Author:
Matthew DeCarlo
Subject:
Social Work
Material Type:
Syllabus
Level:
Graduate / Professional
Tags:
Vgr-social-work-research, Vgr-syllabus-bank
License:
Creative Commons Attribution
Language:
English
Media Formats:
Text/HTML

SOWK 679: Advanced Standing Bridge Course II

Overview

The syllabus for SOWK 679: Advanced Standing Bridge Course II, as previously taught at Radford University by Dr. Matt DeCarlo.

RADFORD UNIVERSITY

Waldron College of Health and Human Services

School of Social Work

Summer II 2020

 

Title:                    Advanced Standing Bridge Course II        Location:              Waldron Hall 215

Course #:            SOWK 679                                                     Section:              01             

Day & Time:      Saturdays at 9 AM (see course calendar for exact times and dates)

Instructor:          Dr. Matt DeCarlo                                                                             

Office hours:     Virtual office hours on Tuesday nights from 8-9pm via Zoom.
                             Office hours are available on demand. Just email me. We’ll find a time quickly.

 

Course Description:

This course is required for all advanced standing students and is aimed at providing the conceptual orientation for the concentration year graduate program. The goal of this course is to enhance skills and knowledge in research and policy in preparation for advanced community-based family practice (2.1.3, 2.1.6, 2.1.9). The key themes and concepts explored in this course include: history of social work and social welfare programs; research methodology; and the role of research and policy in social work practice (2.1.6, 2.1.8).

Prerequisite:     Admission to the advanced standing program in social work.

Educational Objectives:

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Articulate the relationship among research, policy, theory, and practice at all levels of social work practice (micro, mezzo and macro) (2.1.3).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of quantitative and qualitative research design (2.1.6).
  3. Critique existing research studies according to established methodological principles including sampling considerations, internal validity, and external validity (2.1.6).
  4. Design an actual research project (2.1.6).
  5. Explain the function of social work research in the advancement of professional knowledge and in ethical social work practice (2.1.3).
  6. Critically assess the historical events, values, and concepts influencing the development of the social work profession (2.1.9).
  7. Describe the important events and trends in the history of social welfare programs and policies in the United States (2.1.8).
  8. Analyze common social problems and the policy responses to them (2.1.8).
  9. Critically analyze the ways in which social policies reinforce existing power structures and their impact on diverse segments of society, particularly populations at risk (2.1.4).

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Assignments linked to course objectives

Linkages to CSWE Core Competencies

Linkages to CSWE Practice Behaviors

1. Articulate the relationship among research, policy, theory, and practice at all levels of social work practice (micro, mezzo and macro).

2.1.3

Social indicators

2.1.3

  Apply Critical Thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments

 

2.1.3

1. Appraise multiple sources of knowledge (research and practice-based)

2. Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of quantitative and qualitative research design.

2.1.6

Quantitative proposal

 

Qualitative proposal

2.1.6

  Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

2.1.6

1. Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry

 

 

3. Critique existing research studies according to established methodological principles including sampling considerations, internal validity, and external validity.

2.1.6

Annotated bibliography

2.1.6

 Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

 

2.1.6

2. Use research evidence to inform practice

 

4. Design an actual research project.

 

2.1.6

Quantitative proposal

 

Qualitative proposal

2.1.6

  Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

 

2.1.6

1. Use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry

 

5. Explain the function of social work research in the advancement of professional knowledge and in ethical social work practice.

 

2.1.6

Background and questions

2.1.6

  Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

 

2.1.6

2. Use research evidence to inform practice

 

6. Critically assess the historical events, values, and concepts influencing the development of the social work profession.

2.1.9

Policy history assignment

2.1.9

 Respond to contexts that shape practice

2.1.9

1. Discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological advances and emerging social trends to provide relevant services

7. Describe the important events and trends in the history of social welfare programs and policies in the United States.

 

2.1.8

Policy history assignment

2.1.8

Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and deliver effective SW services

 

2.1.8

1. Analyze, formulate, and advocate for social well-being

 

8. Analyze common social problems and the policy responses to them.

 

2.1.8

Policy briefing assignment

 

Social indicators

2.1.8

  Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and deliver effective SW services

2.1.8

1. Analyze, formulate, and advocate for social well-being

 

9. Critically analyze the ways in which social policies reinforce existing power structures and their impact on diverse segments of society, particularly populations at risk.

