Advanced Generalist Practice: Social Work Deep Dive

Jennifer McClendon, an assistant professor in the online Master of Social Work program, discusses the Advanced Generalist Practice program, including:

  • Micro, Mezzo, Macro: What does it mean?
  • Curriculum Deep Dive
  • Clinical vs. Advanced Generalist Practice
  • Career Outcomes
Transcript

Sarah:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Thank you for joining us today for the Advanced Generalist Practice Social Work Deep Dive.  We are really excited to have you with us and if you are having any issues or technical difficulties please feel free to send me a question, my name’s Sarah and as your host I can try and help you work through any of those issues.  Also, if at any point during the webinar you have a question that you’d like to ask of our faculty presenter, Jennifer McClendon, or an enrollment advisor that we have here, Gregg Briner, please feel free.  There’s a Q&A window, uh, and you can go ahead and type any of your questions into that window and we will answer them on a first come, first serve basis at the end of the presentation.  So please, you know, don’t forget your question and hold onto it.  Go ahead and send those over throughout the presentation and we’ll get to them at the end.  So today, I am going to go ahead and introduce Jennifer.  Then she will walk through Micro, Mezzo and Macro and what that means for you as a student and in the real world.  We’ll do a curriculum deep dive, talk a little about clinic versus an advanced generalist practice Masters Degree in Social Work and walk through some career outcomes.  And then I already mentioned we will go ahead and, have some great time for any questions that you have.

 

So, before I turn it over to Jennifer, I, I just wanted to share a little bit of information about her so she does have her Ph.D. in Social Work from Washington University and her research focuses on Services for Homeless Youth and Young Adults.  And other areas of academic expertise and interest for Jennifer include Mental Health Crisis Intervention, Services for LGBT Youth, Access for Children’s Mental Health Services and System and Family Support for Chronic and Severe Mental Illness.  But we’re going to learn a lot more about Jennifer today and a lot of the topics that I mentioned so, without further ado, I’d like to turn it over to you, Jenn.

 

Jennifer:  Hi.  Thanks, Sarah.  Um, I’m Jennifer McClendon and I’m really glad to be with you today.  When I was introducing myself to students at the beginning of the semester I realized that I’ve been a social worker for almost 20 years which is crazy to me but I graduated with my MSW in 2000 and I have loved being a social worker for every single one of those years.  I worked in a lot of different places.  I’ve worked across a lot of different fields of practice.  I’ve worked in several university settings and – and every day I am so proud to be a part of the social work profession.  I’ve been on faculty here at UNR School of Social Work since 2013.  Most of my practice experience before I went back for my Ph.D., uh, was started in direct practice, mostly Mental Health and Crisis Intervention, uh, working with at-risk population and then I got some administrative practice experience as well, uh, working in running organizations and helping organizations be stronger and do better work.  I teach across the curriculum here at University of Nevada, both in undergraduate and graduate level classes, and at the graduate level I teach, group work, evidence-based practice and our final chapter in course, the Integrated Case-Based Seminar.

 

So a colleague of mine once said that the way that you know you’re meant to be a social worker is if you’re nosy and you like to meddle.  So, maybe that’s a little overstated but it’s also kind of true.  You have to be super curious about people and interested in individual people and their experiences and then also more broadly interested in why people do the things they do and why people make the interesting choices that they sometimes make.  So curiosity is really important.  But the second part is a little bit more important even, this idea that we have to meddle.  I don’t like the word.  I don’t think we meddle as social workers but the mission of social work is to create change.  So we’re looking to create change in people’s lives, in families and organizations and in the communities and although the skills that we use to make that change happen at all these levels are broadly the same, uh, the practice can look a lot different depending on the context.

 

So in social work education and practice we refer to the different levels of practice as Micro, Mezzo and Macro.  Micro practice refers to the work we do with individuals, it’s usually one-on-one but it can also include practice with couples and families.  Mezzo practice is with groups so that would include things like support groups, social skills groups, empowerment groups.  Groups are really a powerful tool for learning, growing and creating change in people’s behavior and in their well-being.  And finally we have what we refer to as Macro practice which is advocating for change at the community level.  And many of the issues that threaten people’s well-being the most are best challenged at the Macro level.  Things like access to health care, quality of care, availability of programs and services.  So even though there’s probably one of these levels that appeals to you the most, social worker, usually over the course of their career will wind up working across all of these intervention levels at one point or another.

