Social work is professionally helping individuals, groups or communities enhance their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions. Social work consists of professional application of social work values, principles and technology to one or more of the following ends:
- helping people obtain tangible services
- providing counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups
- helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services
- participating in relevant legislative processes (NASW).
The program supports the overall mission of the University and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by preparing culturally competent, effective, and ethical social work professionals committed to providing services to the poor, oppressed, and underserved. The department also provides opportunities for students to take leadership roles in supporting and promoting social justice and the social work profession internationally by facilitating peace within individuals, families, communities, and nations.
Career Opportunities and Graduate Study
Students who graduate with a Baccalaureate Degree in Social Work (BSW) from BYU–Hawaii are prepared as generalist social work practitioners. The beginning generalist practitioner assesses and works with consumer populations including referrals to community resources, guides consumer populations through the planned change process, intervenes with individuals, families, groups, and the community in a range of situations conducts on-going evaluations and makes appropriate closure.
BSW practitioners are employed in a variety of direct practice settings such as state departments of human services, mental health and developmental disabilities services, children's service agencies, halfway houses, nursing homes, area-wide agencies on aging, agencies serving battered women, rape crisis centers, child-care centers, etc. In the practice setting, the generalist social work practitioner takes on various roles such as a social broker, case manager, advocate, counselor, mediator, and educator.
The social work program also prepares students for graduate study in social work as well as service within their family, church, and community. The knowledge, skills, values, and ethics gained from a social work education can be well used both professionally and personally, formally, and informally.
The Social Work Profession
The human experience is filled with good fortune as well as challenges and difficulties. Sometimes we are unable to cope with or resolve difficulties such as poverty, marital conflict, parent-child relationship problems, delinquency, abuse and neglect, substance abuse, and mental/emotional stress. Social work is the profession that helps individuals, groups, and communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and work towards social and economic justice and peace.
The underpinnings of the social work profession include but are not limited to: (1) social work values such as autonomy, non-judgmental attitude, and the dignity, worth, and value of all human beings; (2) social work knowledge about human behavior, research, the life cycle, group dynamics, social policy, the ecological framework, human diversity, the environment, etc.; (3) practice skills and paradigms for working with multilevel populations such as preparing, communicating, analyzing, contracting, role-taking, and stabilizing; and (4) planned change or an orderly approach to problem-solving.
The BYU-Hawaii Social Work Program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) continuously since 1978. CSWE is the national organization that provides the leadership for social work and monitors the quality for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs in the United States.