Social Work



Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Robin R. Whitebird


Practitioners in the critical tradition seek to identify the shortcomings of systems and beliefs that contribute to an ineffective social welfare system (Forte, 2007). This dissertation examines the intersectional systems of macro social work education practice. It explores the early history of macro social work education and practice and provides a contemporary practice application for shaping agency-level policies that address the subjugation of marginalized populations.

The first product is a critical analysis of Council on Social Work Education’s Community Organizing Curriculum Development Project (COCDP). It illustrates the focalization of macro social work education during a transitional period in which social work both professionalized and narrowed its macro practice approach. It examines the COCDP in the context of the professional, political, and economic influences that shaped the era.

The second article provides case study of best practices research at the agency level. It illustrates how, left unchecked, domestic violence shelter policies and practices continue to subjugate women who are fleeing intimate partner violence through a system of rules and punishments. It examines staff perceptions of a Voluntary Services Model as an alternative, emancipatory approach to shaping policies and procedures that empower victim/survivors of IPV.

The final section of this dissertation is an overview of a presentation of the author’s research on the COCDP. A historical analysis of the sociopolitical landscape that informed the COCDP and profession’s approach to empowering marginalized groups through macro social work practice was presented. The implications of the nearly simultaneous professionalization of social work practice and education in shaping social welfare policy through macro practice were discussed.

Social workers are ethically bound to addresses systems that subjugate marginalized populations. This research indicates that social work educators and practitioners must address systems within the profession that continue to subjugate. Implications for social work education suggest a need to revisit the profession’s macro practice curriculum. Implications for social work practice suggest that organizations attend to internal frameworks that may re-oppress. Key findings address structural artifacts within social work education and practice that subjugate marginalized populations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.