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Bridging the Divide: Competencies to Skills  


Baccalaureate social work education provides a generalist practice foundation for students seeking to work in the social work profession. Social work educators can help students understand and differentiate between competencies and skills. This paper shares how educators can approach competencies to drive the educational process for institutions that offer bachelor level social work programs. This paper provides examples from the approach of faculty and curriculum design planners of the University of Phoenix College of Social and Behavioral Sciences’ Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) program.  

Bridging the Divide: Competencies to Skills

Bridging the Divide: Competencies to Skills


Dr. Samantha Dutton

Samantha Dutton, Ph.D., MSW, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), is an Associate Dean and the Director of the Social Work Program in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with the University of Phoenix, presiding over the Bachelor of Science Social Work program. The program was accredited by the Council of Social Work Education in June 2023. Previously, she held positions of Deputy Commander of Medical Operations at Mike O’Callaghan Military Medical Center, Nevada, as well as the Medical Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, and she also commanded the Mental Health Clinic at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Her military experience spans 27 years with increasing levels of leadership. She has been the recipient of numerous Air Force level awards and was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom where she was the sole mental health practitioner for 2,500 personnel.

Dr. Dutton earned her doctorate in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University, and her MSW and BSW at New Mexico Highlands University.