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If you are enrolled in courses delivered in traditional or hybrid modalities, you will be expected to attend face-to-face instruction as scheduled.

Issues In Social Welfare I: History And Philosophy Of Social Welfare (SWK-500)

Semester: Fall 2024
Number: 0404-500-002
Instructor: Elizabeth Palley
Days: Thursday 6:00 pm - 7:50 pm
Note: Traditional In-Person Class
Location: Garden City - Social Work Building 128
Credits: 3
Course Materials: View Text Books
Related Syllabi: Mary Anderson for Spring 2014*
Chrisann Newransky for Fall 2014*
Margarita Kushner for Fall 2022*

*Attention Students: Please note that the syllabi available for your view on these pages are for example only. The instructors and requirements for each course are subject to change each semester. If you enroll in a particular course, your instructor and course outline may differ from what is presented here.


This introductory course in social welfare policy focuses on five major themes: the development of social work as a profession; the emergence of social welfare institutions in the United States; the experience of oppressed populations in the United States; the contributions of social work and social movements to the reduction of oppression; and the changing role of government in social welfare. These themes are examined with an emphasis on the philosophical, economic, social, and political forces that shaped the development of social work and social welfare in the United States. The course covers the period of time from the post-bellum or Reconstruction era to the present.

Learning Goals:   1. Exhibit their understanding of social work values and ethics and identify the societal values and traditions that influence the profession of social work; 2. Show evidence of their ability to interpret and think critically about the history of social welfare policies and institutions, the role of government in social welfare provision, and social work's commitments and capacity to change social conditions, most particularly those of oppressed peoples;3. Demonstrate their knowledge of the antecedents of current social problems and policies and their understanding of how past perceptions and “solutions” continue to resonate in policy making and the “construction” of social problems; 4. Exhibit their capacity to recognize the forms and mechanisms of oppression in a society and culture characterized by racial, ethnic, and class diversity and conflict;5. Give evidence of their understanding of the different objectives and effects of social welfare policies and provisions;6. Demonstrate their knowledge of the role and contributions of social workers and other social reformers in the rise of social movements on behalf of oppressed populations and in the improvement of social conditions and social welfare institutions; 7. Reflect on the student’s own values in relation to the values of the social work profession.8. Demonstrate that an understanding of how fluctuating societal interest in the problems of oppressed groups and social reform influences social work’s commitment and capacity to change social conditions.

*The learning goals displayed here are those for one section of this course as offered in a recent semester, and are provided for the purpose of information only. The exact learning goals for each course section in a specific semester will be stated on the syllabus distributed at the start of the semester, and may differ in wording and emphasis from those shown here.

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