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The Social Work program curriculum combines liberal arts and sociology courses that include community-based learning experiences with professional social work courses.

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As an educator and social worker, it is my responsibility to support and empower my students in and outside of the classroom. I encourage students to call out injustices they see around themselves and advocate for their own educational needs.  This in turn helps them become effective advocates for those they will serve in their social work career.

Elizabeth A. Davis
Associate Professor
Director of Social Work

Elizabeth A. Davis

Learn more about the Siena Heights Social Work Program.

Social workers assist and support individuals and families in every stage of life across communities, seeking to address emotional, psychological, physical, and economic needs. They empower groups, organizations, and communities to employ change on global levels. Social workers advocate for change to ensure equitable and inclusive access to all resources and opportunities required to meet basic needs and to develop fully.

Siena Heights University’s Social Work Program offers a “generalist practice” curriculum as the application of social work knowledge, skills, values, and process to identify needed changes, develop intervention strategies, and implement the change process with all sizes of systems including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The program provides professional faculty (with expertise in child welfare, trauma-focused/brain resiliency, human behavior), small class sizes, and practical hands-on learning.

The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and is subject to its accreditation standards.


Elizabeth Davis
Associate Professor and Director of Social Work
Sarah Sabin
Director of Practicum Education and Assistant Professor

The Social Work Program’s Mission

The mission of the Social Work Program is to educate social work students to become competent, skillful, ethical, and purposeful professional generalist social work practitioners who are committed to enhancing the well-being of people. The program promotes and supports the personal responsibility of students, faculty, and community social service providers, for continuing professional education.


The Social Work Program’s Core Values and Ethical Principles

The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics “is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers” and outlines the six core values that “set forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire”-NASW. The core values and associated broad ethical principles, on which the Code of Ethics is based, are used as a guide in social work practice. The Social Work Program embraces the NASW Code of Ethics, its values, and ethical principles. Click here for The Code of Ethics in its entirety.

Value: Service
Ethical Principle: Social workers’ primary goal is to help people in need and to address social problems.

Value: Social Justice
Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.

Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person
Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.

Value: Importance of Human Relationship
Ethical Principle: Social workers recognize the central importance of human relationships.

Value: Integrity
Ethical Principle: Social workers behave in a trustworthy manner.

Value: Competence
Ethical Principle: Social workers practice within their areas of competence and develop and enhance their professional expertise.


The Social Work Program’s Goals

The three goals of the Social Work Program are derived from its mission and were developed within the framework of generalist social work practice and in conformity with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy 1.0 Program Mission.

The goals of the program are to:

  1. Prepare baccalaureate social work students to be knowledgeable, competent, skilled generalist social work practitioners with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.
  2. Provide a social work education program that incorporates content about, and commitment to, social work ethics and values, social justice, and enhancing the well- being of vulnerable and oppressed people.
  3. Prepare graduates to assume responsibility for continuing their professional development.

To achieve these goals, the Social Work Faculty strive to ensure that an integrated curricula and their teaching practices reflect the current knowledge base of social work and conform to the requirements of the Council on Social Work Education. Course content and practicum education emphasize the person-in-environment perspective, strengths-based assessment, and systems theory concepts. Courses in human behavior and the social environment; social welfare policy; social research; race and ethnicity; concepts of sociology and anthropology; social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations; and required cognate courses provide students with generalist social work knowledge, skills, and supervised practice experiences. Core course content and assignments emphasize social work values, ethics, and skills, and social justice issues. Students, faculty, and community social service providers are encouraged to participate in training and conference opportunities.

Graduates of the program have proven themselves to be well-prepared for immediate employment in public and private social service positions and contribute to the well-being of individuals, families, groups and communities and/or to successfully complete work at the master’s degree level.

The Social Work Program Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

The Siena Heights University Social Work Program is committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable learning environment where anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of our values.

