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1 Ethics and the Social Work Profession SP 741 Spring 2012 Insert Day: Insert Time Insert Name Insert Title Boston University School of Social Work 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA Insert Insert
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1 Ethics and the Social Work Profession SP 741 Spring 2012 Insert Day: Insert Time Insert Name Insert Title Boston University School of Social Work 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA Insert Insert phone number Office hour(s): Insert day and time or by appointment 1. Table of Contents Section 1: Table of Contents Page 1 Section 2: Course Description Page 2 Section 3: Purpose of Course Page 2 Section 4: Course Link to Social Work Competencies Page 2 Section 5: Learning Objectives and Outcomes Page 4 Section 6: Prior Knowledge and Skill Page 5 Section 7: Pretesting for Prior Knowledge and Skill Page 6 Section 8: Roles and Responsibilities in Learning Page 6 Section 9: How to Learn in this Course Page 8 Section 10: Other Relevant Policies Page 9 Section 11: Information on Readings and Textbook Page 9 Section 12: Ethical Decision Making Tools Page 10 Section 13: Course Syllabus and Readings Page 11 Section 14: Assignments Page 23 Section 15: Additional References Page 24 2 2. Course Description The course, Ethics and the Social Work Profession (SP741), is a required seminar intended to engage the moral imagination of social work students, and prepare them for competent and compassionate ethical practice as social work professionals. The course, set in the advanced curriculum as an integrative capstone, is designed to be concurrent with the student s final semester in the MSW program. Ethics and the Social Work Profession (SP741), examines the issues of social work professionalism, the process of becoming a social work professional, the tensions inherent in the goals of social work, and the ways these interrelate to produce conflicts of values and ethics in social work practice. The course focuses on acquiring and practicing the skills of ethical decision-making, including values clarification, application of ethical theory, utilization of codes of ethics, and models of ethical analysis. Both clinical and macro aspects of social work are covered, with the goal of building competencies for meeting the contemporary challenges of practice in multicultural and urban settings. Issues of social justice and human rights, self-care, practitioner impairment, licensure, malpractice, whistle-blowing, and other professional challenges are explored. 3. Purpose of the Course Social workers regularly encounter challenging ethical issues in the contemporary workplace. This course is designed to provide students with the understanding and tools for addressing and resolving ethical challenges and dilemmas. Through this course, students solidify their professional identities; demonstrate their capacity to practice according to professional social work values; and develop the ethical decision making competencies necessary for sound ethical practice. 4. Course Link to Social Work Competencies This course is designed to facilitate the student s attainment of professional social work competencies, characterized by measurable practice behaviors comprised of knowledge, values and skills. By the end of Ethics and the Social Work Profession, students develop the social work competencies that are highlighted in the chart below. Please look for the weekly competency boxes throughout this syllabus, which list the competency goals related to the weekly topics and readings. 3 THIS COURSE SUPPORTS THE ATTAINMENT OF ADVANCED PRACTICE COMPETENCY IN: Competency Professional Identity Competency Ethical Practice Competency Critical Thinking Competency Diversity in Practice Competency Human Rights and Justice Competency Research Based Practice Competency Human Behavior Competency Policy Practice Competency Practice Contexts Competency Engage, Assess, Intervene, Evaluate Specific assignments in this course will assess your attainment of this competency. Information about the specific competencies and related advanced practice behaviors addressed in this course and your other MSW courses can be found at 4 5. Learning Objectives and Outcomes By the end of this course, students will be able to: 1. identify the characteristics of a profession and describe the historic tensions and processes associated with social work professionalization and its impact on current practice; 2. consider current perspectives and views of the social work profession from both within the profession and from outside, and analyze the effect of these conflicting views on social work practice; 3. identify as a social work professional and articulate the professional behaviors, comportment, boundaries, and responsibilities associated with social work professionalism at all levels: societal, community, agency and individual; 4. critically analyze larger systems issues that shape social work practice and produce ethical situations and dilemmas; 5. demonstrate understanding of the role of ethical reasoning in preventing ethical harms, protecting human rights, and promoting social justice within the practice of social work; 6. engage in critical self-reflection regarding professional relationships and ethical responsibilities to social work clients and the profession; 7. define, identify, discuss, and clarify personal, professional and societal values, morals, and ethics while taking note of and learning to tolerate the potential for ambiguity and values conflict; 8. recognize the philosophical foundations of social work ethical reasoning and be able to apply ethical theories in ethical decision making; 9. critically examine, compare, consult, and apply the standards from various social work codes of ethics in ethical decision making; 10. utilize systematic strategies, models, and skills for ethical decision-making; 11. present ethical issues, articulate multiple viewpoints, discuss divergent ethical stances, and engage with others in successful and respectful conversations about difficult ethical dilemmas; 12. acquire knowledge of important legal concepts including: privacy, confidentiality and privileged communications; mandated reporting; duty to warn and protect; informed consent; social work licensing and regulation; 5 liability and malpractice; and know how to practice in accordance with those mandates, and when to seek legal counsel; 13. recognize the role of career development and career-long learning in strengthening professionalism, and develop a career development plan 14. demonstrate understanding of the role of stress, burnout and impairment in the creation of social work harms; be able to engage in the promotion of resilience and coping as key professional skills; and develop a written plan for preventing burnout and strengthening resilience 15. recognize the responsibility of social workers to provide ethical leadership in organizations; be able to articulate the role of the ethical practitioner in advancing collaboration, promoting effective service provision, and engaging in continuous quality improvement in social work practice; and utilize the ethical audit tool to practice providing feedback to agencies on ethical practice. 