As part of the School of Social Welfare’s preparation for a reaccreditation visit from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 2014, the departmental teaching staff (DTS) has been engaging in a thoughtful reexamination of the MSW program curriculum.
In addition to participating in last summer’s academic review, which resulted in programmatic recommendations from an external review committee, the DTS also recently took part in two day-long forums that MSW program co-chair Greg Merrill describes as opportunities to discuss “the mission, goals and context of our MSW program” as well as “curricular and learning environment shifts” that need to take place to meet the changing needs of the social work profession.
The October 18 and November 15 sessions were led by Merrill and MSW program co-chair Associate Professor Susan Stone, with the guidance of a steering committee that includes Dean Jeffrey Edleson, Professors Jill Duerr Berrick and Mike Austin and Academic Coordinator Bob Teague. Current students Anne Lowe (MSW ’13) and Laura Burns (MSW ’14) also attended the meetings, providing their insights as to how the School can improve efforts in preparing future social work practitioners and leaders.
Dean Edleson notes that the “challenge for us is to hold high aspirations for the MSW program while designing feasible changes.”
Assistant Professor Valerie Shapiro conveyed her excitement for engaging in the forward-thinking process. "Our intention is to build upon our deep traditions of excellence in a way that ensures our continued responsiveness and relevance to aspiring social workers, practicing professionals and policy makers, and the spectrum of communities, from local to global, from whom we receive our mandate,” she shared. “This is a great moment to listen, reflect and get creative. If the process is any indication, the result is going to be outstanding!"
The conversations about revisions to the MSW curriculum will continue in the spring, with three additional forums scheduled. Upcoming sessions are expected to include a wider representation of the School community, including alumni, field instructors, practice professionals and more current students.