SWRK 7980: The Social Entrepreneurial Approach to Community Reintegration
In this course, students work closely with the instructor and partner agencies to experiment a social entrepreneurial approach to community reintegration for formerly incarcerated people. This course provides a unique and flexible opportunity for students to work together on an ongoing SP2-driven initiative called Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP). Founded by Prof. Charlotte Ren and currently led by Prof. Chao Guo, PREP identifies a small group of formerly incarcerated individuals based on survey and interview results and selects students from various schools at Penn to offer ten-week intensive training on starting and running a small business. After the curriculum training, PREP continues to provide a support system to help them turn business ideas into reality. Through PREP, we hope to develop and demonstrate a sustainable and replicable model to effectively transition formerly incarcerated individuals back to the community.
Our field partner, Rescue Mission of Trenton, is a 103-year-old public charity located in Trenton, New Jersey that provides a variety of support services to formerly and currently incarcerated individuals, which complements well with the entrepreneurship training that PREP offers.
SWRK 7980: Methods for Community Research
This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of research skills involved in studying neighborhoods that are experiencing rapid change. The course takes a project-based approach by focusing on a particular neighborhood during the entire semester. Among the approaches taught during the semester are historical sources (Including maps, newspapers), aggregate census data analysis, microdata analysis (using PHMC community health surveys), interviewing, and observation.
SWRK 7980: Practice in Schools
Clinical Practice Elective; Macro Practice Elective
This course examines the various roles that a school social worker may have in a school setting. Knowing educational law, delivering mental health services, and advocating on behalf of students are just some of the many expectations of a social worker within the school environment. School social workers have unique training, which enables them to assist students, parents, and the school with connections to community services and resources, and to support the students’ social and emotional needs within the school. This course utilizes the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) outlined requirements for the Home and School Visitor (HSV) certification. While this course is not currently part of the HSV curriculum at SP2, it is highly recommended for students who are interested in school social work.
SWRK 7980: Housing Policy and Social Inclusion
This course examines the challenges to creating integrated housing and community opportunities for adults with complex needs. This includes people with unique physical and mental health challenges, people who experience homelessness, people returning to their communities from prison, veterans, and young adults who have recently transitioned out of foster care or juvenile justice. All of these groups face potential challenges to accessing safe and adequate housing. Further, even if housed, they may not be in environments that provide the appropriate supports to facilitate their connection to work, family, social activities, and civic participation. Recent action by the US Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch are advancing the cause of improved housing and social inclusion for many of these vulnerable groups. This course will use a combination of research syntheses, policy reviews, and engagement with policymakers and others to better understand the challenges and opportunities ahead.
SWRK 7980: Social Work Direct and Macro Practice in the Affordable Care Act Era
Clinical Practice Elective, Macro Practice Elective, Policy Option
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has transformed the landscape of social work direct and macro practice. Marked by new regimes of networked agencies, insurance plans and wrap-around services, the ACA presents unique challenges to social workers at every level of practice. What does direct and macro practice look like, and what are the new clinical and macro skills that social workers will need in the ACA era? How will social workers need to justify their services to agencies, networks of care, and reimbursement providers? What is the role of evidence-based practice in this new healthcare system, and how will social workers advocate for marginalized communities? These are some of the questions with which the class will engage, while training students in the skills, protocols, and systems necessary to negotiate the ACA landscape, at the clinical, agency and policy levels. Students will engage with, and learn from clinicians, heads of agencies and policy formulators from across the country with experience negotiating the ACA regime. In particular, students will be trained in the clinical and macro skills necessary to operate in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams and environments that the ACA now mandates. The class seeks to bring together the macro and direct practice skills that will be required in the ACA era, and connect students to the actual work conditions with which they will be confronted when they graduate.
SWRK 7980: Social Work Practice with Groups
Clinical Practice Elective; Macro Practice Elective
Group work is an essential part of social work direct practice. Every social service agency utilizes groups, and social workers will engage with a variety of groups during the course of their careers. Given the fact that collective group processes are especially salient for marginalized communities, group work is essential to direct practice that is embedded in the principles of social justice. Moreover, group work has been shown to be a superior form of intervention for clients battling chronic conditions, entrenched behaviors and social stigma. In an era of evidence-based practice, successful and cost-effective group skills are a vital component of every social worker’s toolkit. Students will learn about different types of groups and modalities, facilitate groups in class and in field settings, and engage with social workers who have implemented group interventions in various communities in diverse contexts. The class will train students to facilitate therapeutic, psychoeducational, task, and decision groups, while helping them to explore how to start, manage and terminate groups in various social work settings.
