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We at the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape are committed to excellence in Social work education, practice and research. We believe in justice, gender equity, human diversity and citizenship for all. We shall continue to strive and pursue these values through our curriculum at UWC that respond to the impulse of our nation and change communities locally.

Message from the Head of Department

The Department of Social Work embraces the collaboration of all the social service professions to ensure holistic wellbeing for individuals, families, groups, and communities. As such, the department offers two-degree programmes, namely the Bachelor of Social Work and the Bachelor of Community Development

Working together, we believe that the social service professions can make a valuable contribution to promote social change and development, to stimulate social cohesion, and to work towards social justice. Through our interdisciplinary approach, we strive to build national and international collaborations that aim to operationalise principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and a respect and celebration of diversity. 

We also offer Master's of Social Work and Doctor of Social Work postgraduate programmes.

Our learning and teaching philosophy places emphasis on experiential learning where students can develop knowledge, understanding and skills to become active change agents in society. We believe in student participation, interactive learning experiences, and the acknowledgement that students bring valuable prior knowledge and life experiences to the classroom. 

The Department of Social Work commits itself to the professional and personal development of students to the benefit of society. We therefore place emphasis on the following:

The development of scholarship through an inquiry-focused approach to learning and teaching. Our learning and teaching practices are aimed at the development of scholars who will have a critical attitude towards knowledge. We place much emphasis on ethical and socially responsive practices.
The encouragement of critical citizenship that is aimed at collaborative relationships that result in networks where social justice can guide processes of positive and sustainable transformation and change. 

The encouragement of lifelong learning through reflective practices that critically explore what is needed for the social service professions to respond to current and contextual realities, and to search for new knowledge and skills to respond effectively. In this way, scholars can work independently and collaboratively. 

The development of creative and collaborative problem-solving skills where disciplines work together to find innovative solutions that can contribute to the social good. We acknowledge the value of diversity where many viewpoints can contribute to finding innovative solutions for the complex socio-economic challenges in a rapidly changing environment.

Professor Marichen van der Westhuizen