Human Behavior in the Social Environment
This course prepares students with a critical working knowledge of a set of core theories of human behavior and development as foundational preparation for the social work field. The course introduces students to the values and ethics of social work and to the profession’s person-in-environment orientation for understanding human behavior. Bio-psycho-social dimensions of human behavior are critically examined through focused study in four intellectual domains considered essential for 21st century social work: neurobiological aspects of behavior, psychodynamic theory, social cognitive behavioral theory, and social network theory. These domains provide a core set of lenses through which students will learn to critically analyze how people develop and function across a spectrum of micro to macro social systems (e.g., individual, family, social group/network, organizational/institutional, community, cultural, and temporal), and how these systems promote or impede health, well-being, and resiliency. The course will afford students the opportunity to thoughtfully apply theoretical concepts and empirical knowledge to case studies of contemporary situations involving a range of adaptive issues for a diverse array of client systems. Special attention will be given to the influence of diversity characterized by (but not limited to) age, gender, class, race, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, disability and religion. The course makes important linkages between theory, practice and research, specifically in evaluating bio-psycho-social factors that impinge on person-in-environment functioning across micro, mezzo, and macro contexts.