University of Michigan provides resources for how to teach social work
A recent study found that at least a dozen colleges and universities actually do not have specific curricula and content they’re able to use when teaching social work.
“It was surprising to see that many institutions across the country do not have a formalized curriculum to teach a social work major,” stated researcher Kristin Schwab, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
The “toolkit” Schwab has put together for educators in high schools and college to help them teach social work concepts like human rights, diversity, and social justice is “designed to aid educators to educate students on social work and the ethical dimensions of human development.”
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the toolkit has been utilized by a number of colleges, including Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois, Princeton University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Stanford University, Brandeis University, Wake Forest University, and more.
The toolkit features a series of interesting graphs and images in addition to resource descriptions. For instance, while colleges may have a clear position on criminal justice, it’s likely that neither they nor social workers who work with a variety of students have a stance on how to protect and assist the LGBTQ community. The resulting disparity is an understandable one, as is the concern that an LGBTQ person might feel as though they’re the only one faced with this issue of identity.
Titled, “Know Your Own Social Work Values: An Educator Tool,” the collection of resources helps to clear this up with up-to-date information on a wide range of work and life issues. From embracing diversity to empowering social change to advocating for fair treatment, the toolkit offers useful resources that go beyond the frameworks currently in place to address these themes in the human development classroom.
“Developing a social work curriculum and providing the curricula that support them need not be difficult, but the curriculum itself should be academically rigorous and clinically useful,” stated Schwab. “Both are needed, especially in an area like education, to support students with high needs to stay interested, to develop a deep understanding of the ethical dimension of human development, and to shift expectations of students and educators, so that teaching social work is not just a teachable moment, but something more.”
Learn more about this resource on the University of Michigan’s publication, Gender Studies (GSA), and it’s future publication—the University of Michigan’s publication Gender Politics (GPC)—with each issue examining issues of diversity and inclusion.