2.1.4

Policy history assignment

 

Policy briefing assignment

2.1.4

Engage diversity and difference in practice

2.1.4

1.Recognize culture's structures and values that may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege

 

 

Relationship to other courses:

The bridge course sequence (SOWK 678 and SOWK 679) acts as the “bridge” between the undergraduate BSW coursework and the concentration coursework in the MSW program.  While you have undoubtedly already been exposed to many of the ideas we will cover, the depth of understanding required to succeed in the advanced MSW curriculum is fundamentally different than what was required at the BSW level.  This course is a place to “ramp up” your understanding of the content; it is not merely a review of what you’ve already learned. SOWK 678 focuses on theories related to human behavior in the social environment and social work practice.  SOWK 679 focuses on research, policy, and social welfare history.  

 

Course Policies:

 

Communication policy:  Email is an official form of communication.  Check it often, preferably linking it to your smartphone.  It is your responsibility to keep track of emails from professors so as not to miss important information about readings, assignments, and policies. 

 

Each professor in the School of Social Work makes it clear in the syllabus what the standard operating procedures are for communication with him/her, including the means and the anticipated turn-around time. Given the proliferation of social media, each professor gives thought to the balance between all the communication choices and the needs of a professional program regarding the professional boundaries that govern social work practice. Students must understand that the same ethical standards apply in the virtual world as in the physical world.

Students with Disabilities: Students seeking academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act must register with the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) to determine eligibility. Students qualified for academic accommodations will receive accommodation letters and should meet with each course professor during office hours, to review and discuss accommodations.  To begin the registration process, complete a Student Registration Form and submit documentation to PO Box 6902, Radford, Virginia 24142, or deliver to the Russell Hall, Room 325, by fax to 540-831-6525, or by email to cas@radford.edu (See documentation guidelines).  For more information, visit the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) website or call 540-831-6350.

Honor Code: By accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to understand, support, and abide by the university honor code without compromise or exception. Violations of the University Honor Code include (but are not limited to): lying, stealing and unauthorized possession of property, cheating, multiple submission, and plagiarism. Refer to the Student Handbook for more details.

In addition to the University Honor Code, students are expected to comply with the NASW Code of Ethics and the Waldron College Standards for Professional Practice. Failure to do so will negatively impact student grades and can result in dismissal from the program. Students are responsible for obtaining and reading the above-mentioned code and policy.

Weather Policy: Students should check with the Radford University switchboard at 540-831-7692 to see whether classes have been delayed or cancelled. If the University opens late you are still required to attend the remainder of a class that began before the university opened. (For example if your class is 9 AM to 11 AM and the University opens at 10 AM, you must attend your class from 10 AM to 11 AM.)  In the case of inclement weather, faculty might occasionally reschedule a class even though SWVHEC or Radford University is officially open. In this case, the faculty will send an email to the class and post a notice on D2L.

Emergency Information: In the event of a University-wide emergency, course requirements, classes, deadlines and grading policies and procedures are subject to change. Potential changes that could occur include alternative delivery methods, alternative methods of interaction with the instructor, accessing class materials and/or classmates, a revised attendance policy, and a revised semester calendar and/or grading schedule. In the case of a University-wide emergency, please refer to D2L or your RU mail about changes in this course.

It is also a good idea to sign up for RU Alert.  See the following steps for doing so:

  • Visit the MyRU portal.
  • Select the Personal Info icon, and go to RU Alert column.
  • Click on "Edit RU Alert Information."

