Mission and values
Our programs are nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and we are ranked among the top 100 social work programs in the U.S.
Indeed, we have a nearly 50 year legacy of training BSW and MSW students who serve as leaders and professional practitioners in numerous human service settings locally, regionally and across the U.S.
The Western Michigan University School of Social Work’s mission is to become a learner-centered school that develops social work leaders to impact social, economic, and environmental justice through excellence in research and practice.
Vision and values
We will work together in respectful, inclusive and empowering ways towards social, economic, and environmental justice through excellence in research and practice, and personal well-being for all.
This vision will be met through our action steps:
- Strengthen students' critical thinking skills, helps them formulate a vision of a just society, and enables them to move towards the realization of their vision.
- Prepare ethical, competent, reflective practitioners to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and institutions within a global and changing environment.
- Foster trauma-informed, culturally responsive, anti-racist practice, and
- Nurture a respectful, inclusive, equitable environment that maximizes the contributions and development of students, faculty, and staff members
Innovative practice through
Western Michigan University has a long-term investment in social work education through its undergraduate program, which began in the 1940s with social work courses offered through the Department of Sociology. The School of Social Work was formally established in 1969, offering both the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees.
The School of Social Work continues to offer the BSW and MSW today, as well as an undergraduate minor in social work. The MSW program was first accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 1969 and is currently accredited through 2024. The BSW program was first accredited in 1975 and is also accredited through 2024.
In 1976, WMU added the College of Health and Human Services to its administrative roster, of which the school became a member, to recognize the integral relationship between physical and mental and emotional health and well-being.
- To provide a professional education that prepares generalist and advanced practitioners to enhance, advocate, and support social and economic justice and personal well-being for all people.
- To prepare generalist and advanced practitioners who demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with diverse, vulnerable, and underserved populations.
- To prepare generalist and advanced practitioners who possess critical thinking skills, embrace social work values, and have the requisite skills needed to formulate and realize a vision of a just society.
- To prepare ethical, reflective, and competent generalist and advanced practitioners in interpersonal practice to work with individuals, families, and groups; and in policy, planning, and administration to work with organizations, communities, and institutions within a global and changing environment.
- To prepare generalist and advanced practitioners who effectively intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and institutions by utilizing evidence-based knowledge and theories and guided by person-centered ecological models.
- To prepare generalist and advanced practitioners who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to consume and produce social work knowledge and the ability to actively participate in the evaluation of professional practice.
- To prepare advanced practitioners who are grounded in a biopsychosocial-spiritual framework, understand the historical roots of the social work profession, and can analyze, develop, and utilize social policy.