About Us

The History of Social Work at LBC

Lancaster Bible College first started offering concentrated courses in Social Work in 2004. Since that time, the Program has seen an increase in interest and enrollment within the program concentration. In February, 2016, the Social Work Program received initial accreditation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Social Work at LBC

The Social Work Program integrates the generalist practice courses required for a BSW with additional concentration in Bible/Theology courses and Arts & Sciences electives. These courses are specifically designed to help the student develop the head, heart and hands in serving within a ministry and social service context.


The Lancaster Bible College Social Work Program exists to equip students to serve society and the Church through generalist social work practice, and lay the foundation for graduate studies in the field of Social Work within the context of a biblical worldview.

A student helps with food distribution

What is Social Work?

The Social Work profession has origins in North America in the early twentieth century when the “friendly visitors” assisted with the care of the needy, orphaned, and those impacted by poverty. The efforts of the early advocates for social services often advocated for the local and national changes to policies affecting vulnerable and oppressed populations. Through the efforts of the early pioneers in areas such as child labor, inhumane working conditions, rights of women, injustices perpetrated on minority populations and other such reforms, the profession has grown to be a widely respected field of practice.

Social Work professionals work with a variety of people within many segments of society. They work with individuals across the lifespan, from birth to individuals nearing death. They can be found addressing concerns across the socioeconomic levels. Social workers work with diverse populations, cultures and backgrounds, including those individuals who are in need of assistance from other countries. Social workers practice in various levels of society life: individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers can be found in every community within the United States.


In February 2016, CSWE granted initial Accreditation of the Social Work Program at LBC, the culmination of a 3 year-long process seeking accreditation. This process engaged faculty, staff, students, the community and CSWE in the process of ensuring the educational programming in the Social Work Program meets national standards. The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) sets the framework for excellence in BSW and MSW education. All curriculum and field education requirements have been approved by CSWE in such a way as to ensure competency in the student. The Program mission, goals, objectives, benchmarks, and measurements have been transparently provided to all constituents.

Assessment Measures

Assessment of competencies and outcome measurements are measured on an annual basis. The Program must ensure that it is meeting certain benchmarks as well as students are meeting required competencies.

Program Goals & Objectives

These are goals and objectives that have been identified specific to the Social Work Program. Click to expand each goal to see its program objective.

Goal 1: Prepare students for generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities
  • Program Objective 1: Engage in contexts within the broader society.
  • Program Objective 2: Summarize the generalist practice approach to understanding human behavior in light of a biblical worldview.
  • Program Objective 3: Demonstrate the planned change process with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Goal 2: Develop student understanding of policy and practice, with an emphasis on advocacy which advances human rights.
  • Program Objective 4: Develop a missional mindset with a specific interest in human and economic justice.
  • Program Objective 5: Evaluate policy and practice as it relates to human rights and economic justice.
Goal 3: Prepare students for culturally relevant and competent practice with diverse populations, valuing human relationships in every context.
  • Program Objective 6: Demonstrate relevant cultural language, behaviors, and attitudes toward diverse populations and contexts.
  • Program Objective 7: Value the human experience in all contexts engaging in relationships in life, ministry and work.
Goal 4: Recognize the value of self-awareness opportunities in the classroom, in the community and other interpersonal relationships, instilling in the students a desire to value human relationships in every context.
  • Program Objective 8: Interpret human well-being along the continuum of the helping relationship.
  • Program Objective 9: Prepare for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities through the continual process of assessing oneself.
Goal 5: Prepare students to engage in lifelong learning and professional development through research informed practice and practice informed research.
  • Program Objective 10: Interpret social work through the lens of practice informed research.
  • Program Objective 11: Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his/her knowledge base and value system.
Goal 6: Interpret social work knowledge, values and skills through a biblical worldview.
  • Program Objective 12: Formulate a biblical worldview as demonstrated in life and ministry.
  • Program Objective 13: Synthesize the strengths based perspective with a biblical approach to understanding people and the world.

Biblical Worldview

A biblical worldview provides a lens through which to see the world.  It informs understanding, perspective and approach to life, people and problems.  A biblical worldview provides the building blocks of helping in the social sciences so when we speak about poverty, helping the widows or orphans or meeting the needs of others, the Bible provides us guidance, direction about the value of these pursuits and the benefit that it has for communities.  A biblical worldview is other focused and desires to pursue God’s happiness, not our own.

Students are presented with a variety of learning opportunities to understand how a worldview serves as the foundation for personal reflection in preparation for work in Social Work. Lancaster Bible College prepares students to integrate biblical principles of love, care, compassion, service, addressing injustice, mercy, and many other constructs when preparing for work within a social work context. Students are instructed on the core values of social work and their synthesis with biblical values.

