Mission & Vision

Our School Mission 

(What we intend to accomplish)

The School of Social Work at Texas State University prepares culturally responsive, advocacy-focused, ethical social workers who are prepared to serve as leaders for positive change. We maintain a rigorous academic culture committed to interdisciplinary cutting edge research, community, national, and international service, and social justice. We are dedicated to upholding core values of the social work profession and CSWE competencies to train integrous effective social workers.

Our School Vision

Social Work With Integrity Promoting Global Well-Being.

Our School Motto  

(What we intend to create)

Leadership for Change!

Our School Approach: Transcending Boundaries in a Rapidly Changing World

(How we package our curriculum to prepare students to become leaders for change in a variety of settings operating in a dynamic social environment)

  • Transcending the boundaries of geographic location (through online instruction),
  • spanning from local to global through including content on social, economic, and environmental justice, globalization, diversity
  • Transcending the notion of “traditional” student to include “non-traditional” learners such as student veterans, first-generation college students, and professionals in their mid-career points
  • Transcending historic clinical knowledge by expanding to diverse settings and interventions, incorporating cutting-edge intervention strategies such as contemporary music, technology, and wilderness therapy
  • Transcending traditional administrative knowledge by drawing in government efforts, non-profits, and entrepreneurial ventures
  • Embracing technology, popular culture, and the unique perspectives of students as vital components of the learning community


The School aims to meet these goals for all students:

1. COMPREHENSIVENESS: The School will graduate baccalaureate social workers who can function competently using the generalist framework with systems of all sizes.

2. REASONING AND VALUING: The School will graduate social work practitioners who employ critical thinking and lucid self-assessment; understanding of professional history; ethical, value-based sensibilities; and scientific and creative processes to engage in competent, value-based social work with diverse clients and client groups in various settings.

3. DIMENSIONS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: The School will graduate social work practitioners who comprehend, based on a broad array of liberal arts concepts and research knowledge, the needs of people (particularly the most vulnerable members of society), who grasp the ways those needs affect people’s behaviors, and who can plan and implement effective practice methodologies to foster productive behaviors and ways of thinking.

4. DIVERSITY AND JUSTICE: The School will produce graduates who appreciate and respect the amazing diversity of the human family, who grasp how that diversity is reflected in the families and organizations that people create, who embrace diversity as a strength, who value social justice, and who ethically lead the struggle to foster a compassionate, productive, non-discriminatory society.

5. ACQUIRING AND REFINING SKILLS: The School will graduate practitioners who employ theoretically-sound, evidence-based interventions and communication techniques, who use supervision efficiently to improve their practices, who are prepared to evaluate and refine their methodologies, who are knowledgeable consumers and producers of research, and who are life-long professional learners.

6. PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP: The School will produce leaders and competent organizational citizens who, because they understand the historical and contemporary contexts of social work, can develop innovative, humane, consumer-oriented policies and systems, can advocate for marginalized populations, and can build bridges between public entities, private concerns, and various disciplines to improve the well-being and productivity of people, particularly the most neglected members of society.

The year 1899 marked the birth of a one-building state-authorized school known as Southwest Texas State Normal School, serving 300 students. Built on the banks of the crystal-clear San Marcos River in the rural Hill Country of central Texas, the quiet school grew slowly but steadily, always emphasizing teacher education.

Today, after providing education for more than 100 years, that institution is known as Texas State University. The fourth-largest university in the second-most populous state in the nation, Texas State serves over 34,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students. Located in San Marcos, a community of about 50,000 people, Texas State enjoys the ease of living that a smaller city affords, but it is only 40 miles north of San Antonio and 40 miles south of Austin.

Our School History

The Genesis of Social Work at Texas State (SSW)

In the 1970s, a small collection of social work courses grew to become the Walter Richter Institute of Social Work. The Institute offered a BSW degree which the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) initially accredited in 1978 and has reaccredited continuously to the present.

In 1988, the Institute received a Title IV-B Child Welfare Grant, followed by a Title IV-E contract. This initiative gave birth to the Center for Children and Families (CCF). Originally housed in the School, CCF is now an interdisciplinary University center under the direction of Dr. Nancy Feyl Chavkin of the School’s faculty. It fosters collaboration between academic departments and community agencies for interdisciplinary research, education, and service, thereby extending the School’s mission. CCF has had IV-E and IV-B grants continuously since 1988, as well as funding from US Department of Education, US Department of Health and Human Services, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Hartford Foundation, and the Hogg Foundation, among others. It has helped build the education and the careers of countless students.

Social Work Masters Degree Program

2000-2001 marked two milestones: the Richter Institute (known as the Department of Social Work since 1996) became the School of Social Work, and the School’s new MSW degree was initially accredited by CSWE. In 2004 the School launched its online MSW degree program to join its on-campus MSW. The School’s growth has been significant, and it joined the College of Applied Arts in 2009. This College, a vibrant unit of seven departments, including Criminal Justice, and Family and Consumer Sciences, brings more grant money into the University than any other college. Today the School has 21 full-time faculty, of whom 17 hold a doctorate.

Today, Texas State University School of Social Work serves about 600 students at any one time. Of those, approximately 250 are BSW students or pre-majors. The highly-successful MSW degree is offered both on-campus and online. The lessons faculty have learned from developing the online MSW has transformed the School from a traditional enterprise to an entrepreneurial, tech-savvy educational program which uses the extensive benefits of technology for both baccalaureate and masters-level teaching.