On March 27th at 9PM EST, Thursday night, I will be moderating a live twitter chat using the hashtag #macrosw to discuss the CSWE public commenting period, and we will also conduct a review of the Social Work Helper petition seeking internship reform. Going into this tweet chat, I am open to supporting any ideas put forward to help innovate as well as prevent hardships for those pursing the social work degree.
The petition I created seeks to remove the mandatory minimum internship requirements for BSW students and Nonclinical MSW students which by no means eliminates the internship as part of your plan of study. However, this appears to be a major sticking point for some folks or its interpreted as an elimination of internships all together. I am guessing the concern is without a minimum mandate of hours students would decide not to do internships.
However, if students can’t be trusted to come to the best conclusion on completing an internship under counsel from their advisor, how can we entrust them as social workers to problem solve someone else’s life with no stake in the outcome?
If the social work degree does not innovate and relax the rigidness of the internship requirement, I am concerned enrollment will decline, and the social work degree will primarily only attract students who want to do therapy. Students wanting a macro/policy degree will seek degrees in other disciplines such as the MPA, MPH, or MBA due to their degree having a higher market value than the MSW, both campus and online options, as well as alternatives for experienced and working practitioners. How many students are social work programs losing already when potential students begin comparing degrees when deciding to pursue higher education?
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am willing to put forth my best ideas in hopes of sparking communication and inspiring others to add to the conversation. I know that many of us already have our degree, and whatever policies being implemented by the CSWE have no effect on us. However, I believe we should give this public commenting period some thought and effort to see what we can change for future generations of social workers.
Currently, CSWE does not prevent institutions from making exceptions to the internship requirement based on the needs of the student. However, this decision is in the hand of the institution, and policies vary from institution to institution which mean students don’t have access to the same options. We advocate to get autonomy for our clients, so why can’t we advocate to get some autonomy for ourselves in tailoring a plan of study to fit our own needs?
The #Macrosw chat is a collaboration made up of community practice organizations and individual macro social workers. The collaboration consists of ACOSA @acosaorg by(Rachel West @polisw), Network for Social Work Management, Deona Hooper (Founder of Social Work Helper @deonahooper), Karen Zgoda (PhD Candidate at Boston College), The University at Buffalo School of Social Work and the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Each member of the collaboration will take turns moderating the #MacroSW chats. The #MacroSW twitter chats occur on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.
I will be moderating Thursday night’s chat using @deonahooper. Please tweet any questions or responses directed to the moderator to @deonahooper and include the #macrosw in all of your tweets.