Social Work - Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology - Christopher Newport University

Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology

Social Work

“The purpose of the social work profession is to promote human and community well-being. Guided by a person-in-environment framework, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, the purpose of social work is actualized through its quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons, locally and globally” (Council on Social Work Education, EPAS 2015, p 5).

A Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work prepares students for generalist social work practice with various populations, system sizes and issues, as well as laying the foundation for the pursuit of a Master of Social Work. Social work, therefore, offers a great variety of job opportunities and job settings. For example, social workers work in schools, hospitals, victim services, foster care, justice and probation, mental health agencies, child welfare agencies, disabilities, research settings, community agencies, federal, local and state government, advocacy groups, nursing homes, employee assistance programs, colleges and universities, private practice, outpatient clinics, psychiatric facilities, and group homes. Our program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 1982. “Accreditation is a system for recognizing educational institutions and professional programs affiliated with those institutions as having a level of performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public they serve” (CSWE EPAS, 2015, p. 4). The CSWE supports academic excellence as it establishes thresholds for professional competence. It is upon these guidelines and expectations that CNU’s Social Work Program is built.

Students who complete the social work major also gain important skills that they have reported to be helpful as they go on to pursue careers in health services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, nursing), conflict resolution, politics, and education/teaching, to name a few. Specifically:

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Interviewing skills
  • Advocacy skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Relationship building
  • Cultural competence
  • Knowledge of human development and behavior
  • Research design and analysis
  • Program and practice evaluation
  • Family systems
  • Critical thinking
  • Knowledge of major social policies and programs

The Social Work Program ascribes to and fully supports the mission of the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology. In addition, the program prepares social work majors for generalist social work practice grounded in scientific inquiry that promotes social and economic justice, alleviates social problems and enhances human well-being while practicing within the values of the social work profession. The Social Work Program is committed to a curriculum of excellence built on the competencies required for social work practice that meets the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. The program places special emphasis on service to community, Commonwealth and beyond.

Students interested in the Social Work major will complete a formal application during their sophomore year (an overall GPA of 2.5 is required). Most social work courses will be completed in the junior and senior years, although freshmen and sophomores can take introductory courses such as SOWK201, SOWK210. Freshmen and sophomore students will focus on liberal learning requirements and should take the biology and math requirements for the major (see the University catalog of courses).

Field education is the signature pedagogy for social work. The intent of field education is to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. As such, social work majors complete 448 hours of field work, across two semesters (fall and spring) throughout their senior year at CNU. Each major is placed by the Field Instruction Coordinator at an agency consistent with CSWE standards, and works under the direct supervision of a Field Instructor, also as defined by CSWE.

  • Alternatives, Inc. (non-profit organization supporting school programs)
  • Dreams of Hope (community mental health services)
  • Bacon Street Youth and Family Services (addiction/substance abuse services)
  • Center for Child and Family Services
  • Infant & Toddler Connection (0 to 3 early intervention)
  • Denbigh House (center for survivors of traumatic brain injury)
  • Eastern State Hospital
  • Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board
  • Newport News Public Schools
  • Hampton Public Schools
  • The Arc of Williamsburg
  • Versability (day program serving adults with intellectual disabilities)
  • Riverside Adult Day Program
  • James City County Department of Social Services
  • Newport News Court Service Unit
  • Newport News Department of Human Services
  • Newport News Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
  • Riverside Regional Medical Center
  • St. Francis Nursing Center
  • Virginia Health Services
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Hampton)
  • Victim Witness Program (Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Newport News)
  • York Poquoson Department of Social Services
  • Williamsburg Department of Social Services

The Social Work Advisory Board serves to preserve and continuously improve the quality and strength of social work education at Christopher Newport University. There are four key objectives of the Advisory Board: (a) serve as a community foothold for the social work program, (b) enhance field education and career opportunities for students of the social work program, (c) facilitate sharing of information between students and the program, and (d) identify and share trends in social work practice. Our current members include:

  • Emily LaFounatain, MSW, Social Worker, Newport News Public Schools, CNU Social Work Alum '13
  • Melissa Parent, LCSW, Division of Inpatient Psychiatry, VCU Health Systems, CNU Social Work Alum '07
  • Ragen Johnson, MPA, Executive Director, Alternatives, Inc., CNU Social Work Alum '06
  • Nadia Boyd, PsyD, LCP, Clinical Psychologist, Sentara Healthcare
  • Ryan Dudley, LCSW, MBA, Director of Crisis Services, Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board
  • Angela Giles, LCSW, DBH, Veterans Administration Medical Center, CNU Social Work Alum ‘96
  • Casey Yenyo (student)
  • Lindsay Miller (student)
Accessible Undergraduate Catalog
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