MSW Program Mission Statement Within the context of a Christian, liberal arts institution for higher learning, and grounded in core professional values, the Master of Social Work program seeks to develop ethical, competent, and effective advanced social work practitioners who integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to promote positive social change, to challenge injustice, and to provide services to enhance and strengthen individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities locally and globally.
MSW Program Goals:
The Master of Social Work program at Missouri Baptist University:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN MSW DEGREE?
An MSW is a graduate-level degree that prepares students for advanced professional social work practice. An MSW program requires a higher level of work than an undergraduate program, as it provides students an opportunity to expand and deepen their theoretical, research, and practice knowledge and skills through intensive classroom and field work experiences.
Students can directly enter the MSW program upon graduating from a BSW program or gain work experience between completion of a BSW degree and entry into the MSW program, or students may enter the MSW program with an undergraduate degree other than social work.
To practice as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), or a Licensed Advanced Master Social Worker (LAMS) in Missouri, individuals must have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program.
WHY AN MSW FROM MBU?
The MSW program at MBU seeks to develop ethical, competent, and effective advanced social work practitioners who integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to advance social and economic justice, and to provide services to enhance and strengthen individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities locally and globally, all in the context of Christian service.
The MSW program at MBU offers competitive tuition costs, full and part-time program options, and flexible courses (completion of the program involves a combination of web-based courses, and courses that students can either attend on Main campus or attend virtually using livestream technology).
The MSW program at MBU is offered in the context of a small, liberal arts university, where faculty are accessible, approachable and passionate about supporting the growth of their students.
MSW program faculty have teaching, research and practice experience in a variety of social work areas, including faith-based non-profit organizations.
You can attend classes via any of our convenient instructional platforms, including:
• Main Campus
Social work is a profession for people who are passionate about serving others and making a meaningful difference. Social work is about helping people, children, couples, and families, as well as groups, communities and organizations.
Empowerment and hope are at the heart of the work social workers are privileged to do. Social workers partner with clients and communities to build on strengths and empower people to overcome adversity.
Social workers are trained to identify and promote hope, possibilities and change even in the bleakest circumstances. Social workers share an optimistic view of people and the world, and maintain a hopeful eye toward the future. Bearing witness to positive change is one of the most rewarding benefits of being a social worker.
Social work is a fast-growing and in-demand field. The U.S. Department of Labor –Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent, however, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations (Social workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021).
HOW DOES SOCIAL WORK COMPARE TO OTHER HELPING PROFESSIONS?
Social workers focus on both the client (for example, a person, family, organization, or community) and the environmental factors and influences that impact the client. This includes factors such as poverty, housing and resources.
Social workers primarily serve clients who are considered vulnerable and oppressed, and the profession emphasizes social action through advocacy. This includes women who are sex trafficked, teens who are homeless, adults struggling with addiction, and couples seeking to adopt a baby after experiencing infertility.
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.
The social work profession is broad and social workers are trained to serve a broad client base and work in various capacities.
Social workers are trained to provide direct services or clinical social work to individuals, families or groups. Social workers engage in program development for churches, faith-based and non-profit organizations. Social workers conduct policy analysis, engage in policy practice, and advocacy. Social workers work in administration and supervise programs and organizations. Social workers recruit volunteers, and raise money to support programs or causes. Social workers conduct research and contribute to the knowledge base of the profession.
The MSW program is a 60 credit hour program. The first approximately 30 credit hours of the MSW program consist of foundation generalist coursework. Courses offered cover such topics as the history and philosophy of social work, generalist practice with individuals, families and groups, generalist practice with communities and organizations, research, social policy, and social justice, as well as field experiences. The remaining 30 credit hours consist of advanced generalist specialization coursework. Courses offered cover such topics as advanced generalist practice, diagnosis and assessment, values and ethics, social work administration and leadership and program evaluation, as well as specialized field experiences.
