Introduction to Social Work

Introduction to Social Work


Fall 2011
08/22/2011 - 12/11/2011

Course Information

Section 002
Distance Learning
Blanca Alvarado

Office Hours

No office hours have been entered for this term

Course Requirements


Family Assessment (Eco-Map)                                Deadline: Friday, September 9, 2011, by 5 pm             (25 points)

In total, 2 parts need to be turned in for this assignment...scanned and emailed as attachments, mailed, or dropped off at the Rio Grande Campus. The duplication/mail roomdelivers intercampus mailtwice daily OR mail your work to me at: 1212 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX 78701. ACC. Attention: Dr. Blanca Alvarado.                       


You will apply what you learn from reading Chapter 8 of Zastrow (this chapter is posted on Blackboard for you to download and read) to practice your skills at doing eco-maps on your own family.



• Draw an eco-map of all your immediate family members, you, the people you live with, and any associations,  

    groups, institutions that serve as resources or are important in your life….turn this part in.
• Write a reflection paper (minimum of 1000 words) describing the experience of completing the eco-map and your    

    analysis of the drawing (this part is simply a reflection of your experience completing the eco-map.  I want you to      

    take some time to reflect on your drawing). In the essay you will identify the patterns you see in the eco-map,  

    the resources in the eco-map, and the ways in which you have been influenced (your own behavior, values, and

    decisions) by the relationships, resources and groups in your life.  You may want to apply the theories you read  

    about in chapter 8 to your own family. This essay is designed to be an introspective and personal exercise. What

    you write will be kept in confidence...turn this in. Make sure you meet the MINIMUM word requirement.


Century of the Self—Documentary—Series of 4 Films      Deadline: Friday, September 23, by 5 pm      (20 points)


Watch all 4 films of The Century of The Self and post on the discussion board your response to the films (minimum of 800 words). You may discuss anything you found interesting, what you agree or disagree with, etc.    I do not want you to describe what you saw (remember, I have already seen the documentary several times).

You should address all four films. Note: You do not need to respond to other posts.


Link to the film:


Discussion Questions Based on Assigned Articles               Deadline: 9/30, 10/14, 11/4 & 11/18         (40 points total)                                                


There will be4 discussion questions (each worth 10 points) posted on Blackboard— throughout the semester.

You are responsible for answering all questions.You will have to participate both as a “commentator” and “responder.” As a commentator, your role is to comment on the posted topic or question (minimum of 300 words).

As a responder, your role is to respond to others’ comments (minimum of 2 individuals and for these 2 individuals, each response has to be a minimum of 100 words). Your response must be related to the posted question and comments related to the assigned article(s).


• Post your response to Blackboard by the due date (minimum of 300 words)….see above dates.

• Provide a response to TWO fellow students’ posting…no later than Sunday (5pm) of the same week the main

   response is due. Your response needs to be a minimum of 100 words, per response. The reason you have the

   weekend to respond is so you have time to read through the responses once the initial deadline has passed. 



Big Bucks, Big Pharma: marketing disease and pushing drugs  Deadline: Friday, Oct. 7th, by 5 pm     (20 points)


Watch the film and post on the discussion board your response to the film (minimum of 800 words). You may discuss anything you found interesting, what you agree or disagree with, etc. Note: You do not need to respond to other posts.

Link to the film:

Meet with an Advisor/Counselor or Professor          Deadline: Friday, October 21st, by 5 pm                  (20 points)  


You will be required to meet (and write a brief reflection paper on your experience and post to discussion board—200 word minimum) with an academic advisor/counselor at ACC or professor to discuss your current and future educational status—to help ensure your academic success in higher education. The visit with a counselor or an advisor needs to be done specifically for this class. During your visit with an advisor or counselor, you can seek help regarding: Educational planning (Degree plans, Selecting courses, Probation/suspension/warning problems); Career services (Career counseling, Choosing a major, DISCOVER program, Job search services); Transfer services (Core curriculum, Course equivalencies/transfer guides, Transfer programs, University recruiting visits); and/or Counseling services (Help on issues interfering with school).



In-Person Interview                                     Deadline: Friday, November 11th, by 5 pm                                 (50 points)    


The In-PERSON interview should be a minimum of 1000 words. To complete this assignment, you will need to interview a social worker and write a paper based on your experience. The person you choose for the interviewMUST hold a Master of Social Work Degree (MSW)—this person does not have to be a licensed social worker,but must have an MSW degree. If you do not have a social worker in mind already, you can call an agency doing work that interests you and ask if there is a social worker with whom you can speak. Please explain that you are doing a paper as part of a class assignment and ask if you can meet in-person for an interview.


Instructions: You should include the following in your essay (post to discussion board, In-Person Interview) about the interview:

•The social worker’s education (degrees they hold, college(s)/university they attended).

•Name of agency,  job title, under what auspices does the organization operate (for-profit, nonprofit, or public)?

•What are the stated purposes of the organization?

•One-two sentences describing what they do.

