Title

Mapping Social Justice: A Case Study of a School of Social Work Student-Led Social Justice Initiative

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2017

Degree Name

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

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Michael Chovanec

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.

Keywords

social justice, micro social work, macro social work, social work education

Creative Commons License

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

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