Project Title

Engaging Diversity and Difference in Practice

Name of Award

APDC Curriculum Development Award

Date Awarded

Summer 6-1-2016


Social Work

Project Description

Pa Der Vang, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor of Social Work, was awarded $800 for an APDC Curriculum Development Award for the development of her new course Engaging Diversity & Difference in Practice. The BSW Program is in the process of revising its Bachelor of Social Work curriculum to include a standalone diversity course. This decision was made with the recognition that Cultural Competence is a core value in social work. Cultural competency has always been in our curriculum. It has been integrated throughout the curriculum where each course includes a cultural competency and diversity component. In a survey of BSW students administered in Fall 2015, a majority of students stated that a standalone diversity course was needed to give students a chance to spend concentrated time to engage on the topic of diversity and cultural competence. We agreed with the students. While we plan to continue to integrate diversity and cultural competence into each of our courses, we are excited to provide students with a standalone course on diversity and cultural competence.

This course will serve to integrate generalist practice across the spectrum from micro to macro levels and include an emphasis on cultural sensitivity, broadly considered to include race, age, gender, orientation, ethnicity, etc. In social work, cultural competence is a core value. While we address diversity in all of our classes, we realize that cultural competence is also developmental. We believe that students are most ready to embrace most of the intricacies of diversity in their senior year, when they have some experience to build upon. This class provides students with a forum to integrate their learning from the past two years in regards to understanding diversity and applying concepts of cultural competence to social work practice. We are exploring the idea of having students write a Capstone paper. Students would use the semester in the course to work on this capstone paper- students would conduct research, visit cultural areas in the Twin Cities that are relevant to their topic of interest, get guidance around their writing, and learn and integrate theory.

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