Advanced Generalist Practice Definition

Definition of Advanced Generalist Practice

Advanced generalist practice integrates greater theoretical and methodological knowledge, as well as research and evaluation sophistication at all levels of practice. Advanced generalist practitioners competently engage in independent and culturally responsive application of advanced social work knowledge, theories, skills, values, and ethics into assessment and intervention at all system levels (Roy and Vecchiolla, 2004). This advanced skill level is reflected in the ability of graduates to engage in interdisciplinary collaborative public and private partnerships for advocacy, policy, practice, and advancing social justice. Advanced generalist practice is differentiated from generalist practice in that it includes the complexity of the problem and context of service provision, has enhanced technical abilities, and more sophisticated direct and indirect skills.


The advanced generalist model was adopted because:


  1. It aligns with Colorado State University’s land-grant heritage and mission that mandates providing educational access to diverse state-wide communities;
  2. Studies have supported the efficacy of the generalist and advanced generalist curriculum not only for rural practice, but practice in larger settings (also challenged with limited resources) (Gibbs et al., 1990; Davenport & Davenport, 1998);
  3. Many of Colorado’s communities are rural, where the need for MSW-level social workers is particularly acute but access to programs with masters-prepared social workers is severely limited; and
  4. The majority of the population of Colorado lives on the more urban Front Range. Advanced generalist practice prepares social workers to practice within the unique characteristics of social work services in both urban and rural contexts (Lavitt, 2009).