The mission of the CSUN Department of Social work is to prepare professional social workers for anti-oppressive, strengths-based practice with individuals, families and communities in the urban setting. Our mission reflects both the universal values of social work “to promote the well-being of individuals, families and communities” while reflecting the unique context of California State University Northridge—an urban setting in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County. We offer a single concentration: advanced generalist social work practice. This focus offers students the opportunity to learn strategies for working in any urban environment at the micro (individual/family), mezzo (group/community) and macro (policy/societal) levels.
Mission Statement and Program Goals
The mission of the California State University, Department of Social Work is to prepare professional social workers to be anti-oppressive, socially just agents of change by promoting well-being in urban settings. As an advanced generalist program with a focus on urban communities, the Department will teach and create collaborative learning experiences with students.
Dear Social Work Colleagues, Students, Agencies, and Allies,
The CSUN Department of Social Work expresses our sadness and outrage at the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade due to racist police actions and institutionalized white supremacist violence. We strongly believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER. We wish the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others weren’t violently cut short. We recognize that racist policing policies and white supremacist violence have been legally used as tools of terror against Black people for over 400 years. Our Department understands and is outraged by this shameful, long-standing state-sanctioned violence. We recognize that state-sanctioned violence extends its reach of harmful policies and practices toward Indigenous people, People of Color, LGBTQ communities, homeless and economically vulnerable people, Immigrants and Refugees, Deaf people, and people with disabilities and lived experiences with mental health.
Statement of Solidarity with Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community
We write this statement from a place of outrage, anger, and sadness in response to the rise in violence toward Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) family members, students, colleagues, and communities. We are outraged by the blatant public attacks on AAPI elders while bystanders stand by and look away; we are appalled with the racist and dehumanizing language used by political leaders, law enforcement, and media outlets that continues to fuel anti-Asian violence; and we are deeply saddened by the death, harm, and trauma inflicted onto AAPI communities. While anti-AAPI violence and racism has been consistent throughout US settler colonial history, according to the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, “Anti-Asian hate crime in 16 of America’s largest cities increased 149% in 2020.” As a Department, we denounce this violence, which we believe is rooted in the ideology of white supremacy and settler colonialism.
Our shared outrage, anger and sadness is balanced by an unending optimism and hope. We recognize the generations of past and present AAPI activists, social workers, teachers, and community members who have tirelessly fought for justice and healing. We take strength and inspiration from their actions, and their belief that a more just world is possible. In the context of so much violence, we practice optimism and hope, as tools to continuously search for ways to support and uplift AAPI communities.
Every summer, Dr. Alejandra Acuña, an Associate Professor in the CSBS Department of Social Work, volunteers to help Public Counsel and the advocacy group Human Rights First. Acuña provides psychological evaluations which are typically used in asylum hearings. However, in this case, Dr. Acuña’s evaluation of a mother, seeking asylum from Guatemala, had a ripple effect — impacting the lives of thousands of migrant families by serving as key evidence in a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the federal government. Continue reading about Dr. Acuña and her volunteer work on this case.
Through the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship, The Master of Social Work Program is fortunate in its opportunity to continue celebrating the work of MSW students. Neta-lee Noy, LCSW, graduated from the MSW Program in 2011, along with Terriel E. Cox, and produced the interview with the scholarship’s inaugural recipient we are excited to feature. Read the interview with Stefany Gonzalez.
When it comes to the promotion of social justice, CSUN MSW students are ready to work. The We Are Power: Community in Action Conference was an inspirational example of what that work can do. Held in February of 2020 and organized by students of the Department of Social Work at CSUN, this year’s annual conference marked the first to move away from the title “Diversity Day” and embrace the words coined by Native activist and poet, John Trudell: “We Are Power.” Watch the conference video.