In 2008, the College of Social Work initiated a curriculum redesign that was centered on engaging the community. With multiple opportunities available through the new Educational and Policy Accreditation Standards (EPAS) through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)—and with the upcoming conversion to semesters at Ohio State—the college was positioned to be creative and cutting edge.
Leaders from the college began asking questions about where it wanted the college curriculum to be in the next five to ten years. One answer was clear: the college needed to have a curriculum that was informed by the practice community.
As a result, the college hosted a World Café in October of 2008 that engaged 92 of its faculty, staff, students, and social work practitioners in the community. Through a democratic and creative process, meaningful conversations were held that began to shape the college’s new curriculum. The result culminated in the development of curriculum principles for our college. These principles were widely distributed and formed the basis of further planning.
But this was only one of several strategies employed to ensure that the college was responding to its community and the context in which we practice. The college further engaged the community through a concept mapping methodology that helped us identify themes and prioritize areas to develop in our curriculum.
Over 350 practitioners, faculty, and staff participated in the concept mapping to identify the best approach to organizing practice curriculum. The college also held focus groups of students and community members to learn their feedback from our process.
As a result, the college proudly boasts a new, extremely dynamic curriculum to begin in 2012, informed by the community, students, faculty, and staff. And the college is taking what it learned through this process on the road! Dean Gregoire, Dr. Mo Yee Lee, Dr. Tamara Davis, Undergraduate Program Director Jennie Babcock, and Assistant Dean/Field Director Lisa Durham will present a three-hour Faculty Development Institute at the Annual Program Meeting (APM) of CSWE in October.
The community response to the new curriculum has been quite positive. One prominent human services agency executive director commented, “The College of Social Work has listened to all of its constituents, and this new curriculum will produce some of the best prepared social workers in the country.”