The Social Work Program decisively applies an ANTI-RACIST lens to it policies, procedures, and learning environment within its implicit and explicit curriculum and is proactive and intentional against racism and discrimination. We are committed to promoting social justice, equity, and the well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and community and actively work to challenge and dismantle systemic racism. Our program is dedicated to empowering our students to become culturally competent and anti-racist social work professionals.

We embrace the recognition and value of DIVERSITY among our students, faculty, staff, and community; encompassing a broad range of characteristics, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religion, ability, and cultural background. We acknowledge and respect the unique qualities and experiences of our students, faculty, staff, and community and we include and leverage differences to enrich our learning environment and enhance the effectiveness of the social work program.

EQUITY calls us to construct a learning environment that is fair, has a just distribution of resources, opportunities, and privileges, and ensure that all individuals have the chance to reach their full potential. We are obligated to identify and remove systemic barriers that contribute to disparities in access to resources and opportunities among different groups, as well as address historical and current injustices that contribute to inequalities.

We work to ensure that all individuals, including students, faculty, staff, and members of our community, experience a sense of value, respect, belonging, and full participation in our program, irrespective of their backgrounds or characteristics. INCLUSION mandates diversity, encourages the contribution and involvement of every individual, provides equal and equitable opportunities for participation, access to resources, and engagement for everyone, regardless of differences or individual characteristics. An inclusive environment accommodates the needs of individuals, and ensures that physical and virtual spaces, communication, and activities are accessible to everyone. We actively engage in ongoing education, dialogue, and reflection to challenge biases, confront prejudice, and create a supportive space for all.

Through our curriculum, practicum education, and community engagement initiatives, we strive to prepare our students to advocate for the equity deserving, amplify underrepresented voices, and work towards a more just and inclusive society. Together, we stand united in our commitment to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion; fostering a learning community where every student is valued, heard, and respected, thus becoming more competent, purposeful, and ethical social work practitioners who respect the dignity of all.

The Practicum Education Program

Practicum education and practice is a significant part of the student’s preparation of professional practice.  The experience concurrently couples with the practicum seminar course work.  Social work agencies provide the practicum opportunities and are located off-campus. A minimum of 225 hours of practicum education per semester is required of all social work majors, with a minimum of 16 hours per week in the practicum setting will be expected of each student.  

  • Provide social services to the elderly in skilled nursing facilities. 
  • Assist patients in making discharge plans in a hospital setting. 
  • Conduct home visits and assess needs of families. 
  • Develop programs for children and adults. 
  • Implement intervention plans for at-risk children. 
  • Interact with adjudicated juveniles in a residential setting. 
  • Work with women and children in a domestic violence shelter. 
  • Assist families in transition in finding permanent housing. 
  • Develop treatment plans with parents for the purpose of reunification.

Practicum Education Placement Opportunities:

The social work program has extensive placement opportunities in several Michigan and Ohio counties. These placements include:

  • Adrian Dominican Sisters 
  • Adrian Head Start 
  • Adrian Public Schools 
  • Associate Charities of Lenawee 
  • Care Pregnancy Center of Lenawee 
  • Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Program 
  • Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale 
  • Domestic Harmony 
  • Equitas Health 
  • Family Service & Children’s Aid 
  • Fostering Solutions 
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeastern MI 
  • Gus Harrison Correctional Facility 
  • Habitat for Humanity 
  • Hope Community Center 
  • Hospice of Lenawee 
  • Housing Help of Lenawee 
  • LACASA Center 
  • Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority 
  • Lenawee Child Advocacy Center 
  • Lenawee County Probate Court 
  • Lenawee Department of Aging 
  • Lenawee Intermediate School District 
  • Lenawee Medical Care Facility 
  • Lifeways: Jackson 
  • Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities 
  • Maurice Spear Campus 
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 
  • Michigan Medicine: Guest Assistance Program 
  • Michigan Works! Southeast 
  • MSU Extension 
  • National Association of Social Workers-Michigan Chapter 
  • Neighbors of Hope 
  • ProMedica Charles and Virginia Hickman Hospital 
  • Region II Community Action Agency 
  • Segue, Inc. 
  • Share the Warmth 
  • The Salvation Army 
  • The Daily Bread of Lenawee 
  • United Way of Monroe/Lenawee 
  • University of Toledo Medical Center: Ryan White Program 

