Date of Paper

12-2017

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec

Department/School

Social Work

Abstract

Throughout the history of social work, two different branches – micro social work and macro social work – have emerged. Micro social work is largely focused on treating mental and behavioral health problems in individuals, couples and groups. Macro social work, meanwhile, focuses on making systemic changes through advocacy like lobbying and community organizing. Despite their differences, a key principle unites these branches: social justice. Although the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) identify social justice as a guiding principle of social work, there is little consensus in the field of what the term actually means and how it can be achieved. Master of Social Work (MSW) programs are likewise struggling with how to educate students on social justice and prepare them to engage in macro-level advocacy after graduating. This research examines how one student-led social justice initiative at a school of social work in St. Paul, MN is working to increase student engagement in macro-level social justice work through the use of targeted advocacy alerts. A case study design was utilized to explore the project's intricacies and evaluate first-year feedback, ultimately providing other MSW programs with a blueprint to adopt their own version of the project. Findings suggest that the targeted alert model may be successful in engaging clinical MSW students in social justice advocacy. Future research should explore longterm outcomes of this initiative at the original institution, as well as how it has been expanded to and implemented at other social work programs.

Available for download on Friday, July 12, 2019

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