Course Descriptions

The online Master of Science in Social Administration curriculum comprises 18 generalist credit hours and 42 advanced practice and specialized credits hours in:

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General Courses

The following foundational courses (15 credits) are required for all traditional track MSSA students. Advanced Standing students will receive credit for all of the required 21 credits.

SASS 502 Change Agent Intensive (CHAI), 1 Credit

The Change Agent Intensive (CHAI) provides an introduction to the practice and profession of social work. It is an initial, immersive experience for students to engage with faculty and their peers to examine the social issues and social problems central to social work. CHAI introduces the values and ethics that guide the social work profession and the dilemmas that social work professionals face. This course centers the learning experience within the context of greater Cleveland so that students will begin to value the importance of community as a means of understanding social work practice at all levels—individual, family, group, organization and community.

CHAI will present students with opportunities to reflect upon the role of privilege, oppression and discrimination in their own lives and the lives of others. The course encourages the development of reflective self-awareness and critical thinking. Students will be challenged to understand and value the worldviews of persons different from themselves and develop the ability to take different perspectives in their work.

SASS 503 Foundations of Social Policy and Service Delivery, 2 Credits

This policy course examines the American social welfare system in a global context. It examines the philosophical, historical and socioeconomic foundations of social welfare and the evolution of social policy and the social work profession in the United States. Poverty and discrimination are used as the anchors to examine social problems and their respective social policies. In addition to poverty and discrimination, the course introduces students to social policies in the areas of health care, civil rights, child welfare, aging, disabilities, environmental justice and international social work. The course also focuses on ethical and ideological issues inherent in social policy and the political and organizational processes used to influence policy formulation and analyzes the adequacy and effectiveness of policies and resulting programs in light of theories of social, economic and environmental justice.

Students will begin to understand social policy in an interdependent world. Attention is given to cross-national comparisons of social policies designed to prevent and alleviate poverty and social exclusion. Human rights issues and the programs of international organizations designed to promote and protect human rights are discussed. The connections between social policy, social work advocacy and practice are also explored. Finally, students will develop skills and strategies of effective policy advocacy for social change.

SASS 504 Theories of Human Development and Human Diversity, 2 Credits

This generalist course examines theories and research on human development and human diversity. The course explores theories and research on biological, social, cultural and spiritual development over the lifespan; how oppression and privilege manifest at the individual, institutional and social/cultural levels; and how oppression impacts the life opportunities of members of minority and disenfranchised groups. The course stresses interactions between individuals and their environment.

Human development content focuses on biological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and environmental influences and their contributions to human development, while also considering the influences of social and economic experiences like poverty, discrimination and parenting styles. Factors supporting individual development, such as the strength of sociocultural belief systems, health and capacity for resilience are also explored. This course examines concepts of life course tasks, conflicts, attachment and loss, and self-regulation.

Human diversity content focuses on understanding the structures of oppression and privilege: the pervasive nature of inequality and bias woven throughout social, cultural, political and economic institutional and interpersonal systems and the theories that explicate how structures of dominance, privilege and subordination are manifested, paralleled and interconnected.

SASS 507 Community Theory & Practice, 2 Credits

This theory and practice course introduces community (or macro) practice social work. This course advances multiple theories (e.g. critical social theory, community capitals theory and conflict theory) and methods of community practice for social workers as agents of social change. Students learn to design and implement a participatory assessment process at a community level and apply foundational theories and assessment methods. Students learn to conduct quantitative research for assessing community needs and assets. Course work focuses on the development and application of practice skills in work with communities and organizations, particularly models and skills in community building. Focusing on real world situations, the course includes both didactic and experiential teaching and learning. The course integrates and applies foundation learning in the areas of social policy, diversity, discrimination with theories of power and empowerment, human capabilities and asset-based community development.

The role of race, systemic oppression, and social justice in social work practice will be highlighted throughout the course. Although this course focuses on working with communities, the transactions between individuals with family, community, organizational, economic and political environments will be integrated to give attention to the importance of understanding how macro forces affect the lived experiences of individuals and families. The development of reasoning and critical thinking skills will be discussed and developed through analyzing quantitative data around a specific community.

