Date of Dissertation


Document Type

Banded Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Laurel Bidwell


Social Work


This banded dissertation focuses on a new teaching method called Decoding the Disciplines Model and how it can be used to help students move past difficult concepts. The conceptual framework through which this model will be applied also includes a comprehensive self-study and the use of reflection in the classroom. When using this model and framework, educators can improve student learning as well as become more informed educators. The banded dissertation contains three products.

The first product is a manuscript which makes the case for the Decoding the Disciplines Model to help students become unstuck on concepts, theories, or ideas in social work education, which has not occurred before. The conceptual framework paper makes the case for using the model with the addition of reflection and a comprehensive self-study. The author contends that utilizing the three parts together will result in more informed teaching.

The second product is a scholarly personal narrative of a Qualitative Self-Study Research Project. The self-study was conducted in an undergraduate social work diversity course, where students have, in the past, had a difficult time admitting to implicit biases they hold. After using the above described conceptual framework, the author found students were more engaged in the course and could articulate their biases within three weeks of beginning the course.

The third product is a review of a peer-reviewed conference at the 36th Annual Baccalaureate Program Directors Conference, held in Jacksonville, FL in March of 2019. The professional presentation was a combination of an explanation of the two manuscripts and presenting how the expanded model had been used in courses. Participants also shared bottlenecks they have discovered within social work education, offering the author suggestions for further research.

After completing the three products, four results were discovered. First, the expanded model can and should be used in social work education. Next, reflection is a necessary part of the process to become a fully informed teacher. The faculty member utilizing the model must be sure she or he discovers the exact bottleneck, rather than making assumptions. And finally, the process of a self-study can be vulnerable but also provides a wealth of information about one’s teaching.

Included in

Social Work Commons