SWRK 7980: LGBTQ Communities and Social Policy
The course will explore and analyze the development of social policy within the context of LGBTQ social movements both assimilationist and liberationist. Among the policies examined are HIV/AIDS, Defense of Marriage Act, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Same-Sex Marriage, Adoption of Children, the DSM and Pathologizing the LGBT Community, Legal Issues, Non-Discrimination, and Hate Law Legislation. Social Services for the LGBTQ community will be discussed as well as support for LGBTQ youth. The particular difficulties confronting transpeople and their acceptance will be examined in the context of the social construction of gender; in this, the work of philosophers Judith Butler and Michel Foucault will be introduced. Questions of social justice will be threaded throughout the course, as will social work advocacy and coalition building.
SWRK 7980: Supporting LGBTQ Individuals Across the Lifespan
Clinical Elective; Macro Practice Elective
As recognition and acceptance of individuals across and beyond both the sexual orientation and gender identity spectrums continues to progress within the United States, clinical theory and applications for working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer plus (LGBTQ+) individuals has also expanded. This course will explore the clinical theories and treatment approaches geared towards affirming and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals within their romantic and/or sexual relationships, families of origin, and families of choice. Areas of development will be addressed across the lifespan including specific milestones related to gender and sexuality development as well as psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual influences upon development. Centering on a social justice approach, learners will be encouraged to critically examine systemic factors impacting LGBTQ+ individuals as well as the intersectionality of various identities including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, mental and physical health, and other identities (both self-assigned and externally applied) that can impact development. Each stage of development will include multiple cases for review and consideration of potential practice implications at the individual, relationship, family, community, and systemic levels. Upon conclusion of the course, learners will have a stronger understanding of the practice theories that exist, the practice models that best fit their professional style, and clear understanding of practice application in regards to affirming and supporting LGBTQ+ individuals.
SWRK 7980: Relationship Theory
Clinical Practice Elective
The goal of this course is to introduce the participants to the basic principles and practice of couple therapy. With its rich history as a distinct discipline integrating both individual and systemic theory, students will explore a broad range of theoretical and clinical approaches within this field. Issues such as intimacy, gender, power, class, race, orientation, family of origin, affairs, separation, divorce, domestic violence, sex, parent-child relationships, and money will be discussed.
SWRK 7980: Spanish for the Social Service Professions
Spanish for the Social Service Professions is a semester-long elementary Spanish Language that incorporates activities, vocabulary, and readings of particular interest to social service practitioners. The course is designed to develop the fundamentals of practical Spanish, with a special focus on social service situations and basic terminology. In this course, particular attention will be given to developing speaking and listening skills, as well as cultural competency. Students will be expected to participate in classroom activities such as role-plays based on typical office and case study procedures in order to develop meaningful and accurate communication skills in the target language.
SWRK 7980: Play Therapy
Clinical Practice Elective
Play is the method children use to master and understand their worlds. When working with children and adolescents, social workers often utilize play as a primary treatment intervention. This course will provide students with a foundation in play therapy theories, techniques, and practice intervention models. Play therapy philosophies will be critically analyzed. Play therapy will be presented for application in a variety of practice settings as well as with individuals, families, and groups. Students will be taught how to apply play therapy to address issues such as trauma, loss, mood disturbance, relational stress, anxiety, and academic performance. Emphasis will be placed on approaching play therapy from perspectives of multicultural competence, empowerment, social justice, and inclusion.
SWRK 7980: Philanthropy and Fundraising Tools for Managers of Nonprofit Organizations
Macro Practice Elective
This course reviews the knowledge base and tools that nonprofit managers and development officers need to raise funds from individuals and other sources of private philanthropy. Last year, Americans gave approximately $300 million and 83% of it was from individuals. The fundraising and development profession has created a significant body of knowledge in the past twenty years that guide effective fundraising programs so that charitable organizations can support their mission. The course sessions review the theoretical and practical techniques that development professionals use every day in large and small organizations including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, cultivation of donors, making your case for support, the Seven Faces of Philanthropy, special events, and prospect research. There will also be discussions of philanthropic trends, donors, and their styles of giving and current giving patterns. For those who are interested in nonprofit administration, these will be critical tools to have and understand in your workplace.
SWRK 7980: Measuring Sensitive Topics
Research Option (Prerequisite SWRK 6150)
This course is designed to improve the measurement of sensitive topics in human behavior by increasing the skill of those who do the measuring. We will focus largely, albeit not exclusively, on the behavior of individuals. The course will focus on behaviors that typically are not and, for a variety of reasons, usually cannot be directly observed. Nonetheless, researchers are called upon to measure these behaviors that are key to understanding important social and health issues facing society. The course will review current best practices in data collection as well as the specific areas of attitudes, drug use, sexual activity, interpersonal violence, and standard demographic characteristics. Social context of the work as well as human subject considerations will be addressed.