Students will be introduced to the social change process as it applies to a historically oppressed community, from framing an issue to assessment and power analysis. Models and case studies will be drawn from as resources for students to critique best practices in mobilizing and empowering community actors to affect short- and long-term change. A special characteristic of this course is experiential learning, in which community building is modeled by creating a learning community where instructors and students learn and grow together.

SASS 508 Individual Theory & Practice (ITP), 2 Credits

SASS 508 Individual Theory and Practice (ITP) focuses on theory and practice with individuals. The overarching goal of ITP is to develop culturally competent social work generalist practitioners who are armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice ethically with individuals in diverse social work practice settings. This course is structured to include pre-recorded lectures to be viewed before class as well as discussion and experiential laboratory learning during a 1.5 hour face-to-face session. In addition to watching the pre-recorded lectures, there is considerable preparation time required before each class session. The lab portion provides the opportunity for students to practice skills and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and peers.

Major social work theories/approaches to practice—such as systems-ecological theory, empowerment, strengths-based approaches, life course theories, and evidence-informed practice—will be introduced and applied to frame students’ learning of social work practice with individuals. Students will also be introduced to systems-based, trauma-informed, solution-focused, task-centered and relationship-based intervention approaches utilized in social work practice with individuals and have the opportunities to apply some of these approaches.

Interviewing skills for beginning practitioners relevant to work with individuals will be a major focus of work in readings, videos, lectures and skills lab. The introduction and application of skills will focus on those needed to carry out generalist practice with individuals, namely engagement, assessment, goal-setting/treatment planning, intervention and evaluation, termination, and follow-up. The skills taught in the lab are intended to build a foundation, or core base, that students can build on in field placements and further in advanced methods courses.

SASS 509 Group Theory & Practice (GTP), 2 Credits

SASS 509 Group Theory and Practice (GTP) focuses on theory and practice with groups, with a particular emphasis on task groups, psychoeducational groups, skill development and remediation groups, and growth groups. The overarching goal of GTP is to develop culturally competent social work generalist practitioners who are armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice ethically with groups in diverse social work practice settings. This course is structured to include pre-recorded lectures to be viewed before class as well as discussion and experiential laboratory learning during a 1.5 hour face-to-face session. In addition to watching the pre-recorded lectures, there is also considerable preparation time required before each class session. The lab portion will consist of student participation in a live support group regarding their experiences in the social work program and provides the opportunity for students to practice skills and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and peers.

Major social work approaches to practice with groups—such as stages of group development, group roles and norms and group leader’s varying roles—will be introduced to frame students’ learning in this approach to social work practice. Skills for beginning practitioners relevant to work with groups will be a major focus of work in readings, videos, lectures and during the skills lab. The introduction and application of skills will focus on the strategies needed to carry out generalist practice with groups, namely engagement, assessment, goal-setting/treatment planning, intervention and evaluation, termination, and follow-up. The skills taught in the lab are intended to provide a foundation that students can build on in field placements and further in advanced methods courses.

SASS 515 Family Theory & Practice (FTP), 2 Credits

This course focuses on theory and practice with families. The overarching goal of FTP is to develop culturally competent social work generalist practitioners who are armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice ethically with families in diverse social work practice settings. This course is structured to include pre-recorded lectures to be viewed before class as well as discussion and experiential laboratory learning during a 1.5 hour face-to-face session. In addition to watching the pre-recorded lectures, there is also considerable preparation time required before each class session. The lab portion provides the opportunity for students to practice skills and receive constructive feedback from the instructor and peers.

Major social work theories/approaches to practice, such as systems-ecological theory, empowerment, strengths-based approaches, life course theory and evidence-informed practice will be introduced to frame students’ learning in social work practice with families. Students will also be introduced to family systems, family development and other change-oriented intervention approaches utilized in social work practice with families.

