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Abilene Christian University    
2017-2018 Catalog 
  Dec 16, 2017
2017-2018 Catalog

School of Social Work


Thomas L. Winter, Director, School of Social Work
Stephen Baldridge, BSSW Program Director
Wayne Paris, MSSW Program Director
ACU Box 27866
Abilene, Texas 79699-7866
Hardin Administration Building, Room 109

Phone: 325-674-2072
Fax: 325-674-6525


Stephen Baldridge, Assistant Professor
Stephanie Hamm, Assistant Professor
Kyeonghee (Kay) Jang, Assistant Professor
Alan Lipps, Associate Professor
Wayne Paris, Professor
Rachel Slaymaker, Assistant Professor
Thomas L. Winter, Professor

The School of Social Work offers the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) degree. A Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) degree and a graduate-level certificate in social services administration are also available.

The school offers qualified undergraduate students the opportunity to complete the Bachelor of Science and the Master of Science in Social Work degrees in five years.


Graduates of the ACU BSSW Program presently work in a variety of settings, including mental health programs, corrections, health care, schools, children and youth programs, disability services, family services, and gerontological programs.

Social work majors study the interaction of biological, psychological and social aspects of life that affect human behavior and problems. Students gain experience in the application of social work methods by working directly with human service programs through the program’s field education curriculum.

The Bachelor of Science degree in social work is granted only to those students who have completed the social work program’s curriculum in its entirety. The degree indicates that the student is prepared for beginning generalist social work practice.

BSSW graduates are prepared both personally and professionally for either immediate entry into the field of social work or for entry into a graduate school to pursue the Master of Science in Social Work degree. The principle objective of the program, however, is to prepare the student for entry-level generalist social work practice. A complete articulation of the educational outcomes of the program is contained in the social work program’s Student Handbook, which can be obtained from the School of Social Work office.

ACU’s BSSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education to offer the baccalaureate degree in social work. This accreditation enables students who have completed their work at ACU to qualify for licensure as a social worker in Texas and other states and to have “advanced standing” in many graduate schools of social work throughout the nation.

Additional Admission Requirements

The declaration of social work as a major does not ensure admission to the social work program. In addition to the requirements for all degrees (see the University Requirements  section of this catalog), the student must apply for and be granted admission to the social work program before taking most upper-level courses.

The following accomplishments are required for admission:

  • Junior standing (60 credit hours).
  • Completion of application to the program designated by the school.
  • Satisfactory completion of SOCW 230 , SOCW 250 , and SOCW 327  or SOCW 329 .
  • Approval for admission by program faculty after an interview and consideration of various criteria.

Complete information on applying for admission to the program is given to all students when they declare their major. The deadline for application is the 13th full week of the semester prior to the anticipated beginning of upper-level practice and field course work. Students are notified of the decision of the faculty by the 15th full week of the semester.

Accelerated Master of Science in Social Work

For students not majoring in social work but who are committed to being a social work practitioner, the School of Social Work offers an integrated degree plan-the Accelerated Master of Science in Social Work Plan (AMSSWP)-that permits qualified students to count up to 24 hours of graduate study toward both the Bachelor’s degree and the Master of Science in Social Work. Students who meet the admission requirements for the AMSSWP may take up to 24 hours of graduate course work in their junior and senior years.

The 24 hours of graduate course work will be chosen from required courses in the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) curriculum. Students who participate in this degree plan may take up to 6 semester hours of graduate work in the summer and up to 9 semester hours of graduate work in the fall and spring semesters after they have achieved 90 undergraduate semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.5. Students will be advised to take no more than 12 hours, including the graduate courses, in a regular semester. Students will be awarded their Bachelor’s degree upon completion of their current program’s undergraduate degree requirements.

Interested students are encouraged to seek pre-admission to the AMSSWP after they have completed 30 semester hours by applying to the Graduate Program Director in the School of Social Work. Students must apply for full admission to the ACU MSSW program in the fall semester after they have completed 60 hours and have a GPA of 3.5.

Graduate courses will count as general electives or electives in the student’s undergraduate major and may not be substituted for required courses in their undergraduate degree.

In order to continue in the AMSSWP, students must make no grade lower than B in the graduate courses and maintain a cumulative 3.5 GPA. Individual students’ academic programs must be approved by the Graduate Program Director each semester a student participates in the AMSSWP. Final admission to the MSSW program will be based on the student’s satisfaction of all graduate admission requirements.

Study Abroad Expectations

All students are encouraged to participate in ACU’s Study Abroad program. Classes offered at Study Abroad sites vary depending on the site. Academic advisors can assist students in planning ahead for their Study Abroad experience and should be consulted during the freshman year.


Thomas L. Winter, Director
Thomas L. Winter, Interim MSSW Program Director
ACU Box 27866
Abilene, Texas 79699-7866
Hardin Administration Building, Room 108B

Phone: 325-674-2072
Fax: 325-674-6525


Stephen Baldridge, Associate Professor
Stephanie Hamm, Associate Professor
Kyeonghee (Kay) Jang, Assistant Professor
Alan Lipps, Associate Professor
Wayne Paris, Professor
Rachel Slaymaker, Assistant Professor
Thomas L. Winter, Professor


The mission of Abilene Christian University is to educate students for Christian leadership throughout the world.

