Spring 2013, Volume 49, No. 2
Professional Socialization: A Bridge between the Explicit and Implicit Curricula
Shari Miller (University of Georgia)
Professional socialization has become a notable construct for social work with the publication of CSWE's revised EPAS (2008). Though historically regarded as essential, little is known about the professional socialization of social workers. This article presents professional socialization as a key element which bridges the explicit and implicit curricula. Results from this study provide empirical support for a theoretical framework of the professional socialization of social workers with a particular focus on factors that predict professional socialization. Professional socialization is defined as a multi-dimensional, temporal construct beginning before formal education and continuing after it, with values, attitudes, and professional identity as outcomes. Implications for social work education, building systematic research in this area, and recruitment and retention are discussed.
Developing Interdisciplinary Skills and Professional Confidence in Palliative Care Social Work Students
Katherine Supiano and Patricia Berry (University of Utah)
Research suggests that better educational preparation is necessary to assure that health care social workers have the competencies essential for high quality interdisciplinary palliative care practice. This study is a qualitative evaluation of those elements contributing to competence and confidence in interdisciplinary practice skills of second year MSW students. Analysis of student narratives yielded two prominent themes: social work students’ relationship to members of other disciplines, including understanding of other professions knowledge and scope of practice, and respect for and from professionals of other disciplines; and the social work students' self-representation as a member of the profession and identity as team member. These study findings support the creation of courses that include students from disciplines represented in palliative care.
The Financial Literacy of Social Work Students
Peter Kindle (University of South Dakota)
The financial literacy of social work students has become the focus of curriculum development and research, but no study to date has attempted to assess the financial knowledge possessed by social work students. This study addressed that gap by assessing the level of objective financial knowledge reported by social work student respondents (N = 1,506) to an Internet-based survey. Results indicated that the majority of social work student respondents scored over 70% correct on a 48-item measure of financial literacy. Multiple regression analysis explained 33.7% of the variance and suggested that the dominant pathway to acquiring objective financial knowledge is through personal experience. Accordingly, financial education programs for social work students may be most appropriate for traditional undergraduates.
Direct and indirect measures of learning outcomes: What do we actually measure?
Orly Calderon (Long Island University)
This study offers a unique perspective on assessment of learning by comparing results from direct and indirect measures in a graduate program of social work across two campuses of a single university. The findings suggest that students' perceptions of learning are not necessarily reflective of content and applied skills mastery. Perception of learning appears to be a separate construct from actual learning, and it may reflect the students' satisfaction with their experiences in the program, rather than their attainment of content and skills. The quality of the learning experience deserves the attention of educators and administrators who are interested improving the quality of their programs
Patterns of Field Learning Activities and their Relation to Learning Outcomes
Mingun Lee (Ohio University) and Anne Fortune (University at Albany)
Field practicum is an active learning process. This study identified the different learning stages or processes that student experience during their field practicum. First-year MSW students in field practica were asked how much they had engaged in educational learning activities such as observation, working independently, process recordings, and conceptual linkage activities for their practice. Forty eight students completed a questionnaire three times over the first-year field practicum. The results showed that observation and process recording decreased over the time points. However, most of participatory activities and conceptual linkage activities increased. Conceptual linkage activities were more strongly related to learning outcomes than observational or participatory activities. The discussion includes suggestions for enhancing student learning over the course of field practicum.
Examining Inclusion of Evidence-Based Practice on Social Work Training Programs' Websites
Traci Wike (Virginia Commonwealth University), Sarah Bledsoe (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Jennifer Bellamy (University of Chicago), and Melissa Grady (National Catholic School of Social Service)
Websites represent a visible medium for social work programs to communicate information about social work research, academic, and professional training priorities including evidence-based practice (EBP). However, few studies have examined the content of social work program websites. This exploratory study aimed to answer the question: Are EBP efforts in social work reflected on school websites? A guided content analysis of 40 randomly selected websites for schools of social work was used to identify how training, implementation, dissemination, and research related to EBP were represented through this medium. Implications for social work education, practice, and research are discussed.
