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Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Smith College School for Social Work is to advance the aims of the profession through education for excellence in clinical social work practice and through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

Clinical social work practice is concerned with the interdependence between individuals and their environments and the use of theoretically grounded, relationship based, culturally informed interventions to promote healing, growth and empowerment. Clinical social work recognizes and responds to the complexities of the human condition: its strengths, possibilities, systems of meaning, resilience, vulnerabilities and tragedies. As a collaborative process, clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession, including recognition of client self-determination, growth and change in the client system and pursuit of social justice. It rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories about individuals, families, groups, communities, and the larger social systems in which they are embedded.

In its educational practices, the school promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to help students expand their knowledge in the substantive areas of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, research, social policy, field, values and ethics, diversity, populations-at-risk and social and economic justice. The school educates students in the application of professional values and ethics, collaboration with other disciplines and the evaluation and dissemination of evolving theories and practice models.

The school shares with the social work profession its historic commitment to serve oppressed, disadvantaged and at risk members of our society. It is committed to implementing a curriculum that addresses the concerns, issues and interests of these populations. The school joins with the profession to struggle against inequality and oppression based on such variables as: race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability. The school and Smith College are committed to promote social justice, service to society and appreciation of individual and cultural diversity in a multicultural community. The school recognizes the pernicious consequences of racism and works to identify and diminish the overt and covert aspects of racism. Smith College School for Social Work is committed to work toward becoming an anti-racism institution.

The school implements its educational mission through its masters and doctoral degree programs, as well as through its Program of Continuing Education. Through its scholarship, publications and research and program initiatives, the school contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge relevant to social work. In its affiliation with a liberal arts college, the school places a priority on the process of teaching and learning and community service. The school maintains relationships of mutual respect and influence with its affiliated agencies, major professional organizations and other representatives of the social work practice community to aid in curriculum renewal and to contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.