School of Social Welfare

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The School of Social Welfare

The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare is the oldest school of social welfare in the state and the only one to offer degree preparation from undergraduate through doctoral degrees. 

Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles & Values

Vision Statement

All individuals, families, & communities utilize their power to achieve justice, equity, & well-being.


The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare, rooted in the Strengths Perspective, aims to transform lives and social contexts and promote social, economic, and environmental justice in Kansas, the nation and the world.  We do so by educating students to practice with integrity and competence; advancing the science and knowledge base of social work through scholarship and research; and participating in community-engaged service.

Guiding Principles and Values

The work of the KU School of Social Welfare is guided and driven by a set of principles and values that inform our teaching, research endeavors, and service to community at various levels.  These include:  

Relationship Building: We engage in relationship building that fosters creativity, collaboration, and mutual learning. Relationship building is essential across practice, scholarship, education and service.  We take a strengths approach as we serve our local, state, national, and global communities.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:  We embrace the inherent worth of all people. By taking the position of cultural humility and applying the lens of intersectionality, we seek to develop and promote modes of anti-oppressive social work and dismantle structures of exclusion.

Practice with Integrity:  We demonstrate our integrity and trustworthiness as scholars, educators, practitioners, and community members by promoting social work values, ethical practice, and the process of critical reflection.

Multisystem Competency: We recognize that social, economic, and environmental injustices are the root causes of inequities and multiple strategies are necessary to address these. Our work integrates micro/macro social work and builds collaboration across systems and disciplines to create multi-level change.

Critical Perspective: We engage in deliberate and continuing examination of social conditions and solutions. We use critical inquiry to analyze and challenge existing structures and systems in order to advance the field and promote social, economic, and environmental justice.

Empirically Informed Social Work: We rigorously advance empirical research that impacts the social work knowledge base. By translating and applying evidence, we continually transform practice and policy across multiple systems.


  1. To prepare BSW, MSW and Ph.D. students to practice with integrity and attain multi-level competency while working to promote well-being and build community.
  2. To conduct, disseminate, and translate theoretical and empirically informed scholarship and research that impacts the social work knowledge base and transforms practice and policy. 
  3. To promote social, economic, and environmental justice through service at local, state, national, and international levels.

The Programs

The curriculum brings students from the introductory level through advanced study in clinical social work practice or social work macro practice. Under the umbrella of a practice orientation, the programs are structured to support the guiding principles and values of the School.

Classroom work is one component of professional preparation; field practicum placements comprise the other. Placements in social service agencies provide students the opportunity to apply and further develop skills learned in the classroom. Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work students spend time in practicum settings throughout the region.

The goal of the doctoral program in social welfare is to prepare students to become leaders nationally and internationally in advancing social work practice and policy through research, teaching, and scholarship.  Our students graduate from the program with the critical knowledge and skills they need to become innovative stewards of the discipline who generate and disseminate knowledge as researcher, scholars, and educators. 

Learn more about the School of Social Welfare programs.

Student Handbook

The student handbook contains full descriptions of policies and other details for degree programs and field practicum.

The Profession

The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values.  These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:

  • Service
  • Social justice
  • Dignity and worth of the person
  • Importance of human relationships
  • Integrity
  • Competence

NASW Code of Ethics

As a guide to professional conduct, the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers represents the fundamental values of the profession. The National Association of Social Workers is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world, with a membership of 130,000.

View the entire Code of Ethics or request a copy.



The faculty’s scholarly interests, as reflected in teaching, research, and publications, span a wide range, including health, mental health, child welfare, adult and juvenile justice, gerontology, multiculturalism, women’s issues, history of social work, public policy analysis, homelessness, gender equity, poverty reduction and asset building, and macro social work including community practice and social work administration.

School of Social Welfare faculty members hold doctoral degrees in social work, social welfare, and other fields. In addition, outstanding social work practitioners serve as part-time classroom instructors, and 280 social work practitioners serve as practicum instructors.

Faculty members serve the public interest and the profession of social work as consultants and board members in professional and citizens’ organizations.

Research Office

The School supports research and scholarship designed to impact social service delivery and policy at the local, national and international levels. Grounded in the Strengths Perspective and with strong ties to the Grand Challenges for Social Work, we design and conduct applied research and scholarship that advances the science and knowledge base of social work through collaboration, curriculum, scholarship and research.  Learn more at