•What type of supervision is available and how often?

•Who’s the boss (Executive director, CEO, etc.)?

•Identify whether the social worker is engaged in prevention, service delivery (helping people cope with

   a problem that already exists), social change (examining the root of the problem and seeking to eliminate the   

   problem altogether), or a combination.

•Identify the population s/he serves.

•What type of degree is needed for this position?

•What skills are needed to do this job?

•Where would you find a job posting for this position? 

•Identify the values exhibited by the social worker and the agency in which s/he works.

•Identify the range in salary for this person and also in the agency for other staff members.

•A brief discussion of the challenges and rewards this particular social worker experiences.

•Any other interesting information you gathered during the interview.



Midterm Exam                                   Deadline: Wed., November 30th, by 5 pm                                          (50 points)                                                                                                           


Toward the end of the semester, a midterm take-home exam will be made available for students to complete and email to the instructor. Each student will be required to email their typed answers (with each question) to the professor. While students are encouraged to work together, it does not mean that students should copy answers from each other. The text you are required to purchase for this course (Iglehart & Becerra, 2011) will only be used for the midterm take-home exam. The exam will be made available on Blackboard 4 days prior to the due date.



Volunteer Hours                                Deadline: Friday, December 2nd, by 5 pm                                          (50 points)                                                                                                          


Select an organization, agency or group (could be a political group) with which to volunteer during the semester for a minimum of 25 hours. The purpose of this assignment is to give you first hand experience working in a setting you would normally not be exposed to or working with people you would normally not come into contact with. You will need to negotiate entry or participation on your own. You may volunteer at various places, as long as your total hours add up to 25 hours. You will need to post your experience on the discussion board: Volunteering Experience. There will be a total of 3 entries you will need to post (minimum of 100 words) where you talk about your experience. Make sure you post the following information: 1.) name of organization where you volunteered; 2.) Contact person; 3.) physical address and phone number; and 4.) total # of hours volunteered.


5 Letters to Political Figures                           Deadline: Wednesday, December 7th, by 5 pm                    (25 points)                                                                                                     


Students will be required to write a letter to a political figure and also to get 4 friends or family members to write a letter. Please refer to the discussion forum, Democratic Republic of the Congo,for more details.


The main letter, yours, will need to be posted on blackboard. The other four may also be posted on blackboard or emailed, mailed or given to me. 



ðThis schedule may be modified throughout the course. Students will be given ample notice of any changes.





 Family Assessment

25 PTS.


 4 Discussion Questions (10 points each)

40 PTS.


 2 films: Century of the Self; Big Bucks, Big Pharma

40 PTS.


 Meet with Counselor, Advisor or Professor

20 PTS.


 Interview— A Social Worker with MSW degree

50 PTS.


 Take-Home Midterm Exam

50 PTS.


 Volunteer Hours – 25 hours                                

50 PTS.


 5 Letters to Political Figures –Congo

25 PTS.



     300 PTS.



Extra credit points do not change the grading scale…all you have to do is earn is 280 points for an A!


Ex. Credit Points… Life without TV–for 2 straight weeks…see blackboard for more details…Discussion Forum

                                      10  PTS.


Ex. Credit PointsAttend a public event (maximum of 3)…see blackboard for more details…Discussion Forum

                           5  PTS., each



Iglehart, Alfreda and Becerra, Rosina (2011)

Social Services and the Ethnic Community

Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1995. (Reprinted by Waveland Press)

10-digit ISBN: 1-57766-682-8 13-digit ISBN: 978-1-57766-682-0

Course Subjects

This is a foundation course designed to help students develop a beginning understanding of the core elements of the profession of social work. The course examines the development of the philosophy and practice of social work in the United States. A survey of the fields and techniques of social work with attention given to requirements for graduate training in the field of social work. Ultimately, this course is designed to expose students to various aspects of the profession of social work so that students considering social work may decide if this is the profession for them. The primary goalsof this course are for students to gain a better sense of: (1) the profession of social work, (2) the ethics, standards, and responsibilities required of social workers, and (3) the various employment positions available to social workers who hold a BSW, MSW, and/or DSW/PHD.


This course will actively seek to: (1) expand the student's knowledge of and empathy with all persons who might be referred to as a “minority,” or through circumstances have become disenfranchised from mainstream society, (2) encourage students to purposely become aware and well-informed at all levels (locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally) of political, social, and economic forces that impact different communities, and (3) expose students to a new way of examining human interaction through the lens of social work theory, method, and practice.

Student Learning Outcomes/Learning Objectives

Through completion of this course the student should be able to:


• Demonstrate an understanding of social work values and their implications for social work practice with individuals, organizations, and communities.

• Demonstrate an understanding of the types of social work practice, including casework, group work, counseling, and community organization.

• Develop an historical perspective of social service delivery systems, and the role of social work.

• Identify factors affecting people with differing backgrounds, including groups distinguished by race, religion, physical and mental ability, ethnicity, class, culture, sexual orientation, and age.