Department Contact

1600 Harden Street
Columbia, SC 29204
(803) 705-4623
(803) 705-7079 Fax

The Benedict College Social Work Program is the oldest CSWE accredited HBCU program in South Carolina. We have a nearly 40-year history of developing ethical and competent social work graduates.

History
The Benedict College Social Work Program began in 1963 as a program offering a minor in Human Services. In 1972, the program applied for accreditation under the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  The program moved into the candidacy phase in 1974, and in 1981 we became the first HBCU Social Work Program in South Carolina to be fully CSWE accredited.

Mission  
The mission of the Benedict College Social Work Program is to provide comprehensive preparation for competent and ethical entry level social work practice and/or graduate education.  The program includes; 1.) a curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and the generalist perspective, and 2.) an emphasis on diversity, global awareness, and social justice, and 3.) service to the profession and the local community.

Social Work Month Public Service Announcement

Majors and Professional Certificates Offered

Our Signature Pedagogy: Field Education

The Benedict College Social Work Department field education program is intentionally designed to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the field settings. The primary goals and focus of field education is to help students integrate the empirical and theoretical knowledge, the generalist practice classroom learning and skills with experiential learning opportunities to become ethical and effective social work practitioners. The field curriculum prepares the students to apply the generalist practice model of social work.

Signature pedagogies are elements of instruction and of socialization that teach future practitioners the fundamental dimensions of professional work in their discipline — to think, to perform, and to act ethically and with integrity.  Field education is the signature pedagogy for social work.  The intent of field education is to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting.  It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum – classroom and field – are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice.  Our field education curriculum is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the Social Work Competencies. The Benedict College Social Work Department field education program is intentionally designed to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the field settings. The primary goals and focus of field education is to help students integrate the empirical and theoretical knowledge, the generalist practice classroom learning and skills with experiential learning opportunities to become ethical and effective social work practitioners. The field curriculum prepares the students to apply the generalist practice model of social work.

Students complete a minimum of 400 hours in a four-day week, semester-long block placement. Students are supervised by BSWs or MSWs who understand the knowledge, value, and skills base of the profession. Field instructor credentials and experience are assessed and verified before student placement. Field instructors are required to submit a Field Instructor Application. In the field setting, field instructors assist students with making the theoretical connections as they perform tasks or observe tasks being performed.  In addition to the day-to day guidance, field instructors have scheduled conferences with student to discuss theoretical connections, their progress, and other issues. Field instructors are required to meet with students each week for thirty minutes or 1 hour every other week. A supervision log is completed to verify supervision meetings.

The field experience formally begins in the second semester of the senior year. Within the past year we have placed students at the following agencies. 

  • Richland School District One
  • Pee Dee Healthy Start
  • Save Our Sons
  • The United Way of the Midlands – Reading Consortium
  • American Red Cross
  • ABLE – SC
  • SC Department of Mental Health
  • Richland County DSS
  • The Crossings at Columbia
  • SC Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Transitions
  • Youth Build
  • Columbia Urban League

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

An attractive career in the field of social work is that of Child Protective Services, helping children and families through the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. The Social Work Program offers a certificate in Child Protective Services to those students interested in working with abused and neglected children and their families. The certificate is available to any student who completes the 9 hours of required coursework.

PROGRAM OF STUDY FOR CERTIFICATE IN CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

SW 230 Intro to Social Work

SW 332 Child Maltreatment I

SW 339 Child Maltreatment II

Total = 9 hours

INTERDISCIPLINARY GERONTOLOGY

Aging is a growing field of practice, and social workers are having an impact on this group. With the aging of the “Baby Boomer” generation, people 65 and older will represent one in every five Americans by 2030. The social work program offers a certificate in interdisciplinary gerontology designed to improve programs and services to meet the needs of this growing, diverse and every changing population and their families. The certificate is available to any student who completes the 12 hours of required coursework. prescribed program of study described below.

PROGRAM OF STUDY FOR CERTIFICATE IN INTERDISCIPLINARY GERONTOLOGY

SW 336 Introduction to Social Gerontology

SW 431 Death and Dying: Cultural Issues

PHE 230 Health and Aging

CFD 452 Families in Later Life

Total= 12 hours

  • Alumni Spotlight
  • Student Spotlight

Dr. Jessica Houston (c/o 2001)

Dr. Houston graduated from Benedict with her BSW degree in 2001. She is a woman who wears many hats as she currently works as: a Professional Social Worker; Professor for Kaplan University; Owner of her personal and business development training company, and host of “The Real Women” talk show. In addition to that, Dr. Houston is a published author. Her book,”Women’s Secret: It’s Time to Stop Suffering in Silence” is available now. Wow!   

We recently visited with Dr. Houston to ask her about keys to success in the classroom and life. When asked what her key to success was as a student, Dr. Houston said that she “was determined to not live in poverty as an adult.” She mentioned that she grew up in not the best financial situation and wanted to make sure that her life would be different. She also said that she encourages all students to “not waste their time” while in college. During our conversation she recounted how a faculty member while she was an undergraduate student (Dr. Cooper-Lewter) “spoke life” into her future that she didn’t even believe at the time. She shared how, while she was a Senior, Dr. Cooper-Lewter “pulled me aside and said that he saw me earning a PhD and traveling the world speaking.” Sixteen years later, his words appear to be prophetic as Dr. Houston went on to earn her MSW degree from Barry University (2002) and her PhD from Capella University (Minneapolis, MN – 2012).  

 One final lesson that Dr. Houston would like all current and future students to abide by is to “take your education seriously.”  She mentioned that “a lot of times students are so wrapped up in friends, going out, to the mall, etc.” that they may let their educational experience waiver.  She warned that a lot of people I started out with either didn’t finish or took 6 or 7 years to complete their degree. We salute you Dr Houston. Congratulations on your success, and we thank you for being a great role model for future social workers.  

Blood Drive

A few of our December 2018 graduating seniors, Dajae Brown, Precious Gray, and Angel Harrison, planned and led a blood drive sponsored by the American Red.  The event was held on Thursday, September 25, 2018 inside of the Benedict College Swinton Center.  The students did this event as a part of their Field Practicum at the American Red Cross where they are responsible for 400 hours of internship experience this semester.  From creating the proposal, to hosting the event, to making decisions on the entertainment, food, and incentives, these scholars were involved in every step of the process.  Their targeted goal was to have at least 50 people in participate in the blood drive. On the day of the event they arrived, bright and early, to set up and sign in participants. Their hard work paid off as well over 100 students, faculty, and staff donated blood to the American Red Cross.

Emergency Shelter

In addition to the blood drive the students also participated in disaster preparedness activities as Hurricane Florence approached the state.  Specifically, the interns traveled to Branchville, SC, a small town located in Orangeburg County, to spend three days and two nights at Branchville high school to assist in preparation efforts.  In preparation for the storm, they unloaded and set up an emergency shelter for the first time, giving them a hands on learning experience of what it is like to be in a critical situation. They all agree, it was not easy to adapt to an environment with such a lack of resources. It was challenging for them to cope and remain calm throughout the process, but above all, they gained so much knowledge and feel they will be better prepared in the future. Another asset they obtained from this experience is networking, they were able to meet a lot of people who work in DSS, have been social workers for years, in different organizations, and this gave them a great platform to promote the blood drive. All and all they learned the importance of patience, and now they have a better idea of what they will face in the future as professional social workers.  

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