 

As an example, I have a friend who’s a social worker and she works at the VA which is the Veterans Administration.  She began her career as a mental health therapist, working with individuals and groups, helping veterans cope with posttraumatic stress disorder and she was working in really rural and remote communities and so she developed a lot of expertise in Pala Health and online therapy and now she works at the VA to help them expand the availability of mental health and physical health services using technology so that veterans in rural areas can access the same level of care as veterans who live closer to the VA centers in urban areas.  But the work that she does now is largely Macro even though she started out at a different level.

 

Okay.  So let’s talk a little bit about our curriculum here at University of Nevada Reno.  Um, we prepare our students for practice across all three levels, the Micro, Mezzo and Macro, and the foundation level of this program is kind of Part One of the Masters in Social Work.  If you have a Bachelor’s in Social Work you can just skip the foundation level because you’ve already done it.  But this is the level that gives you the basics and here on this slide you can see the five, broad categories of social work classes.  Most schools of social work have roughly similar foundation level classes, uh, because we have to answer to our accrediting body which is the Council on Social Work Education – that’s the national group and they require that every school of social work, train foundation level students in nine basic competencies.  And those competencies are Professionalism and Ethical Practice, Engaging with Diversity, Advancing Human Rights and Social Justice, being comfortable Using Research in Order to Create Stronger Practice and then also Using Practice to Create Stronger Research Questions and, uh, Knowing How to Engage, Assess, Intervene and Evaluate across the Micro, Macro and Mezzo levels of practice. Those are a lot of big words (Laughter) and it’s a lot of information, but remember, it’s the foundation level so at this point it’s just the basics.

 

On this slide you can see the specific courses that we offer at the foundation level.  The Theory Classes, which are sometimes referred to as for HBS which is Human Behavior in the Social environment.  These classes help us explore the questions of why people do the things that they do so in these classes we pull from economics, political, sociological and psychological theories to inform our understanding of the human condition.  So who are we, why are we here, what are we doing, and why – why do we do the things that we do?  At UNR we offer these courses through the lens of structural oppression.  We understand that the human experience is very different depending on our own unique backgrounds of privilege and oppression and so we teach these classes through that particular lens of diversity and difference.  You can see that most of the required foundation courses are in the area of practice.  We offer a practice course for each of the levels we talked about – Micro, Mezzo and Macro.  We also require a course in Evidence Informed Practice and then a class in Social Work History and Social Policy.  And all of these classes inform your foundation level field placement which is where the rubber meets the road for the week and you get to apply what you’re learning in a real world setting.  During your internship you’ll have a social worker at the agency where you do your field placement as your field instructor and that social worker will serve as your coach and mentor.  You’ll also have a university faculty member who leads a seminar class where you’ll discuss field issues, concerns – you can share your “ah, ha” moments, with a small group of other students who are also in field placement.

 

Once you’ve finished your foundation level courses you move on to the advanced level.  This is where schools of social work can diverge a little bit in terms of classes and curriculum.  Here at the University of Nevada Reno our Masters in Social Work specialization is Advanced Generalist Practice.  We want to make sure that you can apply the theories that you learn in the first year.  We offer advanced skills in clinical practice and administrative practice.  We make sure you have the skills to affect your own practice and determine whether your work is successful in creating change and then you’ll have a second year of field placement.  Advanced level field placement generally have a higher level of autonomy and you’ll have more opportunities to create change in rich and diverse settings.

 

And here you can see the specific courses that we offer at the advanced level.  Advanced Multidimensional Assessment allows you to apply what you’ve learned about what makes people tick in order to effectively evaluate whether someone is healthy or unwell and whether the individual, the environment or an interaction between the two is the primary concern.  It’s in this class that you learn how to diagnose specific mental health disorders, uh, and one of the privileges and responsibilities of MSW level practitioners is that if you work in the field of mental health you’ll be responsible for independently diagnosing mental health conditions.  So we make sure that you have the skills that you need to do that.

