JSWE Awards

Best Reviewer Award

The Journal of Social Work Education Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) recognizes an outstanding manuscript reviewer each year at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting. The award is given based on the percentage of manuscripts accepted, average time taken to return reviews, and quality of feedback to authors.

Best Article Award

Each year the EAB chooses the best articles of the previous volume year. These important articles discuss timely issues and significantly expand or deepen the body of knowledge related to their topics. They show originality of thought and provide sound or innovative conceptualization of their topics. Empirical articles also demonstrate a logical and sophisticated methodology appropriate for the study conducted, use advanced statistical procedures that are appropriate for the data analysis, and provide clear implications that add significantly to the professional knowledge base and to social work education.


JSWE Award Winners for Volume 58

Best Reviewer

Congratulations to Dr. Diana M. DiNitto (University of Texas at Austin), who has been selected as the Journal of Social Work Education (JSWE) Best Reviewer of 2023! Each year, the recipient of the Best Reviewer award is selected by the JSWE Editorial Advisory Board to recognize a manuscript reviewer who has demonstrated exceptional service in responsiveness to requests for review, timeliness in submitting completed reviews, and quality of written reviews. 

CSWE and the JSWE Editorial Advisory Board would like to thank all the dedicated professionals who generously donate their time and expertise to review manuscripts and thus contribute to the value and success of the journal.

Best Articles of JSWE Volume 58

The criteria for choosing the Best Articles published in JSWE include the importance and timeliness of the content, originality of thought, innovative conceptualization of the topic, and presentation of conclusions and/or recommendations that add significantly to the professional knowledge base and to social work education.

Best Conceptual Article

James David Simon, Reiko Boyd, & Andrew M. Subica. (2022). Refocusing intersectionality in social work education: Creating a brave space to discuss oppression and privilege. Journal of Social Work Education, 58, 34–45, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2021.1883492

In this article, we argue that those in social work education should refocus how they conceptualize and teach intersectionality to produce more effective social work practitioners. We emphasize that social work should shift from educating students to evaluate diverse clients as the accumulation of individual identities operating in isolation (e.g., race or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) to recognizing how these identities intersect to influence health and well-being based on these identities’ shared roots in oppression and privilege. This emphasis is grounded in the belief that training social work students to identify the multiple forms of inequities resulting from oppression related to gender, race, and class that influence clients’ social, economic, and health (physical and mental) outcomes will better prepare them to deliver culturally responsive and structurally competent practice that aligns with and advances the mission and ethics of the social work profession. We further discuss how intersectionality should be conceptualized, defined, and taught in social work education through explicit naming and discussion of oppression and privilege, and we close by presenting some common barriers to teaching intersectionality as well as possible strategies to overcome them.

Best Quantitative Article

Todd D. Becker, Kimberly A. Leffler, & Lauren P. McCarthy. (2022). Individual characteristics associated with color-blind racial attitudes in master of social work students. Journal of Social Work Education, 58, 472–485, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2021.1942352

Schools of social work are tasked with preparing students to support the field’s ethical challenge of eliminating racism. Given that color-blind racial attitudes constitute a form of continued racism, identifying the factors associated with color-blind racial ideology (CBRI) in social work students represents a first step toward meeting this challenge. Drawing from critical race theory, this cross-sectional study surveyed a convenience sample of 305 master of social work (MSW) students across five schools of social work to explore which individual characteristics are significantly associated with CBRI at the bivariate and multivariate levels. A multiple linear regression assessed CBRI’s multivariate associations with demographic characteristics (i.e., age, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation) and professional characteristics (i.e., prior work experience with marginalized communities, bachelor of social work [BSW] attainment, MSW concentration). Results showed that increased age, gender identification as men, and BSW attainment had statistically significant, positive associations with CBRI, compared to their respective reference groups. Compared to straight sexual orientation, identification as gay or lesbian, bisexual, and other sexual orientation was significantly associated with lower CBRI. Macro-focused MSW concentration was the strongest statistically significant independent variable and was associated with decreased CBRI. Fostering critical self-awareness of MSW students’ racial blind spots may support meeting social work’s ethical challenge.

Best Qualitative Article

Ashley-Marie Daftary, Debora Ortega, Cynthia Sanders, & Mary Hylton. (2022). A CRT analysis of policy making in Nevada: A case study for social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 58, 768–779, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2021.1957734 

This study uses critical race theory (CRT) to uncover racialized interactions that influence legislative processes. The transcripts from public hearings from the 2017 Nevada State legislative session were included in the data analysis. Results demonstrate the utility of CRT as an analytic tool to examine the policy-making process, identify narratives that sustain and protect white supremacy imbedded in policies governing high school education, and uncover racist testimony throughout the policy-making process. More specifically, results demonstrate the ways that subtle racialized interactions drive conversations where White constituents protect white interests at the expense of racial equity. Conversely, findings highlight how People of Color issue a counternarrative by providing necessary historical context and perspectives to work toward racial justice goals.

Best Mixed Methods Article

Lynn C. Holley, Jennifer L. K. Charles, David C. Kondrat, & Heather A. Walter-McCabe. (2022). Supports and gatekeeping: Experiences of schools of social work with students with mental health conditions. Journal of Social Work Education, 58, 76–95, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2020.1798312

Some social work educators advocate for people with mental health conditions to become social workers because they may possess experiential knowledge and insights that equip them to help others achieve recovery goals. Educators also are tasked with gatekeeping, ensuring that students demonstrate social work competencies. Minimal research exists about how schools handle these dual responsibilities. Using an online survey of deans and directors and BSW and MSW coordinators of programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, this mixed-methods study asked about program administrators’ (a) experiences with students with mental health conditions and (b) existing and needed policies and practices related to these students. According to findings, a large majority described problems experienced by students with mental health conditions; schools managed mental health-related issues in a variety of ways; most said these students have graduated using supports; about half indicated students had been terminated because of mental health-related issues; disruptive behaviors, absences, and boundary issues were key challenges; and some programs’ practices might violate federal statutes. Student counseling, legal advice, and relationships with disability resource centers were desired resources. Implications include considerations for policies that are consistent with social work’s social justice mandate, federal laws, and our gatekeeping responsibilities.

Best Note

Brian E. Perron, Bryan G. Victor, Barbara S. Hiltz, & Joseph Ryan. (2022). Teaching Note—Data science in the MSW curriculum: Innovating training in statistics and research methods. Journal of Social Work Education, 58, 193–198, DOI: 10.1080/10437797.2020.1764891

Recent and rapid technological advances have given rise to an explosive growth of data, along with low-cost solutions for accessing, collecting, managing, and analyzing data. Despite the advances in technology and the availability of data, social work organizations routinely encounter data-related problems that have an impact on their opportunities for making data-driven decisions. Although training in research methods and statistics is important for social work students, these courses often do not address the needs organizations face in collecting, managing, and using data for data-driven decision making. In this teaching note, we propose innovating the social work curriculum using a data science framework as a way to address the day-to-day challenges organizations face regarding data. We provide a description of data science, along with four examples of MSW student projects that were based on a data science framework.