...because people deserve lives with dignity™


The threefold mission of the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare is to educate students at the B.S.W., M.S.W., and Ph.D. levels, to conduct scholarly inquiry that contributes to the knowledge base of the profession, and to provide leadership in formulating social policy and developing service delivery strategies and systems.

In the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs, students learn generalist and advanced level social work practice methods and skills that advance the empowerment and well being of individuals, families and communities. At the Ph.D. level, students are equipped with the necessary skills for critical inquiry and scholarship to become leaders in the social work profession in academic, research, and public policy realms.

Guiding Principles and Themes

The KU School of Social Welfare is committed to practicing educational approaches and conducting scholarship that directly and explicitly enhance the connection of theory and concepts to the needs of clients and the demands of everyday practice. This commitment flows from the values and ethical principles of the profession and is enriched by our commitment to these four themes:

  • A focus on people's strengths
  • An understanding of human diversity
  • The promotion of social and economic justice
  • The development of a critical perspective

Strengths: A perspective that recognizes, mobilizes and supports the inherent strengths of individuals, families, neighborhoods, organizations and communities to discover and develop their own and communal resources and assets in their struggle for a better quality of life.

Diversity: Understanding, valuing and engaging the broad range of differences and commonalities that are brought to the interaction among social workers, clients and the social environment and that reflect clients' culture, ethnicity, race, geography, gender, social class, religion, sexual orientation, and physical and mental abilities - particularly when those differences are the cause for discrimination.

Social and Economic Justice: A commitment to promoting fairness, equality of power and equity of resources based on a complex understanding of the effects of economic, political and social structures on people's life chances, particularly related to economic inequality and the allocation of necessary social resources.

Critical Perspective: The capacity to engage in a deliberate and continuing examination of the assumptions underlying the theories, methods and approaches used by social work in understanding and responding to human needs.


Goal 1: To prepare BSW and MSW students for competent, ethical, and culturally informed social work practice that focuses on the strengths of people, families, and communities.

Goal 2: To develop knowledge for the field of social work through basic and applied research/scholarship that informs effective social work practice and humane social policy.

Goal 3: To respond to the needs of communities from local to state to national and international levels for knowledge supporting practice and policy formulation, and advocacy for socially and economically vulnerable individuals and families in our communities.

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