Tarleton State University Social Work Program



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Tarleton State University Social Work Program

(Taught on the Campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas)

SWKK 330 110: Biological Foundations of Social Work Practice

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM, Room 208 Founder’s Hall


Semester:

Summer 2014

Instructor’s Name:

Claudia Rappaport, PhD, ACSW, MSSW

Office Number:

216A Founder’s Hall (After June 10, 4th floor of new building)

Office Phone:

(254) 519-5432

E-Mail:

rappaport@ct.tamus.edu NOTE: ONLY USE THIS TO EMAIL ME; DO NOT SEND ME ANY EMAILS THROUGH THE BLACKBOARD SYSTEM


Office Hours:

Monday through Thursday, 2:00 to 4:30 PM
Other times available by request. If I am in my office, walk-in visits by students are welcomed.


I. Course Description
Catalog Description: Provides an opportunity to explore issues related to human biological functioning as applied to social work practice. Emphasis is placed on functioning of the human body across the lifespan, on healthy living and prevention of illness, and on illness and disabilities (physical and mental) that social workers encounter in clients.

Students who do not take Anatomy and Physiology as their two required lab sciences must take this course to complete their science requirement. Note: In addition to this course, you STILL need to take 2 lab sciences. This course does NOT count as one of the sciences; it simply removes the requirement that you take Anatomy and Physiology as your two lab sciences. For students who are taking Anatomy and Physiology as their two required lab sciences, this class CAN be taken as a social work elective.



Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this class.
Note: The handouts for this course are delivered via the Blackboard Online Learning system, so please be sure you have access to Blackboard. If you have any problems, contact the Online Learning department.
II. Nature of Course
This course will provide students an opportunity to explore issues related to human biological functioning as applied to social work practice. Emphasis will be placed on such topics as: the functioning of the human body across the lifespan; illnesses and disabilities that social workers frequently encounter in clients; genetics and heredity; human sexuality; mental disorders and substance abuse and their treatment; the influence of environment on the human body; and healthy living and the prevention of illness. The course content will supplement course content in HBSE I and HBSE II. Ethical and cultural aspects of these topics will also be explored.
Teaching Method: The primary teaching approaches in this course will be collaborative and active learning. Material in the course will be presented through interactive class discussions on readings, analysis of case scenarios, and videotapes.


  1. Program Mission

The mission of the Tarleton State University Social Work Program (including the branch taught on the campus of Texas A&M University-Central Texas) is to respond to the diverse needs of multicultural communities, with an emphasis on service to the Hispanic, military, and rural populations in north and central Texas. The program prepares competent and effective generalist social work practitioners who are committed to enhancing the well-being of marginalized and oppressed populations, utilizing the profession’s core values, such as service, dignity and worth of the individual, social and economic justice, and recognizing the importance of human relationships.


IV. COURSE OBJECTIVES AND RELATED PRACTICE BEHAVIORS
This course provides content that helps to prepare you, the student, to engage in the following CSWE competencies and related practice behaviors:

  • Attend to professional roles and boundaries (2.1.1c)

  • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge and practice wisdom (2.1.3a)

  • Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the process of assessment, intervention, and evaluation (2.1.7a)

  • Critique and apply knowledge to understand person in environment (2.1.7b)

  • Collect, organize and interpret data (2.1.10b[d])

  • Assess client strengths and limitations (2.1.10b[e])

  • Select appropriate intervention strategies (2.1.10b[g])

  • Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities (2.1.10c[i])

The objectives for this course that support the CSWE-related practice behaviors are:

  1. Express a basic understanding of scientific frameworks in human biology and their importance to professional social work practice.

  2. Apply understanding of human biological functioning in development of client assessments.

  3. Utilize understanding of scientific frameworks and human biology to develop/recommend appropriate interventions and prevention services.

