GRADUATE FACULTY COMMITTEE DOC. NO. 1060A April 20, 2009
TWO-YEAR FOLLOW-UP REPORT OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON GRADUATE
PROGRAM REVIEWS FOR THE REVIEW OF THE MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK
PROGRAM (Site Visit: December 12-13, 2007)
The original report, GFC Document No. 1060, was approved March 26, 2007.
This follow-up report on the Master of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is
a component of the periodic review process overseen by the Dean of the Graduate School. Below
are the recommendations for this master’s program.
Response to Consultants’ Recommendations:
Recommendation 1: The Department of Social Work should consider increasing the MSW
requirements to a 60 hour degree from a 56 hour degree. Given the increasing knowledge base
for social work practice, there is good justification for a 60 hour degree. Sixty hours is the norm
for MSW programs. We think this change could be undertaken without a large increase in
Program Response (2/5/07): We are wholeheartedly in agreement with this suggestion. We
created a committee structure for reviewing syllabi, templates, and course sequencing last month.
Now that the concentration objectives have been completed, we can look at course sequencing
from foundation through the advanced coursework for both gaps in curriculum and redundancies.
With new faculty and new concentrations, this sort of review is at an appropriate time. With the
increase of four credits and the elimination of any overlaps in content, our options for developing
new courses with current content would be increased.
Program Update (2/12/09): During 2007-08, we successfully completed our re-accreditation for
the Council on Social Work Education. This included reports on the BSSW and MSW programs, a
site visit, and a four-year, “alternative self-study” project (a curriculum CD!). With new
accreditation standards for our next site visit, we are expected to develop outcomes that identify the
competencies (skills and knowledge) of graduates. We are in the midst of that task, to be followed
by a discussion of course and credit requirements given those objectives, for a 60 credit graduate
degree. We had been discussing the course requirements needed for 60 credits and realized we
needed to “back up” and revise our objectives first.
GPR (4/6/09): Although the Department had initially agreed to pursue the 60-credit option for
the MSW requirement, not much progress has been made. The Department’s follow-up
response does not indicate a systematic plan to achieve this goal. Furthermore, the
Department does not indicate the reason to “back up and revise their objectives first.” As
stated in the reviewers’ report, the 60-credit requirement is the norm for MSW programs. In
order to remain competitive and provide the quality of education and training to its student,
the Department should consider implementing the 60-credits requirement without further
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 2 April 20, 2009
Recommendation 2: There should be systematic review of course syllabi to assure that they
adhere to the course descriptions, that they incorporate evidence-based interventions where
relevant, and that they contain the most up-to-date resources.
Program Response (2/5/07): As indicated above, the committee structure for a review of syllabi
was established last month and will begin this semester. Since this year’s review is expected to
be quite comprehensive, we have created a committee structure for the review. However,
beyond this year, we need to develop a structure that will routinely provide oversight of course
syllabi. While there is not a consensus yet on how that will be accomplished, suggestions have
included assigning a lead faculty member for each course, responsible for review. We could also
maintain the current sub-committees and assign the responsibility to those sub-committees.
After we have completed the initial review this semester, we will be in a better position to
identify a structure for ongoing oversight of syllabi.
Program Update (2/12/09): The curricular subcommittees have been reviewing syllabi for the
past three semesters. We created a folder on the shared drive where we now post the syllabi.
The routine of submitting syllabi electronically at the beginning of the semester has become
established and faculty know where they can access previous syllabi. Some subcommittees have
met with all the instructors of a particular course, as a group, to develop a consensus around
textbooks and content. Because of scheduling conflicts, some subcommittees have convened the
full time instructors who have then individually mentored part-time instructors about course
content and the syllabus.
GPR (4/6/09): The Department has implemented a series of actions that results in a systematic
approach to establish a unified curriculum across the program.
Recommendation 3: For courses, which have multiple sections, we recommend regular planning
sessions of instructors, both of tenure track and ad hoc faculty. These meetings would foster
collaboration and mutual respect. We found that ad hoc faculty with whom we met did not really
have contact with tenure track faculty. These meetings would allow for mutual sharing of ideas
for course assignments and resources. We suggest a designation of 2-3 appropriate texts for
courses, from which instructors would chose, so that the most up-to-date texts are used.
