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Revised MSW curriculum
 

MSW program introduces revised curriculum for Fall 2017

Posted April 5, 2017
Reported by: Laurie Anderson, sswpr@uga.edu

Students earning a master’s degree in social work at the University of Georgia will soon have a new curriculum that integrates the most current evidence-informed practices with social work’s ongoing commitment to social justice. The School of Social Work revised the curriculum for the Master of Social Work degree based on feedback from multiple stakeholders. The revised curriculum will go into effect with the fall 2017 semester.

"We are really excited about this new and innovative curriculum," said Anna Scheyett, dean of the school. "It provides students with cutting-edge practice skills while also teaching them how to address problems through a social justice lens."

Among the changes, all courses will integrate content that addresses issues of power, oppression, social justice, evidence-informed practice, advocacy and diversity. These core topics, aka PrOSEAD (pronounced "proceed"), will also be the focus of a required, stand-alone course. In addition, students will be able to select a larger number of clinical or macro electives.

“The new curriculum has been under development for several years,” said Associate Professor David Okech, the MSW program director. A faculty committee, said Okech, solicited input from a variety of stakeholders, including field supervisors, alumni and the graduating cohorts of 2014 and 2015.

In another major change, students will get a more intensive introduction to fieldwork earlier in the program in order to build stronger practice skills. Instead of starting in the second year of study, students will begin field practicums in the foundation year, during which they will spend the first six weeks of fall semester in a classroom and the remainder in the field. Field assignments will continue through the spring semester.

“Beginning the field experience in the fall allows richer discussions in the classrooms and introduces students to what social work really is earlier in their journey as social work professionals,” said Okech. “A number of courses in the fall will benefit from the experiences that students gain from the field; this also fulfills a long-term request by alumni and external stakeholders.”

The final year includes a number of elective options that teach advanced skills for work involving specific populations, interventions or particular problems.

“This new approach enables students to make more informed decisions about the track they want to take, and provides electives that are more appropriate in meeting their learning goals and future career aspirations,” said Okech.

As with BSW students, in their final year MSW students also will participate in a capstone experience that addresses a current issue of concern to the profession. The capstone is two credit hours.

“We believe the revised curriculum will help students gain competencies and confidence as practitioners while teaching them to keep in mind ways to envision and instigate change,” said Okech.

Highlights:

Details are available in the revised MSW curriculum. For questions about the changes, contact Daphney Smith at (706) 542-5422 or dsmith@uga.edu. To learn more about the program, visit http://ssw.uga.edu/academics/msw.html.

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