The Child Welfare Certificate:

Social work majors who have been accepted into the Social Work Program may elect to pursue the Child Welfare Certificate.  The certificate is structured to make minimal demands on your academic planning and can fit with most students’ schedules without complications. The Child Welfare Certificate is awarded upon graduation of the Bachelor of Social Work Program.

There are three course requirements:

  1. *SWK 348: Human Behavior in the Social Environment.
  2. *SWK 452: Social Work Practice with Families.
  3. SWK 360: Child Welfare Services. Completion of course with the minimum of a “B-“. Field placement with a child welfare agency for the equivalent of one academic year. 

* These are already required courses for your BSW, so it does not add any additional requirements to your academic schedules. No grade below “C” will be allowed in any social work course and/or required cognates for the major. In such case, the course must be retaken and result in a grade of “C” or better. Courses required for the major may be repeated only once.

This certificate is endorsed and regulated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) – the agency charged with protecting Michigan’s children. Child welfare certificate graduates will be given preference in hiring at MDHHS and private agencies across the state of Michigan. Graduates may also waive a portion of the new worker training. Certificate notation should be added to your resume.

Approved Child Placing Field Placement Sites:

  • Catholic Charities of Jackson, Lenawee, and Hillsdale Counties
  • Family Services and Children’s Aid
  • Fostering Solutions
  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The Social Work Student Association is an organization for students that works to promote the development and unity of the Social Work program. It also increases understanding and awareness of the social work profession and social welfare issues, and provides opportunities for the students to participate in social responsibility activities both on campus and in the community. Recently, the organization has planned and implemented such events and activities as community fundraisers, celebrations for National Social Work Month, clothing drives for local nonprofit agencies, volunteering for a local nursing home and volunteering for the local Boys and Girls Club.

The Social Work Student Association also strives to provide opportunities for students to socialize through events such as movie nights, bowling and ice skating.   

Employers recognize that graduates with a Siena Heights University BSW degree have specific professional training and practicum experience that enables them to work effectively with individuals, families, small groups, communities, and organizations. Social work career opportunities are predicted by the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics  to have a 16-percent growth rate (more than double the 7-percent employment growth projected for all occupations)from 2016 to 2026. Below is a sample of the areas of practice:

  • Adoption Specialist 
  • Case Manager 
  • Child Advocate 
  • Child and Adult Day Care Centers 
  • Children’s Service Worker 
  • Child Support Officer 
  • Client Advocate 
  • Community Coordinator 
  • Community Outreach Worker 
  • Community Planner 
  • Correctional Probation Officer 
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist 
  • Corrections Unit Supervisor 
  • Crisis/Intake Specialist 
  • Delinquency Prevention Officer 
  • Director of Events 
  • Discharge Planning Coordinators 
  • Domestic Violence programs 
  • Employee Assistance Counselor 
  • Family Advocacy Representative 
  • Family Preservation Services Coordinator 
  • Foster Care Specialist 
  • HIV Mental Health Coordinator 
  • Homeless Shelters 
  • Hospice 
  • Human Service Worker 
  • Information and Referral Specialist 
  • Job Coach 
  • Library Social Worker 
  • Manager 
  • Membership Coordinator 
  • Mental Health Case Worker 
  • Non-governmental organizations 
  • Nursing Home Administrator 
  • Outpatient Health Specialist 
  • Parole Officer 
  • Policy Planning Specialist 
  • Probation Officer 
  • Program Coordinator/Manager 
  • Public Health Manager 
  • Residential Treatment Programs 
  • Schools (elementary and secondary) 
  • Social Worker 
  • Sports Social Worker 
  • Substance Abuse Programs 
  • Youth Worker 

“The Social Work Program at Siena Heights University gave me the opportunity to discern how my passion for service connected to both being in the classroom and out in the field.

