Professional Development
The USF Social Work Program has exciting opportunities available for students who want to serve others. The Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education to prepare students for generalist social work practice with persons of all ages in child protection, residential treatment, correctional settings, hospitals, schools, community planning, domestic violence and homeless shelters, the courts and many other settings.

There are some additional aspects of the Program that makes the USF Program different from other programs. These include the availability and willingness of a wide array of community social workers to speak to classes and to work with students in practicums and in class projects. The many agencies in Sioux Falls welcome students as volunteers and part time workers. They also offer job placement opportunities after graduation. Many of these social workers are alumni, practicum instructors, supervisors and administrators. Students develop a network of professionals who know them and work with them to enhance their professional development.

All of these experiences enhance the graduate’s resume, making them very competitive when seeking employment.

The Social Work Program responds to the needs of the agencies in Sioux Falls by assigning students to participate in a wide array of experiences through service learning. In recent years, the Program has cooperated with a variety of agencies offering students opportunities to be involved in the following projects:
Serving the hungry at The Banquet (downtown food kitchen for homeless and poor individuals and families)
Observing and assisting with fundraising at the Center for Active Generations
Assisting the Red Cross in identifying agencies in need of HIV-AIDS training for their staff and clients
Supplementing the needs of elders in Senior DayBreak (a day care program for elders)
Recruiting families with children to register to receive CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) with the SD Department of Social Services
Evaluating the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility of the Sioux Falls playgrounds for the Sioux Falls City Park Department
Assisting NASW (the National Association of Social Workers) in re-establishing an office in Sioux Falls to serve South Dakota social workers
Assisting Sioux Valley Hospital Behavioral Health Services in a public education effort as a part of Mental Health Month
Researching data to assist in grant writing for the SD Network Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Assisting the Homeless Coalition in collating data on the Sioux Falls Homeless Count and in carrying out their activities of advocating for the needs of the homeless.

Academic Credit for Agency Experience
Additional optional opportunities to learn through service learning/active learning and serve the community and receiving course credit include:
Crisis Intervention: Credit is offered to students who receive crisis and suicide prevention training for the HELP!Line (a local crisis telephone service). This experience includes 100 hours of service to the HELP!Line.

End-of-Life Seminar: A five-week seminar combining experiential learning in interprofessional teams in the homes of hospice patients. Educational sessions enhance the learning and processing these experiences. Includes medical, social work, nursing, pharmacy and clinical pastoral education students.

Honors Course in Social Work: Selected honors students may choose their own research topic. During the last two academic years, students have worked with the Sioux Empire United Way to complete research to help the agency consider expansion of services. One project researched the needs for service to elderly in the rural area around Sioux Falls and resulted in an extension of services by the Center for Active Generations to several regional senior citizens’ centers to expand their programs. A second project researched the benefits of participation by children in community activities (athletic teams, music groups, character building organizations, etc.) that resulted in an experimental project of supplementing the programs to offer them without cost to children from limited income families.

Social Work Professional Memberships for Students

Students are encouraged to join NASW (the National Association of Social Workers) to benefit from the many resources available. The Student Application is available through the website. Students will be required to join NASW and puchase NASW liability insurance as a senior before starting their senior practicum experience. Membership for other students is desireable with benefits including subscription to a major professional journal (Social Work) and a monthly newsletter (NASW News) as well as many opportunities to learn more about the profession and participate in meaningful activities. Representatives are chosen from the students of the Social Work Program to participate on the Board of the South Dakota Chapter of NASW. Local and regional opportunities are numerous.

The North American Association of Christians in Social Work is an additional profesional organization to which students may belong. It links Christian social workers throughout North America and provides opportunities to support a growing Christian presence within the social work profession.

Many other professional social work groups are available for students to join locally, regionally and nationally. Information is posted on the bulletin board or in the publication rack outside of the Social Work Program offices in the Mears Library (Lower level). Students are encouraged to ask the social Work Program faculty about these opportunities, if interested.

Charity, vertical, humiliates.
Solidarity, horizontal, helps.

Eduardo Galeano




100 Ways You Can Stop Violence
Be a good example of tolerance
Try not to use the work “they,” or phrases like “you people.”
Teach patience
Work for fairness
Don’t retaliate
Take a trip to a Native American reservation
Teach a child to settle disagreements nonviolently, with words
Teach respect
Be worthy of respect
Be fair
Learn to walk in another’s shoes
Try to understand why others may act the way they do
Refuse to hate
Don’t litter. Pick up trash even if it isn’t yours
Speak out against hate
#40 Support a gun and ammunition tax to help pay for health care