CSWE Announces Grantees for the Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative

Published on : July 17, 2020

Alexandria, VA (July 17, 2020) – The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) today announced the grantees for the fourth cycle of its Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative, funded by The New York Community Trust. This initiative enables schools of social work to create integrative models that heighten the policy skill set of undergraduate- and graduate-level social work students, regardless of specialization.  
The initiative makes two types of grants available that either develop or enhance field placement experiences in policy practice or create policy-related community engagement experiences beyond field placements. 
“These grants make it possible for future social workers to learn the importance of policies, legislation, and regulation that advance social justice goals. We thank The New York Community Trust for funding this initiative and allowing CSWE and member programs to create opportunities for policy-focused field education and community engagement projects,” said CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW.
This year’s grantees and projects are as follows: 

The College of Staten Island, The Public Conversation for Change Leadership Training Initiative

This initiative will provide training and a network of supports that enhance first-year MSW and senior BSSW students’ commitment and skills for leading participatory policy change efforts that work to address forms of inequities at the intersections of race, disability, and poverty in Staten Island.  

Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville State University’s Housing and Homelessness Community Engagement Project 

MSW and BSW students will be exposed to the challenges of affordable housing and the increasing homeless population in the Fayetteville/Cumberland County area. Students will participate in a town hall meeting with state advocacy organizations such as NC-NASW and North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness. Students will also participate in a panel discussion with local stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the relationship of policy to practice and the impact it has on the provider of services as well as the consumer. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to attend the North Carolina Advocacy Day to engage with state lawmakers. 

Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Policy Skills Development Lab 

This community engagement project seeks to link social work policy practice to the lived experiences of students to make policy practice relevant for BSW students. The project will focus on how assumptions of poverty, race, and ethnicity factor into adaptation and resilience to natural disasters. Students will develop and practice essential skills for social work policy practice through lab-centric instruction; engage with community groups and organizations; and share knowledge of community problems, concerns, and solutions through publication.  

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Social Work/Library Policy Practice Initiative 

Students will work in specialized field placements, two library sites and two jail sites, where they will enhance their clinical experience by using aggregated data collected and analyzed to create policy recommendations to policymakers and stakeholders. Students will also participate in policy teach-ins to further strengthen their understanding of policy implications. 

Philander Smith College, The Voter Education and Empowerment Project 

This project encourages students to address voter suppression, particularly concerning voter registration and voter ID laws, barriers surrounding absentee voting, voter schedules and disillusionment, and voting rights restoration for those currently in Arkansas jails. 

Rhode Island College, Engaging Students in Policy Practice by Enhancing Field Instructor Capacity 

This project will focus on increasing foundation-year MSW students’ skills in policy practice by expanding faculty field liaison and field supervisor capacity to engage students in meaningful policy projects through the generalist field placement. A new training curriculum will be devised for field directors and field instructors/supervisors. 

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Increasing Student Capacity in Policy Practice and Community Engagement 

This project will improve BSW and MSW students’ understanding of rural policy issues and help them better engage in policy and advocacy within and beyond the social work profession. A speaker series and training workshops will be held, and participation in Illinois Advocacy Day will be offered.  

Temple University, Policy Practice in Community Engagement 

Temple will use knowledge, experience, and relationships to organize a teach-in on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day in January 2021. The teach-in will develop interprofessional teams to address the significant and growing inequality in the United States at a policy level. Students, faculty, staff, and community members will create a Web page to store primary resources and documentation that can be used to engage in policy practice.  

Tulane University, Putting Policy in Its Place 

The proposed program is designed to teach Tulane School of Social Work students to look for the ways that policy shapes their clients’ lives, understand how policy affects their practice, and more effectively use policy to inform practice. Tulane field students will have the opportunity to be placed in agencies that primarily focus on advocacy and policy work. They will also attend training workshops and symposia to complement their field experiences.  

University of Buffalo/State University of New York, Educational Justice Policy Practice Initiative  

This enhanced field experience will focus on educational justice policy practice. Specifically, MSW students will strengthen their knowledge and advanced skills in research, policy analysis, development, and advocacy as these relate to educational inequity in American public schools. The project will emphasize the ability to analyze policy, create and propose innovative solutions, and effectively communicate those solutions to a variety of audiences.  

Western Illinois University, PLEA Project 

The Policy Learning for Environmental Action (PLEA) Project will provide hands-on field experience to advance policy improvement in the social work program curriculum. Field instructors will collaborate with their students on the project with the guidance and support of their Western Illinois University field liaison. This partnership between the social work program and field agencies will provide students multiple sources of expertise and guidance as well as their own vested interest in the project.  

Winona State University, The Community Changemaker Lab 

Co-founded by Engage Winona, this project will provide effective, authentic community and policy practice experiences for social work students by connecting them with opportunities to address policy analysis and work in collaboration with marginalized populations to advocate for change.  
About CSWE 
Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education is the national association representing social work education in the United States. Its members include more than 800 accredited baccalaureate and master’s degree social work programs, as well as individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies dedicated to advancing quality social work education.