Purpose, Vision, Values, & Culture

The purpose of the Department of Social Work at Cal Poly Humboldt is to:

  • Provide high quality educational programs that promote excellence in the social work profession.
  • Engage with tribal, academic, and professional communities to improve the wellbeing of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, and enhance the physical and natural environments within which people live, with particular emphasis on rural Northwestern California.
  • Offer students and community members opportunities to develop skills, leadership capacity, knowledge, practices, and methodologies for fostering change; bringing about social justice, environmental justice, and economic justice; and addressing and healing the ongoing effects of colonization.

The Department faculty, staff and students are viewed and utilized as highly skilled, innovative, creative, competent, and collaborative social work partners. Our reputation, activities, and partnerships attract students and other constituents from local, state, tribal, national, and international contexts. The Department actively contributes to making social work a liberatory profession and the world a more just place.


  • Accessibility
  • Excellence
  • Academic Rigor
  • Criticality
  • Professional Development
  • Compassion

We strive to create a departmental culture for students, staff, and faculty that is characterized by:

  • Transparency - In decision making, distribution of resources, staffing, special projects, administration, etc.
  • Mindfulness - Thoughtful, centered speech and action.
  • Inclusiveness - Embracing differences in background, experience, expertise, ideas, and perspectives.
  • Supportive Workplace Climate - Mutual respectfulness, support, appreciation, and acknowledgment of each person’s contributions, including humor and playfulness.
  • Culture of Inquiry - Suspension of judgment, listening to learn.
  • Congruence - Clear, direct, respectful communication; consistency between talk and action, including caring, respectful, mutually supportive behavior.
  • Sustainability - Prioritizing long-term sustainability over short-term benefit; collective good over personal agendas.