First Advisor

Stephanie Bryson

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Social Work and University Honors


Social Work


Social work education -- Curricula




Bachelors' of Social Work programs have attempted to highlight diversity and multiculturalism since the 1960's, when the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) required that social work, "must make special, continued efforts to enrich its program by providing racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in its student body and at all levels of instruction and research personnel, and by providing corresponding educational supports." Despite this mandate, the actual application of diversity and multiculturalism in social work programs is marked by shortcomings.

To address this problem, some scholars have looked at the curriculum within social work programs, as well as different approaches to take within the programs. Limited scholarship has looked specifically at the social work educator' perspective or proposed alternative ways to teach HBSE courses.Therefore, this study explored, using qualitative methods, the perspectives of three HBSE instructors regarding the following overarching research question: How does an HBSE instructor integrate multiple narratives in HBSE curriculum?


In this study, four themes emerged in regards to how HBSE instructors integrate multiple narratives within their curriculum: (1) Theory versus human behavior emphasis, (2) instructor's historical relationship to HBSE, (3) antimony within 'traditional' and 'non-dominant' theories, (4) and classroom identities as built-in assets. These were consistent across each of the three interviews conducted with HBSE instructors.


  1. Require a prerequisite human development course so that HBSE can focus on how theory applies to human development rather than only teaching the human development theories.
  2. Consider offering two sections of HBSE--one for micro theory and and for macro theory. This would allow for a deeper analysis of how macro and micro theories can be utilized together as well as their limitations separately.
  3. Instructors' discussing their cultural background and identities can be the key pivoting point on whether or not students experience HBSE with a more or less intersectional approach.
  4. 'Traditional' theories, while minimally representing the experiences of non-dominant identities, still hold utility to explain how historically and currently social service structures operate.
  5. It is impactful for instructors to approach theory knowing there is no perfect course or theory, therefore EVERY theory must be analyzed on its strengths and shortcomings.
  6. Instructors acknowledging with their classes that, while integrating multiple narratives within HBSE, it is not possible to include ALL experiences in class.
  7. The seventh recommendation highlights transparency to students about the shortcomings of theory and capacity of this course is extremely important.
  8. Utilizing case-study assignments where students research a population of their interest and theories they research can be one of the most powerful ways instructors can support each students multiple identities being represented within the course.
  9. Cumulative lived experience and identities in the classroom can be a primary asset utilized in creating an HBSE experience that can address the problematic nature of it being a primarily dominant culture-centered course.


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