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Areas of Social Work Practice

University of Alaska Fairbanks via edX


The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and to help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A social worker should not only work with the client to help them navigate the injustice but to work towards changing that injustice.

Learners will be introduced to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and how to apply and utilize the code to navigate ethical dilemmas and decision-making processes. The NASW Code of Ethics includes these core values of social work:

  1. Service: helping people in need and addressing social problems;
  2. Social Justice: challenging social injustice
  3. Dignity and Worth of The Person: respecting every person
  4. Importance of Human Relationships: recognizing the central importance of relationships to a person’s well being and as a vehicle of change;
  5. Integrity: behaving in a trustworthy manner, and
  6. Competence: practicing within one’s area of competence and continually developing and enhancing one’s professional expertise.

Students will also be introduced to the context for social work, including the diversity of human needs, human services, social policy and legislation. Social work is a marketable profession and growing. Due to the challenges humans are faced with on an everyday basis, there is a need for social workers to help navigate experiences around trauma, racism and injustice, health, wellness, climate change and systemic barriers; a wide range of services, programs, and career opportunities nationally are discussed throughout.


  • Week 1: Poverty & Child Welfare
  • Week 2: Health Care Systems
  • Week 3: Mental Health & Substance Abuse
  • Week 4: Military Social Work Practice
  • Week 5: Aging & People with Disabilities
  • Week 6: Social Work in a Global World

Taught by

Retchenda George-Bettisworth


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