A social worker has a heart for serving others—particularly those who are vulnerable, oppressed or living in poverty. Kuyper’s social work program trains and equips you to understand and come alongside individuals, groups and communities—working to meet their basic needs in order to: • Enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning • Defend social justice • Improve societal conditions
Kuyper’s bachelor of social work (BSW) program provides graduates with professional knowledge and skills within the framework of a biblical world and life view. The program educates and trains students as general practitioners. Working within a holistic, multi-level approach based on professional knowledge, values, skills, concepts, and strategies, a social work generalist can assume a variety of professional roles and work within multiple systems in various settings and with diverse populations. This allows them to play a critical role in God’s restoration process of healing relationships, uniting families, empowering communities, developing social welfare policy and establishing social, economic and political justice both nationally and internationally. Where Can Social Work Graduates Work
As a graduate of this program, you can work in a variety of fields in both public and private human service agencies including: • Family & Children Services • Health Care • Adoption Agencies • Schools • Mental Health • Criminal Justice • Churches • Community Development • International Agencies • Politics • Foster Care • Gerentology • Residential Treatment
Social Work courses will educate, equip and train you for a successful and meaningful career. Below is just a small sample of what some of these courses cover: • In Introduction to Social Work you will be challenged to examine your values as part of an examination of social work history, theory, policy, roles, ethics, career opportunities and contributions. You will also explore diverse populations served as well as “job shadow” a social worker in the field. • In Human Behavior you will learn how human behavior is influenced by and influences families, groups, organizations and communities. You will investigate how relationships among the biological, environmental, social, psychological, cultural and spiritual systems affect and are affected by human behavior. • In Social Work Research you will be introduced to the logic, methods and evaluation of social work scientific research. You will gain understanding on basic design, implementation and analysis of how research methods can be used to problem-solve and evaluate all levels of social work practice.
Because of the strength of their undergraduate training, many graduates of Kuyper’s BSW program receive advanced standing in master’s in social work (MSW) programs. This can save up to a year of graduate level course work and considerable tuition fees. Kuyper’s graduates have gone on to study at the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University and many other MSW programs.
The uniqueness of the Kuyper College Social Work Program lies in the small, interactive class settings and the close, individual instruction each student receives from highly trained professional social workers. Special attention is given to the integration of faith and generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students are also prepared for graduate education.Generalist Practice The mission of the Kuyper College Social Work Program is to educate students to become “generalist” practitioners. Generalist practice is defined as a holistic, multilevel, ecological approach, based on professional knowledge, values, and skills
Students learn skills and knowledge that encompass a broad range of theories, ideas, concepts, solutions, and strategies to be able to practice in various settings and with diverse populations. A generalist can assume various professional roles and work within multiple systems.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to: - Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work practice. - Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly. - Practice without discrimination and with respect, knowledge, and skills related to clients' age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion and sexual orientation. - Understand the forms and mechianisms of oppression and discrimination and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice. - Understand and interpret the history of the social work profession and its contemporary issues. - Apply the knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes. - Use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand individual development and behavior across the life span, interactions among individuals, and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities. - Analyze, formulate, and influence social policies. - Evaluate research studies, apply finding to practice, and evaluate their own practice interventions. - Use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities. - Use supervision and consulation appropriate to social work practice. - Function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and seek necessary organizational change. - Understand generalist social work knowledge, values, and skills from an international perspective. - Analyze and apply the knowledge, values, and skills of social work practice from a biblical, Reformed world-and-life view.
An important part of your preparation for a career in social work is a 400 hour field practicum in social work. This experience will provide you with excellent opportunities to put in to practice what you learn in the classroom. You will gain experience and build your resume – all under the care and supervision of Kuyper’s experienced faculty and through the dedicated staff within each agency. Students work with the Social Work Director of Field Practicum to determine a placement that aligns with your gifts, interests and career goals. The list below – although not exhaustive – provides a good representation of the wide variety of placement opportunities and service areas for you to consider.Adolescent Services Pine Rest - Adolescent Residential Wedgwood Christian Services Child Welfare/Family and Children Services Adoption Associates Bethany Christian Services - Early Impact Program Bethany Christian Services - Foster Care Program Bethany Christian Services - Life Skills Program Catholic Social Services D.A. Blodgett Services for Children & Families Michigan State Department of Human Services Wellspring Lutheran Services Community Outreach Baxter Community Center East Hills Neighborhood Association North End Community Ministry Sunshine Church The Other Way Ministries United Way Corrections/Criminal Justice 61st District Court North Shore Correctional Facility Developmental Disabilities Spectrum Community Services Health Care Gilda's Club Spectrum Health Care Management HousingHabitat for Humanity ICCF - Inner City Christian FederationInternational Agencies/Locations Ecuador Romania Uganda International Teams Mental Health Services Network 180 Pine Rest - ADD Clinic Pine Rest - Substance Abuse Residential Touch Stone Older Adults/Gerontology Brookcrest Rehab & Life Center Christian Rest Home Maple Creek Retirement Community Sanctuary at Saint Mary’s Special Populations AIDS Volunteer Services Bethany Christian Services - Refugee Program Bethany Christian Services - Sex Offender Program Dégagé Ministries Guiding Light Mission Women's Services Alpha Women's Center Pregnancy Resource Center Safe Haven Ministries Salvation Army Women in Transition - Holland YWCA - Domestic Violence Center
Dr. Judi Ravenhorst Meerman came to Kuyper College in 2001 as faculty member in the social work program. Within the social work program, Dr. Meerman teaches Human Diversity, Human Behavior in the Social Environment I, Generalist Practice III: Communities and Organizations, Social Work Research and Faces of Addiction. She is also the director of field practicum. Prior to coming to Kuyper, Dr. Meerman worked as an administrator in a variety of social service agencies in Grand Rapids, Michigan, specializing in substance abuse treatment and women's services in community corrections. She is a licensed clinical and macro social worker.
Professor Greg Scott has been teaching at Kuyper College since 1991. In 1999, he was appointed director of the social work program at the College. Prior to that he taught both social work and sociology courses. Professor Scott has more than 25 years of professional social work post-masters experience as a case manager, therapist, administrator, supervisor and trainer. His course load includes Introduction to Social Work, Social Welfare Policy Analysis, International Social Work, Generalist Practice I (Individuals & Family), Generalist Practice II (Groups), The Dominican Republic and Marriage & Family.