Cedar Crest College believes strongly in the importance of human relationships and assisting others in improving their circumstances. The social work program at the College offers many experiences throughout your studies in which you can make a significant difference in the lives of others and put social work theory into practice.
Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS)
In spring, over 100 students from the social work and nursing departments at Cedar Crest College come together to gain a better appreciation of challenges facing low-income families during the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS). During this simulation, rooms in a Cedar Crest building are transformed into food banks, utility company offices, pawn shops, and other businesses and organizations in the community. Students split up and play roles of social workers, community members, and members of low-income families trying to make the most out of their limited resources. The event inspires empathy, understanding and a greater ability to strive for social change.
Student Research Opportunities
During Social Work Research Methods and Design (SWK 325), you will spend the fall semester learning research processes and develop research techniques applied to social policies. The following semester, you will take Evaluating Social Work Research (SWK 326), in which you conduct an original research project, which you will present at the annual Health and Wellness Conference.
Annual Health and Wellness Conference
Since 2004, Cedar Crest College has been hosting an annual Health and Wellness Conference every April, with the assistance and participants of students of many majors, including social work. The conference, which is open to the campus community, takes a holistic view of health and wellness by including activities and presentations that explore and promote the health of mind, body and spirit, as well as societal factors impacting wellness. Social work faculty and students play a role in helping others understand the impact of emotional health and the responsibility we have to others in society to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live healthfully. The conference is part of the College’s concentrated efforts to promote a lifestyle of health and wellness to students, faculty and staff. The conference is co-chaired by Suzanne Weaver, professor of social work and Dr. Kathleen Boland, Associate Professor of Social Work.
Students taking social work courses will find that many of the classes incorporate community service projects into the curriculum. This enables you to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice with your peers, while serving the local community both on-campus and off. Some examples:
Community Organizing (SWK 300): The focus of this course, available each fall, is on selecting up to five community service projects and then implementing them during the semester. Students in this class have participated in activities such as collecting toys for families staying at Turning Point of Lehigh Valley (a shelter for victims of domestic violence). The campus organization called Out There—a support group for gay and lesbian students—was also created by students taking this course.
Introduction to Social Work (SWK 201): In this course, students visit the Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown, which assists homeless families with children. When taking this course, you will participate in a community service project involving shelter residents, and you will receive feedback on your performance from the social work professionals who work at the shelter.
Social Work Processes: Individuals, Families, Groups (SWK 327): In this course, you will participate in simulated counseling sessions, which are videotaped and then used to provide timely and valuable feedback about your communication and assessment skills.
Senior Field Education: Capstone Experience
The capstone experience for the social work program is the required field practicum: Field Education in Social Work I (SWK 339). During this practicum, students apply theoretical knowledge gained from courses in social work as well as the liberal arts. Students work with their faculty adviser to select a social service agency where they will spend 450 hours during their senior year. Students also are required to attend a weekly one-hour class to discuss such topics as administration in social work, spirituality in social work practice, and the connections they have made between theory and practice while in their field setting.
Concurrent with the field education experience, students are required to take Field Education Seminar I (SWK 345), in the fall semester and Field Education Seminar II (SWK 346), in the spring semester. Each of these courses integrates theoretical knowledge students have gained in the classroom with the experiential learning taking place during the field education. These two courses are also part of the student’s capstone experience.