SWRK 7980: Social Policy and the Latinx Immigrant Community
MSW Policy Option
In this course on social policy and the Latinx immigrant community in the US, students will develop a broad understanding of how social policy at the local, state, and federal levels affect Latinx immigrants’ access to and interactions with social services. After developing a critical understanding of the diversity of the Latinx immigrant community and of the socio-political and –historical context for the development of social policies impacting this community, students will explore social policy and related social services around immigration, health, education, and labor that deeply affect the lived experiences of Latinx immigrants. Students will then investigate Latinx immigrants’ participation in the development of social policies as well as the ways in which Latinx grassroots movements and organizations influence national debates on public policy and social services for the Latinx immigrant community. Students will also learn about this group’s economic contributions to funding at local, state, and national levels to the U.S. social welfare system, as well as new and current initiatives promoting social policies geared towards social and economic justice for Latinx immigrants. Through course readings, lectures and discussions students will develop tools for critical thinking and analysis about how social services and the daily lived experiences of Latinx immigrants are mediated by policy and its implementation at local, state, and federal levels. Students will also develop skills in case study analysis through interactions and interviews with invited guests – local Latinx immigrant community members and social leaders – who will share their own perspectives, knowledge and firsthand experience around issues related to social policy and Latinx immigrants. Over the course of the semester, students will formulate plans for social policy advocating for social justice and human rights within the Latinx immigrant community.
SWRK 7980: Critical Race Theory
This course explores Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT refers to a body of work that emerged during the 1980s and 90s among legal educators to try and explain why there seemingly has been racial progress on the one hand through laws and court decisions that outlaw the most visible symbols of racial discrimination, but growing signs of racial inequality on the other in education, health, criminal justice, housing, politics, and other areas. During the past ten years, fields such as women’s studies, sociology, education, gender studies, history, criminology, and postcolonial studies have begun to look to the insights developed by critical race theorists. Without a doubt, CRT has spawned and/or influenced new areas of inquiry such as Latino/a critical studies, queer studies, critical race feminism, and critical white studies. Although social work researchers have begun to use CRT ideas such as intersectionality, the application of Critical Race Theory to the field remains largely unexplored.
SWRK 7980: Violence in Relationships through the Lifespan
The primary objective of the course is for students to gain specific knowledge and to develop critical thinking skills so as to better understand violence in relationships, which is pervasive in most societies. Using a life course perspective, SWRK 7980 will address abuse from childhood through late life. We will examine how norms and gender and generational differences in resource distribution shape the occurrence, experience, and individual and societal/structural responses to non-stranger violence. Students will learn about the definitions, conceptual frameworks, myths, processes, consequences, and societal interventions regarding violence in relationships. In addition, the course is designed to motivate students to examine their perceptions about these issues so that they can be more effective in their careers as well as more effective as members of a society that, like almost all societies, seems to hold a deep ambivalence about violence in relationships.
SWRK 7980: Taking Down the Prison Industrial Complex: Macro, Meso, and Individual-Level Direct Practice with People Emerging from Incarceration
Clinical and Macro Practice Elective
The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, and more than any nation has ever done in history. The racial disparities that mark this carceral regime have led scholars to describe the prison industrial complex as a new form of Jim Crow. Philadelphia has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, and one of the largest populations on parole and probation. This class explores structural and individual-level pathways to re-engage the vast population of recently incarcerated people who cycle through prisons, jails, juvenile homes, and other detention centers. Drawing on practice informed by critical race, postcolonial, feminist, and queer theories, the class prepares the conceptual and practice foundations for a prison abolitionist orientation in social work engagement with this community. Utilizing a daily workshop format that incorporates members of the Philadelphia decarcerate landscape, students will be trained in direct and macro practice, to engage with people and the carceral systems they are embedded in. The class will engage students with the innovative psychotherapeutic and macro practices being implemented in the Center for Carceral Communities at SP2, alternative programs in Philadelphia’s municipal and federal courts, educational degree programs at community colleges in Philadelphia, co-operative business initiatives for people emerging from incarceration, and social movements such as Black Lives Matter that are shaping the prison abolition landscape. The class blends morning sessions dedicated to discussions of texts with afternoon sessions dedicated to hands-on implementation workshops. At the end of the class, students will be prepared to immediately start engaging with members of the community emerging from incarceration.
