Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) - Inherent Academic Requirements

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Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) - Inherent Academic Requirements

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Program AR362 Bachelor of Social Work and AR707 Master of Social Work (Qualifying)

Committed to equity and diversity
  • At USC, we are committed to facilitating the integration of all students into the University Community.
  • Reasonable adjustments in teaching and/or assessment methods can be made for students provided those adjustments do not compromise the inherent academic requirements of the program.
  • The inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying)  are the fundamental skills and abilities that the student must be able to achieve to demonstrate the essential learning outcomes of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying).
  • This Statement provides realistic information about the inherent academic requirements that you must meet in order to complete your course and graduate. Make sure you read and understand the requirements for the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) so you can make an informed judgement about your ability to fulfil them.
Externally accredited 

USC offers Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) which meet external Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) accreditation requirements and provides graduates with the necessary qualification to be eligible for membership as a Social Worker in Australia. Relevant standards and codes which inform the inherent academic requirements for these programs include the AASW Code of Ethics, the AASW Practice Standards, and the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards, which can be accessed at www.aasw.asn.au.

  • Key Social Work practice skills are embedded and assessed throughout the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying).
Skills you need

The Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) have inherent academic requirements in five categories 

  • Observational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Intellectual, such as conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities
  • Behavioural and social skills
  • Sustained performance 

Before you enrol

If you intend to enrol in a Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work (Qualifying) degree at the USC, look carefully at the inherent academic requirements listed in this statement and think about whether you might experience challenges in meeting them.

  • If you think you might experience challenges related to your disability, health condition or for any other reason, you should discuss your concerns with a University Disability Adviser or Faculty staff.
Reasonable adjustments

Students with disabilities or other special circumstances may be provided with reasonable adjustment to enable them to meet the inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work (Qualifying) if the adjustment is:

  • Logistically reasonable.
  • Likely to result in the student being able to perform the skills adequately and in a timely manner.

Observational skills 

The core observational requirements are capacity to demonstrate:

  • Receptiveness to information.
  • Examination and assessment of situations.
  • because the Bachelor of Social Work or Master of Social Work (Qualifying) provide eligibility for membership to the AASW and to practice as a social worker.

Receptiveness to information within the environment is a core requirement because students must demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments to maintain consistent, accurate and safe practice including professional care of self and others.

Examination and assessment of situations is a core requirement in ensuring safe, professional and effective social work practice in the field placement context.

Students will:

  • Be receptive to their environment.
  • Fulfil the required range of academic and field placement tasks.
  • Maintain consistent, accurate and safe professional care of self and others.
Justification

These are inherent requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because the BSW/MSW provides eligibility for membership to the AASW and to practice as a social worker.

Adjustments

Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in practice.  Any strategies to address the effects of vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise assessment or safety.  

Exemplars

As a student you must:

  • Attend to non-verbal behaviour.
  • Observe risk factors in relation to workplace health and safety.
  • Identify relevant aspects of a practice situation.

Communication skills 

The core communication skills for this program are effective:

  • Verbal communication skills
  • Non-verbal communication skills
  • Written communication skills 

The core communication requirement is the capacity to demonstrate effective communication, in a variety of practice and academic contexts, this being an essential requirement for the provision of effective social work support. The academic and field education components of the programs require communication in English.

Verbal

Student will demonstrate:

  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences in their communication.
  • The ability to communicate, and to understand verbal communication accurately, and respond verbally in an appropriate and timely manner.
  • The ability to understand and provide clear instructions in the context of the situation.
  • Timely clear feedback and reporting.
Justification

This is an inherent academic requirement of the Bachelor of Social Work / Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because:

  • Communication in a way that displays understanding of, respect and empathy for others, and promotes the development of trusting purposeful relationships is a key requirement for social work practice with both clients and in the workplace.
  • Communication may be restricted to verbal modes because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions).
  • The speed and interactivity of communication may be critical to deliver individual safety and or assessment.
  • Timely, accurate and effective understanding and delivery of instructions is necessary to provide safe, professional support when participating in group aspects of the curriculum and on field placements.
Adjustments

Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure appropriate support.

Exemplars

As a student you must:

  • Participate in tutorial and clinical discussions.
  • Make verbal presentations in tutorials and as required when on filed placement in host agencies.
  • Communicate appropriately in any exchange or encounter in the field placement setting, eg in supervision, interviews, staff and interagency meetings.
Non-verbal

Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to social work and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and appropriate to the practice context.      