Skills for beginning practitioners relevant to work with families will be a major focus of work in readings, videos, lectures and during the skills lab. The introduction and application of skills will focus on the strategies needed to carry out generalist practice with families, namely engagement, assessment, goal-setting/treatment planning, intervention and evaluation, termination, and follow-up. The skills taught in the lab are intended to provide a foundation that students can build on in field placements and further in advanced methods courses.

SASS 528 Evidence-Informed Practice, 2 Credits

This course is an introduction to the research methods and tools used in social work. Premised on CSWE competencies #4 and #9, this course provides the foundational skills needed to evaluate evidence-based/evidence-informed practice interventions. It includes qualitative and quantitative research content that provides understanding of scientific, analytic and ethical approaches to building knowledge for practice. Social workers employ research in the provision of high-quality services; to initiate change; to improve practice, policy and social service delivery; and to evaluate their own practice.

The class will employ a critical perspective with the goal that students will be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of evidence-based/evidence-informed practices and approaches to address social problems (e.g., racism, poverty, substance abuse, interpersonal violence). Students will be introduced to the elements of the research process in order to engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice. The importance of conducting research in ways that respect cultural diversity and are valid across diverse populations will be emphasized.

This course is structured to have a strong emphasis on the development of critical appraisal skills related to knowledge formulation and research. Students gain skills on how to efficiently and effectively identify and consume relevant practice research through formulating an appropriate research question to be answered using the scientific approach; searching and identifying relevant research; assessing the relative validity of research designs and measures; identifying, comparing and contrasting research findings; applying research findings to social work; and selecting appropriate evidence-based interventions.

Advanced Practice Courses

All online MSSA students will be required to take the following advanced practice courses (12 credits):

SASS 547 Problem Identification, Screening & Assessment/Diagnosis, 3 Credits

This course provides a bio-psycho-social approach to identification, screening, assessment and diagnoses of common psychosocial problems/dysfunctions experienced by clients. This course introduces the student to the etiology, recognition and diagnosis of these problems in the context of social work practice. Through use of a competency-based model, students are introduced to techniques used to screen, assess and diagnose problems such as serious mental illness, suicidality, depression and anxiety, substance abuse, child abuse, elder abuse and exposure trauma.

SASS 549: Theory/Practice Approaches in Direct Practice Social Work, 3 Credits

This required course introduces selected theories and practice approaches commonly used in social work with individuals, families and groups. It is designed to provide students with knowledge of theoretical explanations and practice frameworks commonly used in direct social work practice. The course will highlight the use of professional social work values and attention to human development issues, diversity and cultural perspectives as they apply in each theory or framework.

SASS 542 Evaluating Programs and Practice, 3 Credits

This course prepares social work students in all specializations to critically evaluate the practice and programs in which they are involved. It builds upon the evidence-informed practice course in the generalist curriculum and deepens and expands this content as applicable at the advanced practice level. Students learn to use evidence-based research methodology and findings to inform their social work practice. Students will learn to evaluate their practice within their field setting.

Students will learn to use single system design methods to evaluate social work interventions with individuals, families and groups, learning about specifying the intended outcome of worker intervention, systematically collecting and analyzing client system outcome data throughout service delivery, and using this information to guide clinical and ethical decision making.

Additionally, students will learn research methods and analytic tools that are used in planning, monitoring and evaluating programs and policies. Major topics include goal setting, measurement, assessment of change (including the use of Excel and spreadsheets), program evaluation research designs, logic models, evaluation purpose and research questions, data collection, and reporting results.

The course will employ a critical perspective with the goal that students will be able to judge the strengths and weaknesses of various tools and approaches and the degree to which ethical standards have been met. The importance of conducting research in ways that respect cultural diversity and are valid across diverse populations will be emphasized. The course will also introduce a “strengths” perspective or development based on assets.

SASS 566 Assessing and Engaging Community for Social Change, 3 Credits

This course enables the student to become a change agent in their organization and community. This course advances multiple theories (e.g. critical social theory, community capitals theory and conflict theory) and methods of community practice for social workers as agents of social change. This course builds on foundational theories and research methods, instructing students on applied community facilitation, planning, and organizing models and skills. We will examine strategies of community building and organizing, focusing on communities and organizations as a means of impacting social change and improving the quality of life for individuals and families, especially those from traditionally oppressed communities. Students will learn frameworks and models of community building and community organizing, focusing on the role of the change agent and the change process in the context of structural racism, privilege and inequity.