Program Response (2/5/07): We have discussed creating a meeting of all instructors once a
semester to review assignments and textbooks for upcoming course sections. It would be the
responsibility of the fulltime faculty members to select and approve any texts, however.
Program Update (2/12/09): As indicated in the previous response, some curricular
subcommittees have been able to meet with their part-time faculty; others, for reasons of
scheduling, have had individual meetings with part-time faculty. These meetings have occurred
regularly as new faculty have been added. For example, the research faculty has already
identified their next set of tasks related to the sequencing of needed content.
Additionally, since Fall 2007, we have had meetings several times per semester with the part-
time faculty to update them on department activities and discuss teaching challenges and
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 3 April 20, 2009
strategies. We have had astonishing attendance! We also created a listserv, at the request of the
part-time faculty, so they could maintain and initiate communication with each other.
GPR (4/6/09): The Department has initiated a number of committees and meetings to address
the issue of faculty and ad-hoc instructor communication regarding to the program curricula.
Recommendation 4: We were very impressed with the double major program (micro and macro
practice), which currently has 20 students enrolled. We recommend growing that program.
Social workers, especially those who are being trained for urban practice, need to be able to
intervene at all levels in order to effective in helping the populations they serve. We also view
practice across levels of intervention as the wave of the future in social work practice. The Field
Office could cultivate field placement sites that would allow students to engage in both micro
and macro practice. The populations served by Social Work’s three research areas, substance
abuse, gerontology, and child welfare, all lend themselves to placements which allow both micro
and macro interventions.
Program Response (2/5/07): The Field Program already has community sites where students
can do both their micro and macro practice field placements. Those sites are in agencies that
focus on families and children, physical and behavioral health – but there are fewer sites
developed for macro placements in aging. However, there are agencies providing aging services
where field placements could be created.
We do describe the double methods option but we could do a better job of highlighting this
program both in our written materials and on our website. Since this is apparently a unique
aspect of our program, we could describe it as such.
Program Update (2/12/09): We continue to have placements that allow students access to both
micro and macro experiences, in all our areas of concentration. Our Double Methods program
continues to attract students and we continue to identify ways to educate students about the
GPR (4/6/09): The Double Methods program is in place and it is continuing to grow.
Recommendation 5: There is a lack of integration between what students are taught in class and
what they encounter in terms of practice challenges in the field. Students with whom we met
described individually how they engaged in this integrative. Many programs have an Integrative
Seminar, which students attend when they enter the field, whose intent is to facilitate this
integration. We understand that such a seminar was agreed upon by faculty at HBSSW several
years ago, but never implemented. We recommend its implementation. This would be a 1 credit
hour seminar that might meet every other week.
Program Response (2/5/07): We agree in the importance of a field seminar and have been
working toward an integrative seminar. Students in gerontology field placements already have a
seminar available and this past fall, field seminar sessions were available to graduate and
undergraduate students. However, so far, both types of sessions have been voluntary and not
always well attended.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 4 April 20, 2009
While proposing a 1 credit seminar sounds straightforward, the unresolved questions involve
instructional responsibility and workload; frequency and level of seminar sections; and curricular
structure. We are still committed to creating a field seminar but with approximately 240 students
in field, we have a number of logistics to resolve before we can propose one. The efforts that the
current field director has made to establish more contact between faculty, field liaisons, and field
instructors has been an additional effort to address the gap between field and the classroom.
Program Update (2/12/09): We started offering an Integrative Seminar Fall 2008, beginning with
the undergraduate field students. It is offered as a “lab” course connected to the field course so no
new courses or credits were required. It meets for an hour, every other week. Next spring, we will
begin with the graduate, foundation field course.
GPR (4/6/09): The Department plans to offer the Integrative Seminar course in Spring 2010.
However, it is not clear whether it will be offered once a semester or on both semesters of the
academic year. From the recommendation of the reviewers, this seems to be an important
issue for the students in the program and it might be helpful for the current students if the
seminar course is offered without any further delays.
Recommendation 6: We recommend the strategic development of joint programs at the MSW
level. The Social Work Department currently has a number of certificate programs, which could
be grown into joint programs, including one in non-profit management. However, joint programs
better prepare students for the future of social work than certificate programs, and serve as an
important recruitment mechanism. Other programs that are a very good fit for social work joint
programs are public health and law. Usually these programs require an additional semester of
study for students and a negotiation of coursework and field work.
