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Master's Program Handbook

100 – 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.

The School for Social Work views clinical social work practice as concerned with the interdependence between individuals and their environments and the use of relationships to promote healing, growth and empowerment. Clinical social work appreciates and responds to the complexities of the human condition in its global context: its strengths, possibilities, resiliency, vulnerabilities, limitations and tragedies. Clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession, including recognition of client self-determination, the importance of relationship, the inherent dignity of client systems and growth and change in the client system. In addition, clinical social work includes a commitment to the pursuit of social justice, anti-racism work, and culturally responsive practice. It rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories and research-informed knowledge 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 and field practice to prepare competent and effective practitioners and leaders in clinical social work. The School prepares students to apply the professional code of ethics. The School prepares students for the evaluation and dissemination of evolving theories, research 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 and to struggle against inequality and oppression related to: race, ethnicity, immigration status, class, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age and ability. It is committed to implementing a curriculum that addresses the concerns, issues and interests of these populations. Through all of its programs, the School joins Smith College in its commitment to promote social justice, service to society and greater appreciation of individual and cultural diversity in a multicultural community. In recognition of the pernicious consequences of racism, the School works to identify and challenge the overt and covert aspects of racism.

The School implements its educational mission through its master’s and doctoral degree programs both of which include intensive block field placements, required individual research projects and its Program of Continuing Education, including its certificate programs. Through its publications, including Smith Studies in Social Work, the Clinical Research Institute, faculty and student publications and conference presentations, the School also contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge relevant for social work. In its affiliation with a liberal arts college, the School places a priority on the process of teaching and learning. 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.

- voted November 18, 2010

100.1 – Anti-Racism Statement

Racism is a system of privilege, inequality, and oppression based on perceived categorical differences, value assigned to those differences, and a system of oppression that rewards and punishes people based on the assigned differences. It is manifested politically, socially, economically, culturally, interpersonally, and intrapersonally in the history of the United States.

Smith College School for Social Work promotes knowledge, values and skills that help students to identify, critically analyze and intervene against the injurious effects of racism. The School for Social work community fosters respect for diverse worldviews and for each other’s equal place in the world. Self-reflection and deepening conversations about race influence practice, research and scholarship at the School.

-voted January 2011

100.2 – Anti-Racism Consultation

The Anti-Racism Consultation Committee (ARCC) was formed about one year after the Anti-Racism Task Force, in 1995. Its purpose is to be available to any member of the SSW community for consultation about issues of race, ethnicity, culture and social justice. The ARCC also assesses the SSW's progress towards becoming an anti-racism institution and issues a progress report every two years. Based on its consultations, ARCC makes recommendations to the dean about policy and programmatic changes to further the anti-racism mission.

The ARCC is a representative committee that maintains the confidentiality of those with whom it consults. Members include a faculty chair (appointed by the dean), the associate dean, two faculty members, a first- and second-year student representative from the Council for Students of Color, a Bertha Reynolds Fellow (when available), an administrator, an administrative support staff member and an alumni representative. SSW community members seeking consultation can contact any member of the committee.

All members of the SSW community have the ability to also consult with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity at Smith about any issues or concerns. If a determination is made that an issue in the classroom also raises questions of academic freedom, the student and faculty member will be referred to the school's Personnel Practices Committee.

100.3 – Statement on Philosophy on Inclusion

The clinical social work profession serves diverse communities and individuals that include a wide spectrum of identities, backgrounds and experiences. The assumption of the faculty of Smith College School for Social Work is that social work is most effective when engaged in by a diverse and inclusive workforce. We thus believe that our learning community must also be enriched by the same diversity our profession serves.

In keeping with our mission we comply with all applicable federal non-discrimination statutes. We welcome all students regardless of identities, backgrounds and experiences, who are able to meet the educational standards of the school and the profession. We believe that the responsibility for respecting difference and the active inclusion of all members of our learning community is shared by each of us at the school, individually and collectively.

100.4 – Notice of Non-Discrimination

Smith College is committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of differences. Smith College does not discriminate in its education and employment policies on the bases of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or with regard to the bases outlined in the Veterans Readjustment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The following office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Director of Institutional Diversity and Equity, College Hall 103, (413) 585-2141.

Updated Oct. 13, 2011