Social Work

Program Mission

To prepare competent and effective entry level generalist social work professional to work with diverse populations, especially those who are at risk of social, economic, political, and religious oppression; who have a commitment to education as a means of collaborating in the search for wisdom, as a means of promoting social justice and spiritual development and service as a source for transforming society and serving as a witness to the Franciscan tradition for caring for the most vulnerable members of society. Alvernia University is located in an ethnically diverse small city that is economically distressed and it is within this context that social work students are prepared to become generalist practitioners.

Guided by Franciscan values and the idea of ‘knowledge joined by love,' and rooted in the Catholic and Liberal Arts traditions, Alvernia is a rigorous caring, and inclusive learning community committed to academic excellence and to being and fostering broadly educated, life-long learners, reflective professionals and engaged citizens; and ethical leaders with moral courage.

The compatibility of the respective mission of the University and the Social Work Program is structurally supported by the formal administrative organization of the institution and anchors the baccalaureate social work educational program that is consistent with the purposes, values, and ethical standards of the social work profession. Furthermore, this anchor and administrative structure provide the institutional foundation for the program's rationale. Goals, objectives, curriculum structure and content, and the philosophy of social work practice which, in turn, provides the framework for implementing the educational program.


Through a critical awareness of individual and social values, students are exposed to a body of knowledge, which examines human behavior and development. Students gain the skills necessary to work effectively with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and the larger society.

Issues concerning ethnicity, culture, gender and populations-at-risk are incorporated throughout the program.  Students examine the contributions and needs of these special populations. The curriculum focuses on the various institutions, which are designed to provide social services.

The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

BSW Program Goals

Goal 1 - To enhance students critical thinking skills with the context of generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (in an urban setting).

Goal 2 - To foster students understanding of the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and advocate for changes that advances social and economic justice.

Goal 3 - To encourage students to adopt and apply the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles and practice.

Goal 4 - Students will understand and interpret the history of the profession and analyze the influence of policy on organizations and service delivery systems.

Goal 5 - Students will use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand human development and behavior across the life span.

Contact Information

Img: Joan Lewis

Joan Lewis, Ph.D., ACSW
Social Work Program Director
Associate Professor 

Veronica Hall Second Floor
Phone: 610.796.8264

social work

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