Program Response (2/5/07): At present, the only degree in the proposed list that exists as
possible for exploration as a joint degree is the new master’s degree in non-profit management.
We could certainly initiate discussions with the Helen Bader Institute for Non Profit
Management about degree requirements and shared students. We do not have a law school we
have been a part of the conversation about a possible school of public health at UWM
Program Update (2/12/09): We continue to be a part of the progress on the public health program
at UWM with one faculty person recently hired in social work who is expected to be in public
health part-time once that program is established.
The admission requirements for the graduate degree in non-profit management are quite different
from the requirements for the MSW program. While it would still be worth exploring, we do not
anticipate that this will be a large growth area.
We continue to develop and refine our certificate programs. At present, significant market growth
for social workers is predicted to be in the areas of aging and behavioral health. We currently have
a certificate in aging and have talked with the Center on Age and Community about partnering
around an Undergraduate Certificate. We are a certified educational setting for substance abuse
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 5 April 20, 2009
certification. We are developing the materials to clarify the state requirements for students in
substance abuse at the graduate and undergraduate level.
GPR (4/6/09): The Department indicates that the option for offering a joint degree certificate
with the Helen Bader Institute for Non Profit Management is still an option, however, they are
not anticipating a significant growth. Recently, the Department got involved with the new
Public Health initiative at UWM, which might be an option for a joint certificate degree.
Recommendation 7: A five year degree which would result in both a bachelor’s degree and a
MSW is another possibility as a way of increasing the array of program options.
Program Response (2/5/07): We will consider this option. At present, however, an applicant’s
work experience contributes to the strength of their application (i.e., 25% of their score) so a 5
year BSW/MSW would involve a philosophical difference in our MSW program.
Program Update (2/12/09): The faculty discussed this and the consensus was that this was not an
option that we were interested in developing, at this point. Instead, there are a number of faculty
who believe we should require several years of work experience after a BSW before admitting
students to the MSW program. So, there was not agreement to create a BSW-MSW program
GPR (4/6/09): The department indicates that the faculty took into consideration this
programmatic decision but decided that is not of interest at this point. However, the
department believes that work experience should continue to be considered and counted
favorably towards admission to the MSW program.
Recommendation 8: We recommend careful planning of the implementation of the doctoral
program. We agree, however, that there is a market for such a program both in terms of potential
students and jobs for students once the complete the program.
8a. The articulated reasons for deciding to develop a doctoral program may need to be
reconsidered. Having a doctoral program has costs, even though it may enhance Social
Work’s ability to obtain external funding. As a recruiting mechanism, presumably for
the MSW program, having a doctoral program may not be effective. While it is
understandable that the School of Social Welfare might want to have a doctoral
program to enhance its prestige, that will only do so if it is a good program.
8b. Of concern is the expectation in terms of course requirements and the modest number
of students. It is not clear how a specialty seminar with four students and three
specialties will be handled, especially since students take a specialization seminar every
term for two years. In addition, students will take a statistics and research methods
course each term. As the program is initiated, it might be better to take advantage of
statistics and research courses being taught in other units and leave the development of
new statistics and methods courses to a later time.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 6 April 20, 2009
8c. Even though the program is just being developed, there may be resource challenges.
The two new faculty positions which were added for the doctoral program may not be
sufficient resources for program implementation. Although students are intended to
complete their degrees within 4 years, this timeframe may not be realistic for all
students. Long term planning for resources needs to be considered.
Program Response (2/5/07): We regret if our documents gave the impression that a major reason
for developing the doctoral program is to enhance external funding. We believe our success in
obtaining external funds reflects our level of involvement in research, and this involvement and
the new doctoral program will be mutually reinforcing for each other. Relative to course
requirements, we have initiated discussions with faculty in the College of Nursing to explore
ways of one or more of our statistics classes so faculty resources in both departments can be
shared. We will also look for other departments where this might be possible. One of our
students’ four specialization seminars must be taken outside the department, and we hope to
attract students from other departments (as well as advanced master’s students in our own
department) into the courses we offer in-house. Overall, we agree that resources which appear
sufficient when the doctoral program is new may become insufficient once the program has been
in place for a few years and a full complement of students is in place. When that time arrives,
however, we believe we will be in a good position to compete successfully for additional
resources that may be available.
