Lessons Learned

Growing Social Workers’ Preparation for Upstream Practice

  • Ann Curry-Stevens Portland State University and Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Lisa Hawash Portland State University
  • Sarah Bradley Portland State University
Keywords: macro practice, advocacy, equity, policy, organizational change, leadership

Abstract

Over the last 10 years, the MSW program at Portland State University has gone from graduating 15% of its students in the macro concentration, to 32%, while the national average remains under 9%. This article traces that experience through a historically-grounded narrative line, and extracts learnings that are potentially relevant for the profession. Curricular practices include reviewing the content for horizontal and vertical integration, introducing macro content early in the first year of the program with sufficient time to inform students’ choice of concentrations, and providing students influence to shape content in the advanced year. Faculty specializations and community reputation are important, as is ensuring that macro faculty have security in status, and that they become known to first year students. The article also includes tensions that emerged during the development process, with potential to derail the effort.

Author Biographies

Lisa Hawash, Portland State University

Associate Professor of Practice

MSW Online Option Coordinator  

School of Social Work

Portland State University

Sarah Bradley, Portland State University

Associate Professor of Practice

MSW Program Director

School of Social Work

Portland State University

References

ACOSA. (2017). Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work. Retrieved from https://acosa.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=789392&module_id=335370

Aronowitz, S. (2003). How class works: Power and social movement. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Barsky, A., & Wood, L. (2005). Conflict avoidance in a university context. Higher Education Research and Development, 24(3), 249-264.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360500153984

Cochrane-Smith, M. (2000). Blind vision: Unlearning racism in teacher education. Harvard Educational Review, 70(2), 157-192.

doi: https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.70.2.e77x215054558564

Council on Social Work Education [CSWE]. (2015). Educational policy and accreditation standards. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/getattachment/Accreditation/Accreditation-Process/2015-EPAS/2015EPAS_Web_FINAL.pdf.aspx

CSWE. (2017). 2017 Statistics on social work education in the United States: Summary of the CSWE Annual Survey of Social Work Programs. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/Research-Statistics/Research-Briefs-and-Publications/CSWE_2017_annual_survey_report-FINAL.aspx

CSWE. (2018). Specialized practice curricular guide for macro social work practice (Original work published 2015). Alexandria, VA: Author.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-94186-5_369

CSWE. (2019). Online and distance education offerings by accredited programs. Retrieved from https://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Directory-of-Accredited-Programs/Online-and-Distance-Education.

Curry-Stevens, A. (2012a, April). Lessons learned: Using research to advance racial equity in Multnomah County. Keynote lecture at Protecting our Children, Ensuring our Future, National Indian Child Welfare Association National Conference, Phoenix, AZ.

Curry-Stevens, A. (2012b, April). Anti-oppressive practice in action. Keynote lecture at Finding our Way: Navigating Anti-Oppressive Practice in Child Welfare, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, Toronto, ON.

Curry-Stevens, A., Cross-Hemmer, A., & Coalition of Communities of Color. (2010). Communities of color in Multnomah County: An unsettling profile. Portland, OR: Portland State University. Retrieved from https://allhandsraised.org/content/uploads/2012/10/AN20UNSETTLING20PROFILE.pdf

Curry-Stevens, A., Reyes, M. & Coalition of Communities of Color. (2014). Protocol for culturally responsive organizations. Portland, OR: Center to Advance Racial Equity, Portland State University. Retrieved from https://www.oregon.gov/ohcs/OSHC/docs/HSC-2016/030416_HSC_LIFT_CARE-report.pdf

de Saxe Zerden, L., Sheely, A., & Despard, M. (2016). Debunking macro myths: Findings from recent graduates about jobs, salaries and skills. Social Work Education: The International Journal, 35(7), 752-766.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2016.1188915

Doherty, S. (2003). A model for community-based youth leadership development: Effective communities project. Retrieved from https://effectivecommunities.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ECP_YouthLeadership.pdf

Dujon, V., Dillard, J., & Brennan, E. (Eds). (2013). Social sustainability: A multilevel approach to social inclusion. New York: Routledge.

