Department of Social Work

College of Education and Social Work

Contact Info:
West Chester Campus
114 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester, PA 19383

PASSHE Center City Campus
701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(610) 436-2527
Email: Department Chair

Revised Definition of Generalist Practice

The BSW Program at West Chester University defines generalist practice as practice that is grounded in a liberal arts foundation upon which a generic and integrated social work knowledge base is developed, and informed by social work values. From this grounding, generalist practitioners utilize a professional problem solving process to engage, assess, broker services, advocate, counsel, educate, and organize with and on behalf of clients and client systems. Generalist practitioners work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations in a variety of social work and host settings. They view clients and client systems from a strengths perspective in order to recognize, support, and build upon the uniqueness of all groups of people as well as the innate capabilities of all human beings. Finally, generalist practitioners evaluate service outcomes in order to continually improve the provision and quality of services most appropriate to client needs. Generalist social work practice is guided by the NASW Code of Ethics and is committed to improving the well-being of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations and furthering the goals of human rights and social justice in a global society.

[Informed by the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director's definition of Generalist Practice as cited in Mizrahi, T.M. & Davis, L.E. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Social Work (20th ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press; New York: Oxford University Press.]