 

Then we offer advanced practice courses, two for Direct Practice, which is clinical work, and two for Administrative Practice so that you have the skills you need to run your agency, do your own billing, manage – and manage yourself as a leader in the community and in the profession.  We require a course in Practice and Program Evaluation so that you can measure your work and see how effective you’re being and then the final semester includes our capstone course which is the Integrative Case Based Seminar.  In that class you look at rich, complex problematic, multilevel cases and the students are responsible to provide a case plan for each using your best informed opinion on strategies and interventions for improving the well-being of the client.

 

So Advanced Generalist Practice is our specialization here at UNR, uh, and I’d like to be clear though that we are a Nevada school and Nevada has a severe shortage of clinical social workers like other areas in the country do as well and we take seriously our role in addressing the workforce shortage.  So I want to assure you that our graduates are prepared to take state licensing exams and pursue clinical internships.  Because of the need in our state and the expertise of our faculty for a generalist program, we’re really clinically intensive.  But with the Advanced Generalist degree you get some value added, I think.  We’ve thought about where our graduates are employed after graduation and then where you might be 10 years later and we distilled the advanced competencies into three areas of learning that we think are most critical:  Leadership, Autonomy and Working in Complex and Ambiguous Situations.  In all areas of practice you’ll need to demonstrate all three of these competencies.  So, for example, Leadership – even in private practice we have to have confidence in our work, we have to help our clients see what’s possible for their futures and we have to keep our clients engaged in the work of creating change in their lives.

 

As far as Autonomy, many social workers work pretty independently, whether that’s in private practice or you’re lobbying for policy change on capital hill and you’re the only social worker in the room.  So what does it take to remain true to the values of the social work profession?  How do we check ourselves and make sure that we’re doing our best work?  What kind of self care and professional support is essential when you’re working independently?  What kind of administrative skills do you need if you’re in charge of your own practice or agency?

 

And then, third, we help our students develop the competency of being able to work effectively in situations that are complex and ambiguous.  Many times when we assess the situation, whether it’s a client or a community, we’re given too much information.  We have to sift through it, determine which sources are more reliable or valid then others and that’s really difficult and tricky.  We give you lots of opportunity to practice this skill set throughout your advanced level courses, making sure that you can apply the competency to multiple setting in the fields of practice.

 

One of my favorite things about being a social worker has been the ability to work across multiple fields of practice.  When I was a student I was mostly interested in Macro practice, uh, but when I graduated I ended up working in mental health, uh, first as a group facilitator and then as a crisis intervention worker.  One day I was asked to write a grant and I did and then that turned into a job offer to be a grant writer which I had never anticipated happening, um, and then because I wasn’t afraid of numbers I was asked if I could evaluate some of the programs.  So you never know where your career is going to take you.  But the Advanced Generalist degree will give you a lot of comfort that we’ve prepared you for so many directions that social work practice might take you in your life, in your career.

 

Here you can see a comparison of the Advanced Generalist Practice specialization with a Clinical specialization.  Every program is different so doing your research to make sure you’re getting what you want from these but in general programs with a clinical focus will allow you to take courses in clinical practice with specific populations that might interest you, like children or people with substance abuse disorders.  We do have room for one elective in our curriculum but in general our program philosophy is to encourage you to find field placements in the specialty areas that appeal to you.  So that instead of classroom textbook knowledge you’re applying the clinical and administrative skills you learn in class to your population of interest in a real world setting.  This has several advantages including being able to test out your interest and see if it sticks and it also gives you professional connections in your field of interest that can help you find job opportunities down the road.

 

I’m lucky to run into our graduates fairly often in the community and to see the amazing work they do.  A large proportion of our graduates pursue the LCSW in Clinical Social Work which is wonderful because, as I said, we have workforce shortages in many areas of the country.  But our graduates are also serving in state agencies. They’re providing direct services and making sure that our government offices are doing right by the citizens of our state.  They work in schools, hospitals, juvenile justice and corrections.  We have graduates in Washington, D.C., and in state capital across the country representing the interests of social service organizations and their clients.  Our graduates are running agencies and our graduates are running organizations that provide care and supportive services.  They’re working in rural and urban communities to get basic services put in place, like access to health care, affordable childcare and affordable housing.

