Portland-State-University 2014-2015 Bulletin

School of Social Work

Laura Burney Nissen, Dean

Keva Miller, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Tom Keller, Associate Dean for Research and Sponsored Projects

Katharine Cahn, Assistant Dean for Continuing Education

600 Academic & Student Recreation Center, 1800 SW SIXTH, 503-725-4712


  • B.A., B.S.—Child and Family Studies
  • B.A., B.S. —Social Work
  • M.S.W.
  • Ph.D.

The School of Social Work was established at Portland State University in 1961 by a resolution of the Oregon Legislature. The school is committed to the enhancement of the individual and society. Further values and beliefs include a dedication to social change and to the attainment of social justice for all peoples, the eradication of poverty, the empowerment of oppressed peoples, the right of all individuals and groups to determine their own destinies, and the opportunity to live in harmony and cooperation. While the School maintains a special commitment to these values, it recognizes the need for joining with others in society who are working toward this same purpose.

Consistent with the goals of Portland State University and the Oregon University System, the three major functions of the School are teaching, research, and community service. Teaching is directed toward preparing effective and creative social workers who are ethical and culturally responsive. Social workers learn to serve individuals and families directly, evaluate practice, develop and administer programs, organize neighborhoods and communities, analyze social policies, conduct research, and initiate necessary reforms of existing practice, programs, and policies. Research and scholarship focus on understanding, preventing, and ameliorating social problems. Community service involves collaborative efforts with individuals and organizations to develop innovations in social welfare services and policies.

The School has an educational program involving seven structural components: the Child and Family Studies program; the Baccalaureate Social Work (B.S.W.) program; the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program; the Distance M.S.W. Option; the Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research program; the Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services; and the Regional Research Institute for Human Services.