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COURSE TITLE: Introduction to Social Work
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students in this course will learn about the history of social work and social welfare in Canada. The course will focus on helping  students  to  understand  the  social  movements, sociocultural practices, and ethics that have contributed to development of Social Work as a profession, as well as the values that inform the profession. The course is designed to help students recognize the relationships between history,theory, and praxis in social interventions, with the goal of contemplating the various ways in which a society can ethically respond to human need and social suffering. Students also will gain some perspective on research in Social Work, as well asthe role of social workers and their practice around the globe.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Hick, Steven F. (2010). Social Work in Canada: An Introduction (3rd ed.). Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
Participation and Attendance 10%
Exams (3) 30%
Personal Reflection Paper 20%
Paper and Presentation - Examination of a Social Work Issue 40%
  • To develop an understanding of the social work profession in terms of its historic development, values, theories, and practice framework
  • To develop an understanding of the fields of Social Work practice
  • To gain an understanding of current social issues
  • To develop critical thinking, awareness of diverse perspectives
  • To critically reflect on personal values and ideas in relation to social welfare
  • Thursday, September 1: Hand out and review course outline, obtain text, introduction discussions.
    • Read Chapter 1 The Canadian Welfare State Today for next class
  • Tuesday, September 6:  What is social welfare?  What is social work?
    • Read Chapter 2 Income Security and Social Welfare 
  • Thursday, September 8: Income Security and Social Welfare programs in Canada and Alberta. What is the difference between a universal program and a selective income security program? Who are Canada’s poor? 
    • Read Chapter 3 The History of Social Work
  • Tuesday, September 13: What are the three phases of the evolution of social work in Canada?
    • Read Chapter 5 Social Work as a Profession
  • Thursday, September 15: What roles can a social worker take on? What are the key values and ethics that guide the practise of social work?
    • Read Chapter 4 Theories and Approaches to Social Work Practise
  • Tuesday, September 20: What is functional theory, strengths–based theory, social systems theory, and structural approach theory? What are the key social work practise skills? What is empowerment? Class Exercise: We will be drawing our own ecosystem identifying those systems we interact with and are effected by in our own lives. 
  • Thursday, September 22: No Class – Interdisciplinary Studies Conference 
  • Tuesday, September 27: Continuation: What is anti-oppressive practise? What are psychologically based theories of practise? What is narrative therapy? What is task centered practise? Be prepared to discuss: What practise theory fits with your values and beliefs?
    • Read Chapter 6 Social Work with Individuals and Families
  • Thursday, September 29:   Exam 1 chapters 1-5.
    •  What is clinical direct practise? What is the process for direct practise? What are the social work direct practise skills?
  • Tuesday, October 4:  Continue Chapter 6. Practise basic social work interviewing/practise skills.
    • Read Chapter 10  Social Work and Women
  • Thursday, October 6: Personal Reflection Assignment due
    • What are the principles of feminist practise? Violence against women and the role of social work. 
    •  Read Chapter 7 Social Work with Groups and Communities
  • Tuesday, October 11:  Types of groups. Group dynamics to be aware of.  What are the stages of group development? What are the skills needed for group facilitation? Keys to community work. What are the phases in community work?  Group exercise
    • Read Chapter 8 Social Work with Children and Youth
  • Thursday, October 13: What is child welfare? What is child abuse? Youth and Crime issues. 
    • Guest Speaker – Janice Adamson BSW RSW - Alberta Children and Youth Services
    • Read Chapter 9 Social Work and the Health of Canadians
  • Tuesday, October 18: Universal health care and medical/mental health social work practise.
    • Guest Speaker – Papiya Das MSW RSW – Mental health Social Worker
  • Thursday, October 20:  Exam 2 Chapters 6 – 10 
    •  Work on your social issues paper
    • Read Chapter 11 Social Work and Aboriginal People
  • Tuesday, October 25: Who are the Aboriginal People?  The Indian Act.  Aboriginal Social Work Practise.
    • Read Chapter 13 Social Work and the Elderly
  • Thursday, October 27: Healthy vs Unhealthy Seniors. What is elder abuse?
    • Read Chapter 12 Social Work with Racialized Canadians and Immigrants
  • Tuesday, November 1:  History of Canada’s Race Relations. Canada’s Immigration Policy and Multi-culturalism Policy.  VIDEO: Pier 21 Immigration
    • Guest Speaker – Asma Sai – Immigrant and Refugee Settlement Services  CSS
    • Read Chapter 14 Social Work and Sexual and Gender Diversity
  • Thursday, November 3:  What are the two major developments that have shaped society’s thinking about gender and sexuality? Social Work Counselling Practise for individuals with sexual and gender diversity. 
    • Guest Speaker – Evan Westfal- Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services  U of A
    • Read Chapter 15 Social Work with Persons with Disabilities
  • Tuesday, November  8: Who are People with Disabilities? Types of disabilities. Theories of  Disability. Disability and social work practise.
    • Read Chapter 16 International Social Work Practise
  • Thursday, Nov. 10: No class – Fall break 
  • Tuesday, November 15: What is International Social Work? Human Rights Policy and Practise. International Social Work opportunities. Social Action/Social Advocacy.
    • Thursday, November 17: Exam 3 Chapters 11 – 16
    •  Exercise: Social Action - We will be writing a letter to the appropriate source ex. Editor of the Edmonton Journal, Mayor of Edmonton, Minister of the government department on a social issue.
    • We will need some people with laptops to bring them to class so we can get our draft copies of our letters typed and then have them finalize them for next class and sent or emailed.   
  • Tuesday, November 22:    Social Action exercise completed
  • Thursday, November 24:   Social Issues Paper Due  & Presentations begin
  • Tuesday, November 29:     Social Issues Presentations
  • Thursday,  December 1:     Social Issues Presentations
  • Tuesday, December 6:        Social Issues Presentations
  • Thursday, December 8       Last class!  Social Issues Presentations if needed.
  • Course evaluation.  Discussion of your view of social work, is this the profession for you? What has been your most significant learning? Any questions about social work not previously answered.      

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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