The Social Work Program prepares liberally educated professional social workers to ethically serve diverse populations and promote a just global community. Program goals include preparing students:
- for generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities of diverse backgrounds;
- who understand and appreciate a scientific approach to knowledge building and practice;
- who reflect on and are responsible for their own ethical conduct;
- for lives of service and leadership in the global community.
A student who is awarded distinction in social work must demonstrate the ability to integrate knowledge from prerequisite and other liberal arts courses with the knowledge gained in social work foundation courses. Seniors who are awarded distinction in social work will complete independent, integrative academic work in addition to the regular requirements of the major.
Criteria for Distinction
- An overall St. Olaf GPA of 3.0 or higher
- A GPA in courses required for Social Work of 3.5 or higher (including prerequisite courses).
Completion of one of the following:
- An independent study, independent research, or academic internship in addition to the regular curricular requirements. The independent work must be related to social work, social welfare, or social policy. The work may be done in a formal course (e.g. SW 298, 398, or 294) or it may be work that is independent and not-for-credit that is presented in a formal manner. This formal presentation may be in the form of a paper, a portfolio of learning, a DVD or a PPT presentation; OR
- An extensive reworking of a previous scholarly paper on a topic directly related to social work, social welfare, or social policy (e.g. a project or paper completed for SW221, 246, 258 or 261)
Demonstration of social work knowledge, values and skills related to the topic and integration of previous learning in liberal arts and social work courses must be evident in the distinction work.
Procedure for Distinction
- February 11th: Senior Social Work major requests consideration for distinction in writing to the Department Chair.
- March 20th: Distinction material (paper, presentation, etc.) is submitted to the Department Chair.
- Early April: A committee of department faculty, along with a fieldwork instructor, and/or a social work alum familiar with the content area of the distinction work, will review the work. The committee will then meet in oral interview with the candidate to discuss the work.
- April 19: Committee makes a decision about the distinction application and the chair notifies the candidate of the decision in writing. Department Chair then sends name(s) of distinction awardee(s) to the Registrar.