Mission statement, goals, competencies, and themes

Degrees and programs

The mission of the Northern Arizona University Social Work Program, grounded in the history, purpose, and values of the profession, is to educate competent, generalist social workers for practice with diverse populations and multi-level social systems in local, regional and global contexts. The generalist practice for which we educate is based on social work knowledge, values, and skills; geared to practice with rural and Indigenous populations of the Southwest; and, focused on addressing poverty, structural racism, and oppression. This practice provides leadership in promoting human rights and social and economic justice, and service with vulnerable and underserved populations locally, regionally, and globally.

Program goals, competencies, and themes

The mission of our social work program to educate competent generalist social workers is expressed in the following goals:

Goal one: to prepare competent generalist social workers with the knowledge, values, and skills for engaging in individual, family, group, organization, and community planned change processes with diverse rural, vulnerable, disenfranchised, and underserved populations locally, regionally, and globally.


  1. apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (EP 2.1.3)
  2. apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice (EP 2.1.2)
  3. respond to contexts that shape practice (EP 2.1.9)
  4. engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (EP 2.1.10 a - d)
  5. apply ecosystems and strengths perspectives in practice across client systems (EP 2.1.7, 2.1.9)
  6. apply knowledge of the biological-psychological-social-cultural-spiritual components of human behavior and the social environment (EP 2.1.7)
  7. differentially apply engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills and strategies in practice with diverse rural, vulnerable, disenfranchised, and underserved populations (EP 2.1.4)
  8. advance human rights and social and economic justice (EP 2.1.5)
  9. engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services (EP 2.1.8)
  10. employ scientific inquiry and research to inform and evaluate the effectiveness of practice (EP 2.1.6)and utilize the various forms of information technology for effective agency functioning and professional practice (EP 2.1.9)

Goal two: to promote identification with the profession, continued professional development, and development of knowledge and skills for generalist social work practice.


  1. identify and articulate the evolution of social welfare as an institution and social work as a profession and their current structures and issues (EP 2.1.1)
  2. question and evaluate their own needs, values, strengths, and challenges, and how these affect their professional identity and use of self in practice (EP 2.1.1)
  3. question and evaluate their professional performance and take responsibility for continuing educational and career development (EP 2.1.1)

Goal three:  to provide service to the community and promote social and economic justice.

Social work program faculty, students, and graduates will:

  1. advocate for social change to advance social and economic justice and access to services of social
  2. work for all people, with a focus on populations that are experiencing and vulnerable to discrimination and oppression (EP 2.1.1 & 2.1.5 )
  3. participate in community service activities and processes (EP 2.1.9)