Students will also learn community practice skills that will prepare them to become effective agents of social change. Through real-world experience and case studies, students will develop skills in community assessment, civic engagement, empowerment, group facilitation and dialogue, team building, leadership development, conflict transformation, and restorative practices. Content will be drawn from this country and internationally.

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Children, Youth and Families Concentration

Help individuals and families through a diverse range of services, including marital therapy, family counseling, parent education and child welfare.

Specialized Courses – Traditional Track

SASS 517 Family System Interventions, 3 Credits

Students learn how to use a family systems framework to intervene with individuals and families experiencing difficulties (e.g., child behavior problem) or facing new challenges (e.g., adoption of a child). A family systems framework looks at individual behavior in the context of the family system and seeks to understand the purpose the behavior may serve in the family system. Interventions, whether individual or a family group, are designed to help the family system and its members negotiate their current situation more effectively and move to a new and more satisfactory level of functioning. Learning to think and intervene systemically requires mindfulness and practice, because it is a departure from the more dominant individually-focused framework that views complaints as individual problems in need of individually-focused interventions.

SASS 585 Social Work with Groups, 3 Credits

This course is designed to present social work with group process. The social worker’s role in facilitating group functioning through his/her interventions in the group process and/or structure and his/her use of various program media are covered. Attention is given to the significance of group goals, agency environment and social policy. While much of the material covered is vital in the utilization of therapy groups, the course covers the group process in other contexts as well, such as social groups and task groups. This course combines didactic and experiential learning to prepare students for practice with groups.

SASS 550 Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice with Children & Families, 3 Credits

This course builds on foundation direct practice courses and focuses specifically on children, adolescents and families affected by trauma. It uses both a developmental and an ecological systems perspective, recognizing that in order to successfully treat trauma, it is important to not only focus on the individual, but also on the family and the larger community environment of which the child or adolescent is a part.

SASS 579 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions, 3 Credits

This course acquaints students with the theoretical, conceptual and skill bases of several cognitive-behavioral approaches to practice. Topics include assessment, use of tasks and homework, coping skills, cognitive restructuring and problem-solving approaches to practice. The course draws upon students' field and work experiences to illustrate the application of the concepts and skills under discussion.

SASS 529 Child and Family Policy & Service Delivery, 3 Credits

This course focuses on major federal legislation impacting children, youth and families, examined in the context of community-based social work policy/practice. It builds upon the foundation course in social welfare policy and enables students to use an advocacy approach to provide policy-informed services and to participate in policy and implementation and change.

SASS 582 Social Work with Child Abuse & Family Violence, 3 Credits

This advanced-level elective course is directed to students in the mental health and children, youth and families concentrations. This course conducts an in-depth assessment of the process and content of the impact and dynamics of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The impact of abuse on the physical and emotional development of the child and adolescent is explored. This course explores the history of abuse and family violence in our culture and examines strategies employed by the social service and legal communities to address the issues of family victimization.

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Specialized Courses – Advanced Standing

SASS 517 Family System Interventions, 3 Credits

Students learn how to use a family systems framework to intervene with individuals and families experiencing difficulties (e.g., child behavior problem) or facing new challenges (e.g., adoption of a child). A family systems framework looks at individual behavior in the context of the family system and seeks to understand the purpose the behavior may serve in the family system. Interventions, whether individual or a family group, are designed to help the family system and its members negotiate their current situation more effectively and move to a new and more satisfactory level of functioning. Learning to think and intervene systemically requires mindfulness and practice, because it is a departure from the more dominant individually-focused framework that views complaints as individual problems in need of individually-focused interventions.