SWRK 7980: Brief Mental Health Treatments for Primary Care Settings
This course is proposed for students in social work or a related clinical degree program and will be co-taught by an interdisciplinary team that includes social work and psychology. This course will also serve as a prerequisite for the Collaborative Care for Behavioral Health practicum. Increasingly, mental health interventions are moving beyond specialty mental health settings into clinical care settings where individuals already receive other health services, such as their primary care office (often referred to as “integrated care”). The goal of this course will be to teach trainees the fundamental skills needed to delivery evidence-based practices in these integrated settings. The course will teach the skills needed to collaborate with other professionals within the context of an integrated care team (e.g., social work, physicians, nurses, etc.), conduct brief assessment, and deliver brief, evidence-based interventions for commonly presenting behavioral health concerns (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use).
SWRK 7980/8980: Mental Health Policy
The focus of this course will be on policies and policy issues that define and influence the care and treatment of persons with mental illness from colonial times to the present. The course will examine the primary social, political, economic, legal, and philosophical forces that have influenced mental health delivery in the United States over different historical time periods and the resulting organizational, financial, administrative, and management structures of mental health service delivery systems. The interface with other major service delivery systems, including welfare, criminal justice, primary health care, and social security will be addressed. Topics to be included will be deinstitutionalization, managed care, psychiatric rehabilitation, cultural issues and disparities of care, children’s treatment and services, professional certification and roles, and family and consumer advocacy. Major legal cases and legislation relevant to these topics will be covered. This will be an interdisciplinary course taught by faculty trained in social work, psychiatry, law, and health policy and management. It is open to masters and doctoral students.
SWRK 7990: Independent Study
Independent studies provide a flexible opportunity for standing faculty and students to work together in pursuing a topic of special interest that is not sufficiently covered by other courses in the curriculum. The content of independent studies is highly specialized and, as such, requires a plan of study developed jointly by the student(s) and the supervising standing faculty member. Part-time faculty members are not eligible to offer independent studies. Plans for an Independent Study should include: a statement of the issue(s) to be studied; a rationale for why the identified issue(s) should be pursued via an independent study; a statement of how the independent study fits into the student’s overall educational plan; a summary of the independent study’s major learning objectives; the methods to be used in carrying out the study; a workable plan; the educational “products” that will result from the study (normally a written report or paper); and the expected date by which the independent study will be completed. The process for arranging an independent study requires approval of both the student’s academic advisor and a standing faculty member who has agreed to conduct the independent study. The procedures to be followed are: 1) the student discusses interest in doing an independent study with the academic advisor; 2) if the advisor concurs with the student’s submission, the advisor and student will discuss potential standing faculty sponsors; 3) if a standing faculty sponsor can be located, the student and standing faculty sponsor craft the specific plan, including learning objectives, content, and structure for the course; and 4) the academic advisor informs the registrar that an independent study for the student has been approved.
On the rare occasions that a student is unable to schedule a regular School course, the academic advisor makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who will try to identify a standing or adjunct faculty member able to supervise the course delivered as an independent study.
SWRK 8970: Applied Linear Modeling
Prerequisite: Introductory Graduate Statistics
This course deals with the underlying assumptions and applications of the general linear model with social science, education, and social welfare policy related questions/data. The first half of the course begins by covering simple linear regression and the assumptions of the general linear model, assumption diagnostics, consequences of violation, and how to correct for violated assumptions. This will also include methods of incomplete data analysis (i.e. missing data analysis). Then various aspects of regression analysis with multiple independent variables will be covered including categorical explanatory variables (e.g. to estimate group differences), interaction effects, mediating effects (e.g. to estimate the indirect effect of social processes), and non-linear effects. The course will then cover some of the applications of the general(ized) linear model including logistic regression, some elements of path modeling (structural equation modeling), and multilevel analysis (hierarchical linear modeling). The course will be taught using SAS, but students are welcome to use any statistical package of comfort.
SWRK 8990: Structural Equation Modeling
Prerequisite: Graduate Course on Regression or Linear Modeling
This course is an introduction to linear structural equation modeling and its application to social and policy research. This course will cover various data analytic techniques ranging from simple regression, path models, and factor analysis to multiple group analysis, incomplete case analysis, and advanced longitudinal models. Within each technique we will examine algebraic and graphic model specification, estimation procedures, identification, goodness-of-fit criteria, and alternative models comparison. The goals of this course are to develop an understanding of the conceptual, mathematical, and application bases of structural equation modeling, to learn how to specify and estimate models, and to evaluate them in relation to alternative models using statistical and practical criteria. Classes will include both theoretical and practical sections using M/plus/.