Virginia Commonwealth University

About the school

Mission and goals

The mission of the VCU School of Social Work is to prepare professional social workers as practitioners, scholars and leaders; to generate research and scholarship for advancing knowledge and practice; and to contribute to the local, state, national, international and professional communities to improve quality of life. Guided by the principle of promoting social and economic justice in a diverse and multicultural society, our programs focus on service to and empowerment of people who experience oppression or vulnerability due to inadequate or inequitable distribution of personal, social or institutional resources.

We designed our B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs to educate individuals for competent and committed social work practice. The Ph.D. program is research-oriented and focused on developing scholars and leaders for education and practice in human services.

The curricula emphasize the use of critical thinking to address theory and practice applications, evidence-based decision making, diversity, self-awareness and ethical integrity. Knowledge for social work practice is based on analysis and critical application of qualitative and quantitative research from within the profession and related social, behavioral and biological sciences. Skill in professional practice is based on differential application of theories and research findings about people in their sociocultural and organizational contexts. Values in social work practice are articulated in the profession’s code of ethics and reflect the core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of each individual, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence.

Knowledge, skills and values are developed by the social worker through the educational process, self-critical practice and the use of supervision and consultation. Graduates of our programs will be able to formulate, implement and evaluate interventions, policies and programs; influence community decision making; and engage in knowledge development for the profession.

Goals

  1. Provide education programs that focus on the person-in-situation, respect diversity and promote social and economic justice relevant to the changing needs of society.
  2. Encourage and support faculty in maintaining and developing their knowledge and teaching excellence through continuing research, scholarship and practice.
  3. Enable faculty and students to provide service to the university, the profession and local, state, national and international communities.
  4. Support faculty and students as catalysts for change in advocating for social and economic justice.