 

Social work isn’t for everybody so no matter how much I love it I have to acknowledge that it’s often messy and hard work.  But if you’re interested in the field and you’re nosy and meddling, as my colleague says, you might want to consider a social work degree.  I think that you’re probably here listening to this because you’re interested in making a difference in people’s lives and that gives me a lot of hope for our future.  Whether social work is the path you choose or you decide to head in a different direction, I wish you the very best of luck and thank you for listening to me talk about the UNR School of Social Work.

 

Sarah:  Thank you so much, Jenn.  That was wonderful.  Now we’re just going to have a short, uh, section here that will be covered by one of our wonderful enrollment advisors, Greg Briner, and after this we will jump right into the question and answer session so if you do have any questions please feel free to start sending them over so we can go ahead and get to those, uh, right after Gregg runs through these last two slides.

 

Greg:  Thank you, Sarah.  Hi, everybody.  This is Greg.  I’m one of the enrollment advisors for the online MSW program and I’ll go through, uh, some of the basic elements for the two types of applications.  The first here is for advanced standing for our BSW graduates, so some of the basic elements we look for is a BSW from a regionally accredited school.  It doesn’t say it here but your BSW does have to be within the last seven years to still apply for the advanced standing program.  Within the BSW, and most, uh – most CSWE programs have this, it should be inherent in those programs, we look for a class in statistics and a research or research methods, so that should be part of your program.  There is a one time application fee of $60.  The application form is something that me and my colleague, Ryan, actually like to walk you through over the phone.  It allows us to speak to all of the documentation as part of the process and kind of clarify everything and how it all works.  Some of the items that we’re going to need are three letters of recommendation, uh, three basic recommendation forms, or actually recommendation forms that come from people in some kind of leadership, people that were either current or past bosses or supervisors or managers or professors are fine, too.  We also need a fourth one for advanced standing; the fourth one to come from your field supervisor from your last Practicum.

 

Graduation of course from a CSWE program, like I had mentioned.  We need you to have earned a 3.0 or better GPA, uh, overall, we call a cumulative GPA which means that, uh, that includes all of your undergraduate course work, anything from a community college, anything after your Bachelors – we add it all in.  Or, uh, a 3.25 or better GPA in your last 60 credits.  We also need to see at least a B- or better in all of your social work classes.  And then the final item, the documentation of performance in a CSW field program.  Typically it’s something like a field evaluation assessment or some schools call it a learning agreement, a learning contract.  It was something that was signed off on by your field supervisor at the end of your last Practicum and turned in to the school to show the performance of your final internship.

 

And so this page for the traditional students, the traditional track, graduates whose, uh, Bachelors was in a different field, some of the requirements are going to be the same, a Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited school.  We do look favorably upon liberal arts type programs, your psychologies, sociologies, human development, criminal justice education, degrees like that.  We do also still need to see a class in statistics and research methods.  There is still the application fee.  Some of the other items:  Three letters of recommendation – just three this time but they do still have to be from people in some kind of a leadership capacity, either current or past supervisors or professors.  The same GPA requirements hold, a 3.0 cumulative GPA or a 3.25 in your last 60 credits and in both of the applications there is also a few other items, a personal essay that we ask you to write, a 5-7 page personal statement or essay – we call it the same, we use the same terminology, personal essay or personal statement, it’s the same thing.  Uh, official transcripts from each school attended and a copy of your resume and also once you’re accepted we need a copy of your immunization records and that’s it for the basic, uh, application steps.  Um, we’ll be glad to take some questions now regarding the application process or questions about the program.  Thank you.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Gregg.  This last slide we do have the contact information for, uh, just two of our enrollment advisors but, uh, if you’re interested in reaching out personally for any questions you can also feel free to do that here with this line or to their e-mail addresses but in the meantime, as Gregg mentioned, we will open up our Q&A and to get us started, Jenn, I have a question for you.  How well does the advanced generalist practice program really prepare someone for the LCSW exam?

