The mission of Baker College Human Services Program is to train and prepare students to value and appreciate the uniqueness of human life and diversity. Students will be prepared to work as professional members of a multidisciplinary team understanding that, as helping professionals, they will often serve the underserved.
Baker College Human Services Program embraces a tradition of excellence in training professionals grounded in mental health, counseling, and social services theory. Principles of evidence-based practice are woven into the coursework. The curriculum is designed to develop student awareness, knowledge, and culturally relevant skills necessary to work with a diverse clientele in a variety of settings and situations. The philosophical underpinnings of the curriculum’s focus are on the principles of social work practice, counseling practice, and psychology to prepare students for provision of direct care services. The conceptual framework of Baker College Human Services curriculum emphasizes the development of the human services professional to be career ready.
Human Services is a helping profession, consisting of agents of change who view individuals as a culture of one, promoting professionalism, emotional wellness, and social justice. As agents of change, human services professionals improve the human condition through knowledge, theory, application and practice.
The Human Services vision illustrates our belief that we are part of a continuum of learning where there is a flow between and among several dimensions: culture, promoting professionalism, emotional wellness, and social justice. The Human Services faculty members strive to offer students a variety of academic and professional experiences that prepare each student for the goal of securing an entry-level position in the field of human services and for advanced studies in the field. We accomplish this goal by equipping students with knowledge, theory, application and practice. Four key elements woven throughout the Human Services Program include the following:
- Knowledge of the human condition and community
- Current and emerging evidenced based theory
- Application of knowledge and theory with the intent of improving the human condition
- Effective and ethical practice
Through continual emphasis on integrating knowledge, theory, application and practice, students grow to understand that these elements are not separate, but intricately woven into the fabric of the human services professional. We emphasize that growth in each element is important to the overall development of each student’s professional identity.
Knowledge of the Human Condition and Community
The integration of knowledge in the Human Services Program begins with our faculty, as they assist the learner in examining the various approaches to the field of human services. Our faculty provides many decades of collective experience from a diverse range of community agencies committed to improving the human condition. This experience enriches the student learning process. We recognize the importance of acknowledging the client’s community and the role it plays in clients’ lives and decision-making process.
Community is a broad concept that includes but is not limited to family, local and state organizations, religious organizations, service programs, charitable organizations, profit and nonprofit organizations. The student is instructed in the evaluation and utilization of appropriate community resources. Students, through classroom instruction and internships, learn to research and access these resources to improve the lives of their clients. It is our belief that it is important for the emerging professional to have an in-depth understanding of not only their strengths and weaknesses, but also the ability to reflect on their belief system and how beliefs can impact their performance as Human Services Professionals. Essential to an effective human services program, the professional must be cognizant of how biases, values, experiences, and emotions impact decision making and interactions with others. Providing the knowledge of the human condition and community is foundational to the Baker College Human Services Program.
Current and Emerging Evidence Based Theory
A goal of the Human Services Program is to cultivate a human services professional who is knowledgeable in the social, emotional, psychological, and theoretical underpinnings to human services. Human Services Professionals must be prepared to utilize their knowledge and theory in the workforce. We believe it is essential to expose students to theories that support evidence based practices in the field of Human Services. Students learn the theory and practical strategies in how to implement these theories. The components of human services, psychology, agency administration and other mental health courses are taught as foundational knowledge. We believe in differentiated instruction for teaching students from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds. In order to reach client-systems/populations, one must understand self, the historical perspective of human services, the community, service learning, social justice, and essential theories to the profession.
Baker College’s Human Services Program offers students a wide variety of theoretically based courses designed to examine the foundation of the helping profession. These courses are designed to build the competency of students in a multidisciplinary manner. Students receive theory-based instruction in counseling, social work, and psychology disciplines. These courses include historical analysis, current applications of the theories, and future trends of the profession. These courses are both theoretical and practical in approach and deal with a wide range of modalities including but not limited to existential/client centered, psychodynamic, gestalt, and cognitive behavioral approaches. We teach our students how to think critically and apply current research to theoretical foundations in order to produce effective and meaningful outcomes.
Application of Knowledge and Theory With the Intent of Improving the Human Condition
Baker College students acquire the knowledge and theory necessary to apply these elements in various human services arenas. Students have an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the concepts and apply them to hypothetical and to real world situations. As the students matriculate through their courses, they demonstrate their understanding of concepts and learned skills with a myriad of methods as faculty members incorporate case studies, role-plays, individual and group projects, exams, case file composition, and other instructional techniques linking classroom experience to real world application. Students also have an opportunity to utilize theory and knowledge in real world settings during community internships. The sequence of course work interspersed with field placements allows the student exposure to current best practices.
A key component of the Human Services Program is providing the student hands-on day-to-day experiences in appropriate community agencies. These experiences allow the student to link the knowledge and theory gained in the classroom to the application and practice in a wide variety of human services delivery systems. The internship program is viewed as a capstone experience that solidifies the human services student’s understanding of the day-to-day experience of clients and professionals in the field. The two internship placements scaffold the learning with increasing levels of responsibility and application to provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of classroom content. The internship program provides an experiential component which allows the student to demonstrate skill mastery through service delivery.
Effective and Ethical Practice
Professionals are expected to be lifelong learners and reflective practitioners practicing what they have learned during their academic experience when employed in the workplace. The Human Services faculty coach human services students with this vision when they enter the program and throughout their journey in the Human Services Program. Faculty members strive to teach the knowledge and theory necessary during the application of these elements during the capstone experience. This foundation is the basis of the professional who enters the work force. The element practice indicates that learning never ceases. Long after the student graduates and enters the work force as a helping professional they must continue to upgrade their knowledge of the human condition and intervention skills. This understanding of the importance and value of continual learning is embedded in the student as part of the educational process in the Human Services Program. The fourth element, practice, is a real world extension of what students are capable of demonstrating once they complete the Human Services Program at Baker College.
In summary, the Baker College Human Services program is a conceptual framework based upon an emerging Human Services Professional who is developing in four inter-related elements: knowledge, theory, application, and practice. Knowledge includes knowledge of self, clients, community, and continued personal development. Theory reflects the program goal to cultivate a Human Services Professional, who is knowledgeable in the social, emotional, psychological, and theoretical underpinnings to human services. Application is demonstrated through a wide range of pedagogical techniques designed to train the future Human Services Professional. Additionally, students are engaged in their learning while linking classroom experiences to real world application. The sequence of course work interspersed with field placements allows the student exposure to current best practices. Finally, practice indicates that learning never ends. Graduates enter the work force as a learners who continually upgrade their knowledge and skills. This understanding of the importance and value of continual learning is rooted in the student as part of the educational process in the Human Services Program. We believe that Human Services Professionals improve the human condition through their knowledge, theory, application and practice of the guiding principles foundational to the profession. This initial belief guides the Baker College Human Services Program to achieve our mission: to train and prepare students to value and appreciate the uniqueness of human life and diversity.