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    Harding University
  May 10, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of Behavioral Sciences

Programs of Study

Chair: Terry Smith, Ed.D., M.Div., M.S.W., L.C.S.W.*, A.C.S.W.


Glen Adams, Psy.D.*
John K. Cameron, Ph.D.
Kenneth L. Hobby, Ph.D.*
Dwight Ireland, Ed.D.
Terry Smith, Ed.D., M.Div., M.S.W., L.C.S.W.*, A.C.S.W.
           Director of Social Work Program

Associate Professors:

Kim A. Baker-Abrams, M.S.W., L.M.S.W.*
Debbie Ford, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.*
Kathy Helpenstill,  M.S.W., L.C.S.W.*
Travis McNeal, Ph.D.
      Director of the Psychology Program
Jeremiah Sullins, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor:

Samuel Jeffrey, M.A.
     Director of the Criminal Justice Program
Matthew Swindle, J.D.

Assisting from Other Departments:

Linda Thompson, Ed.D.

*Designates professional licensure by the State of Arkansas.

The mission of the Department of Behavioral Sciences is to provide, within a Christian context, a sound knowledge and foundation in the field and to enhance growth in critical thinking, scientific inquiry and Christian service.

Criminal Justice

The mission of the Criminal Justice Program  is:

  1. To provide a liberal arts foundation emphasizing Christian ethics as it relates to a professional degree in criminal justice.
  2. To prepare students for entry-level opportunities as college graduates in the criminal justice field.
  3. To provide a quality background for students who desire advanced study leading to professional careers in law and criminal justice.
  4. To integrate Biblical values and knowledge with the practice of a variety of occupations within the criminal justice field in order to render greater service within the community.


The mission of the Psychology Program  is:

  1. To provide a basic education in the science of psychology;
  2. To assist students in developing their skills in understanding themselves and others;
  3. To prepare students for entry-level opportunities as college graduates in the world of work;
  4. To prepare students for advanced study leading to professional careers in psychology and/or counseling; and
  5. To integrate the psychological truths found in the word of God with the knowledge of modern psychological science.

Social Work

The mission of the baccalaureate Social Work Program  at Harding University is to prepare students who are competent, effective and ethical generalist social workers committed to improving the well-being of others and who exhibit academic excellence, personal integrity, compassionate service, and respect for human diversity. With the liberal arts as a foundation, BSW students are prepared for life-long professional development including preparation for graduate study.

  1. Engage in entry-level generalist social work practice consistent with a strengths-orientation an ecological perspective that demonstrates respect for diverse populations and cultures.
  2. Use critical thinking skills in applying knowledge and ethical principles to social work practice and in using research tools to inform, critically evaluate and improve practice, programs, and service delivery systems.
  3. Use human behavior conceptual frameworks to understand development and behavior across the life span and to support intervention at multiple levels including individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and global systems.
  4. Develop an identity as a professional social worker that includes self-awareness, an appreciation of the profession's history and values, and the effective use of supervision and consultation.
  5. Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.
  6. Demonstrate skills and knowledge that reflect spiritually-sensitive social work practice and an understanding of the religious contexts for social work practice.

Students desiring to enter the Social Work Program must apply to the program admissions director. Criteria for admission include:

  1. Satisfactory progress toward completion of the Liberal Arts curriculum;
  2. Completion of SWK 275 ;
  3. A 2.0 GPA;
  4. Submission of the application form to the Director of Social Work Admissions;
  5. Completion of an information form for the social work faculty;
  6. Letters of recommendation from two faculty members outside the Social Work Program with whom the student is taking or has taken courses; and
  7. An interview with a social work academic advisor and members of the Social Work Program Committee.

The Social Work Program Committee evaluates all applicants on the basis of these criteria. A written status response from the committee is sent to each applicant. Students admitted to the Social Work Program may begin the first sequence (SWK 280  and SWK 305 ) in the professional social work curriculum.

You must earn a grade of "C" or better in each social work professional course (SWK 275 , SWK 280 , SWK 281 , SWK 305 , SWK 306 , SWK 330 , SWK 350 , SWK 351 , SWK 352 , SWK 410 , SWK 412 , SWK 451 , SWK 452 ) in order to meet the requirements for graduation. Students will have one opportunity to repeat a social work course if they failed to receive the expected grade in order to continue in the Social Work Program.

Admission to the Social Work Program does not guarantee acceptance into SWK 452  (Field Placement). In order to be accepted, you must:

  1. Complete all other program courses with a 2.5 GPA;
  2. File a formal application with the Coordinator of Field Instruction no later than November 1 in the fall semester which precedes spring placement. Applications for summer placement must be filed the second week following spring break; and
  3. Obtain the recommendation of the Social Work Program Committee.

Following acceptance into Field Placement, you have five years to complete placement. After five years, additional requirements, including reapplication, may be imposed.

If you feel that your rights have been violated in the admissions/acceptance process or in classroom experiences, you may file a grievance with the Student Grievance Committee.

Transfer credit in social work may be awarded based on an investigation of course content rather than course title. In general, no transfer credit is awarded for SWK 350 , SWK 351 , SWK 352 , SWK 451 , and SWK 452 .

The Beta Lambda chapter of Alpha Delta Mu, the national college honor society in social work, was chartered at Harding in 1980. Membership is by invitation and is based on scholastic achievement, character and involvement.

The Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


The Department of Behavioral Sciences does not offer a sociology major. However, a minor can be earned.


    Bachelor of ScienceBachelor of Social WorkNon-Degree