Are We Preparing Our Social Work Students for Culturally Competent Practice

By Elvia R. Krajewski-Jaime, Jennifer Kellman-Fritz, Claudette Braxton, Barbara Walters and Michael Lang-Enright II.

Published by The International Journal of Diversity in Education

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This article describes results of a pilot study conducted with the goal of assessing the effectiveness of courses designed to prepare social work students with competencies and skills for practice with racial/ethnic minority populations. The Council for Social Work Education (CSWE), the accrediting body that specifies the requirements used to maintain an accredited program in schools of social work in the country, established education policy and accreditation standards to prepare students to obtain professional competence concerning a respect for human diversity and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons. These standards include four features of an integrated curriculum design: (1) values, ethics and theoretical perspectives, (2) assessment, (3) intervention, and (4) services, programs and policies. The objective of this pilot study was to revise these courses based on our findings. The four features established by CSWE were interwoven within the courses through self-awareness development via assignments that included exploration of values, ethics, and theoretical perspectives; experiential learning through internship assignments that foster competencies in conducting and developing culturally sensitive assessments and intervention plans; and a component about acquiring knowledge of available services, programs, and policies affecting racial/ethnic minority populations. A pre-test and post-test Social Work Competency Scale was administered which was adapted from the Hartford Practicum Partnership Program. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, PASW version 18.0, and analysis of variance were used to analyze the data.

Keywords: Cultural Competence, Cultural Responsiveness, Social Work Cultural Competence , EPAS Social Work Curriculum

The International Journal of Diversity in Education, Volume 13, Issue 1, November 2013, pp.21-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 363.068KB).

Dr. Elvia R. Krajewski-Jaime

Professor, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Dr. Elvia R. Krajewski-Jaime, Principal Investigator is professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. At this institution, she has directed the School of Social Work, the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, the Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement and most recently, the School of Social Work Graduate Program. Her teaching, research, and practice interests are focused in health and human services with culturally diverse populations. She holds a baccalaureate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in Social Administration from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Jennifer Kellman-Fritz

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Dr. Jennifer Kellman-Fritz, Co-Principal Investigator, is Associate Professor and Director of the Field Placement Office in the School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. Her teaching, service, and research interests include the intersection of social work with criminal and juvenile justice, child welfare, and service learning. She holds a baccalaureate degree in Sociology, a master’s degree in Social Work, and a joint Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Prof. Claudette Braxton

Field Placement Coordinator, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Ms. Claudette Braxton, Co-Principal Investigator, is Field Placement Coordinator in the School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. Her research interests include Foster Care and Cultural Diversity Issues, areas in which she has published and conducted presentations at juried journals and conferences at the national and international levels. She holds a baccalaureate degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Barbara Walters

Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, USA

Dr. Barbara Walters, Co-Principal Investigator, is Associate Professor and previous Director of the Undergraduate Program in the School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. Her research interests include global empowerment initiatives, incarcerated women and their children, and youth aging out of foster care. She holds a baccalaureate degree in communication Studies from DePaul University, a master’s degree in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Social Work from Boston College.

Michael Lang-Enright II

Assistant, Field Placement Office, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Mr. Michael Lang-Enright, Co-Principal Investigator, was a Graduate Assistant in the Field Placement Office at Eastern Michigan University. His areas of practice include prisoner reentry and juvenile justice, with specific interest in community based treatment and preventative programming impacting culturally diverse clients. His research interests include alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders and policy level issues that affect recidivism rates in both the juvenile and criminal justice systems. He holds a baccalaureate degree as well as a master’s degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University.