Program Update (2/12/09): The program now has two first-year students, three second-year
students, and is reviewing applicants for a third cohort that will begin classes in September 2009.
We expect to admit two or three students in this group. In our first two years we had 23 applicants,
offered admission to eight, and had our offers accepted by six of those eight. One student dropped
out in her first semester. The mean GRE scores of accepted students were 580 on the Verbal section
of the GRE and 650 on the Quantitative section, both of which are at about the 70th percentile. This
illustrates our philosophy of proceeding carefully and admitting only those student who are likely to
succeed and reflect well on the program after graduation.
We recognize that doctoral students can be a drain on resources, but we have been able to offer
competitive financial aid packages that have helped us enroll a high percentage of students to whom
we offer admission. We also acknowledge that admitting small cohorts of students sometimes leads
to low class sizes, but a number of classes are scheduled such that they are taken by both first- and
second-year students, and we have also begun attracting substantial numbers of students from other
departments in courses such as statistics and grant-writing. We did have several meetings with
representatives from other departments about sending some of our students to take their courses, but
what has happened has been largely the opposite. This makes our classes a more comfortable size
and has also allowed us to generate additional student instructional credit hours. Overall, the
program is meeting its goals of attracting quality students and offering a strong curriculum while
continuing to live within its means.
GPR (4/6/09): The department has addressed most of the recommendations, especially
regarding the quality of the incoming students. Smaller cohorts seem not to be an issue since
programmatic revisions were made to accommodate first and second year students in the same
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 7 April 20, 2009
Recommendation 9: The Social Work Department is hampered in a number of ways by the
limitations of the allocated physical space and the research support it has currently. We view as a
high priority a new facility for the Department of Social Work and adequate library/research
9a: The faculty does not even have a room adequate enough in size to hold its meetings.
The department has three research areas that are currently located within the allocated
space, but the Child Welfare Partnership for Professional Development is in the process
of moving to another location.
9b: Students have voiced the need for common areas for congregating, and as the doctoral
program admits its first cohort of students in the fall 2007, the department has no
currently identified space for their offices.
9c: There is no space currently available that could accommodate the expected demands for
research space that will result as the faculty continues its success in securing external
funding for research and other activities.
9d: The lack of a place that brings the department into a cohesive whole might impact the
faculty’s success in its research activities as well as have a negative impact on retention
of students. It also impacts the degree to which the department can engage with the
community in campus-based activities that support the research, teaching, and service
mission of the university.
9e: The university appears to have resources to help faculty and students with their
scholarly work. There are some online resources and efforts to provide literature
through inter-library loans. There is a general perception, however, that the library
holdings and its online resources are not adequate to support a research intensive
environment or one that will soon have doctoral students actively engaging in scholarly
activities. There is specific concern among faculty and students that an adequate listing
of online journals is not available and in one case, a current full-time faculty member
has sought adjunct affiliation with UW-Madison solely to have access to better library
9f: While providing inter-library loans and hard-copies of journal literature not available at
UW-M is definitely helpful, it represents outdated technology and processes that do not
support an effective and efficient research agenda. This limitation also impacts current
students in both BSW and MSW programs as they are limited in their own ability to use
the best and most recent literature.
Program Response (2/5/07): We wholeheartedly agree with all of these concerns but most are
out of our control. We have identified all of these concerns in the past and most continue to
remain as critical obstacles to our growth and success. Dr. Fendrich, Director of CABHR, is
now meeting with the library and is optimistic that they are at least now aware of our concerns.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 8 April 20, 2009
Additionally, the library has recently announced plans for a strategic planning effort with
intentions to reach out to constituent groups to understand their (our) needs.
In the Chancellor’s recent plenary session speech, the need for additional campus space was
described along with future plans for creation of two new off-campus centers. We can have a
role in the creation of such initiatives, especially health and clinical practice.
Program Update (2//12/09): The problem of space continues. We have divided rooms to double
offices; asked the student assistants to time their office hours in order to allow numbers of students
to share a small space; and purchased smaller desk furniture to accommodate more people in
existing space. We were able to maintain the interview rooms (so far) as clinical space despite an
effort to make those into offices. We also were able to create office space for the PhD students.