Revalidation of an EBP Scale for Social Work
Sally Mathiesen and Melinda Hohman (San Diego State University)
The purpose of this study was to revalidate an existing measure of knowledge, attitudes, and use of evidence-based practice (EBP) developed for medical students. Adapted to reflect social work, questionnaires were obtained from undergraduate and graduate social work students (n=134) and field instructors (n=50). All four factors (21 items) related to EBP (knowledge, attitude, personal use and future use) showed good reliability, and the overall reliability was .86. MSW students rated their knowledge and use of EBP significantly higher than BSW students and field instructors, but the groups were similar on attitudes and future use of EBP. The KAB-SW represents a useful tool for social work programs that may be used to monitor the impact of EBP curricular efforts.
Moving Stories: Evaluating a MSW Experiential Learning Project on Aging and Diversity
Tina Maschi, Thalia MacMillan, Manoj Pardasani, Ji Seon Lee, and Claudia Moreno (Fordham University)
This study consisted of an oral history project that partnered MSW students with community dwelling older adults from diverse backgrounds. It used a comparison group with a pretest and posttest design and 74 MSW students to evaluate changes in their confidence about and future plans working with older adults, as well as geriatric competencies. The results of a series of repeated measures MANOVAs revealed that participation in the oral history project was significantly related to future career plans, confidence about working with diverse older adults, and geriatric competencies related to diversity, particularly for the experimental group. Using a broad-based aging curriculum has important implications towards fostering students' interest in pursuing social work practice with culturally competent practice with older adults.
Women and the Emergence of the NAACP
Linda Moore (Texas Christian University)
This paper discusses contributions of women to the emergence of the NAACP. Using network analysis, the author studied affiliations among African-American and white women signers of The Call, a petition calling for a national conference to obtain civil rights for African Americans. Results indicated their linkages led to the origin of one of the most successful organizations in the fight for equality. Their experiences reflect the segregation and conflicts of the era. They also suggest strategies for facing cultural issues today. Teaching about social work history, its legacy of reform, and its commitment to social justice gained from the social movements of the Progressive Era can help students, most of whom are women, understand how social change can occur.
Mental Health Workforce Change through Social Work Education: A California Case Study
Gwen Foster, Meghan Morris, and Siroj Sirojudin (University of California, Berkeley)
The 2004 California Mental Health Service Act requires large-scale system change in the public mental health system through a shift to recovery-oriented services for diverse populations. This article describes an innovative strategy for workforce recruitment and retention to create and sustain these systemic changes. The California Social Work Education Center Mental Health Program provides stipends to MSW students at 17 California universities. In return, students must work for one year post-graduation in community mental health practice. Results of a 5-year study show that stipend recipients closely mirror the diverse demographics of the state, and 94% have remained in community mental health practice. The article also discusses lessons learned and implications for social work education in California and other states.
Research Note—Online Dissemination of Research: Are Professional Associations Making the Grade?
Elisa Borah (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Donna Aguiniga (Western Illinois University)
Efficient and practical means of disseminating research to social workers are needed. The authors examined how 10 social work and 10 other helping profession association websites used their websites to disseminate research to their members. A rubric was used to rate the websites in four domains: the promotion, the accessibility, the dissemination, and the linkages to credible research information. Findings reveal that online dissemination of research by these professional associations is lacking. Recommendations include use of a prominent research tab on the homepage, inclusion of research syntheses, and links to additional research resources. Professional associations must improve their websites to become the foremost portals by which social workers stay informed of the most current research in their respective practice areas.
Research Note—A Pilot Cyber Counseling Course in a Graduate Social Work Program
Faye Mishna, Lea Tufford, Charlene Cook, and Marion Bogo (University of Toronto)
Cyber counseling is a new and growing medium through which to offer mental health services to children and youth. There is a lack of identification however, of the core competencies required to provide effective online counseling. A school of social work, in partnership with a national service agency providing online counseling to children and youth, developed and offered a 13-week course to participating MSW social work students and agency staff. The development of online counseling competencies was assessed through individual interviews with participants and a content analysis of online posts. Participants scored well in areas of assessment and intervention. Challenges were identified in relationship building within an online environment.