 

Jennifer:  Oh, I would say that it prepared you just as well as any of the clinical programs.  I mean we kind of have to make sure that our students are ready and able to take that exam so we make sure that all of the, uh, exam materials are covered in our classes so anything you would need to know for the exam will be – will be covered in your classes.  And then also we – we offer exam review opportunities for our students when they’re in the final year.  Those are optional and they’re voluntary, uh, but we try to provide some support as your studying and preparing for the exam itself.  Most of the – I don’t know if you’re familiar with the exam at all or if you looked at a study guide or take study hall, most of the questions have to do with – well, I would make it – I don’t know if it’s most but there’s a section of questions that have to do with theory so you need to know your site theories.  You’ve got to learn your developmental theories.  You need to know your clinical theories and we certainly cover those in depth, and then there’s a lot of practice related questions where you give them a short vignette and you have to say what would you do next?  Uh, and so those kinds of things are really covered quite well, I think, in our case based, uh, seminar and also most of our practice classes are pretty case based and so we do a lot of practicing with the sequential first step with their second step so it could work.  So I hope that answers your question.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Jenn, yes, that definitely does.  Uh, this next question is actually for Gregg, uh:  Should I bother applying if my GPA from 20 years ago was a 2.9?

 

Greg:  Yeah, that’s a good question.  Thank you, uh, Shannon, for submitting that.  So the – the 2.9 GPA is relatively close to a 3.0 and a few reasons you want to basically send us your transcripts to take a look at.  We like to take a look at all of your transcripts again to get a cumulative GPA score.  There are a lot of factors that go into that GPA that could impact that, uh, in a few different ways.  Uh, sometimes your four year institution where you got your Bachelors from, does not transfer in the grades from transfer credits.  We see that – it’s about half of the time your four year degree does not include your scores from your community college classes.  You get transfer credits but they don’t necessarily bring the GPA scores over.  Also some classes that make up your GPA, occasionally we actually do not include in the GPA calculations here.  For instance, remedial courses, like your Math 090’s, your Math 070’s or 80’s, your English remedial classes.  We do not include those in the GPA calculations and those can definitely have an impact on your overall score.  Also, going back to the last 60 credit evaluation of 3.25 or better, if you get a lot better in the last two years than you did your first two years – we hear that very often.  People start college as freshmen or sophomores, we’re not quite sure what we’re doing, we don’t really that focused, our grades suffer, and then you figure it out towards the latter half of the program and your GPA is a lot stronger, you might have a better GPA over the last two years than your first two years, which would really necessitate us taking a look at your transcripts and doing a really complete and accurate GPA calculation so that we can find out if you are actually at a 3.0 or we can tell you if you might be just one or two classes, uh, new college classes of raising your GPA enough to meet our requirements.  So good question.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  Uh, our next question also for you.  When are the upcoming application deadlines?

 

Greg:  Okay, thank you.  Uh, we’re enrolling right now for our summer semester which starts May 7th.  Our application deadline is March 9th and our completed file where we would like to have all of the supporting documentation in is March 16th so we’ve got about a good six weeks still – I guess five weeks, uh, but that’s something that me and Ryan do, we help out a lot with the application process.  We make sure you have a very, very good understanding of how the documentation works, how the recommendation form process works, uh, we’re constant reminders to make progress on your personal essay – we’ll talk to you once or twice a week.  So there’s plenty of time to apply for summer.  The fall semester starts at the end of August, August 27th and the application deadline for that will be the middle of June, I want to say June 15th and then we have a priority deadline with all of your documentation needs to be in by June 29th.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  Uh, Jenn, this next one is for you.  How likely is someone to be able to complete their Practicum at their place of employment if it is in a social work setting?

 

Jennifer:  That’s a great question.  Uh, I don’t work in the field office so I’m going to be careful.  Uh, my understanding is that it’s possible but there are some pretty – there are some things that have to be place in order for that to work most effectively.  We want to be sure that you’re getting a learning experience that’s different from your day-to-day job.  So what we ask is that you, uh, you have to have a different supervisor for your field hours than you do for your regular job and you have be doing a different kind of work for your field placement than you do for your regular job.  Uh, so if your regular job, for example, is working in child welfare and you’re doing investigations, uh, you can’t count any of the investigation work towards your field hours.  You have to work in a different of CPS, perhaps working in clinical services or working with, uh, permanency planning or something like that.  So you can work in a different – a different area of the agency where you currently work and you have to have a different supervisor than the supervisor from your regular job.  And if you can demonstrate those two things your chances are – are pretty good that you’ll be able to do your field placement at your place of employment.

