Mission and Vision


Our core purpose:

Western Michigan University's School of Social Work educates social workers to advocate for social and economic justice and personal well-being for all people. The faculty provides leadership on a local, national and international level through research, scholarship, community service and partnerships, and other creative activities relevant to the profession.


We seek to be a school that:

  • Strengthens students' critical thinking skills, helps them formulate a vision of a just society, and enables them to move towards the realization of their vision.
  • Prepares ethical, competent, reflective practitioners to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and institutions within a global and changing environment.
  • Fosters sensitivity to diversity, cultural competence and practice effectiveness.
  • Is a nurturing, respectful, inclusive environment that maximizes the contributions and development of students, faculty and staff.

Guiding principles

We believe in:

  • Facilitating excellence in professional education.
  • Integrating theory and practice.
  • Conducting research on best practices that foster solutions to community needs.
  • Participating and seeking out mutually collaborative relationships.
  • Ensuring professional competence through gate-keeping and bridge-building activities.
  • Understanding and intervening within a person-centered ecological model.
  • Evaluating educational outcomes, skills, knowledge and values.
  • Creating a student-centered educational environment.
  • Maintaining a commitment to lifelong professional learning for faculty, staff and alumni.
  • Preparing social workers to advocate for social justice.