  4. Apply understanding of systems/ecological framework on human biological functioning.

The following table shows the relationship between A) the course objectives, B) the CSWE-related practice behaviors, and C) the assignments used to assess students’ ability to fulfill the objective related to the practice behavior:


  1. Objectives

(By the completion of the course, it is expected that you will be able to…)

  1. CSWE Related

Practice Behaviors

(This is the behavior that objective supports)

  1. Course Assignments

(The assignment is used to assess your ability to fulfill the objective related to the practice behavior)

  1. Express a basic understanding of scientific frameworks in human biology and their importance to professional social work practice.

2.1.1c

2.1.3a


Class discussions

Quizzes/exams

Case scenarios

Observation essay

Movie essay


  1. Apply understanding of human biological functioning in development of client assessments.

2.1.7a

2.1.10b(d),(e)



Class discussions

Quizzes/exams

Case scenarios

Observation essay

Movie essay


  1. Utilize understanding of scientific frameworks and human biology to develop/recommend appropriate interventions and prevention services.

2.1.10b(g)

2.1.10c(i)



Class discussions

Quizzes/exams

Case scenarios

Observation essay

Movie essay


  1. Apply understanding of systems/ ecological framework on human biological functioning.

2.1.7b

Class discussions

Quizzes/exams

Case scenarios

Observation essay

Movie essay



V. Course Requirements


  1. Required Text: Falvo, Donna R. (2014). Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability, 5th edition. Burlington MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. ISBN 978-1-4496-9442-5.

There will also be readings assigned in handouts for each class period. Handouts are largely based on the following sources:


Beers, Mark, MD; and Robert Berkow, MD (1999). The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th Edition. Whitehouse Station: Merck Research Laboratories.
Ginsberg, Leon; Larry Nackerud; and Christopher Larrison (2004). Human Biology for Social Workers: Development, Ecology, Genetics, and Health. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Goodenough, Judith; and Betty McGuire (2012). Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues, 4th edition. San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
The Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments. Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1996.
Tsiaras, Alexander (2004). The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman. New York: Doubleday.
B. Final Grades
A total of 10,000 points can be earned from the course assignments, as follows:

Course Assignment

Percentage of final grade

Total possible points

Concept Mastery Quizzes

20%

2,000

Case scenario assignments

15%

1,500

Individual Interview Project/Essay

15%

1,500

Movie assignment

15%

1,500

Mid-term Exam

10%

1,000

Final Exam

15%

1,500

Attendance

5%

500

Class Participation

5%

500

Totals

100%

10,000

(Total points ÷ 100 = final grade)



Final Class Grades are based on the following:

A: 90 to 100 (9,000 to 10,000 points)

B: 89 to 80 (8,900 to 8,000 points)

C: 79 to 70 (7,900 to 7,000 points)

D: 69 to 60 (6,900 to 6,000 points)

F: 59 or less (5,900 points or less)
Example: A test worth 15% of the grade, on which a student earned a B+, would give 1,320 points toward the final grade (88 x 15 = 1,320).
Final Class Grades are based on the following:

A: 90 to 100 (9,000 to 10,000 points) B: 89 to 80 (8,900 to 8,000 points)

C: 79 to 70 (7,900 to 7,000 points) D: 69 to 60 (6,900 to 6,000 points)

F: 59 or less (5,900 points or less)


C. Course Assignments
The following activities will be completed during the semester.


  1. Concept Mastery Quizzes (20% of final grade)

Most of the class periods will include a quiz to help students solidify their understanding of the concepts presented in the course material and learn how to apply them. The quiz will typically be given at the end of class as a take-home quiz, and it is due at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled class period. A student who misses class will be allowed to submit a make-up quiz; however, it is the student’s responsibility to pick up the quiz from Dr. Rappaport and turn it in by the class period in which it is due (typically the next scheduled class period). If the student does not do this, then a make-up quiz will not be accepted. DO NOT ASK FOR A COPY OF THE QUIZ AFTER STUDENTS HAVE ALREADY TURNED IT IN!

At the end of the course, the student’s average numerical grade on all quizzes (including any zeros) will represent 20% of their final grade. Each student will have one quiz grade (the lowest one) dropped by the professor; if you only missed a single class during the semester, that zero will not impact your average quiz grade.

