed to prepare social work students for effective and ethical professional practice in global social work contexts. This course works from a framework that acknowledges that global issues and practice are not bound by physical borders. Global contexts within the USA and abroad will be explored. These contexts will be within and across different cultural, geopolitical, socio-economic, organizational, and interpersonal settings. Ongoing development of critical consciousness is the core of this course. Throughout the course, students will critically and reflexively examine the impact of their positionalities, privilege, values, assumptions, prejudice, and biases. Specific attention will be placed on analyzing types, levels, and sources of power and mechanisms of oppression to assist students in addressing global inequalities. They will use such expanding/increasing critical understanding and insights to more effectively work including advocacy and developing allyship in diverse global contexts.

Immigration, Forced Migration, and Transformative Social Work Practice SW682

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course focuses on immigration - one of the most volatile and hotly debated issues of our time. How we respond to the myriad questions about immigration and immigrants and the problems generated by public policy responses to various kinds of immigration will determine how our society and economy will look and function in the future. Students will gain historical, structural and critical analyses of theories and debates related to immigration and forced migration, such as: political economy perspectives about the supply and demand of migrant labor; identity, culture and intersectionality based on Critical Latinx Theory; the challenges of ‘integration’; and tensions between citizenship rights activism versus No Borders activism. Students will understand policies and systems that both facilitate and delimit social work practice with immigrants and refugees, including the family, child welfare, refugee resettlement, asylum, health and mental health, community and legal systems. This course imparts and aspires for social work practice with immigrants and refugees that is forward-looking, transformative and just.

Evaluation in Social Work SW683

Former Curriculum

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: SW 522
Course Description: This course will cover beginning level evaluation that builds on basic research knowledge as a method of assessing social work practice and strengthening clients, communities and their social programs as well as the systems that serve clients and communities. It addresses the evaluation of promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services. Students will learn to assess and apply evaluation methods from various perspectives, including scientific, ethical, multicultural, and social justice perspectives.

Interprofessional Team-Based Care SW687

Credits: 2
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This interprofessional course is for online graduate student learners in the health professions. The course allows health professional students to gain an understanding of how each discipline contributes to the healthcare team, the importance of effective communication, and the role of team collaboration in clinical decision making. This is an online interprofessional education course where students will learn with, about, and from students in other health disciplines. Students will engage in case-based team-based learning online.

Adulthood and Aging SW690

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course focuses on bio-psycho-social development and changes in mid- and late-adulthood. It will cover six major areas. (a) Demographic trends globally and in the United States, (b) Major theoretical perspectives including the life course and life-span perspectives. (c) Biological and cognitive changes in the second half of life. (d) Common chronic conditions and their treatment in older adults. (e) Psychological and social development in mid- and late-adulthood. (f) Definitions and determinants of positive and healthy aging. Special attention will be paid to diversity and social justice issues, including similarities and differences in the experience of aging related to an individual's position in society (e.g., class, race/ethnicity, immigration status, religion, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity), and institutional and social factors that marginalize some segments of the older population.

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