Loyola University Chicago

MSW Program Outcomes

Competencies and Practice Behaviors 

At the completion of the program, students in the MSW program, including dual degree students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies and foundational and advanced level practice behaviors.
 
1.     Competency:  Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly. 
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to advocate for client access to the services of social work
  • Ability to practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development
  • Ability to attend to professional roles and boundaries
  • Ability to demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication
  • Ability to engage in career-long learning
  • Ability to use supervision and consultation
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate advanced professional use of self with clients.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate advanced professional use of self with clients/and or within organization settings. 
2.   Competency:   Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice. 
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice.
  • Ability to make ethical decisions by applying standards of NASW
  • Ability to tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts.
  • Ability to apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to articulate the process of ethical decision-making in work with client systems, distinguishing between personal and professional ethics, values and behaviors.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to articulate the process of ethical decision-making in work with client systems and/or within organizational settings, distinguishing between personal and professional ethics, values and behaviors. 
3.   Competency:   Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors:
  • Ability to distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom.
  • Ability to analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation
  • Ability to demonstrate effective oral and written communication
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate critical thinking by communicating professional judgment using oral and written communication as appropriate to the practice setting.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate critical thinking by communicating professional judgment using oral and written communication as appropriate to the practice setting. 
4.   Competency:  Engage diversity and difference in practice.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to recognize the extent to which a culture‚Äôs structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate or create or enhance privilege and power
  • Ability to gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
  • Ability to recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences
  • Ability to view themselves as learners and engage with those with whom they work as informants.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to engage client systems in diverse settings to challenge oppression, discrimination, and privilege at the societal, institutional and personal level.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to engage client systems in diverse settings to challenge oppression, discrimination, and privilege at the societal, institutional and personal level.
 5.   Competency:  Advance human rights and economic justice.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination
  • Ability to advocate for human rights and social and economic justice.
  • Ability to engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to use knowledge of the effects of oppression and discrimination on clients and client systems to guide treatment planning and intervention.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to use knowledge of the effects of oppression and discrimination on clients and client systems to guide programmatic or organizational planning and intervention.
6.   Competency: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry.
  • Ability to use research evidence to inform practice.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to use practice experience with clients to inform the formulation of researchable questions and selection of more evidence-informed interventions, particularly with diverse and marginalized clients.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to use practice, policy and administrative experience to inform the formulation of researchable questions, selection of more evidence-informed interventions and conduct of program evaluation, particularly with diverse and marginalized clients. 
7.   Competency:  Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation.
  • Ability to critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to select diverse theories of human behavior and the social environment to guide clinical practice.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to select diverse theories of human behavior and the social environment including organizational theory to guide administrative practice.
8.   Competency:  Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social services.  
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
  • Ability to collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action. 
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to communicate to stakeholders and policymakers the implications of policies and policy changes in the lives of clients.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to communicate to stakeholders and policymakers the implications of policies and policy change in the lives of clients. 
9.   Competency: Respond to contexts that shape practice.
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments and emerging social trends to provide relevant services
  • Ability to provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to identify ways that they can maximize the strengths of the client context to design and promote effective interventions with clients.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to identify ways that they can maximize the strengths of the client context to design and promote effective programs for clients.
10.   Competency: Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. 
A.  Engagement:
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to prepare for action with clients
  • Ability to use empathy and other interpersonal skills
  • Ability to develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes. 
 At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate sensitivity to the interpersonal dynamics and cultural/contextual factors that can both strengthen and potentially threaten a therapeutic alliance.
 At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate understanding of how organizations function in formulating effective communication plans with diverse stakeholders.
B.  Assessment:
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to collect, organize, and interpret client data in regard to practice.
  • Ability to assess client strengths and limitations
  • Ability to develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives
  • Ability to select appropriate intervention strategies
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to select and modify social work interventions based on ongoing assessment with clients.  
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to collect, maintain, interpret and analyze data from both internal and external organizational environments, the community of stakeholders and diverse client groups to assess whether outcome goals have been achieved.
 C.  Intervention:
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to initiate actions to achieve organizational goals.
  • Ability to implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities.
  • Ability to help clients resolve problems
  • Ability to negotiate, mediate and advocate for clients
  • Ability to facilitate transitions/endings.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to demonstrate the use of specific and appropriate techniques for a range of presenting problems identified in the psychosocial assessment of the client.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to conduct and design a plan of organizational analysis and change, working with relevant constituencies, to evaluate interventions that impact clients and communities utilizing best practice models reflecting social work values, ethics and the mission of the organization
D. Evaluation:
At the foundation level, this includes mastery of the following practice behaviors :
  • Ability to critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the clinical social work concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to evaluate outcomes of interventions and use this information to calibrate and modify further work with clients.
At the advanced level, for those engaged in the leadership and development concentration, this includes:
  • Ability to devise logic models to assist the organization in evaluating outcomes and justify interventions that reflect evidence based practice.
Mastery of these competencies and attendant practice behaviors is achieved through course readings, discussion, activities, and assignments as well as through field internship experiences over the course of the program. Competence is assessed annually.