Human Diversity Requirement

Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersection of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Social workers appreciate that, as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim.

In keeping with the School's mission and the commitment to educate students for practice in a heterogeneous society, curriculum content on human diversity is integrated into nearly every course. In addition, students are required to take two courses with a focus on diversity, oppression, and discrimination. SSA categorizes its diversity related courses as foundational or specialized. At least one of the two diversity courses must be from the foundational list. The requirements in human diversity are intended to provide students with an analytical framework to understand human behavior and political processes in the environment of a diverse society to satisfy the following five goals:

  1. To promote respect for ethnic and cultural diversity as an integral part of social work's commitment to preserve human dignity.
  2. To foster knowledge and understanding of individuals, families, and communities in their socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts.
  3. To analyze the ethnic and political issues related to the patterns, dynamics, and consequences of discrimination and oppression.
  4. To develop skills to promote individual and social change toward social and economic justice.
  5. To provide a theoretical framework for integrating an approach toward diversity within students' own particular area of expertise (e.g., clinical, community, organization, management, etc.).

Each year students will be provided lists of courses that meet the foundational and specialized diversity course requirements. Students who would like to substitute a course must obtain a copy of the syllabus for that course and submit a written memo to the Dean of Students explaining why that course will meet the goals provided by the diversity requirements. Because the diversity requirements are intended to give students an analytical framework with which to integrate questions of diversity within their education at SSA, and to enhance the development of practice behaviors for work with diversity and difference in practice, no waivers of these courses are considered. Approved courses in human diversity for the 2018-2019 academic year are listed below.

Foundational Diversity Courses
Courses on this list are squarely focused on understanding oppression, discrimination, diversity, racism or difference, and/or how social workers intervene based on these understandings. The knowledge and skills conveyed in these courses should be applicable to a broad array of groups and social conditions.  

Approved 2018-2019 Foundational Diversity Courses:
44122 Self-Awareness and Social Work with Diverse Populations
45732 Prejudice and Discrimination: Individual Cost and Response
47812 Human Rights Policy and Practice
48422 Difference and Inclusion
61400 The Social Meaning of Race
63012 Intergroup Dialogue Facilitation: Cultivating Practice Skills for Social Justice
63600 Culturally Responsive Intervention, Assessment, and Treatment

Specialized Diversity Courses
Specialized diversity courses need not have their sole focus on diversity, oppression, and discrimination, but these issues must constitute a substantial proportion of the class content. These courses may use a focus on (a) a vulnerable population, or (b) a setting or field of practice, or (c) a specific theoretical orientation, issue, or perspective to provide a context for discussions on diversity, oppression, and discrimination. 

Approved 2018-2019 Specialized Diversity Courses:
41212 Intersectional Approaches to Social Work with LGBTQIA Individuals and Communities
43300 The Exceptional Child
43622 Life Course Development: Immigrant Adolescents and Their Families
43912 Social Work with Veterans
44401 Sexuality across the Life Cycle
44712 Queer Theory in Social Work Practice
44800 Urban Adolescents in Their Families, Communities, and Schools: Issues for Research and Policy
45112 Contemporary Immigration Policy and Practice
46312 Race, Crime, and Justice in the City
46922 Structuring Refuge: U.S. Refugee Policy and Resettlement Practice 
47232 Promoting the Social and Academic Development of Children in Urban Schools
47452 Smart Decarceration: A Grand Challenge for Social Work
47722 Structural Social Work Practice and the Mexican Experince in Chicago
48300 Theories and Strategies of Community Change 
60100 Drugs: Culture and Context
60200 Spirituality and Social Work Practice
60400 Poverty, Inequality, and the Welfare State
61212 Perspectives on Aging 
61912 Policing, Citizenship, and Inequality in Comparative Perspective
62022 Trans*forming Social Work
62912 Global Development and Social Welfare
63412 Cultural Studies in Education
63900 Male Roles and Life Course Development in Family, Community, and Civil Society
64400 Spanish Language and Culture for Social Workers
65500 Harm Reduction at the Intersection of Policy, Program, and Clinical Practice
65712 Immigration, Law, and Society
65812 Making Kin: Adoption and Fostering in a Global Perspective
66300 Gender Considerations in International Social Work Practice