About Social Work

Katie Hochstedler

Do you want to:

  • Help people?
  • Influence social policy?
  • Develop programs that meet human needs?
  • Resolve conflict?
  • Promote justice?

A major in social work at Goshen College might be for you!

The mission of our Social Work Education Program is to prepare baccalaureate students for beginning level generalist practice with emphasis on social and economic justice, anti-oppressive practice, and engaging effectively across differences. Generalist practice is founded upon the purposes and core values of the social work profession.

The social work education program has three goals which contribute to the program’s mission and which are congruent with the purposes of social work education.

Goal One:  To provide students with the knowledge, skills, values and ethics that will prepare them for beginning professional generalist social work practice.

Goal Two:  To prepare students to practice effectively with diverse client populations, and to advocate on behalf of those who are at risk of exploitation, oppression, and discrimination.

Goal Three:  To prepare students for graduate social work education in areas of advanced specialized practice.

We invite you to consider the accredited social work education program at GC.


National recognition: Goshen is nationally recognized by sources such as U.S.News & World Report, Barron’s Best Buys in College Education, Peterson’s Competitive Colleges and Top Colleges for Science and The 100 Best Colleges for African-American Students.


In keeping with the academic mission of the college, the foundation of your studies, the Goshen Core, is based on exploring the liberal arts. The Goshen Core is designed to be international, interdisciplinary, intercultural and integrative. These elements are essential to personal and professional growth in today’s world and provide a solid foundation for the social work major.

Specifically, the social work program emphasizes four areas of professional development in the curriculum:


At GC, we approach social work from a holistic perspective of human beings and their relationships and interactions in the social systems. In your studies, you will explore the multidisciplinary facets of human development as well as the range of human needs and social programs designed to meet those needs.


You will examine social problems and their impact upon individuals, groups and societies in a historical context. You will also evaluate the multitude of current policies and programs in relation to their success in achieving goals of service, and form skills in program development. Social justice serves as an organizing principle for our policy curriculum.


As a GC social work major, you will gain an understanding of the role of scientific methodology in gathering knowledge about people, social welfare programs and social work practice. An appreciation for scientific inquiry, individual creativity and a questioning mind in are essential qualities for competent social work practice.


Finally, you will develop the skills necessary in communication, organization, problem solving and evaluating for professional practice. Throughout the program, we offer many opportunities to examine your personal values and develop the tools for ethical practice in social work settings.



Goshen College offers you a great advantage when it comes to practical experience. Our area is rich in social service agencies and our proximity to, and close relationships with these agencies makes it possible to explore many interesting avenues for your professional future.

Intro to Social Work (SoWk 224) provides a window into the profession both in the classroom and through a 20-hour internship in an agency, so you explore for yourself the range of opportunities in social work

Social Service Field Experience (SoWk 321), typically taken your second year, provides the structure for a 50-hr internship in an agency, while you develop interviewing skills.

Field Instruction (SoWk 409) structures 400 hours of in-agency experience under the close supervision of an agency field instructor and a faculty member. Recent seniors have selected field placements in mental heath, child welfare, developmental disabilities, school systems, job and life skills training for women, family services, services to the aging, court services and youth services.


The capstone of your social work education at GC is a senior seminar in which you and your peers assess your preparation for professional employment. Contemporary issues in social work are discussed with guest speakers and on a field trip to Chicago. Throughout the seminar you are writing an integrative paper that demonstrates your understanding of the social work profession, values, roles, theories and skills, and yourself as a beginning professional. At the conclusion of the seminar, you will complete an oral examination based on this paper to assist in evaluating your integrative understanding of the profession.


GC’s social work faculty are licensed or credentialed social workers who bring practice and policy experience into the classroom, who are active professionals in the community, and who encourage students to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. GC faculty members take a personal interest in your success by making time for students. Faculty members serve as academic advisers to help plan your program and class choices. They offer career advice and work in conjunction with the career office to assist you in seeking your first job placement.


The findings of Goshen College’s Social Work Education Program’s 2012-13 Assessment Plan indicate that the Social Work Education Program met each of its benchmarks:  90% or more of students achieved and demonstrated competency with a mean of 3.0 or higher in each of the ten social work competencies.  Of the ten core competencies, seven were achieved by 100% of the students and three were achieved at slightly lower rates–Professional Identity was achieved by 98%, Critical Thinking by 97%, and Policy Practice by 94%.  These findings provide clear and strong evident of the quality of Goshen College’s Social Work Education Program.  Further information about the Social Work Education Program and/or its Assessment Plan and Data may be requested from the Social Work Education Program Director, Dr. Jeanne Liechty.