Students will demonstrate:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues.
  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours and their impact on others.
  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences.
Justification
  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic, professional and practice settings.
  • Displaying appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic, professional and practice settings.
  • Being sensitive to individual differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships that are essential for effective professional support.
Adjustments

Adjustments must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Recognise and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues in classroom situations.
  • Recognise and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues in the field placement environment.
Effective written communication

English literacy, is a fundamental social work student requirement in Australia with professional and legal ramifications. Proficiency in other languages can also be highly valued in some practice settings.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances.
  •  Ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information.
  • Capacity to understand and implement academic and practice conventions to construct written text in an appropriate manner for the intended audience.
Justification
  • Construction of written text based assessment tasks in English to reflect the required academic standards is necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter and for demonstrating social work practice standards.
  • Accurate written communication, including record keeping, written reports and case notes is vital to provide consistent and accurate assessments and professional support in the field placement context.
  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for safe and effective assessment, treatment and professional support in the field placement context.
Adjustments

Adjustments must allow students to meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective acquisition, recording, comprehension and transmission of information in both academic and field placement settings.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Construct an essay to academic standards.
  • Construct a social work report in a timely manner that meets professional standards.
  • Develop a written framework for social work practice as an outcome of field placement.
  • Paraphrase, summarise and reference in accordance with appropriate academic, professional and/or organisational practice conventions.
Behavioural and social skills 

The core behavioural and social skills are the capacity to demonstrate:

  • Ethical behaviour
  • Behavioural and emotional stability
  • Behaviour within legal parameters
  • Relational skills
Ethical behaviour

Students undertaking social work studies are governed by practice standards and codes of ethics where students are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts. A core requirement of these standards is professional integrity.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of, and engage in ethical behaviour in practice.

Justification

Professional integrity is an inherent academic requirement of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because of the requirement to:

  • Comply with professional standards and requirements.
  • Be aware of and be guided by relevant codes, guidelines and policies that demonstrate professional integrity, including competent interactions and relationships with other students and/or the people they engage with on field placements. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all.
  • Have knowledge of, and practice in a manner consistent with the AASW Code of Ethics, and the AASW Practice Standards, as a requirement of course accreditation and graduate standards mandated in the AASW Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards June 2012.
Adjustments

Adjustments must ensure the codes and standards are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour.

Exemplars

As a student, you must demonstrate:

  • Appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and field placement settings.
  • Ability to reflect on ethical considerations and issues and take responsibility for ensuring own awareness of ethical behaviour.
  • An ability to apply ethical principles and processes to decision making in field placement settings.
Behavioural stability

This is a core requirement of the program because students are required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role.

Students will demonstrate sufficient behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse academic and field placement environments.

Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because of the requirement to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. The nature of working with vulnerable people, groups and communities means social work students will often be exposed to highly complex human situations and will be required to have sufficient behavioural and emotional stability to engage and respond appropriately, and the capacity to seek appropriate supervision and support when needed.

Adjustments

Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and field placement settings.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Be aware of own emotional reactions and appropriately engage in supervision and support to maintain appropriate behaviour.
Behaviour within legal parameters

This is a core requirement of the program because Social Work practice is often occurring in the context of specific legislative, regulatory, administrative and common law requirements which provide a context for the delivery of safe and appropriate services.

Students will demonstrate knowledge of, and compliance with the legal requirements relevant to social work practice, professional regulations and roles undertaken including in field education placements. Students may need to use such knowledge for the benefit of client individuals, groups and communities, as part of the commitment of social work to social justice and human rights. Given the law may not be clear in its application to particular practice situations, students must demonstrate the capacity to appropriately seek advice and supervision about the legal aspects of practice situations.

Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because of the need to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements in order to reduce the risk of harm to clients, self and field placement agencies. Compliance with legislation and common law in the field placement setting reflects the requirement that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice.

Adjustments

Adjustments must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Comply with relevant child protection and safety legislation.
  • Hold a valid Working with Children Check in certain placements.
  • Utilise principles of natural justice and procedural fairness within group assessment tasks and in field placement settings.
  • Seek appropriate advice and supervision about the legal aspects of a practice situation when on field placement.
Relational skills

This is a core requirement of the program because social work practice requires the ability to make and maintain purposeful, equitable and appropriately bounded relationships with a wide range of individuals, groups and communities.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Ability to establish and maintain respectful relationships with clients, academic staff, supervisors and peers.
  • Ability to engage and relate appropriately in individual and group supervision and experiential learning groups.
  • Ability to develop, articulate and maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because highly developed relational skills are a cornerstone of effective helping including effective engagement, assessment and intervention which may occur over a sustained period.

Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable level of effective relational skills.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Build rapport in a timely and appropriate manner with a client to engage them while on placement.
  • Demonstrate appropriate boundaries in professional relationships consistent with the practice setting and social work standards.
  • Manage tensions and challenges in relationships with clients, individuals, groups and communities appropriately while on placement.

Intellectual – conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities 

The core intellectual requirements for this program are the capacity to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and cognitive skills
  • Reflective skills, including the ability to integrate a diversity of considerations 
Knowledge and cognitive skills

This is a core requirement of the program because knowledge and effective cognitive skills are essential for identifying and responding to the needs of client individuals, families and communities. Social work occurs at the interface between people and their social, cultural and physical environments and may include a wide variety of interrelated needs and issues.   

Students will demonstrate:

  • Capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information for social work practice.
  • Ability to process information relevant to practice.
  • Ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice.
Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because of the requirement for:

  • Practice which appreciates the various contexts and contributing factors to people’s situations and issues.
  • Safe and effective social work practice, based on knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately. This includes the knowledge of clients and communities, as well as research and professional knowledge.
  • A defined range of knowledge and cognitive skills being demonstrated for academic progression through the program, field placements and program accreditation by the AASW.
Adjustments

Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and reflective skills is not compromised or impeded.

Exemplars

As a student you must

  • Be able to locate, conceptualise, and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.
  • Appropriately apply knowledge of policy and procedures in the field placement.
  • Identify, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge from various appropriate sources to inform assessment and the development of practice responses.
Reflective skills

This is a core requirement of the program because social work practice requires self-awareness and a capacity for reflectivity to consider the effect of one's own issues, actions, values and behaviours on practice. Social work also requires being able to undertake critical reflection about the nature of people’s issues and needs, which involves the dual challenge of both assisting people’s functioning and identifying and responding to systemic issues that create inequity and injustice. Social work requires an ability to appreciate and reflect on the social, economic, cultural and situational contexts of people’s lives and the implications these have for practice.

Students will demonstrate:

  • The ability to accurately reflect on their own values and life experiences, and how these influence their professional practice.
  • The ability to identify and critically reflect on various contexts for the issues people face, including the social, cultural, legal and economic contexts of people’s situations and experiences, and the implications of these for practice.
  • The ability to accept feedback on their professional practice and respond constructively.
  Justification

These are inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because:

  • Reflective self-awareness and commitment to social justice are core requirements of ethical social work practice.
  • The ability to appreciate and reflect on the various contexts in which people experience difficulty is a core requirement for appropriate assessment and support.
  • Participation in supervision is a key teaching strategy in social work education and this requires a well-developed understanding of oneself to facilitate ongoing learning.
  • Working with clients while on placement and understanding and responding to them requires well developed understanding of oneself and the ability to effectively manage one's reactions to situations that may arise.
Adjustments

Adjustments must not compromise the student's ability to demonstrate an acceptable minimum level of capacity in this area.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Be able to identify, critically reflect on relevant contexts which influence how people experience difficulty, and use this reflection to develop integrated responses to academic and field placement challenges.
  • Demonstrate in assignments and field education processes the capacity to reflect on your own values and experiences and how these influence your practice.
  • Demonstrate an ability to appreciate and respond to complexity in social work practice.
  • Identify when a practice issue is outside your scope of expertise or when one's practice may be negatively affected by personal experience and/or reactions.

Sustained performance 

The capacity to demonstrate sustained performance is a core requirement of the program because social work practice in the field placement context requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task or program requirement in a timely manner and within the specified time.
  • Maintenance of consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period.
Justification

This is an inherent academic requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) because sufficient physical and mental resilience is an essential requirement needed to perform tasks in an assigned period to provide effective, safe and professional support in the field placement context.

Adjustments

Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period.

Exemplars

As a student, you must:

  • Participate regularly in tutorials, lectures, skills.
  • Engage consistently in field placement practice over the required time frame.
  • When experiencing difficulties, make this known to the appropriate academic staff and/or field placement supervisor.
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