SASS 585 Social Work with Groups, 3 Credits

This course is designed to present social work with group process. The social worker’s role in facilitating group functioning through his/her interventions in the group process and/or structure and his/her use of various program media are covered. Attention is given to the significance of group goals, agency environment and social policy. While much of the material covered is vital in the utilization of therapy groups, the course covers the group process in other contexts as well, such as social groups and task groups. This course combines didactic and experiential learning to prepare students for practice with groups.

SASS 550 Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice with Children & Families, 3 Credits

This course builds on foundational direct practice courses and focuses specifically on children, adolescents and families affected by trauma. It uses both a developmental and an ecological systems perspective, recognizing that in order to successfully treat trauma, it is important to not only focus on the individual, but also on the family and the larger community environment of which the child or adolescent is a part. It is designed to foster an understanding of the neurobiology of trauma as well as to develop specific skills in interviewing children, child assessment including case formulation, selection of appropriate interventions and using specific intervention strategies at different levels of the trauma system.

SASS 529 Child and Family Policy & Service Delivery, 3 Credits

This course focuses on major federal legislation impacting children, youth and families, examined in the context of community-based social work policy/practice. It builds upon the foundation course in social welfare policy and enables students to use an advocacy approach to provide policy-informed services and to participate in policy and implementation and change.

SASS 582 Social Work with Child Abuse & Family Violence, 3 Credits

This advanced-level elective course is directed to students in the mental health and children, youth and families concentrations. This course conducts an in-depth assessment of the process and content of the impact and dynamics of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The impact of abuse on the physical and emotional development of the child and adolescent is explored. This course explores the history of abuse and family violence in our culture and examines strategies employed by the social service and legal communities to address the issues of family victimization. The course includes issues of cultural sensitivity, social justice and advocacy as they specifically relate to abuse perpetrated on children and adults.

SASS 505 Adoption: Practice & Policy, 3 Credits

This course covers the concepts, knowledge, skills and policies associated with contemporary adoption practice. The practice method reflects a triad perspective, meaning that adoption is examined from the viewpoints of birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents. For each topic area, social work roles, activities, tasks and skills are explored along with policy issues.

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Mental Health with Adults

Prepare to meet the growing demand for skilled clinicians in community-based mental health practice, including hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs and mental health centers.

Specialized Courses – Traditional and Advanced Standing

SASS 564 Social Work Practice in Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, 3 Credits

SASS 564 is an advanced direct practice concentration course focused upon knowledge, skills and values important for social work practice with people who abuse and/or are dependent on alcohol and other drugs. SASS 564 takes a biopsychosocial approach to prevention, assessment and treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency (AODA) problems. This course introduces the student to the etiology and treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse in the context of social work practice.

SASS 583 Social Work Practice in Mental Health: Adults, 3 Credits

This advanced methods course builds on the content from required foundation social work methods, policy and advanced sociobehavioral theory courses including Direct Practice Methods and Skills, Mental Health Policy and Service 11 Delivery, Advanced Child and Adolescent Development and Dysfunction and Adult Psychopathology. This course complements the content of advanced methods courses including Social Work with People Who Have Chronic Mental Illness, Social Work in Child Abuse and Family Violence and Interventions in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. This course develops biopsychosocial knowledge and intervention techniques related to professional settings specializing in child and adolescent mental health: hospitals, child guidance agencies, family service agencies, mental health centers and residential treatment centers.

SASS 587 Integrative Seminar in Mental Health: Adults, 3 Credits

The Integrative Seminar in Social Work Practice with Adults is an advanced level course, a capstone course in the Mental Health Adult Specialization, which provides opportunities for students to increase their knowledge of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. The seminar is intended to help students integrate theory and practice, especially in the context of public mental health and community-based social service practice. The Integrative Seminar in Social Work Practice with Adults uses a seminar format and provides students the opportunity to interact with professionals from various treatment and practice settings. The seminar format facilitates individual learning and promotes a learning to practice, reflective approach.

SASS 514 Mental Health Policy & Service Delivery, 3 Credits

This course is designed to prepare students for careers as social workers in the mental health field with an understanding of mental health policy and mental health service delivery systems and to improve their advocacy skills at state and local levels. Collectively, through readings, lectures, discussions and written policy analysis assignments, the course aims at the development by students of a broad macro-level perspective of community mental health policies and programs and the major service delivery systems for adults and children and adolescents with mental illness.