 

Classroom Conduct: Respect for others is a fundamental part of social work and professional practice.  All students are expected to treat one another and the instructor with respect.  Please do not talk or whisper while someone else is speaking.  If you choose to bring food or drinks to class, please clean up after yourself and choose refreshments that will not disrupt class or disturb others.  Please turn all cell phones, pagers, and similar electronic devices off or on silent/vibrate before entering class. Be courteous and do not engage in behavior that is distracting to others (e.g., playing video games on your laptop or sending text messages on your cell phone).

Submitting your Work:

  • Assignments should be submitted via D2L unless otherwise instructed.  If technical issues arise, email and hard copy are also accepted but not preferred.  
  • Student papers should be typed or word-processed and must conform to the guidelines set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed). Pay special attention to citation style, reference format, and guidelines for properly crediting others’ ideas and work.
  • Students must give proper credit to others’ ideas, words, and works. Each item used in a student paper must be properly cited and must be included in a separate reference list. Any direct quotations must be accompanied by the proper citation, including the page number or other location information, as required by the Publication Manual.
  • Clarity is of paramount importance when you are communicating with others. If your ideas are not communicated clearly, it is impossible to evaluate the quality of your ideas.
  • Please proofread and edit your work. Excessive errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation interfere with effective communication and will negatively impact your grade.

 

Specific expectations:

  1. Attend all class sessions. Students are expected to attend all class meetings. Students who must miss class should inform the instructor before class. Excessive tardiness will count against your attendance record.  Your first two absences are automatically excused.  If you have multiple emergencies during the course of the semester, please email me and meet with me during office hours. 
    1. Absence from 1 full class session (from 9-4) will result in an F for the course.  If you have a medical or personal issue that keeps you from missing one Saturday, you should meet with the professor as soon as possible and provide documentation of the issue. 
  2. Arrive at class on time and prepared. You need to be in your seats, ready to participate at the beginning of class. You are also expected to remain for the entire class session. Tardiness, leaving early, and failure to return after a break will count against your course grade. Students are given a 5-minute grace period before and at the end of classes.  If an emergency arises that causes you to be late, please email me. 
    1. Arriving late or leaving early during three or more classes will result in a lowered course grade as follows:
      • 3rd class late: 2.5 points deducted from final course grade
      • 4th class late: 5 points deducted from final course grade
      • 5th class late: 10 points deducted from final course grade.
  3. Complete readings and assignments prior to each class session, and participate actively and thoughtfully in the discussion of the assigned content. Students are expected to ask questions, share ideas and experiences, and participate in all class discussions. Participation is part of your grade for the course, and the instructor considers both the quality and quantity of participation.
  4. Electronic communications will be used in this class. Students should ensure they have access to each of the following systems and know how to use its basic functions.
  • E-mail: Students must check their RU e-mail account regularly for announcements from the instructor.
  • D2L: Students must ensure they have access to D2L and know how to use it. D2L will be used primarily for materials that must be protected for security or copyright reasons. This includes electronic reserve readings (e.g., articles) and student grades.
  1. Submit all coursework by the due dates. Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late assignments are accepted with good reason. Please reach out via email.
  2. Students must contact the instructor within two weeks of receiving a grade on an assignment if they wish to contest the grade.
  3. "I" (incomplete) course grades will be considered only in relation to emergency and hardship situations. A time limit for completion of the incomplete work must be established before a grade of “I” will be given.
  4. Grading scale

                             93.50% to 100%                             A

                             89.50% to 93.49%           A-

                             86.50% to 89.49%           B+

                             82.50% to 86.49%           B

                             79.50% to 82.49%           B-

                             69.50% to 79.49%           C

                             59.50% to 69.49%           D

                             Below 59.50                     F

The following general evaluative guidelines apply to all assignments.

“A” work demonstrates critical synthesis of material in a well-written document. Its quality is exceptional or above average in all areas.

“B” work is well-written and demonstrates above average ability in critical synthesis of material. Its quality is above average in most areas, although there may be aspects that are merely of average quality. No areas could be considered below average.

“C” work lacks originality, includes attempts at critical synthesis that fall short of expectations, or represents thinking that is below the level. Work may include one or two areas of significant weakness, but most areas are at least “average.”

