Social work is a profession that seeks to improve the functioning and life satisfaction of people across the life span. They work with individuals and groups but also focus on improving the communities and the larger environments in which people work and function, primarily through individual and social advocacy. 

The Loras Social Work program is accredited by both academic and Social Work accrediting agencies and can easily be combined with other majors and minors.

When Social Work majors complete their undergraduate education, they can be employed as a school counselor, a probation officer, child abuse investigator, domestic violence advocate, hospital worker, elder in-home worker and others.  Social Work majors will tell you they find their education meaningful and rewarding because they are able to make the world a better place for us all.

Many graduates also go on to master’s programs in Social Work and related fields.


The Loras Social Work program emphasizes both classroom learning and experiential learning. In the classroom professors use active learning processes to teach essential theories, principles and skills. Practicum placements in a wide variety of agencies and organizations such as residential treatment centers for children and adolescents, nursing homes, probation departments, domestic violence and foster care agencies, then provide opportunities for student to apply those principles and practices while expanding their professional networks. The experiences students have in Practicum also importantly assist students is designing career goals that fit who they are as a person.

Students run a highly active Social Work Club which sponsors activities designed to raise awareness about important social issues such as domestic violence and homelessness. They also effectively raise funds and create resources to aid those in need. The Social Work Club at Loras is recognized as one of the most active and successful student organizations on campus. 


Major requirements and course descriptions


Social Work faculty hold Master’s Degrees in Social Work and have experience working in the field.  They value effective teaching and regularly update and expand their teaching knowledge and practices while actively participating in professional associations.

Michelle Bechen, L.M.S.W., received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Clarke College and her Master of Social Work from University of Iowa. Bechen has worked extensively with abuse victims of all ages. She has done work in gang prevention in San Francisco as well as work in prevention of HIV/AIDS, LGBT, drug addiction and homelessness.
Nancy Zachar Fett, L.M.S.W., holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Loras College. She received her Master of Social Work from Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Fett has experience as a community organizer in Chicago, has worked extensively with social causes in the Dubuque area, and has 17 years of experience as a Social Work faculty member at Loras College.
Brad Cavanagh, L.I.S.W., received his bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa and his Master of Social Work from Saint Louis University. Cavanagh joined the faculty of the Social Work program at Loras College in 2010 after ten years of practice experience working with a wide variety of client populations in diverse settings.



Social Work
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