The Department of Social Work Education (DSWE) at Fresno State is specifically committed to the education of social workers at the bachelor's and master's levels who will provide social welfare services and leadership within the central San Joaquin Valley. Graduates of both programs intervene with individuals, families, groups, and other small systems as well as with human service agencies, voluntary organizations, neighborhoods, and communities.
The Department is committed to enhancing both the quality of life in the region and the capacity of citizens to identify and address their own social welfare and social justice concerns and needs. To fulfill its mission in the region, the DSWE prepares social workers for agency and community-based practice and for informed, active participation as social workers and citizens who are compassionate and proactive in response to human needs.
Three important goals of our educational program at Fresno State include the development of practice with:
- a commitment to social justice;
- diversity awareness and cultural competence; and
- an empowerment perspective.
These three goals of Social Work Education are equally important to practice at all levels of intervention. The goal of the undergraduate program is to prepare baccalaureate level students for beginning generalist social work practice in public and private agencies. The goal of the graduate program is to prepare students for advanced, autonomous social work practice with a special focus on practice roles and interventive modes across system levels.
Both programs provide preparation for service in a region quite unique to most of the United States. This is characterized by enormous demographic diversity, pockets of extreme wealth yet widespread poverty, population growth, changing and growing social service needs, and the presence of many oppressed groups, including women and growing ethnic populations (particularly Latinos/Hispanics, African-Americans, and Southeast Asians: Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese). The context for this practice is a unique urban-rural configuration of people, agribusiness, social-political institutions in transition, and a host of social service needs. Accordingly, the department educates beginning (B.A. in Social Work) and advanced practitioners (M.S.W.) who can meet complex needs, perform a multiplicity of social work roles, promote institutional change, and enhance the problem solving capacities of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.