 

Sarah:  Thank you.  Uh, our next question is also for you, Jenn, and I know we spoke a little bit about LCSW requirements and, uh, ability to take the test.  This question is actually specific for a state, uh, from one of our attendees.  How well will the University of Nevada Reno curriculum prepare someone to take the licensed clinical social worker test for California?

 

Jennifer:  That’s a great question.  I, uh, feel like I should have a better answer for this because we actually, uh – many of our students in our on the ground and online programs are from California.  I’ve never heard of there being a problem.  Uh, in fact, some of our students are Nevada natives and then they move to California to do their clinical internships and they live fairly close by.  California is only about 30 miles away.  Um, and I’ve never heard any – of any student having any problem at all.  Just to broaden the question out a little bit, most of the state social work exams are consistent from state to state.  Uh, they’re all produced by the same agency which is ASWB and I’m not going to come up with what that acronym stands for – the Association of Social Work Boards maybe, uh, but the – that organization has a standardized exam that’s used across most of the states.  California is a little tricky because I have this feeling that they do have a slightly different exam, um, but I think that’s their second clinical exam that’s a little bit different, so your clinical internship would prepare you for that.  Uh, but for the most part, like I said, I’ve never heard of anyone having any issues.  Nevada has some of the strictest qualifications for clinical licensure in the country, um, so that’s good news for our students.  So we, we have to go to the highest standard of just about any state.  The one exception is California – they’ve got a few extra things but, like I said, our students are back and forth pretty often and, and it’s generally a non issue, so.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Jenn.  Now, uh, uh, this question I’ll refer to Gregg or but I know either of you could answer this but:  Is the program CSWE accredited and does this mean the degree is okay then for residents of different states?

 

Greg:  Yes, we are CSWE accredited, uh, which is recognized in California.  Uh, the only two states that do not recognize our program, uh, currently is Delaware and Washington, D.C. so, uh, every other state recognizes our program.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  Uh, this next question, uh, either of you I believe also could take but:  How is the program broken up on a part-time basis?  Greg?

 

Greg:  Yeah, at this time we only have, uh, what you would call one schedule of the program, uh.  For the most part you are considered a full-time student.  Uh, depending on which track you’re doing – if it’s the advanced standing program for CSW graduates it’s a four semester program.  If it’s a traditional track it’s an eight semester program and half of the time in the program you’re taking enough credits per semester to be considered full-time and then the other half of the program you’re taking enough credits to be considered half-time or part-time.  To really get into the details of it, it would really be beneficial to talk to this, each person individually because it takes a lot of explaining (Laughter) so feel free to reach out to us, myself or Ryan, whoever your enrollment advisor is and we will be glad to kind of break it down for you.

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  Uh, another great question here:  This individual is an Army wife – will the field placement team be able to relocate her as needed if they are moved to another state?  Additionally, will there be challenges with field placement if someone lives in a more remote area?  Jenn?

 

Jennifer:  Yeah, so, um, I’ll certainly be able to transfer you, um, to a new field placement if you get relocated.  The answer is absolutely yes.  We have to do that for students for a variety of reasons on occasion.  It’s obviously not ideal.  We really want to have students have an extended period of time, um, in one agency setting but lots of life happens and so we do occasionally – we do occasionally have to make that work and we have systems in place to make it work for you.  Uh, as far as the remote setting, those kind of settings can be more challenging but our field office works really diligently with each student to make sure that you have the opportunities that you need and, uh, we’ve been – we’ve been pretty creative.  Generally speaking, though, I think that if you’re in the military, uh, most military placements are close enough to some kind of civilization where there will be a social service agency or organization of some kind that we can partner with to make sure that you get a good field experience.

