Make the world a better place and find your education purposeful and rewarding. Learn how to work as a partner on behalf of our vulnerable citizens through individual and social advocacy. Understand the social welfare systems and the challenges people face through first-hand experience.

Loras provides a supportive learning community that nurtures competent, ethical, value-based social work practitioners in service to others in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, government agencies, community organizations, and private practice.


The Loras Social Work program is certified by both academic and social work accrediting agencies. In accordance with the requirements of CSWE’s recognition body, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CSWE Office of Social Work Accreditation (OSWA) administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and COA reviews.

Program Mission

The Loras Social Work program is a supportive learning community that graduates value-based, generalist practitioners who promote human and community well-being. Students, grounded in the liberal arts, empowerment, and person-in-environment frameworks, are guided by the values of the social work profession.

Working with and in partnering agencies, students actively learn knowledge, social work values (service, social justice, dignity and worth of the human person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights), and skills based on scientific inquiry; identify and challenge systems that perpetuate social, racial, economic, and environmental injustice.

Students adopt respect for human diversity, adhere to ethical guidelines that inform their work with diverse populations, and contribute responsibly to all people locally and globally.

What can you do?

After receiving your degree from Loras, you could move on to graduate school or a variety of careers:

  • Foster Care & Adoption
  • Probation Officer
  • Child Abuse Investigator
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Nursing Home/Hospice
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Residential Home Counselor
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • Refugee Resettlement Worker
  • Community Organizer
  • Graduate school

Senior social work students complete 420 hours of actual social work practice in a social service agency. The following are some of the agencies providing field instruction experience for social work students:

  • Health and Human Services Department
  • Families First Counseling
  • Dept of Correctional Services   
  • Hillcrest Family Services
  • Mercy Medical Center/Unity Point Hospital      
  • Multicultural Family Center
  • United Way
  • Lutheran Services of Iowa        
  • Stonehill Care Center
  • Four Oaks Family and Children Services           
  • Riverview Sexual Assault Program

Course Highlights

Career Options and Professional Practice

An educationally focused community service experience and seminar that emphasizes socialization into the profession of social work. The course combines a two times weekly seminar with agency-based volunteer work in a helping role. A minimum of 75 hours of volunteer work must be completed to receive credit for the course. The seminar assists students in exploring their “goodness of fit” with a social work career and in developing an understanding of their own capacities in relation to professional social work competencies.

Self-Care and the Helping Professions

Students begin by looking at the ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) and the importance of Trauma Informed Care in the helping professions. We define compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and burnout in relation to working with vulnerable populations. The emphasis is on the professional and their commitment and knowledge of self- care practices. The class studies different types of trauma on all levels of the environment and the effects on the brain and behavior of people.

Social Work with Groups and Families

This is the first course in a sequence of three generalist practice courses. This course addresses practice with families and small groups and focuses on introductory skills needed to facilitate groups. The focus is on group work which entails the deliberate use of intervention strategies and group processes to accomplish individual, group and community goals, using the value base and ethical practice principles of the social work profession.

School of Science & Health

Majors & Minors

Experiential Learning

Each spring, social work majors travel to the state capitol to engage in lobbying for chosen legislative interests. The social work program has a partnership with India. Students study away for a semester in Chennai, taking classes, completing an internship, and traveling.

Clubs & Orgs

We have a variety of opportunities for you to get involved from the moment you set foot on campus.

Social Work Council
Civic Leaders
The Alliance
Peace and Justice Club

Straight Talk from a Duhawk

My social work and psychology classes have opened me up to many new opportunities and experiences. I am constantly learning something new. My professors have true passion for teaching and truly care about me and how I am doing.

— Hillary (’26)

Meet Your Professors

Michelle Bechen LMSW

Michelle Bechen  LMSW

Professor of Social Work

Amanda Reynolds MSW LISW

Amanda Reynolds  MSW LISW (’06)

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Nancy Zacher Fett

Nancy Zachar Fett  LMSW (’90)

Professor of Social Work

Social Work News