“D” work has serious lapses in organization, thinking, clarity, and presentation. It does not reflect the work of an advanced undergraduate student, with multiple areas that are below average. It does not attempt critical synthesis of the material, or such synthesis is poorly done.

“F” work is incomplete, contains significant weaknesses, or is of unacceptable quality for college-level work.

  1. Evaluation criteria

Adequacy: Does the submission fulfill all of the requirements of the assignment?

Depth: Does the submission demonstrate an adequate level of research and engagement with the topic?

Critical Thinking: Does the submission provide clear, creative, and strong arguments, with support for those arguments in facts from empirical or theoretical literature?

Communication and Presentation: Does the submission use proper grammar, spelling, and syntax?  Is the essay logically organized and clearly written? 

 

Teaching methods:

The course is organized around student-centered learning principles, experiential activities, films/videos, lecture, and individual and group investigation of the issues. Students are encouraged to be active participants in the learning process; this requires that you keep up with the readings and make a concerted effort to relate the course material to your personal and professional experiences.

Required Texts:

Chapin, R. K. (2014). Social policy for effective practice: A strengths approach (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

              Note: There is a 4th edition.  You can buy it if you want, but the chapters are much longer. You are expected to read this book prior to arriving for the policy section of the class.

DeCarlo, M., Cummings, C., & Agnelli, K. (2020). Graduate research methods in social work: A project-based approach . Open Social Work. 

              Link until 7/1: https://pressbooks.rampages.us/msw-textbook/

              Permanent link after 7/1: https://pressbooks.rampages.us/msw-research/

              This book is used for reference, and it is available in HTML, PDF, and e-reader formats free of charge. The downloadable links will be made available on 7/1. You are not expected to read from this book prior to class, but you should reference it if you need help while completing assignments on your own.   

 

 

Course Assignments

Students must complete all of the assignments in order to receive a grade above C in the course. The percentage value of each assignment is given below, followed by a brief description of each assignment. Assignments noted as CORE are core assignments for this course.

 

 

Assignment

Points

Policy project

Policy history presentation

10

Social indicators presentation

10

Policy briefing presentation

10

Contribution to group

10

Research project

Worksheet 1: Getting started

Worksheet 2: Research questions

Quantitative study proposal

5

5

10

Qualitative study proposal

Topical outline

10

10

Other

Team teaching

Discussion comments

CITI Training

10

5

5

 

TOTAL:

100

 

 

Policy project—This is a group project and all students will receive the same grade (except for the “group contribution” portion). Working in groups of 2-3 students, you will identify a policy are that is of mutual interest to the group.  The topic must be approved by the instructor to make sure it’s appropriate for all parts of the project, but is very flexible. Presentations will be delivered via the asynchronous video discussion platform Flipgrid. (2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.1.8, 2.1.9)

  • Social indicators presentation (10 points): Using what you learn in the Chapin readings and the research videos on information literacy, group members will be responsible for researching the state of the literature about your topic using reputable sources. This information will be delivered in a short (<10 minutes) presentation on Flipgrid.
  • Policy history presentation (10 points): Group members will be responsible for researching and creating a presentation that describes the history of the policy and social problem. Presentations should explicitly address anti-racism and discuss historical influences dating back over 100 years in the past. Presentations will be short (<10 minutes) and delivered via Flipgrid.
  • Policy briefing presentation (10 points): The group will identify a body of policymakers (administrators in a department, legislators on a specific committee, etc.) and deliver an informative and persuasive briefing regarding their issue to policymakers. The presentation should incorporate information from the social indicators and policy history assignment. Presentations should conclude with a recommendation to policymakers about a specific and clearly articulated incremental change to existing laws that would help people impacted by that law. Presentations will be short (<10 minutes) and delivered via Flipgrid.
  • Group contribution (10 points): Each member of your group will provide confidential feedback to the instructor regarding your contributions to the policy project.  This, along with the instructor’s observations of the group’s functioning, will form the basis for this portion of the course grade. 

