Christine W. Thorpe, Chair
» Namm Hall 401 (N-422)
Human Services is a profession that is a learned craft, coupled with the social, cultural, economic, political and biological aspects of a society. In addition, individuals, family and communities are often the focus of agents in need of services. In order to deliver these services, the human service student must be exposed to various professional and liberal arts learning. A bachelor degree curriculum can offer this preparation. Students can then apply this knowledge to successful direct practice. In fact, the human service bachelor's degree permits a worker to use their educational skills in multiple employment arenas of their choice.
Bachelors in human services will prepare a student to work in the field of disabilities. The Vulnerable Populations throughout the Lifespan courses focuses on individual's physical and mental health conditions from birth to death. Here, a student will have a comprehensive understanding of all types of disabilities from developmental disabilities such as autism, mental retardation, dementia, Alzheimer's, mental disorder of schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, anxiety and substance abuse to physical ailments of the effects of diabetes to coronary concerns. In addition students have the option of taking various health courses that address women's issues, human sexuality, HIV/AIDS and community health. These are further complemented by three biology courses that can aid a student in completing a biopsychosocial or treatment plan, which always includes a health component. These are basic case management responsibilities for human service workers since many employment options are in hospitals, wellness centers, clinics, nursing homes, and community out-patient centers.
Two group courses, in the human service major, prepare the student to work in the field of substance abuse. It is especially helpful since it is a known fact that group therapy is the most successful venue for addicts. This is due to the sharing of relapse prevention skills amongst the members. Students learn how to engage all members in the process. Students also can present the concept of having empathy towards all group members, despite each individual situation. In this way the student is prepared to assist the addict in tolerating and processing negative feelings. A group therapy setting can be the laboratory for such work.
Within the human service curriculum students will be exposed to courses that will aid them in understanding children and families. Early on in the associates degree, students complete Introduction to Psychology and Child Psychology. These courses help students gain a base knowledge of the general human behavior that each child experiences. Also, in the Introduction to Human Services course, students learn Erik Erickson's Eight Stages of development. From this, a student would be able to assess what type of developmental task a child has completed or not. Also, a student can complete a bachelor child welfare course that presents the many health issues children might encounter. Finally there is a course that helps the student learn how to counsel families and not allow the 'identified child' be the scapegoat of therapy sessions. In addition, the liberal arts social science/urban issues courses such as anthropology, sociology, African and Puerto Rican studies, help students to identify multiple issues that define a family culture.
Human service students are introduced to multiple administrative and supervision themes which are common in community based human service agencies. For example, agencies require the collection of demographic data of their consumers and services delivered. This information aids in the development of programs, budgets, analysis of needs, rationale for securing grants, as well as internal and external audits. Specific courses, in the human service curriculum address these concepts. This includes Resource Development, Management Concepts, Social Welfare Policy, to name a few. In addition, the Research Methods and Statistics courses provide the student with a foundation to analyze specific questions, and review past and current social concepts that can be of use for funding, outreach and advocacy. Finally, associate Liberal Arts courses pertaining to New York State or Federal Government complements the social policies and laws that a student and human service worker may encounter in their work.
In summary, the human service profession allows the bachelor student to choose a number of employment settings. It does not matter, what specific course(s) a student has completed, since the curriculum as a whole prepares one for the field. Whether one wants to become a counselor, outreach worker, residence manager, social worker, probation officer, disability specialist, addictions counselor, patient advocate, recreation worker or leader, the bachelor degree 'opens doors' that have a common requirement. Students will have a chance to practice these skills in the four semesters of internship and have an idea of how agencies are designed as well as the multiple types of service delivery that human service workers provide. The field is broad, in terms of the multiple employment arenas that a college graduate can choose to hone their human service skills, and a bachelor degree is one of the best preparations.
Our degree programs are accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Services Education.