Fay, J. (2003). You can’t check your power and privilege at the door: Some lessons in post-modern social justice coalition-building. Canadian Review of Social Policy, 52, 139-143.

Gragg, R. (2012, February). The limits of nice. Portland Monthly. Retrieved from https://www.pdxmonthly.com/articles/2012/2/24/editors-note-march-2012

Grey, M., & Fook, J. (2004). The quest for a universal social work: Some issues and implications. Social Work Education, 23(5), 625-644.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/0261547042000252334

Har, J. (2010, May 5). New PSU report finds Multnomah County ‘uniquely toxic’ for people of color – and getting worse. The Oregonian. Retrieved from https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/2010/05/new_psu_report_finds_multnomah.html

Kirk, P., & Shutte, M.A. (2004). Community leadership development. Community Development Journal, 39(3), 234-251.

Korten, D. (1995). When corporations rule the world. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/hrdq.3920070409

Kumashiro, K. (2001). ‘Posts’ perspectives on anti-oppressive education in social studies, English, mathematics, and science classrooms. Educational Researcher, 30(3), 3-12. doi: https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x030003003

McBeath, B. (2016). Re-envisioning macro social work practice. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 97(1), 5-14.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1606/1044-3894.2016.97.9

Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/074171369204200309

National Association of Social Workers [NASW]. (2017). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Netting, E. (2013). Macro social work practice. In NASW (Ed.), Encyclopedia of social work. Retrieved from http://socialwork.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.001.0001/acrefore-9780199975839-e-230#acrefore-9780199975839-div1-1919

Netting, E., O’Connor, M., Cole, P., Hopkins, K., Jones, J., Kim, Y., …Wike, T. (2016). Reclaiming and reimaging macro social work education: A collective biography. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(2), 157-169.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2016.1151271

Portland State University’s School of Social Work [PSU]. (2017). MSW program mission. Retrieved from https://www.pdx.edu/ssw/master-of-social-work

PSU’s MSW Program. (2018). PSU’s MSW Program Council on Social Work Education Reaffirmation Self Study. Unpublished Manuscript, School of Social Work, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.

Reisch, M. (2016). Why macro practice matters. Association of Community Organization and Social Administration. Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KeGqpGpG9saDzD_Pz06B-jlICngEf-Vc/view

Reisch, M. (2017). Guest editorial: Why macro practice matters. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, 41(1), 6-9.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/23303131.2016.1179537

Rossiter, A. (2001). Innocence lost and suspicion found: Do we educate for or against social work? Critical Social Work, 2(1), 1-5.

Rothman, J. (2013). Education for macro intervention: A survey of problems and prospects. Retrieved from http://www.acosa.org/joomla/pdf/RothmanReportRevisedJune2013.pdf

Rothman, J., & Mizrahi, T. (2014). Balancing micro and macro practice: A challenge for social work. Social Work, 59(1), 91-93. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swt067

Schram, S., Soss, J., & Fording, R. (2014). Welfare and welfare reform in the age of neoliberal paternalism. In M. Reisch (Ed.), Social policy and social justice (pp. 377-404). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. doi: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506374574.n13

Shragge, E. (2007). “In and against” the community: Use of self in community organizing. In D. Mandell (Ed.), Revisiting the use of self: Questioning professional identities (pp. 159-180). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press.

Specht, H., & Courtney, M. (1994). Unfaithful angels: How social work has abandoned its mission. New York: Free Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/40.1.134

Stanford, J. (2008). Economics for everyone: A short guide to the economics of capitalism. Black Point, NS: Fernwood.

U.S. News & World Report. (2019, July 2). Best schools for social work. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/social-work-rankings

Published
2020-01-22