Professional Expectations for B.S.W. Students

In the process of preparing competent social work generalists, the Bachelor of Social Work Program seeks to prepare students to develop a professional identity that incorporates the values and ethics of the social work profession. While students in the program are at different stages in the development of this identity, it is expected that all social work students strive to attain and demonstrate professional values and ethics during the course of their enrollment in the B.S.W. Program. These values and ethics should be in evidence in the social work classroom, in the interaction of social work students with each other, with professors and while interning in social service agencies off campus. Based on core social work values, included in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers, the following are considered part of the professional expectations for B.S.W. students.

Dignity and Worth of the Person. Social work students should treat others in a respectful manner, regardless of differences. Respect for the dignity and worth of the person is demonstrated by:

  • basic courtesy in interactions with others;
  • paying attention to whoever has the instructor’s permission to speak in the classroom;
  • refraining from behaviors which interfere with the learning process in the classroom (random talking, use of cell phones, interruptions to answer the vibrating cell phone or take an individual break from class); and
  • always speaking and behaving in ways that show respect for others.

Importance of Human Relationships. Social work students demonstrate the importance of human relationships when they:

  • form and sustain positive working relationships with others;
  • demonstrate respect for and consideration of others;
  • communicate effectively;
  • accept responsibility for their own behavior in interaction with others;
  • use appropriate channels for resolving conflicts; and
  • manage their own personal stress and problems in ways that do not interfere with their relationships with their colleagues, their instructors, and especially clients and staff of social service agencies.

Integrity. Social workers are expected to be trustworthy and demonstrate high integrity. Social work students demonstrate integrity when they:

  • meet their responsibilities in their classes;
  • do their own work;
  • refrain from plagiarizing;
  • refuse to do the work of others; and
  • refrain from all forms of cheating and dishonesty in assignments and examinations.

Competence. Social work students are expected to demonstrate competence with their commitment to their studies. Behaviors that demonstrate this commitment include:

  • attending all scheduled classes on time;
  • remaining attentive and in the classroom throughout the time scheduled for the class meeting;
  • participation in all learning activities scheduled for the class;
  • reading all assigned readings to prepare for classes;
  • effort to produce quality work in completing all assignments;
  • timely submission of assignments;
  • effort to prepare for quizzes and examinations; and
  • following up on recommendations of instructors for skill improvement.

Students whose family and/or employment obligations interfere with their commitment and devotion to their studies should consider reducing their course load.

Service. Social work students are expected to be of service to others. Students demonstrate this value by:

  • learning all they can as students to become prepared for the role of social worker;
  • active participation in all service learning requirements of the curriculum;
  • reporting to service learning agencies on time, properly dressed, and ready to provide service to the organization and its clients;
  • demonstrating all the professional values and ethics in their interactions at the service learning site; and
  • volunteering their services to assist others, when feasible.

Social Justice. Social workers are especially concerned about people who are vulnerable and oppressed. They seek social change to challenge social injustice. They work to provide equal access to opportunities and meaningful participation in decision making for persons who have experienced discrimination and oppression. Social work students are expected to:

  • be sensitive in relating to persons who have experienced discrimination and oppression; and
  • learn ways to seek social change for a more just society.