Research proposals— All students are required to conduct an independent research project in SOWK 772 during their concentration year. During SOWK 679, advanced standing students propose two research projects, one qualitative and one quantitative. Research proposals will be completed during weekly class sessions, though students can revise and resubmit work after class ends.

  • Quantitative research proposal (15 points): This is a worksheet, not a formal paper.  The prompt is available on D2L
  • Qualitative research proposal (15 points): This is a worksheet.  Prompt on D2L.
  • Topical outline (10 points): Students will submit a topical outline organizing the information from three review articles. Prompt on D2L.

 

Other assignments

 

              Team teaching (10 points): In small groups, you will be responsible for a more focused reading and presentation of the policy content in week 5.  This is a “divide and conquer” assignment.  During this weeks, groups will be responsible for closely read of one chapter and skimming the others.  Students will be responsible for a short (<10 minute) presentation delivered via Flipgrid that applies   

Discussion comments (5 points): Students are required to view all videos posted by other groups after the due date and leave a comment one group’s video. That comment should be a compliment sandwich. One thing the group did well in the presentation, an opportunity for improvement, and another thing they did well.   

CITI Training (5 points): Students are required to take the CITI training for student researchers as part of this course. Students should plan to spend at least an hour or two on this training, as it does take some time to complete. It is required before you enter SOWK 772 and start conducting research with human subjects.

Prompts for each assignment can be found on D2L in the folder Prompts for Assignments and under the assignments tab as an attachment for each assignment.

 

 

Time

Readings

Topics

Due

Week 1: 6/27

9-11AM: Research

(synchronous)

DeCarlo 1 & 2

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Student research projects at Radford

Read the syllabus, if you have time.

 

11AM-12:30PM

lunch

  • Read Chapter 1

 

 

12:30-2PM: Policy

(synchronous)

Chapin 1

  • Group policy project
  • Discussion of chapter 1

 

6/30

8PM Virtual Office Hours/ Study Hall (attendance optional)

Week 2: 7/4

(no class)

Research

(asynchronous)

DeCarlo 3-5

  • Videos to watch
    • Literature search
    • Annotating an article
    • Fact outlines and topical outlines

 

 

Policy

(asynchronous)

Chapin 5

  • Work on social indicators presentation
  • Begin work on policy history presentation

 

7/7

8PM Virtual Office Hours/ Study Hall (attendance optional)

Week 3: 7/11
 

9-11AM: Research

DeCarlo 7-9

  • Paradigm & theory
  • Reasoning & causality
  • Research questions

CITI Training

 

11AM-12:30PM

lunch

  • Read Chapters 2 & 3

 

 

12:30-2PM: Policy

Chapin 2 & 3

  • Historical context
  • Policy history work time

Social indicators presentations

7/14

8PM Virtual Office Hours/ Study Hall (attendance optional)

Week 4: 7/18

9-11AM: Research

DeCarlo 10-16

  • Review videos prior to class
  • Quantitative methods (sampling, measures, design)

Quantitative proposal

 

 

11AM-12:30PM

lunch

  • Read Chapters 4 & 6

 

 

12:30-2PM:

Policy

Chapin 4 & 6

  • Economic and political dimensions
  • Policy development and analysis
  • Policy briefing work time

Policy history presentation

7/21

8PM Virtual Office Hours/ Study Hall (attendance optional)

Week 5: 7/25

9-11AM: Research

DeCarlo 17-22

  • Review videos prior to class
  • Qualitative methods (sampling, measures, design)

Qualitative proposal

 

 

Policy

(asynchronous)

Chapin 7-11

  • Topics in social welfare policy

Team teaching

7/28

8PM Virtual Office Hours/ Study Hall (attendance optional)

Week 6: 8/1

Research

(asynchronous)

None

 

Topical outline

Proposal revisions

 

Policy briefing

None

 

Policy briefing presentation

Peer evaluation

 

 

[INSERT COURSE CALENDAR WHEN COMPLETE]