CSWE Celebrates Social Work Month 2020: Generations Strong

Published on : March 10, 2020

CSWE staff members are committed to supporting and advancing the programs that educate tomorrow’s social workers. Social Work Month’s theme is Generations Strong, and social workers on staff at CSWE took time to think about how things have changed regarding social work education and what aspects of the profession and programs remain as true today as they were years ago.

CSWE staff will add to this blog throughout March 2020, so please continue to check back!


Kendre Israel, MSW

MFP Senior Project Specialist
Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2009

How has technology changed the ways students learn about social work, or how professors teach about social work education?
Since my graduation in 2009, I’ve seen social work and social work education take new forms through the advancement of online learning, telehealth, and more. I appreciate how educators and professionals continue to purposefully and ethnically integrate technology to reduce barriers and increase connections.

What has stayed the same about the social work profession since you graduated?
Social work instills the value of connection and will always be a profession that relates to many people.


Gladys Mendez, MSW

CSWE Program Assistant
Howard University, Class of 2017

What about social work education has changed?
Social work education has become more adaptive to social media and technology in general, and I appreciate that our field is taking that direction.

Master’s programs have evolved in traditional classrooms and online in the range of courses that are now being offered and, in the way, that degrees are being conferred.
I’ve seen professors becoming more engaged with students through technology and apps. Students also have the opportunity to learn not only about social work via technology, but also about how it can affect our values and ethics as a profession.

What remains a constant in the profession and education?
Since I graduated, social work education still holds its values and ethics true to this day. Social workers will always be found in traditional roles, like supporting children and families or addressing domestic violence, but social workers are found in healthcare administration, public policy areas and just about every care setting in the country.


Katherine Lord, MSW

CSWE Program Associate
Metropolitan State University of Denver, Class of 2018

What about social work education has changed?
I think there’s an even stronger focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion now than 2 years ago.

There used to be separate tracks for clinical social work and macro social work. My program combined the tracks so social workers who want to practice in a clinical setting are still getting an education on systemic issues, while macro social workers are learning the critical elements of clinical practice. Also, we’re seeing major shifts with integrated behavioral health care in the medical system.

Online education opens so many opportunities for students. I think telehealth is becoming mainstream, so social work students have to learn how to use those programs and technologies. 
What remains a constant in the profession and education?
Although each program is unique, they are all very focused on how curriculum is mapped to the competencies.

Though I think that, unfortunately, social work continues to be a misunderstood—or an under-understood—profession in our country. Social workers do so much more than clinical social work, although that part of the field is deeply valuable. That’s why it remains so important to raise awareness about all of the incredible things social workers learn in school and the unparalleled experience and expertise we bring to the workforce.


Duy.jpgDuy Nguyen, MSW, Ph.D.

Director, Minority Fellowship Program (MFP)
Washington University in St. Louis (BA ’98, MSW ’00), Columbia University (PhD, ’07)

What about social work education has changed? 
The accessibility of information has changed social work education.  Twenty years ago we focused on delivering information and knowledge directly to students. Today’s social work educators are spending more time working with students to sift through information found online. The challenge there is assessing the validity and trustworthiness of the info and its sources.

I think the curriculum is more innovative today. It’s possible to offer classes that are focused on specific populations such as immigrants or refugees or issues such as trauma or social justice in a way that wasn’t available before.
What remains a constant in the profession and education?
Practicum requirements have remained consistent as well as the challenges of finding the right placement!

Fundamentally, social work students still seek ways to be agents of change.