The Abilene Christian University School of Social Work seeks, within the context of a Christian higher education institution, to: prepare graduates as effective and ethical professionals who incorporate best evidence in practice; promote social justice for vulnerable persons everywhere through service and leadership roles; and, advance social work knowledge through research and other scholarly activities.

The School of Social Work’s goals are to: educate students for advanced evidence based practice; prepare graduates for leadership in the social work profession and in social welfare organizations; instill in students an appreciation of human diversity that inform their practice behaviors; contribute to the knowledge base for evidence-informed social welfare programs and social work practice; and collaborate with community partners to promote social justice and evidence-based practice.

Graduate Programs

The School of Social Work offers a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) degree and a Graduate Certificate in Social Services Administration, which may be completed while in the MSSW program of study.

The ACU MSSW program offers an innovative curriculum aimed at preparing leading edge social work practitioners. It is designed to produce versatile social work leaders who are able to incorporate their faith and employ technology to identify and make use of what works - the most promising interventions, the most forward-thinking programs and policies - to empower and instill hope in their clients and to promote positive social change.

There are two programs of study leading toward the MSSW: Standard and Advanced Standing. Both the Standard and Advanced Standing programs may be completed through part-time enrollment. The Standard Program requires two years of full-time study (64 hours). The first year introduces important ideas and concepts that are at the heart of what it means to be a social worker and to engage in advanced evidence-based practice. The second year concentrates on evidence-based social interventions with systems of various sizes. The standard program may be completed in four years of half-time enrollment status. The advanced standing program may be completed in two years of part-time enrollment status.

The Advanced Standing Program is for students who have completed a BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Following a 6-hour summer seminar, Advanced Standing students move directly into the 32-hour second year of study.

Both programs combine classroom study with supervised internships in social service agencies and include an agency-based thesis.

In cooperation with the Graduate School of Theology, the School of Social Work has developed plans whereby students can pursue the MSSW degree concurrently with the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) degree.

The MSSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Admission Requirements

While the Standard Program accepts students with a bachelor’s degree in any field, students are expected to demonstrate a broad liberal arts background, including two courses from each of the following areas: science/math, social/behavioral sciences, humanities/fine arts, and communication/language. To see if a specific course qualifies for the liberal arts background requirement, please contact the School of Social Work office. A course in statistics is highly desirable.

Admission requirements for any program in the school of Social Work are:

  1. A completed application for admission with a nonrefundable application fee;
  2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent;
  3. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, the GRE or MAT entrance exam is required;
  4. Two letters of recommendation;
  5. A writing sample, which must be a personal statement addressing your motivation for graduate studies and entering the social work profession, and reflections on the four themes of the School of Social Work-evidence-based practice, diversity, faith and social work, and social justice.
  6. A second writing sample in the form of a formal graded (returned with feedback) senior level assignment of at least five pages from the student’s undergraduate work (or acceptable alternative). Questions on this assignment may be directed to the School of Social Work if additional information is needed.
  7. A field practicum assessment must be submitted by students who have graduated from a CSWE accredited BSW/BSSW program and are applying for Advanced Standing status (1 year program).

Applications for the Standard Program are accepted for fall admission. Advanced Standing students with a recent BSW degree from a program accredited by the CSWE are admitted in June. Applications received by February 16 will receive early review, priority for scholarships, graduate assistantships and field practicum sites. Applicants who completed the BSW more than five years ago are eligible for Advanced Standing only if they are employed in the field of social services.

Certificate in Social Services Administration

ACU Box 27866
Abilene, Texas 79699-7866
Hardin Administration Building, Room 108

Phone: 325-674-2072
Fax: 325-674-6525


Thomas L. Winter, Professor
Wayne Paris, Associate Professor

The Certificate in Social Services Administration requires 18 hours, and course work may apply toward the Master of Science in Social Work degree.


Students who complete the certificate program will:

  1. Have an understanding of the major managerial functions in nonprofit and governmental programs, including planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling, communicating and decision making;
  2. Have experience with the procedures and techniques of developing and receiving grants, contracts and/or appropriations, and be able to research, select and cultivate funding sources, including actual grant or contract preparation;
  3. Be familiar with fiscal processes commonly used in human service agencies, including the ability to read, comprehend, and prepare budgets in formats commonly used in nonprofit and governmental agencies;
  4. Understand management strategies for change in human service organizations, and be able to select change in strategies based on situational assessments;
  5. Be able to conduct sound, research-based evaluation of nonprofit programs; and,
  6. Be able to influence political and organizational processes and actions to impact policymaking through policy analysis, advocacy, and human empowerment.


    Master of Science in Social WorkBachelor of ScienceCertificate


      Social Work