A full-time student can complete the program within 2 years, and a part-time student can complete the program within 3 years. Completion of the program involves a combination of web-based courses, and courses that students can either attend on Main campus or attend “virtually” using zoom technology-these courses are offered on weekday evenings. All courses are offered in 8-week terms.
Program Director and Associate Professor
Office: Field 319
Dr. Johnson holds a Doctoral degree in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Social Work degree from St. Louis University, and a Bachelor of Psychology and Business Administration degree from Missouri Baptist University. Her teaching and research interests include social work practice with women, adoption and voluntary relinquishment, faith-based program development, cultural humility, and social work ethics. Dr. Johnson’s career in social work began in 2000 and includes experience in research and scholarship, teaching, clinical practice, leadership, and community and church relations. Her teaching experience spans 14 years, and includes teaching face to face, distance and hybrid courses. Her practice experience includes working with a diverse range of clients and presenting issues and in a variety of areas including community mental health, youth mentoring, court diversion, adoption, adolescent residential treatment and church, volunteer and community relations. She has completed clinical practice training in the U.S., Finland and Australia.
Director of Field Education and Associate Professor of Social Work
Office: Field 319
Laura Beaver holds a Master of Social Work degree from The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Baylor University. Prior to teaching, she worked in the field as a grant writer and community relations director and as a vocational evaluator with veterans and adults with disabilities. She has been teaching full-time in social work programs for higher education since 2014. Her research and practice interests include trauma-informed treatment modalities, best practices for Field Education, and incorporating spirituality into social work practice. Professor Beaver is passionate about working with students to help them find the best fit for area of practice in the field.
Office: Remote in Dallas, TX
Dr. Kristen Nugent, Associate Professor at Missouri Baptist University.
She received a CSWE-accredited master’s degree from West Virginia University in 1993 and a Doctor of Philosophy from Walden University in 2000. With 19 years of post-masters degree practice experience, Dr. Nugent has served as a clinical social worker, tenured professor, field education site supervisor, case manager, wellness coach, and intensive out-patient program director. In higher education, she has served as interim field director, chair of Phi Alpha Phi, and earned tenure as Associate Professor. Dr. Nugent has taught Human Behavior and the Social Environment, social work practice (all micro and mezzo classes), Psychology, International Social Work, Social Work and Addiction, Introduction to Social Work and Social Policy. In addition, she has designed curriculum for online education for BSW programs. Dr. Nugent has published on Social Work and Addiction, Eating Disorders, Mindfulness, Wellness, and Family. Currently, she is researching the area of a longitudinal study for multicultural children. Dr. Nugent holds social work licensures in Texas (LCSW) and Virginia (LCSW). She is a member of CSWE, NASW, AFAA, NACSW, and CEDS. Dr. Nugent has presented at NASW, NACSW, and has had multiple TV appearances.
Assistant Professor of Social Work
Office: Field 318
Dr. Ashford holds a BSW, MSW and Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Clark Atlanta University. She has 16 years of social work practice experience and has a strong background in clinical social work, community interventions, outreach, and research regarding mental health, African-American mental health disparities, and student advisory. Her most recent practice experience was with BJC Healthcare Independence Center Midwest Psychiatry where she provided adult therapy for individuals with chronic and persistent mental illnesses and facilitated illness management, trauma and recovery groups for 9 years.
Instructor of Social Work
Office: Field 329
Laura Ribeiro holds a Master of Social Work degree from University of Missouri St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Human Services and Psychology degree from Missouri Baptist University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri and has over 10 years of social work experience in faith-based organizations where she provided school-based mental health services to children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds. She is a Registered Play Therapist and is passionate about using play to engage with children in therapy. She also maintains a small private practice where she works with children, adolescents, and adults. Her practice experience involves working with individuals and families experiencing a variety of presenting issues such as depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and divorce. This is her first-year teaching, and her teaching interests are evolving but include social work practice with individuals of all ages, play therapy, work with refugees, perinatal bereavement, and supporting clients through loss.