The Program

1898 to 2009 -- 100+ Years of Professional Social Work -- Celebrating America’s Real Heroes

Goals: The Social Work program is designed to prepare students for beginning generalist social work practice by combining a strong liberal arts base with a comprehensive professional education. It provides students with an understanding of the basic goals, philosophy, functions and values of social welfare as an institution in American pluralistic society and is designed to develop professional knowledge and skills for ethical social work practice. The program focuses on preparing each student to develop his or her maximum capacity for a self-directed, analytical and disciplined approach to social work practice through a variety of problem-solving processes and roles. The program is accredited on the undergraduate level by the Council on Social Work Education, and successful completion of the program entitles graduates to membership in the National Association of Social Workers, advanced placement in most graduate schools of Social Work and employment in a variety of agencies where staff are required to have an accredited Social Work degree. In order to meet the objectives of the Social Work program, the University regularly assesses how well it realizes these and other goals and its methods to achieve them.

Vocational Applications: Beginning generalist social work practice includes traditional social work positions such as mental health, social work with elderly, medical social work, corrections, family and children’s services, and may also include case management, human resources, special ministries in churches, community planning, recreation, work with the disabled and any other position which requires ability to work with people and the community.

Social Work in a Latin American Context
This program is planned and coordinated through a consortium of regional undergraduate social work programs in which the University of Sioux Falls participates. The program takes place during the spring semester in Cuernavaca, Mexico and is administered through the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College. The curriculum has been created to satisfy course requirements for the students who attend schools accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The goal of the program is to develop cross-culturally competent, ethical social work professionals with a global perspective by providing a semester of transformative, experiential learning focused on social and economic justice.

The semester is specially tailored for students to complete sixteen semester hours (four courses) including:
o SWK 294 International Social Welfare: The Mexican Context
o SWK 295 Comparative Social Policy in Mexico and USA: Social Policy for Social Change
o SWK 316 Working with Families and Groups: Theory & Practice
o SWK 390 Special Topics in Social Work: Spanish for Social Workers (small classes of 3-5 students to enhance oral competency in Spanish)

There are several unique features of this program. There is the opportunity for experiential education-living and learning in the midst of the society being studied and encountering the people and culture inside and outside of the walls of a classroom. There will be diverse speakers and educational excursions to learn about social work and social welfare in Mexico. Students will stay with a selected family for 4-6 weeks, participating in their daily lives. Servicelearning/ volunteer opportunities in Mexican organizations provide hands-on experience and allow the students to develop closer relationships in the community as well as improving Spanish skills. Students interested in applying must be sophomores, juniors or seniors and have completed one college-level Spanish course. USF students will be given priority in admission. Because a consortium contract has been signed by USF, students will continue to be registered at the University of Sioux Falls and will receive their financial aid from USF. The cost for USF students is equivalent to the USF tuition for the semester, plus a charge of approximately $3,000 which includes room and board, field trips, pre-trip background reading materials, airport or bus transfers and general program oversight. Students are responsible to pay for books, personal expenses and round-trip travel from home to Mexico City. Students must apply through the faculty of the USF Social Work Program and the USF Off-Campus Study Advisor.


The Social Work Program at USF is small enough to offer careful academic and career planning with close relationships between faculty and students, and among students.  It is large enough to offer comprehensive professional education, intensive internships, and diverse employment opportunities, as a student and after graduation.

The Program faculty and students have participated actively in most regional social, mental health and medical service agencies for over 30 years, and are viewed by the professional community as valuable resources.  Graduates of the Social Work Program serve throughout the world in helping relationships that encourage people to use their own strengths, and family and community resources to improve their lives.  The USF Social Work Program prepares graduates to serve as generalist social workers.  Many graduates continue their education in graduate schools and become specialists, such as geriatric social workers, family and children's therapists, medical and mental health social workers, community organizers, and agency administrators. Others have chosen graduate education to prepare for the ministry, counseling, and social planning. Some choose to practice social work in the region. Still others serve people in service programs far from Sioux Falls and in other countries.

Welfare reform, the changing international economy, and higher expectations for quality of life throughout the lifespan offers opportunities for creative social work professionals who are interested in working hard and taking risks to serve.  The rewards are many if you like to help people accomplish their goals.  The Social Work Program faculty can explain how the CSWE-accredited major can be completed.

The USF Social Work Program received initial accreditation to February 2010 by CSWE (Council on Social Work Education) after separating from a consortium which had been accredited since 1974.  Accreditation is important because there are many social work positions which require the applicant to have this credential.  It also assures advanced standing in most graduate schools of social work and admission to membership into NASW (the National Association of Social Work), the professional social work organization.  Curriculum, academic advising, practica/field instruction, faculty and student participation in community issues, university support and placement of the graduates are among the many parts of the Program that are reviewed regularly by CSWE to assure that students are prepared for beginning social work practice.  The courses and details of the curriculum and practica/field instruction are described in the USF Catalog--Social Work section.  Information about practica/field instruction (internships) is included in the Practica/Field Instruction section.

For more information go to Frequently Asked Questions at the CSWE website. - About CSWE - FAQs

10 Help people
9 Do what counts
8 Practice your principles
7 Foster success stories
6 Match wits with life’s challenges
5 Change the future
4 Make the world a better place
3 Satisfaction guaranteed
2 World-class peers
1 Career of CHAMPIONS!
from National Association of Social Workers


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Make a child smile today
Make a stranger smile
Be an exception to somebody’s stereotype of you
Be slow to anger, slow to accuse, quick to tolerate
Be charitable toward rude people—they don’t know better
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Learn about your neighbor’s culture