Strengths-Based Perspective

The LBC Social Work Program values the strengths-based perspective that has been developed and communicated by Dennis Saleebey (2002) which states the following:

  • Every individual, group, family, and community has strengths.
  • Trauma and abuse, illness, and struggle may be injurious but they may also be sources of challenge and opportunity.
  • Assume that you do not know the upper limits of the capacity to grow and change and take individual, group, and community aspirations seriously.
  • We best serve clients by collaborating with them.
  • Every environment is full of resources
  • The context of caring and caregiving supports strengths and solution-finding.

Program Overview

The Social Work Program offers foundational level courses and practice courses along with the integration into the larger LBC context with bible/theology and Arts & Science courses. The foundational courses of the Program consists of Introduction to Social Work, Policy, Diversity and Human Behavior and the Social Environments I and II. Upon entrance into the Social Work practice level, students enter into 2 semester of a Junior Practicum in the Practice with Individuals and Practice with Families and Groups courses. Students take various electives in Social Work to include Child Welfare, Addictions, etc. Students prepare for research by completing Statistics, Research Design and then Practice with Organizations and Communities. Students enter their intensive Field Education their Senior Year where they must complete a minimum of 420 hours within a social service context.

Field Education

Beginning in the Junior year and continuing throughout the Senior year, students will engage in field placements that are relevant to Social Work, and will complete 480 hours of service. During the Junior Block Placement, the student will complete two semesters of 30 hours of shadowing in the field. These hours will be in line with the Practice I and Practice II courses as part of the course responsibilities. These hours will not count toward the total 420 hours required for graduation. Field placements must be approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Click here for additional information about Field Education.

BSW Program Requirements & Admission Process

Students must apply to be admitted to the Social Work Program upon completion of the foundation courses. They must demonstrate good standing within the College and have demonstrated readiness for practice level coursework. Students who are unable to meet the GPA requirement of 2.5 or greater may be able to minor in Human Services within the Counseling and Social Work Department or be admitted provisionally to the Social Work Program. Students must complete the required clearances to enter practice coursework (child abuse, criminal, and FBI).   Students will be evaluated their Junior Year for admission to Field Education.

Students who meet the requirements for admission to the Social Work Program are invited to apply for formal admission to the Social Work Program. Students should follow the procedures outlined in the Social Work Admission Packet (pdf). Students must have completed the foundational courses of social work study, have a 2.5 or greater cumulative GPA, completed 2 semesters of Christian Service, write a self-assessment, submit 3 letters of recommendation and complete the Admission Application Form (pdf). Students also are required to obtain 3 clearances (child abuse, criminal, FBI) for entrance into their Junior Practicum. Interviews are held in April prior to the junior year of study. Decisions are made prior to the end of the sophomore semester and provided to the student in writing as well as retained in the student’s academic file.

Students in Philadelphia classroom
LBC Social Work Faculty.

Club & Honor Society

Social Work Club

All students at LBC are eligible to join the Social Work Club. The Social Work Club provides an opportunity for students to organize on their behalf, be involved in social service outreach on the LBC Campus and within the community. The Club has leadership opportunities for social work majors. Social Work students who meet certain academic and social service requirements are also eligible to be inducted into the Phi Alpha honor society.

Phi Alpha National Honors Society

In April, 2014, the LBC Social Work Program joined Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society. This is a special honor for those students who have achieved the following requirements:

  • Undergraduate student who has been admitted into the Social Work Program, achieving at least sophomore status.
  • Completed a minimum of 9 credits in Social Work at Lancaster Bible College.
  • Achieved an overall grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Achieved a 3.25 grade point average in required social work courses.
  • Demonstrates upstanding character and leadership qualities
  • Demonstrates excellence in the application of the core values of the social work profession to include the following:
    • Service
    • Social Justice
    • Competence
    • Integrity
    • Value of Human Relationships
    • Dignity and Worth of the Person
  • Active engagement within the community as demonstrated by a lifestyle of volunteerism.

There is a structure in place for the Phi Alpha Society with a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer. The Phi Alpha induction ceremony is held every spring.

Advisory Board

In Spring, 2014, the Social Work Program developed a 10-member advisory board which consists of community members who have an interest in the educational experiences of LBC students. They will provide oversight to some of the developments within the Program as well as become a vital part in the CSWE commissioner visits for accreditation which occurs every Fall during the Candidacy status.


Abby L. Keiser, MS
Stephen W. Stoeffler, MSW, LSW
Matilda E. Casler, Ph.D., MSW, M.Ed.
Sarah Wilcox, BSW
Patty Eastep, BSSW
Carla Kouterick, LSW
Rebecca McMinn, MSW
Tia Slabaugh, BA, MSW (in progress)
Kim Florio, LCSW
Rachel Warren, BS
Liz VanPelt
Juanita Smith

Learn more about each of the advisory board members.