What we do

At Calvin, you'll be prepared to do more than just live in the world as successful members of society. Through our bachelor in social work (BSW) program, you will develop the skills and virtues necessary to bring healing to a broken world.

Our accreditation

Our BSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) promotes academic excellence in BSW and Master of Social Work (MSW) education. The EPAS specifies the curricular content and educational context to prepare you for professional social work practice. Our program is a competency-based education which uses an outcome performance approach to curriculum design. Assessment is an integral part of this competency-based education. Our system of assessment is implemented annually. Click here to view the most recent summary of assessment results.

Our mission

The mission of the BSW program is to prepare you for competent and effective entry-level generalist practice in social work within the context of a Christian Reformed, liberal arts education.

Our goals

  1. To prepare students for competent and effective entry-level, generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  2. To promote and develop in students an understanding of social work knowledge, values, and skills with a strengths perspective emphasis.
  3. To prepare students for professional practice within the context of a Christian Reformed, liberal arts perspective—particularly its emphasis on the pursuit of interpersonal, social, and economic justice with diverse persons.

Our "strengths perspective"

As Calvin's BSW program has matured, we have come to believe that transforming broken relationships at all levels of society is best accomplished by practitioners focusing on and identifying the strengths of clients and the directions in which they want to apply them. We believe this "strengths emphasis," addressed in many of the courses in the social work major, reflects the redemptive theology of a Reformed, Christian outlook.

What is social work?

Social work's origins lie in early 20th-century efforts to meet the needs of neglected children, exploited workers and those living in poverty. Early social workers led in the struggle for child-labor laws, more humane working conditions, voting rights for women and other reforms.

Social work is a dynamic and expanding profession that struggles with social concerns as varied as child abuse, drug addiction, housing and homelessness, aging and mental illness.

Professional social workers continue to advocate for their clients and also perform a wide range of needed services, including:

  • Adoption services
  • Community organizing
  • Counseling with patients and families experiencing traumatic illnesses
  • Rehabilitative services for emotionally or physically impaired people

They work in diverse settings such as government agencies, private industry, schools, faith-based organizations, neighborhood centers and health care organizations.