Social Work Department Overview – Asbury University
Shapemaximize playTriangle
Watch The College Tour
Contact Us

Social Work Department Overview

Bonnie Cairns-Descoteaux, M.Ed., MSW, Department Chair & BSW Program Director
Sarah Bellew, MSW, CSW, Director of Field Education
Michelle Asbill, Ph. D, LCSW


The mission of the Asbury University Undergraduate Social Work Program is to prepare graduates who are rooted in the liberal arts, the Christian and Wesleyan perspectives, social work values and ethics, and prepared for generalist social work practice as change agents in a variety of settings. The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

NOTE: All undergraduate social work students are required to complete BIOLOGY (either BIO 100/101 or 201/203) as their choice of the various sciences listed under the Asbury University Core Requirements. In addition, it is highly recommended that students take a wide variety of courses in the areas of anthropology, economics, recent American history, political science, psychology, and sociology. Finally, all graduate MSW schools require applicants to have completed a satisfactory course in Statistics. Therefore students are required take PSY 315 “Statistics for Behavioral Science” or a comparable undergraduate Statistics course.

In order to provide a quality, generalist social work education, the program’s faculty has established the following goals for beginning generalist practitioners through the curriculum’s knowledge, ethics, and practice with diverse populations.

  1. Provide the knowledge, values, skills, and ethics to serve diverse client systems of all sizes and types; integrating knowledge about how individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations grow and change, using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective, and how these systems function together within the global context of their environment.
  2. Develop generalist social work practitioners who are both knowledgeable and understanding of diverse client systems including: persons of color and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, women, differently abled, LGBTQ+ populations, and other oppressed populations, whether individuals, families, groups, or communities.
  3. Based on the historical context of social welfare rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage, prepare graduates to work with clients by infusing throughout the curriculum social work values and ethics, as stated in the NASW Code of Ethics, for professional generalist practice.
  4. Prepare graduates who think critically about social work knowledge, ethically integrate this knowledge and practice, effectively communicate with clients, colleagues, and supervisors using oral and written skills; and value life-long learning of both personal and professional development throughout their careers.
  5. Develop practitioners who will use their generalist knowledge and practice base to work as advocates and change agents within diverse communities and organizations.
  6. Within a professional community of academic and professional excellence, prepare graduates for generalist social work practice through supportive and sustaining relationships with fellow students, faculty and field instructors, which leads to the development of a professional identity. 

Admission Requirements

  1. Any student who wishes to enter the social work program will be impartially considered. Students interested in the social work major should declare their interest by Spring semester of their Sophomore year or no later than the start of the Fall semester of their Junior year. The assigned Social Work faculty advisor will then guide the student through the admission process.
  2. Application for Confirmation to the Social Work program: to begin the formal confirmation process the student completes the application materials found on the undergraduate social work web pages in the Department of Social Work. The application is completed in consultation with the faculty advisor and submitted to the BSW office. Completion of the following criteria is necessary for confirmation to the program.
    1. Minimum GPA of 2.50 overall.
    2. Completion of the program application form.
    3. Applicants may be asked to obtain clearance from the Office of Student Life concerning moral, ethical, and social behavior acceptable to University community standards and the community at large.
    4. Recommendations by three persons familiar with the applicant, one of which must be a non-social work faculty member.
    5. Interview by a minimum of two social work faculty.
  3. Students will be considered to be confirmed to the social work program when they have completed the application process and have received a formal letter of acceptance from the Social Work Program Director.
  4. Continuance in the Social Work Program is not guaranteed. Students must maintain an acceptable level of performance according to community, academic, and professional social work standards. Reviews of student performance are held prior to SW 340 Field Practicum, prior to graduation, or other times as required. Students are responsible for completing forms and scheduling performance reviews through their individual faculty advisors. Probationary status may be assigned to students not meeting program criteria. A student who is on probation will not be allowed to do field practicum until student is off probation.
  5. Continuance in the Social Work program includes meeting the following criteria:
    1. Maintain academic standing according to the academic progress scale of category two (2) under the academic progress scale listed under the policies section of the Asbury University Academic Catalog.
    2. Demonstrate personal and professional qualities consistent with working with people. These qualities which will be assessed upon entry to the program, through references and interview, and prior to the first field practicum will include, but are not limited to:
      1. value system consistent with the ethical standards of the social work profession.
      2. sensitivity to needs of people.
      3. self-awareness.
      4. responsibility in class work, contributions to University and community life.
    3. Achieve a minimum grade of C- in all social work courses and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above as indicated in the Social Work Program Student Handbook.