Space continues to be a critical problem.
GPR (4/6/09): a. Departmental Level. The department has taken measures to accommodate
their student and faculty space issues, but the basic issue remains unsolved. There is no
indication of any further development on the library suggestions mentioned by the external
reviewers. b. Campus Level. We believe that a serious revision to the space limitations at the
Social Work Department should be done immediately. These restrictions proved to be
detrimental to the faculty research agendas as well as to MSW and PhD students’ research
Recommendation 10: There seem to be potential divisions among the priorities for tenure track
faculty (research), ad hoc faculty (teaching), and students (attracted to the program because of its
focus on practice). It is important to keep tenure track faculty anchored in their commitment to
the profession. Tenure-track faculty must be ever mindful that an important part of their mission
is training students for a profession and for practice.
We heard from both students and alumni of the program that when there was a choice between
an ad hoc faculty and a tenure track faculty teaching a course, they would choose an ad hoc
faculty because they had practice experience or more current practice experience.
10a. Our recommendation regarding meetings for courses with multiple sections will assist
in developing greater community of understanding regarding priorities.
Program Response (2/5/07): Agreed. This is a good suggestion.
Program Update (2/12/09): See our response to recommendations #2 and #3. As indicated, we
have had meetings of full-time and part-time faculty around courses with multiple sections related
to content, assignments, and textbooks.
GPR (4/6/09): The department has taken measures to standardize multiple sections of related
10b. Encouraging community based research will also assist the faculty to remain
connected to the social work profession. We understand that many faculty already
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 9 April 20, 2009
have community-based research as their focus. An additional rationale for this focus
is the potential availability of NIH funding. Part of the NIH roadmap is translational
research, taking efficacy studies and translating them into the real world of practice.
Program Response (2/5/07): Much of our faculty research is applied and we agree with the
reasons for the importance and relevance of community based research. Long-standing and
productive partnerships are already in place between social work faculty and organizations that
directly serve the population of Milwaukee (the Milwaukee Women’s Center and CABHR;
Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare and child welfare faculty; Milwaukee Aging Consortium
and Center for Age and Community).
Program Update (2/12/09): As we described two years ago, our faculty continue to be involved in
community-based research. Many partnerships continue and new ones have been developed.
GPR (4/6/09): The department displays a continuous involvement with the Milwaukee
community, including faculty related researches.
10c: Presently the social work facilities have four clinical suites with one-way mirrors and
video capability. These have been used for practice simulations. We recommend
exploration of their use for research with actual clients and delivery of clinical
services to actual clients, for example implementing an evidence-based intervention
that a tenure track faculty member will teach. Permission can be obtained from clients
to use case materials and videotapes for teaching and research purposes.
Program Response (2/5/07): We are intrigued by this idea and would like to explore how we
might develop this type of training opportunity.
Program Update (2/12/09): At present, we do not have any faculty members who are interested in
developing this idea. However, for over 5 years, we have had a retired faculty member, who does
teach a course for us in the community with real clients. It is a very popular class with our students.
He uses a community site because of the ease of access to clients from the agency that hosts the
GPR (4/6/09): The department provides evidence that a course using real clients has been
taught in the community for the past five years.
10d: We recommend that teaching and scholarship should been given equal weight in
tenure and promotion decisions. Teaching, scholarship, and service should all be
considered when merit increases in salaries are made for tenure track faculty.
Program Response (2/5/07): At present, merit decisions do include teaching, scholarship, and
service activities. Our teaching criteria for tenure has not been reviewed for a number of years
and this would be a good opportunity to take another look at how our expectations are stated for
tenure. Reinforcing the commitment to teaching in policies is one way we can be mindful of our
teaching mission. The balance of teaching and research is very critical and it is very important
that we find ways to ensure both aspects of our role.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 10 April 20, 2009
Program Update (2/12/09): New criteria for tenure related to teaching have been drafted.
Those are being discussed as part of a larger review and revision of our department policies and
GPR (4/6/09): The department has taken measures and is in the process of reviewing their
10e: Crafting the use of ad hoc faculty so they are more involved in the Department, for
example serving on subcommittees or as consultants on research projects, could shift
their priorities so they value the Department of Social Work more and have more
exposure to tenure track faculty.
