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Social work is not just a degree. It is also a passionate calling of courage, service, leadership, and discovery. Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Find yourself in Defiance College’s social work program where the knowledge, values, and skills of professional social work are cultivated in service opportunities both within and outside of the classroom, and in local, national, and global settings.

Social work is a helping profession, dedicated to improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Social workers are problem solvers, advocates, mediators, counselors, and brokers. They use and mobilize resources to meet the basic needs of all people. In hospitals, schools, correctional facilities, mental health centers, veteran services, nursing homes, adoption and foster care agencies, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, disability services, substance abuse treatment centers, and elsewhere, social workers engage in the service of others to make a difference in the world. 

Social workers are required to adhere to high standards of professional and ethical conduct in their work with clients. This work requires compassion, integrity, determination, and a high regard for social justice. 

Social Work Cleveland Urban Trip

Students in the Defiance College social work program also benefit from an extracurricular organization, an honorary society, an annual urban trip, and on campus workshops presented by leaders in the field. Social work faculty, serving students as teachers and mentors, have a high level of expertise in the field and are actively involved in social work practice.

Program Goals

  • To prepare students for immediate entry into employment through the development of the Council of Social Work Education defined competencies for baccalaureate practice.
  • To prepare the student for licensure as a baccalaureate social worker (LSW) in the State of Ohio.
  • To prepare the student for graduate school education in social work by giving them a solid foundation in the five component parts of generalist social work practice: social research, social welfare policy and delivery, human behavior and social environment, social work practice skills, and field practicum in addition to curriculum content in values, ethics, diversity, social and economic justice, and populations-at-risk.
  • To promote life-long learning and professional growth for students and area social work practitioners.

Benefits of the Program
Defiance College social work students have two field placements totaling 590 hours of hands-on experiences with well-established agencies and field instructors who are well-versed in the profession and our program approach.

Students are formally admitted to the social work program after the sophomore year. During the fall semester of the junior year, students will be engaged in hands-on field experience consisting of 10 hours per week in a social service agency with limited duties. The second field placement will be conducted during the spring semester of the senior year, which involves working 30 hours per week under supervision as a developing professional. In addition, students have many opportunities to participate in social agencies as volunteers or while completing class assignments or projects.

Social Work Empty Bowls EventA few of our agency field sites include:

  • Adriel Adoption and Foster Care
  • Area Office on Aging
  • Center for Child and Family Advocacy
  • Community Health Professionals
  • Coping Center
  • County Job and Family Services
  • County Boards of Developmental Disabilities
  • Defiance City Schools
  • Maumee Valley Guidance Center
  • Northwest Ohio Community Action/PATH Center
  • Northwest Ohio Education Service Center
  • Recovery Services of Northwest Ohio
  • Toledo Zepf Mental Health Center
  • Twin Rivers Nursing Home
  • Williams County Juvenile Court
  • A Renewed Mind Behavioral Healthcare
  • Brookview Healthcare Center
  • Help Me Grow
  • Henry County Home Health and Hospice
  • Radiation Oncology Center

Students have been able to apply their social work skills and knowledge internationally in Cambodia, Belize, Tanzania, and Panama through the McMaster School. Through Project 701, social work students have also been instrumental in organizing and implementing the Free Clinic for Defiance area citizens needing health and dental care.

Empty Bowls Dinner
The social work organization sponsors Empty Bowlsan annual fundraiser for the local homeless shelter and soup kitchen. Over the years, Empty Bowls has donated more than $50,000 to the PATH center.

Night Without a Home
Defiance College social work students partner with local agencies to conduct Night Without a Home on the DC campus to draw attention to the problem of rural homelessness.

Social Work Urban Trip
The social work program travels to an urban center annually to visit agencies and programs on a larger scale. Locations vary between Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Student-Led Philanthropy Pay it Forward
This project combines skills of community assessment, fundraising, and grant writing to address a community need. Since 2008, Pay It Forward has awarded more than $19,000 to local social services to address needs such as transportation, hunger, unemployment, youth mentorship, and families in poverty. 

A complementary minor might include psychology, autism studies, criminal justice, religious studies, ministry studies, or music.

After College — What’s Next?
Graduates 2012 - 2016:

  • 95% of alumni were employed within social work, primarily in the areas of mental health, youth and family services, developmental disabilities, victim advocacy, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, gerontology, corrections, veteran services, or school counseling.
  • 25% of recent alumni pursued graduate school, primarily in social work and counseling, but also in the areas of law and public administration.

Students may select to begin graduate studies or to become a working professional immediately after completing their degree. Social work graduates with a Bachelor’s degree are employed in many different work settings under public or private auspices that may include nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, home health care, substance abuse programs, mental health services, developmental disabilities services, family service agencies, youth services, aging services, domestic violence programs, schools, and homeless shelters.

Social Work Cuyahoga Co Children Services TripRecent graduates have been employed at:
Maumee Valley Guidance Center
Adriel Foster Care
Ohio Veterans
Northwest Ohio Education Service Center
Community Health Professionals
Center for Child & Family Advocacy
Area Office on Aging
Four County Family Center
Comprehensive Crisis Care
House of Ruth
County Boards of Developmental Disabilities
Departments of Jobs & Family Services
Recovery Services of Northwest Ohio

Defiance College students choosing to continue their social work studies have been accepted at more than 30 graduate schools across the country including the University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University, The Ohio State University, Syracuse, Boston University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Florida State University, and others.

Many graduates of Defiance are admitted with advanced standing allowing them to complete their graduate degree in one year.

The social work program at Defiance College is nationally accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Graduates are thereby license eligible in Ohio and all other states that license professional social workers at the baccalaureate level. Secondly, students with excellent academic records qualify for advanced standing in the graduate schools of social work.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes as updated every two years

In Their Own Words
"The personalized interaction with my professors allowed me to become more confident in my studies and with my future plans. They encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and get involved in the community to help build up my resume. I have had the opportunity to get involved with Service Leaders, Dance Marathon, Free Clinic, Hench Autism, and many more community outreach programs. This program has helped me work towards my dreams and help build a better foundation for others in the community."
--Aubrey Kemerer, 2015 Graduate

"DC’s academic program has prepared me for the job market and my future career in terms of helping me network. The social work major sets you up with two field experiences (internships) - a junior and senior one - that prepare you for the field. With these opportunities, you get hands-on experience and have the chance to expand your knowledge and learn from the professionals themselves."
--Brittany Pittman, 2015 Graduate

"Being able to transfer knowledge and learning from the classroom to the ‘real world’ helped prepare me for graduate school and the career that I am now in. I am eternally grateful for the education that I received at Defiance College and the personal attention and care with which I was provided. The faculty not only educated and challenged me, but also continue to be professional mentors for whom I have the utmost admiration and respect."
--Rebecca L. Sanford, Ph.D., 2004 Graduate, BSW Field Education Coordinator and Lecturer at Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia, Canada


Tess Homier, MSW, LISW-S
Assistant Professor of Practice of Social Work
Director of Social Work
Phone: 419-783-2556

Alesia Yakos-Brown, MSW, LISW
Associate Professor of Practice and Field Coordinator

Phone: 419-783-2425