Grant Vermilya, BSW ’22
Flood Recovery Coordinator and Program Manager 
Appalachia Service Project





“The SHU Social Work Program helped launch me straight into my Bachelor’s level career upon graduation. That experience also prepared me for my Master’s Program and Clinical Licensing Exam. The bonds formed with faculty and my fellow students have been, and continue to be incredibly supportive. The SHU SWK Program helped me to grow as a person, a leader, and a professional in a way that I will be forever grateful for. Go Saints!”

Kristina Henning (She/Her), LMSW ’17
Access Clinician
Lenawee Community Mental Health Authority

Siena Heights University and Barry University have renewed the Master of Social Work (MSW) articulation agreement. This agreement allows for Siena graduates to receive a tuition discount on Barry University’s MSW program.

Under the articulation agreement, recent SHU graduates are eligible to receive a 20% discount on Barry University’s posted tuition rates for their MSW program. The renewed agreement now allows both in-person and online students to receive this discount—an opportunity that was previously only offered to in-person students. This discount cannot be applied to additional costs such as late registration fees, online course fees, books, and other course materials or required expenses. To qualify for this discount, the Siena alumnus/a must have graduated within the last three years. 

Receiving a Master of Social Work degree helps prepare students for practice in clinical settings and at a macro-level. The addition of this degree often opens opportunities for extra education, licensure, and certifications, which can help individuals get hired into positions that are above entry-level. In doing so, MSW-obtaining individuals’ prospective salaries are increased by approximately $10,000, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Of the renewed agreement, President of Siena Heights University, Sister Peg Albert, O.P., Ph.D., said: “As a proud graduate of Barry University’s School of Social Work, I am so pleased that we are renewing our agreement for the master ‘s degree in social work for our undergraduate majors in the social work field.  Our mission and values are similar to Barry’s, and I am happy that our students can continue in that tradition.  Both universities are sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, a heritage that both institutions cherish.” 

Barry University was established by the Adrian Dominican Sisters in 1940. It is a Catholic institution rooted in liberal arts tradition. The core values of Barry University include commitments to knowledge and truth, inclusive community, collaborative service, and social justice. As a result, the MSW Programs available through Barry—and now to Siena Heights students—keep these core values at the heart of each class. In doing so, Barry University strengthens students’ skills in relationships, communication, critical thinking, and organization. 

“Our partnership with Siena Heights University will provide more students the opportunity to prepare for high-demand careers in this field,” Barry University President Mike Allen said. “Barry’s School of Social Work teaches students to comprehensively approach the most pressing issues of the day from a broader, more holistic perspective that includes mental health, community health and social justice.” 

Siena Heights is proud to be educational partners with Barry University, and thanks Barry University for their crucial part in this tremendous opportunity for SHU students. For more information about the Barry University’s School of Social Work Advanced Standing MSW Program, go to

The Social Work Program Competencies

It is expected that upon completion of Siena Heights University’s BSW Program, social work students will be able to demonstrate the integration and application of the following competencies required by CSWE:

· Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

· Competency 2: Advance Human Rights and Social, Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice

· Competency 3: Engage Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ADEI) in Practice

· Competency 4: Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice

· Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

· Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

· Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

· Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

· Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2012-2013 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2013-2014 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2014-15 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2015-16 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2016-17 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2018-19 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2019-20 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2020-21 Academic Year

SHU BSW Work Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes 2021-22 Academic Year

Costs & Aid

We know that college can be expensive, but we don’t want cost to keep you from attending Siena Heights University! We offer numerous financial aid opportunities. Federal aid is available to students who qualify by completing the FAFSA. Feel free to contact us with questions about financial aid opportunities, or click on one of the links below.