 

Greg:  And I can add on to that, Jenn, real quick.  Uh, one of the ideas or goals of our, uh, the field placement is that we would like students to have different locations for their two separate, uh, internships, uh, if you’re a traditional track student, that is.  So, for instance, the traditional track students, your first internships take place in semesters 3 and 4 and then later on your second round of internships take place in semesters 7 and 8.  Uh, even before the need of maybe making a relocation we would like you to have 3 and 4 be a different location than semesters 7 and 8 internships anyway so we’re more than able to kind of assist you in that facet.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  This – I think this might be one of our last questions and Jenn, I’m going to throw this one over to you.  In terms of the workload for students once they’re in the program, what does the timing look like of how much time they would really need to dedicate per week and how do you advise students to manage their time?

 

Jennifer:  Hmm.  This is a hard question for me to answer.  I’m sure that there’s a standard answer somewhere but because I’m just kind of a run of the mill teaching faculty, um, I don’t necessarily know the, the textbook answer to the question.  What I do know from working with students who are in the program is that it’s pretty intensive.  There are students who manage to carry the course load in addition to a full-time job, there are students who carry the course load in addition to raising a family with young children, uh, but it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and time management skills to make that work.  Um, so you just need to be prepared.  It is a graduate program and we do expect graduate level work, um, but I think for the majority of our students, given their life experiences and where they’re at and what’s possible for them at the moment, it’s worth it to them to grind it out for the semesters that it takes.  Uh, that being said, so I teach group and I put my students in virtual groups so they have to – they have to meet with each other through their computers and they record their group sessions and the group talk – there are stress management groups for students in online social work programs so they have to talk about their experiences as students and so, um, I’ve learned quite a bit about what it’s like for them to be – to be in the pressure cookers and, uh, I would say that for the majority of them when the semester is going on if they’re also working full-time, they really have to use just about every free moment that they have to keep the – to keep on top of their schoolwork and to maintain their most important personal relationships with their spouses and their children so it’s pretty intensive.  That being said, if you’re not working full-time, I think, you know, it’s a pretty – it’s pretty – it would be very manageable but a lot of it just depends on what your personal circumstances are at home.  If you’re looking for a number I would say probably 20 hours a week.

 

Sarah:  I’m sorry, what?  What?  I was going to, Jenn, Gregg I think wanted to add on to that for you, too, as well.

 

Gregg:  Yes, thank you.

 

Jennifer:   Okay.

 

Gregg:  You can, in our program you can expect to put in about – somewhere around 25 to 28 hours a week of your time, uh, pretty consistently across the board.  So regardless of what semester you’re in, some of those semesters are going to be just online classes, uh, the other semesters will be an online class with your internships, um, across the board it averages to be about 25-28 hours of, of your time.

 

Jennifer:  Thanks, Greg.

 

Sarah:  I knew there would be a real answer to that question.  Thank you, Greg.

 

(thank you from all)

 

Sarah:  And I think, you know, it’s hard to say to say obviously with different people and in different situations but I think that’s nice to have an average.  Thanks, Greg.  Uh, alright, so this will be our last question and I’m going to throw it over to Greg.  Are graduates eligible for jobs in D.C. and Delaware with accreditation required?

 

Greg:  Yeah, thank you.  Um, yeah, individuals can work in those states with an MSW of course from our program.  Uh, now we are CSWB accredited, however it’s the state board of licensing that do not recognize an online program from outside of their state.  So what you may be prevented from doing is being able to take the clinical exam in those states.  Work is a possibility.  Finding work is always, uh, dependent upon logistics and what the employers in that state look for.  Uh, we don’t have a lot of data back yet on individuals taking our program in those states and then getting work in those states yet, if anyone’s been able to do it but where you’re going to be able to see that – that obstacle is being able to take the clinical exam there.

 

Sarah:  Thank you, Greg.  Well, I would just like to give a big shout out to both Jennifer and Greg for joining us today.  Thank you so much for your time and for walking us through this detailed presentation.  If any of you who are on the line have any more questions please feel free to reach out to Greg or Ryan.  If you have more specific questions for Jenn you can also reach out to her but thank you so much, both of you for your time and I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of their day.