Janet Holter

Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kingsley Chigbu


Social Work


The development of social work professional identity is characterized by internalization of the knowledge, skills, values, and mission of social work, and begins with and is shaped by the content, and interactions, as well as student experiences within the context of the social work education curricula. This Banded Dissertation comprising three products centers on the development of professional identity within undergraduate social work education. The first product is a qualitative study in which the author examined student perceptions of professional identity, student definitions and perceptions of how social work education shapes students’ professional identity. Findings showed that intentional development of professional identity is essential for social work education; as such, field education has a significant role in professional identity development. The second product is a conceptual paper focusing on professional identity development in the context of field education. Utilizing symbolic interactionism as a theoretical framework, the paper examined factors affecting student professional identity development within the context of social work field education and discusses implications for field instructors and field education curricula. The third product is a presentation of product 2 at the Council on Social Work Education’s 63rd Annual Program Meeting in October of 2017. This presentation outlined current research on professional identity development through the lens of symbolic interactionism, focusing on field education. The three products of this Banded Dissertation emphasize professional identity development as an essential function of social work education. This work has implications for social work educators seeking to develop curricula to assist students in their development of a strong professional identity.

Included in

Social Work Commons