Social Work

Alice Gates, Ph.D., chair

Faculty: Gates, Gooding, Jones, Schallert

In keeping with the missions of the University of Portland and of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dorothy Day Social Work Program offers an academically rigorous program enriched by intensive, educationally-directed field experiences and is committed to service, leadership, and social justice. Based upon Catholic social teachings, the social work program is dedicated to work with vulnerable and marginalized populations using person-in-environment lenses that promote integrity of human relationships, dignity and worth of people, and human and community well-being. It affirms the values of human diversity, self-determination, and community and global solidarity and sustainability. To achieve its goals, the social work program integrates a liberal arts foundation with social work values, skills, and knowledge to prepare students for service that is reflective, responsible, informed by scholarly knowledge, and responsive to the communities they serve.

Dorothy Day Social Work Program Goals

The Dorothy Day Social Work Program will:

  1. Provide a generalist social work curriculum based on a foundation of social, economic, and environmental justice.
  2. Promote educational and experiential contexts that emphasize ethical, value-based, and culturally responsive social work practice.
  3. Offer curricular and field opportunities that facilitate and support advanced graduate study and service leadership roles in diverse settings and communities.


Learning Outcomes for Social Work Majors

Social work graduates of the University of Portland should be able to:

  1. Articulate social work values that form the foundation of practice such as advocacy for human rights and social and economic justice.
    1. Demonstrate professional behaviors congruent with social work's mission and values.
    2. Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
  2. Utilize critical thinking and ethical conceptualization skills when addressing social problems and approaches to working with those problems.
    1. Apply ethical principles in practice.
    2. Apply critical thinking in practice.
  3. Competently apply social work skills that are informed by theory, research, and best practices and that consider the cultural and other contexts in which practice occurs.
    1. Incorporate diversity and difference in practice.
    2. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being.
    3. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities utilizing evidence-based methods and knowledge of human behavior in the social environment.

Student Handbook and Program Standards

The Social Work Program Student Handbook is available on the social work website at this link. Students have the responsibility to acquaint themselves with its contents and are held accountable for all statements therein. To remain in good standing with the program and to enter the senior year practicum, students must maintain a minimum G.P.A. of 2.5 in all courses required for the major, among other standards outlined in the handbook.

Capstone Experience

During the senior year, students complete a year-long practicum placement in a community agency. Students also take two corequisite Theory and Methods of Social Work Practice courses, which focus on helping students learn to apply skills and knowledge to their work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.