By Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW
The 2012 Rothman Report Points to Troubling Signs that Macro Social Work is in Jeopardy
Back in 2012 the Association of Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) released a report by scholar Jack Rothman that looked into concerns that were being voiced by many macro social workers and social work students.
The reason for the report being written was because the chair of ACOSA was hearing troubling reports about the state of macro (or community practice) social work from social workers and social work students. Essentially they were expressing a concern that macro social work was being squeezed out of the profession.
Between 2010 and 2011 Rothman sent out surveys to ACOSA members to find out what they were experiencing. The three most noted problems that emerged from the survey results were as follows:
- Many faculty in social work schools lack interest in or oppose macro courses and programs
- There is little or no hiring of macro faculty
- The school curriculum structure is primarily clinical
The report makes recommendations for how to remedy these problems. The top three recommendations made by those surveyed are as follows:
- Raise the visibility of macro practice and advocate for a strong place for macro social work within social work institutions and the public.
- Advocating with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to get involved
- Educate and advocate with the deans and schools about the importance of including macro course work in their existing program.
On June 3rd Social Work Chats had a discussion about the Rothman report and the current state of macro social work. Participants shared their experiences and discussed solutions. You can read the chat transcript here.
During the discussion some participants mentioned that their social work program did not offer enough macro course work. Some mentioned that while their schools did not actively dissuade them from pursuing macro social work that there was great emphasis placed on clinical practice and that there was little career planning information available to them that related to macro practice. Others brought up that there may be a problem with social work licensing focusing on direct practice.
It important that we keep this dialogue going so we can come up with solutions. On Friday June 14th the Macro Social Work Student Network will be hosting a discussion panel on the Rothman Report. The event will take place at Hunter College in New York City. It is open to all social workers not just students and it is free. To register for the event go to http://macroswsnetwork.eventbrite.com/.
For those of you who are macro social workers or social work students, what has your experience been? Did your social work program offer macro course work or appropriately incorporate it into classes? Did you have difficulty locating a macro field placement? Where you actively discouraged from pursuing macro work? What do you think are the problems facing macro social work and what can be done to fix them?
By Zagalejo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons