In keeping with the new mission of the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), which embraces human dignity, diversity, and social justice, the faculty adopted human rights and social justice as the organizing construct of the curriculum beginning in academic year 2011-2012. To effect this change, faculty members spent five years studying and discussing new ideas about educating social workers who can respond readily and appropriately to the challenges facing people and the societies in which they live—locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. A signature course was developed, required of all students as of fall 2011, that allows students to explore human rights and prepares them to define human rights for themselves and their practice of the profession. Students will be prepared to work toward the establishment of societies free from poverty, inequity, violence, oppression, and discrimination, as articulated in the school’s mission. Additionally, GSS graduates will be well prepared to advance economic, political, social, physical, mental, spiritual, and educational well-being of their clientele, be they individuals and families, groups, communities, or organizations. This new curriculum will greatly enhance GSS’s international efforts.
New online MSW program
A new program allows students to obtain a master of social work, with a clinical concentration, completely online. It began with two courses in the fall 2011 semester, and is initially being offered to students in the tri-state area who live beyond a 50-mile radius of the Fordham campuses. This is the first online social work program approved by the New York State Department of Education.
Because the faculty members of GSS thoroughly understand the potential of online education, and its ability to reach underserved areas, they see this new program as fully consistent with the mission of the school. The program has generated a great deal of excitement among members of the GSS community. In large measure, GSS is charting the way for other Catholic schools of social work in online education, and will no doubt provide professional social work education in areas where it would not otherwise be available.