Department of Social Work

Discover a Path with Heart

Social Work was recently listed as one of the top five “hot hiring potential” careers by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (2012).  The job growth for social workers is projected to be at least 16% in the next decade according to the Department of Labor Statistics. And a BSW is the only undergraduate human service degree that allows for licensing upon graduation.

As a Social Work professional you will discover endless career opportunities. You can have a rewarding and satisfying job helping others improve their lives, their families, and their communities!  

Enroll in Avila’s Council on Social Work Education-accredited BSW program and become “the change you want to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi) Avila’s program has a reputation for excellence in social work education in the Kansas City region and beyond.


The Department of Social Work at Avila University “seeks to provide a values-based education, grounded in the liberal arts, preparing generalist BSW practitioners for effective social work practice and graduate studies, as well as lifelong professional and personal learning integrating knowledge, skills, and values. Informed in the Catholic tradition and in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, the program is dedicated to the formation of culturally competent social workers as social change agents in a global community who, through ethical practice, are committed to the well-being of self and others, engaged in the pursuit of social and economic justice, empowerment of vulnerable populations, human rights, and the advancement of social work knowledge through research and practice.”


  • Excellence in teaching and learning 
  • Importance of human relationships 
  • Worth, dignity and potential of each human being 
  • Diversity and its expression 
  • Service to others 
  • Competence and integrity 
  • Social and economic justice 
  • Lifelong learning
  • Program Goals

Goal 1:  To prepare students for graduate studies and as entry-level generalist social work practitioners (EP 2.1.1), applying ethical (EP 2.1.2) decision-making (EP 2.1.3) based on social work values, standards, knowledge, skills, and Avila’s Catholic tradition.

Goal 2:  To prepare practitioners who are grounded in evidence-informed (EP 2.1.3, EP 2.1.6) practice, to work with diverse (EP 2.1.4) individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities (EP 2.1.10) viewing personal and social issues through global, strengths, and empowerment perspectives (EP 2.1.4, EP 2.1.9), identifying and affecting the bio-psycho-social, spiritual, and cultural functioning (EP 2.1.7) of people and their environments (EP 2.1.9).

Goal 3:  To prepare students who are committed to influence social policies (EP 2.1.8), deliver effective social services, advance social and economic justice, advocate for human rights (EP 2.1.5), and engage in professional growth and lifelong learning (EP 2.1.1).

Student Social Work Association (SSWA)

SSWA is a student organization for Avila University social work majors and anyone else interested in the field of Social Work. The club elects officers, and is run by students with input from the advisors.

The purpose of the club is to promote awareness of social work, provide service to the community and to organize social activities for members. The club offers a connecting point for students interested in the social work field. The club sponsors service projects and other activities throughout the academic year.

Some Past Projects include:

  • Annual Angel Tree to assist needy children and families with Holiday presents
  • Collecting and packing hygiene kits for children in Romania
  • Safety training for social work majors and psychology majors
  • Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity projects
  • Collecting clothing for people in homeless shelters
  • Participation in the Heart Walk
  • Pizza parties, holiday celebrations and brown bag lunches are also sometimes sponsored by the SSWA. Students decide each year what service projects they are interested in participating.
  • For more information about the Student Social Work Association (SSWA), contact the Social Work department office manager at 816.501.3641.

Program Objectives

The nine core competencies explicated by CSWE provide the BSW program a framework for developing our curriculum and related program activities. The competencies are utilized to measure student performance and learning outcomes. The program has specified behaviors to operationalize the nine core competencies that are reflected in its explicit curriculum. These measurable behaviors represent the social work knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes students are expected to demonstrate at the entry level. The nine core competencies and corresponding behaviors utilized by the Social Work Program are listed below:

  • Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • 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

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