SASS 562 Social Work Intervention in Co-occurring Mental & Substance Abuse disorder

This advanced methods course provides a basic orientation to substance use disorders in persons with mental illness (SAMI). A biopsychosocial framework is used to explore the etiology, the maintenance and the recovery of both mental and substance use disorders. The historical background of practitioner, programmatic and institutional barriers that impede the development and application of clinical skills to dually diagnosed individuals is explored.

SASS 579 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions, 3 Credits

This course acquaints students with the theoretical, conceptual and skill bases of several cognitive-behavioral approaches to practice. Topics include assessment, use of tasks and homework, coping skills, cognitive restructuring and problem solving approaches to practice. The course draws upon students' field and work experiences to illustrate the application of the concepts and skills under discussion.

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Community Practice for Social Change

Drive systemic change on a broad scale by addressing some of society’s biggest social justice issues, such as poverty, human and women’s rights, cultural diversity and oppression.

Specialized Courses – Traditional Track

SASS 407 Nonprofit Revenue Planning & Development, 3 Credits

Revenue strategy and development are critical in advancing the mission and core work of a nonprofit organization and are among the most strategic responsibilities held by an executive director and his/her board. Nonprofits face a myriad of revenue options which could be pursued, but each of these has implications for how the organization advances its mission and its sustainability. The course examines how to assess these revenue sources and evaluate how they can contribute to an organization’s overall financial vitality. This course focuses on what executive directors and executive level staff members of nonprofit organizations need to know about the strategic management of an organization’s revenue and the development strategy.

SASS 567 Strategic Power Building with Communities, 3 Credits

This course will prepare students to design an organizing campaign to build grassroots power among those who have been historically marginalized and among constituents within a community and to effectively use that power to leverage social change. Students will explore and share learnings from several traditions of organizing including those for civil rights, labor, neighborhood work, anti-colonial struggles and consciousness raising. The course will explore a variety of different approaches including organizing institutions, social movements and organizing campaigns around specific issues or in conjunction with other approaches for social change. It will also examine the opportunities and ethical considerations of organizing within a variety of important contexts including various community geographies, online/offline and working with social service participants and agencies.

SASS 569 Planning & Implementing Social Change, 3 Credits

This course builds skills for the design, planning and implementation of social change. The focus of this course is on promoting social change through more strategic and impactful planning, positioning and partnerships. The premise of this course is that the impact and sustainability of programs, initiatives and other change efforts can be strengthened through more effective planning, better strategic positioning and organizational adaptation to external 10 circumstances and trends and stronger collaborations and partnerships. Students strengthen their ability to work effectively within organizations, in collaborations and coalitions and within communities and systems.

SASS 561 Community Practice Policy: Analyzing & Changing Social Policy, 3 Credits

This course teaches knowledge, values and skills for analyzing and changing social policy. The course uses a policy practice framework to examine the development and implementation of community and social policy and to prepare students to participate in policy change. A Policy Practice Project provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in planning, advocacy and policy development. Students work in groups to develop and implement a change strategy targeted at the agency or community level.

SASS 425 Nonprofit Financial Management, 3 Credits

This course focuses on techniques and principles of financial management including budgeting, finance and investment decision making. Topics include budget formulation, analysis and planning, present value analysis, cost-effectiveness, cash flow analysis, portfolio management and venture planning. Special emphasis will be given to the unique problems of nonprofits in capital formation, generating earned income, managing endowments, gifts and grants and tax planning.

SASS 521 Supervision, 3 Credits

This course has two foci. First, the course focuses on the role of strength based supervision in improving outcomes clients served in the various social service systems and on developing the skills necessary for effective supervision and leadership. The course examines the context of contemporary supervision and presents models of supervision grounded in systems theory, developmental theory and social justice theory. Second, the course is also designed to build practical skills for organizational leadership, focusing on adaptive leadership.