Note: Take-home quizzes must be completed by each student ALONE. There is to be NO sharing of quiz answers with other students; this constitutes cheating. If a student shares their quiz answers with another student, BOTH students will receive a grade of 0 (zero) on that quiz.


  1. Case scenario assignments (15% of final grade)

In some class periods, students will be given client scenarios that apply some of the material being covered by the course in terms of how social workers would provide services to the person whose story is told in the scenario. The case scenario assignments will be given as take-home exercises and are due at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled class period. Each scenario will have particular questions the student needs to respond to in writing. The purpose of the scenario is to help students consider social work applications of the aspects of human biological functioning that are being studied. The grade will be based on how comprehensive the student’s answer is, so responses should be as thorough and thoughtful as possible. Students are not allowed to use ANY outside sources or the internet while writing their answers. The ONLY sources that can be referred to are the course’s assigned readings, and students are NOT to simply copy those readings in their answer. Your focus should be on APPLYING what you read while responding to a client’s situation. If it is apparent to the professor that outside sources were used, the student’s grade on the assignment will be a zero. Even though only course materials are being used as references, you still need to use appropriate citations in the case scenarios. SCENARIOS MUST BE TYPED AND DOUBLE-SPACED OR THEY WILL NOT BE GRADED.



At the end of the course, the student’s average numerical grade on all the case scenarios (including any zeros if the student missed some scenarios due to absence) will represent 15% of their final grade. Make-up work will follow the same policy as explained above in the section on quizzes. Dates of scenarios are listed in the syllabus. Toward the end of the course, two extra case scenarios will be given. Students who complete those extra assignments can apply the grades to replace the grades of two previous case scenarios or previous quizzes, whichever will help their final grade most.


  1. Movie Assignment (15% of final grade)

Each student will select one movie to watch that deals with some of the issues of human biological functioning and their psychosocial implications that we have been studying in this class. This should be a full-length movie (which usually run between 1 hour and 20 minutes and 2 hours). It can be a movie on television or a movie that has been shown in theatres and/or that is available for rental or from libraries. It cannot be a movie that we use in class. After watching the movie, the student will write a 6 to 8 page paper covering the following:

  • A summary (approximately three pages in length) of the main story line, stressing the parts of the story that dealt with human functioning, health, illness, and disability. What was the physical condition, and how was it explained in the movie? How did the physical or medical condition affect the main character and/or their family, friends, and other significant people? Were their perceptions of the condition more in line with a chronic illness or a disability?

  • How the movie provided examples of material that we have studied in this class, and whether there were things shown in the movie that contradicted what we have studied

  • How would a social worker have been able to assist the people in the movie? What would the major kinds of assistance have been, and how could they potentially have changed what occurred in the movie?

  • If there was a social worker (or psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, etc.) in the movie, how effective do you think that person’s services were? How do you think they could have been made more effective?

  • Were any ethical dilemmas raised by the movie, and how would the social work Code of Ethics have guided social workers regarding how to resolve those dilemmas?

In writing your answers to these questions, be sure you are very clear and complete in describing what happened in the movie because this may be a movie I have not seen. Even if it is a movie I have seen, you will lose points if you are not clear in your descriptions of the issues in the movie and what you would have done about them (I pretend I have never seen the movie when I grade how well you described its content). Papers will be graded according to how well the student addresses these questions. Thoroughness and creativity are encouraged. Papers must be typed and double-spaced (if they are not, the paper will not be graded and you will receive a zero for the assignment), and you must use APA format. STUDENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE ANY REFERENCE MATERIALS OTHER THAN THE COURSE READING ASSIGNMENTS (INCLUDING ANY SOURCES DESCRIBING THE MOVIE), BUT YOU STILL NEED TO CITE ANY USE OF READING ASSIGNMENTS IN YOUR ESSAY, AS WELL AS CITING THE MOVIE YOU WATCHED. IF YOU USE OTHER OUTSIDE MATERIALS, EVEN IF YOU CITE THEM, YOUR GRADE ON THE ASSIGNMENT WILL BE A ZERO BECAUSE YOU DID NOT FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS.


