Teaching Macro Practice Through the Use of Experiential Instruction and Collaboration: A Formula to Create Sustainable Community Resources

Timothy O Davis, Kendal J Carswell


While delivering an organizations and communities class to an outlying cohort of students, the social work program explored new ways to engage students through focusing on experiential instruction and collaboration with local community agencies.  Using aspects of the “flipped classroom” as well as service learning, the course was developed as an experiment to identify community needs and engage with community stakeholders to develop solutions.  The project utilized a combination of student group work, community experts and instructor coaching to teach the academic material and meet the core competencies of the course.   Students identified a project, worked with community partners and delivered recommendations at completion.  The findings were then used to write a grant to assist with prisoner re-entry into the community.  This resulted in an award nearing $300,000 to bridge gaps in services.  The grant funded two social work positions to provide strengths-based family-centered case management, funds for community mentor/volunteer training, released prisoner group meetings aimed at improving released prisoner social and moral functioning, and funds aimed at transportation assistance.  The article discusses all aspects of the project and provides an outline to assist social work educators integrate similar projects into other programs.  


Rural Social Work; Social Work Education; Community Development

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