SASS 545 Program Design, 3 Credits

Program design and development are of critical importance in nonprofit organizations. In this course students will gain a practical, hands-on understanding of strategies for designing programs. The course focuses on program development approaches that attempt to maximize a program's relevance to the need being addressed and increase the likelihood that the program will attain its identified outcomes. Emphasis is placed on learning to understand a community's need/problem, reviewing evidence on potential strategies and identifying promising practices, anticipating potential implementation challenges and addressing them and identifying potential funders.

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Specialized Courses – Advanced Standing

SASS 407 Nonprofit Revenue Planning & Development, 3 Credits

Revenue strategy and development are critical in advancing the mission and core work of a nonprofit organization and are among the most strategic responsibilities held by an executive director and his/her board. Nonprofits face a myriad of revenue options which could be pursued, but each of these has implications for how the organization advances its mission and its sustainability. The course examines how to assess these revenue sources and evaluate how they can contribute to an organization’s overall financial vitality.

SASS 567 Strategic Power Building with Communities, 3 Credits

This course will prepare students to design an organizing campaign to build grassroots power among those who have been historically marginalized and among constituents within a community and to effectively use that power to leverage social change. Students will explore and share learnings from several traditions of organizing including those for civil rights, labor, neighborhood work, anti-colonial struggles and consciousness raising. The course will explore a variety of different approaches including organizing institutions, social movements and organizing campaigns around specific issues or in conjunction with other approaches for social change. It will also examine the opportunities and ethical considerations of organizing within a variety of important contexts including various community geographies, online/offline, and working with social service participants and agencies.

SASS 569 Planning & Implementing Social Change, 3 Credits

This course builds skills for the design, planning and implementation of social change. The focus of this course is on promoting social change through more strategic and impactful planning, positioning and partnerships. The premise of this course is that the impact and sustainability of programs, initiatives and other change efforts can be strengthened through more effective planning, better strategic positioning and organizational adaptation to external circumstances and trends and stronger collaborations and partnerships.

SASS 561 Community Practice Policy: Analyzing & Changing Social Policy, 3 Credits

This course teaches knowledge, values and skills for analyzing and changing social policy. The course uses a policy practice framework to examine the development and implementation of community and social policy and to prepare students to participate in policy change. A Policy Practice Project provides an opportunity for students to develop skills in planning, advocacy and policy development. Students work in groups to develop and implement a change strategy targeted at the agency or community level.

SASS 531 Collaboration & Strategic Partnership, 3 Credits

The development of strategic alliances is being used increasingly as a key for nonprofit organizations to carry out their missions. This course is designed to provide students with the conceptual and practical resources necessary for leadership in the formation and maintenance of such alliances. Various models and strategies for creating and sustaining local, community-based and national relationships are explored. The course is based on "practical theory," builds on current knowledge about creating mulch-organizational partnerships and expands capabilities to participate in these efforts.

SASS 425 Nonprofit Financial Management, 3 Credits

This course focuses on techniques and principles of financial management including budgeting, finance and investment decision-making. Topics include budget formulation, analysis and planning, present value analysis, cost-effectiveness, cash flow analysis, portfolio management and venture planning. Special emphasis will be given to the unique problems of nonprofits in capital formation, generating earned income, managing endowments, gifts and grants and tax planning.

SASS 545 Program Design, 3 Credits

Program design and development are of critical importance in nonprofit organizations. In this course students will gain a practical, hands-on understanding of strategies for designing programs. The course focuses on program development approaches that attempt to maximize a program's relevance to the need being addressed and increase the likelihood that the program will attain its identified outcomes.

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Field Education

Field Education provides graduate-level social work students with opportunities to develop foundation-level competencies in the eight abilities by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values and ethics acquired in the classroom in an agency setting.

SASS 495V Field Education: Organizational Theory & Practice Seminar, 1 Credit

This course is for Traditional Track students during their first semester of generalist fieldwork (SASS 651).

The course provides the support and guidance necessary to assist students to begin to integrate professional experiences as developing social work practitioners and to learn how the human service organization influences the delivery of social work services. Students will be introduced to organizational theory and practice through development of an understanding of their field site. Students will also be introduced to their role as a social work intern, the effective use of supervision, and mechanisms to identify and evaluate their learning goals throughout the course.

SASS 495VA Field Education: Organizational Theory & Practice Seminar II, 1 Credit

This course is for Traditional Track students during their second semester of generalist fieldwork (SASS 652B).

The course builds on the first seminar and provides additional support and guidance necessary for students to integrate professional experiences as developing social work practitioners. It also continues the focus on how the human service organization influences the delivery of social work services. Students will continue to learn about social work practice with organizations through continued learning about their field site and will design a brief intervention to be used at the site. Finally, students will develop a more advanced understanding of the learning agreement, the realities of ethical dilemmas and decision making, self-care and self-advocacy, and prepare for furthering their learning in a specialized field placement.

SASS 496V Advanced Field Education: Organizational Theory & Practice Seminar, 1 Credit

This course is for Advanced Standing students during their first semester of advanced fieldwork (SASS 653AA) and second semester in the program.

The course provides the support and guidance necessary to assist students to begin to

integrate professional experiences as developing social work practitioners and to learn how the human service organization influences the delivery of social work services. Students will be introduced to organizational theory and practice through development of an understanding of their field site. Students will also be introduced to their role as a social work intern, the effective use of supervision, and mechanisms to identify and evaluate their learning goals throughout the course.

SASS 651 Field Education I, 2 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by entering traditional-track social work students in the second semester of their master’s program. The SASS 651 course is 14 weeks in duration.

SASS 652A Field Education II, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by traditional-track social work students in the third semester of their master’s program. The SASS 652A course is 14 weeks in duration. It consists of a field practicum and participation in professional development opportunities. For students entering the program with advanced standing, there is an additional requirement of four logs and an integrative assignment and periodic meetings with a field faculty advisor in addition to the field conference.

SASS 652B Field Education II, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by traditional-track social work students in the fourth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 652B course is 14 weeks in duration.

SASS 653AA Field Education III, 1.5 Credits

This course is for Advanced Standing students only.

The course is designed to be taken by students with Advanced Standing entering Field Education in their second semester of their master’s program. The overall goal of this course is to provide graduate-level social work students with field related opportunities to develop the required specialized-level competencies by helping students apply knowledge of social work theory, skills, values, ethics, and cognitive and affective processes acquired in the classroom in an agency setting. These collective experiences provide students with a forum to develop and refine social work skills, integrate and operationalize the values and ethics inherent in professional practice, and confront social injustice as self-reflective, competent developing practitioners.

The Field Instructor is based at the field site and provides the direct instruction to the student. The Field Faculty Advisor based at the Mandel School is the liaison between all parties, interprets the requirements and standards of the School, and participates and consults in the design of the student’s learning experience. The Field Instructor assigns tasks to the student according to the requirements of the School and the educational and experiential level of the student. Student, Field Instructor, Task Supervisor (if applicable) and Field Faculty Advisor participate in the assessment and evaluation of the student’s work. The Field Faculty Advisor is responsible for assigning the grade.

SASS 653A Field Education III, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Traditional-track social work students take it in the fifth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 653A course is 14 weeks in duration.

SASS 653B Field Education III, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the third semester of their master’s program. Traditional-track social work students take it in the sixth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 653B course is 14 weeks in duration.

SASS 654A Field Education IV, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the fourth semester of their master’s program. Traditional-track social work students take it in the seventh semester of their master’s program. The SASS 654A course is 14 weeks in duration.

SASS 654B Field Education IV, 1.5 Credits

This course is designed to be taken by students in their advanced course of study. Advanced Standing social work students take this course in the fifth semester of their master’s program. Traditional track social work students take it in the eighth semester of their master’s program. The SASS 654B course is 14 weeks in duration.

Children, Youth and Families | Mental Health with Adults | Community Practice for Social Change | Field Education | Back to top

Interested in learning more about each course? Download our course description PDF for complete course information (PDF, 106 KB).