  1. Individual Observation/Interview Essay (15% of final grade)

Each student will arrange to spend one to two hours with a person who has some kind of medical or psychological disorder to observe and interview them. The person can be an adult or a child (if a child, you will also need to spend time interviewing a parent or caregiver). The person you choose cannot be a relative of the student but can be someone you already know, or they can be a person you are meeting for the first time to do this assignment. After spending the time with this person, you will write an 8-10 page essay (it must be this length or there will be serious deductions) describing what you observed in the person and what they told you about their condition and their life situation. You will then compare this person’s story with the material you studied for class about a person who has that kind of condition. How was this person’s story similar to the material you studied for class about that condition, and were there things about the person that appeared to be different from the material you studied? Be sure you give biological explanations for everything you discuss (for example, if you say the person had an MRI done, you need to explain what an MRI does and what it is used for). You should approach writing the essay from the body systems perspective we have used in the course – what body systems are being affected by their condition, and how are they being affected? What kind of medical or psychological care have they required because of the condition, and how effectively has that care helped them? Have they used any types of alternative treatments in addition to standard medical/psychological care? How has the condition affected the person’s daily life, and has it affected their ability to function in ways that are important to them? Has the condition affected their family’s functioning? What kinds of adaptations has the person made to help them function more effectively? What is their perception of their condition, and how does it illustrate Falvo’s descriptions of chronic illness and disability? What is their view of the future with this condition?

At the beginning of the essay, be sure you give the person’s age and a description of the environment in which you did the observations and interview (were you in the person’s home? in a hospital? in a nursing home? at a school? eating in a restaurant? etc.). If you choose to use a name for the person, you should make up a fictional name for purposes of confidentiality. Papers must be typed and double-spaced (if they are not, they will not be graded and you will receive a zero on the assignment) and must use APA format. STUDENTS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE ANY REFERENCE MATERIALS OTHER THAN THE COURSE READING ASSIGNMENTS, BUT YOU STILL NEED TO CITE CORRECTLY ANY USE OF READING ASSIGNMENTS IN YOUR ESSAY. IF YOU USE OTHER OUTSIDE MATERIALS, EVEN IF CITED, YOUR GRADE WILL BE REDUCED SIGNIFICANTLY BECAUSE YOU DID NOT FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. Creativity and thoroughness are significant aspects of the grading of this essay; if it is shorter than 8-10 pages, it is not in depth enough in terms of telling the person’s story and comparing their story to class materials, and your grade will be reduced significantly.


  1. Mid-Term and Final Exams: 25% of final grade total

There will be two examinations given in this course, a mid-term and a final. See the Course Schedule in this syllabus for exam dates. Examinations will not be the type of exams students may be used to (such as multiple choice, true-false, matching, and short essay questions). That type of examination merely expects students to repeat back facts and definitions, and the concept mastery quizzes will be verifying your ability to answer those kinds of questions. Instead, the exam may ask one or two large questions that expect the student to demonstrate their ability to integrate the learning they have done in the class (from reading, class discussions, watching videos in class, etc.) and show how they can APPLY that knowledge in performing social work functions. Students will be allowed to bring two 3x5 index cards with handwritten (NOT computer generated) notes to use during the exams; no other materials can be used during testing. Students who choose to bring notes can ONLY use index cards; no other format (for example, a piece of paper) can be used. No technology, including cell phones, can be visible while students are taking the exam.

In an emergency that keeps a student from being able to attend class on the day a test is given, the student is responsible for contacting the professor in advance to see what arrangements, if any, can be made to make up the test. A student who does NOT contact the professor before the exam should not assume that he/she will be allowed to make up the exam. Note: A make-up test will NOT be given to any student after the date on which the graded tests are returned to students in the class.




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