6. Prior Knowledge and Skill Ethics and the Social Work Profession provides students with a new set of lenses and skills to facilitate the development of the professional competencies listed above. Ethics builds upon earlier coursework in the MSW curriculum (see below). While previous coursework might emphasize particular populations, methods, or social issues, this course provides a broad profession-wide framework for promoting synthesis, integration, and application of existing knowledge and skills. In particular, Ethics builds upon the following: the study of social work values and the history of the profession (Social Welfare Policy); issues of confidentiality, self-determination, and informed consent in practice and research (Social Research and Macro and Clinical Practice); the importance of person in environment, ecological approaches and other social context factors (Human Behavior, Macro and Clinical Practice); power, privilege, and vulnerable populations in the allocation of resources (Social Welfare Policy and Implications of Racism); social policy and the importance of socio-political context (Social Welfare Policy, Macro and Clinical Practice); social and cultural foundations of practice such as race, class, gender (Human Behavior and Implications of Racism); and conceptualizations of social justice and human rights (Social Welfare Policy, Macro Practice). 6 7. Pretesting for Prior Knowledge and Skill Upon entering Ethics and the Social Work Profession, students knowledge and skills related to this course will be assessed using a multi-question pretest that will be available on Survey Monkey. This test will not be graded, nor will it have an impact on the student s final grade. Pre- and post-testing is an important component of competency-based education. The purpose of the pretest/posttest is to determine the growth of the student s competence in the areas of social work ethics, professionalism, and ethical decision making. Through the use of posttests, instructors and students can better understand what learning has occurred in the course. 8. Roles and Responsibilities in Learning Faculty and students share responsibility for this course. Faculty are responsible for establishing the competencies to be achieved; setting the course objectives; choosing the framework, assignments and readings; and creating the overall learning contract for the course. Faculty present core content and guide students in the selection, presentation and study of current ethical dilemmas; they promote class discussion and provide opportunities for small and large group learning. Faculty may share their own experiences and emphasize particular areas of specialization; they may bring in experts from the field to lecture on particular topics. Faculty are responsible for evaluation, feedback and grading of students. Students are responsible for their participation in the Ethics course and for achieving the competencies set forth in the syllabus. Students participate through classroom discussion and by working together in small groups to learn the skills of ethical decision-making. Depending on the section, students may make presentations to the class, engage in role play, practice ethics committee type activities, or compile an ethics portfolio. Students are responsible for reading, for grappling with professional and ethical issues in class, for reflection on their personal/professional values and ethics, and for mastering the skills of ethical decision-making. Additional expectations include the following: Additional Expectations o Punctuality: When students come to class on time, they demonstrate positive participation. o Attendance: Attending all assigned class sessions is a visible marker of a student s investment and good participation. Conversely, repeated absences, even for other professional events or trips home, signals disengagement, other priorities, and lack of interest. Moreover, absence limits the student s command of the subject matter and detracts from others learning. Naturally, there are times when people are sick or have family emergencies; in these cases, please let the instructors know and arrange to cover the material and assignments. o Class preparation: Class participation is often contingent upon having done the preparation. Reading the assigned material and completing the assigned exercises demonstrates planning ahead and an investment in the work of the course. It is also essential for informed classroom discussion. o Participation in classroom discussion: The classroom is a laboratory for the building of professional skills and competencies. Being able to speak responsibly, clearly and appropriately in a group context is both an academic and professional requirement. Therefore, the classroom is a perfect environment for students to hone their speaking aloud skills. Students are expected to move outside their comfort zone and take risks on behalf of strengthening this important competency. Students are also expected to listen respectfully to their classmates and instructor and to engage in respectful conversations even when values, perspectives and beliefs are different. o Academic honesty and integrity: Students are expected to comport themselves with utmost integrity and honesty. Cheating students not only hurt themselves, they hurt their clients by failing to master important professional skills. Therefore, every effort should be made by each student to be ethical, including paying scrupulous attention to crediting sources accurately and utilizing APA-style formatting for all papers. Papers and presentations in the School of Social Work must meet standards of academic honesty and integrity, avoiding any possibility of plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct. Within Ethics and the Social Work Profession, all instances of academic misconduct will be addressed. Please review BUSSW s policies on academic misconduct which can be found on the BUSSW web site. All concerns related to plagiarism, recycling of papers, or apparent failure to do one s own work will be adjudicated according to the policies listed in that document. For specific information about the BUSSW policy regarding academic misconduct, see Student Handbook: Ways & Means (http://www.bu.edu/ssw/current/stud_hb/index.shtml). o Professional comportment in the classroom: Students are asked to engage in professional behavior in the classroom at all times. Turn off all cell phones and refrain from taking any calls unless you are on call and have cleared that with the professor prior to class. Under those circumstances, please sit close to a door, put the phone on vibrate, exit before you answer the phone, and conduct your phone call as quickly and quietly as possible. Re-enter the classroom as soon as possible. Refrain from personal texting or IM-ing while in 7 8 class. This behavior is unacceptable in a university classroom and is considered unprofessional, regardless of how it is viewed in the larger culture. It is also destructive to the group learning environment, impeding intimacy with some, excluding others, and distracting the texter. All incidents of texting and other less technical distractions such as sidebar conversations and passing of notes will be immediately addressed in real time by the professor. Computers/laptops should be used appropriately for the purposes of note taking, or other course-related activities. During small group exercises, role plays, videos, presentations by other students or any other classroom activity, computers should be closed and placed away from the student if not needed. The use of the computer to surf, check , or engage in non-course activity is distracting to the student, his or her classmates, and the professor. Surfing or reports of surfing from other students who are being distracted by it, will be immediately addressed by the professor and impact the participation grade. 9. How to Learn in this Course There are some tried and true strategies for successful learning in the Ethics and the Social Work Profession course. Students are encouraged to engage in the following: Read the syllabus and other course documents immediately; download recommended materials and bring them to class each week; check Blackboard regularly for updates. Have an open mind and stay open to new ideas and perspectives; Move outside your comfort zone: deliberately sit with people you don t know in small group exercises; choose a topic you re not familiar with for a particular assignment; If you love to talk in class, please do so, but avoid jumping in right away each and every time. Be mindful of how your participation is affecting others. Hold back a little and see what happens. If you hate to talk in class, plan ahead to speak about one or two issues or points just for the sake of taking a risk and building new competencies in speaking aloud; Do the readings and assignments each week so you can stay abreast of the conversation. If you observe that the group conversation is limited to same group of people, week after week, say something! One simple technique for creating a more egalitarian conversation in the classroom: direct gentle questions or comments to one another directly; don t vector all comments through the professor. Make eye contact with other students. Wonder aloud how others view an issue or article. 9 10. Other Relevant Policies Several additional policies are relevant to the roles and responsibilities of instructors and students; please be advised of the following. Religious holidays: The school, in scheduling classes on religious holiday, intends that students observing those holidays be given ample opportunity to make up work. Faculty members who wish to observe religious holidays will arrange for another faculty member to meet their classes or for canceled classes to be rescheduled. Incomplete Grades: Each professor determines his or her own policies related to the granting of incompletes. For more information, please see the following document: Please review the Ways and Means document for the general policy on incompletes. The Incomplete Grade Contract can be found at: GradeContract2010.pdf Students with Disabilities: If you have a disability and want to request reasonable accommodation, the University requires that you consult with Boston University s Office of Disability Services for information regarding this process (http://www.bu.edu/disability/). Writing style and references: Students are expected to follow the editorial and reference standards set out in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010). This manual is available at the Mugar Library reference desk. A helpful BUSSW APA Style Guide can be found at Academic writing assistance: If you would like academic writing assistance, information can be found at or contact the BUSSW Office of Student Services. 11. Information on Readings and Textbook There is one required textbook for this course. It is entitled Ethical Decisions for Social Work Practice, 9th Edition, by R. Dolgoff, D. Harrington, and F. M. Loewenberg and it was published in It is available at the BU Barnes and Noble Bookstore and/or online: Practice/dp/ /ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid= &sr=8-2 A variety of articles and essays related to contemporary ethics and social work are also assigned. Each faculty member will provide you with instructions on how, where and which articles you are to read for your specific section. Many faculty members provide all articles via their Blackboard sites. Others will direct you to the Mugar Library Reserve Services system. The information for accessing articles via MLRS is below. Assigned articles are available on line through Mugar Library Reserve 10 Services. You must have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer to access these readings. If you don t have this software, you can download Adobe for free go to Via the Web, go to: Under the heading Services in the middle column, click on Reserve. Click View a reserve list by course number. Type in the course number (SSW SP 741) and click on Enter. The list of reserve articles will come up, sorted alphabetically by Title. (If you prefer to view the list of readings alphabetically by Author, click on the Author column to change the order of the listings.)to access and read an article, simply click on the title. Adobe Acrobat will come up and proceed to open the chose article. When it asks for code it is ssw. 12. Ethical Decision Making Tools This course breaks the process of professional ethical decision making into a discrete set of skills or tools that are taught and practiced each week. These ethical tools include the following: 1. Values clarification 2. Ethical dilemma identification and application of principles 3. Application of ethical theories 4. Consultation of Codes 5. Harms analysis 6. Use of models to make ethical decisions 7. Organizational Ethics Auditing 8. Cultivating Legal Awareness 9. Locating
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