Program Response (2/5/07): We are reconstituting our committee for Adjunct Faculty and they
could certainly look to develop ways to better integrate Adjunct into the Department.
Program Update (2/12/09): As described in our response to recommendation #2 and #3, we
have convened meetings with the part time faculty several times a semester on various topics.
Faculty have been invited usually to discuss a teaching innovation or just to be a part of the
discussion around teaching.
GPR (4 6/09): The department has implemented the necessary actions to involve ad hoc
faculty into the curriculum. It is unclear if these faculty are currently serving on
subcommittees or as consultants on research projects.
Recommendation 11: According to the Self Study (Vol. 1) document, undergraduate enrollment
includes 100 majors and 230 pre-majors while graduate enrollment ranges between 250 and 300
11a: With a student body of approximately 600 students, the Department of Social Work
should consider hiring a full-time professional dedicated exclusively to supporting
students and attending to recruitment and retention activities. Students already have
academic advisors, but there does not appear to be coordinated efforts for aggressive
recruitment, retention activities, and the professional development of students.
Program Response (2/5/07): That would be great!
Program Update (2/12/09): While we would still like to hire a full-time person dedicated to the
professional development of students, we have not been able to hire for that role. That type of
position has been included in all recent planning materials but has not been funded.
GPR (4/6/09): a. Departmental Level. The department has taken the necessary measures to
hire such professional assistance but no funds have been allocated to this hire. b. Campus
Level. As recruitment and retention have been priorities campus wide, funds allocated to this
hire seem of extreme importance.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 11 April 20, 2009
11b: Students voiced concerns about graduating without more formal assistance from the
programs in preparing them to enter the work force. According to the students with
whom we met, assistance with resume preparation, job search strategies, and effective
interviewing skills would be highly desirable.
Program Response (2/5/07): Agreed. We are meeting with the campus Career Development
Center this semester to identify opportunities that the University provides for preparing students
for careers. We have worked with the Center in the past but have not forged an ongoing
relationship. We would also like to include alumni, somehow, in helping students transition to
the work force.
Program Update (2/12/09): In addition to work with the Career Development Center, we have
included some content on social work employment and certification in the field seminars,
presentations sponsored by the social work club, and a Jobs Board.
GPR (4/6/09): The department has taken relevant actions to better prepare the students for the
11c: As funding is tied to an institution’s enrollment, retention, and graduation rates,
universities across the US are faced with the need to implement campus wide
programs to improve their performance along these criteria of their effectiveness.
The more innovative and aggressive of these efforts have great breadth and depth
based on a common first year experience for all students and a common, basic general
education curriculum along with intensive “wrap-around” services that include
mandatory academic advising, tutoring services in a variety of academic disciplines,
writing laboratories, and one-stop services for assistance with issues related to
financial aid, student accounts, and disabilities services, for example.
11d: The Social Work Department must tap into all possible currently available resources
at the university to support its efforts, but it must also develop its own initiatives for
attracting students and helping them succeed once they are in the program. Proactive
advising requirements, targeting first year students and those having academic
difficulties for special attention are steps that can be taken immediately.
Program Response (2/5/07): The campus continues to be innovative with efforts to connect
students to learning and to the campus community. We also need to think creatively about both
recruitment and retention – starting with tracking retention data and identifying where
students might be having difficulties.
Program Update (2/12/09): We have a School Marketing Committee that has been working
with the programs in the School to identify innovative marketing strategies. As a result, we have
been more targeted in our advertising and developed promotional materials that allow us to take
advantage of opportunities to routinely promote the programs of the School. We have initiated
several types of “informational sessions” for the MSW program, both in the community and on
campus, to talk about the social work programs. We have consolidated our scholarships in order
to increase the dollar amounts awarded and created a coordinated mechanism for application.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 12 April 20, 2009
We do have several efforts that have helped with identifying students in difficulty and in
encouraging student connections within the program. We have been able to identify some
potential problem situations (e.g., an Incomplete in a course other than field; delayed entry into
Field; low overall GPA) and obtained student names from our database. That has allowed us to
follow up with students in a timely manner.
Since students take methods courses concurrently with field, we have at times been able to create
some proactive learning plans between the field liaison, faculty advisor, and faculty instructor for
students having difficulties. This has helped identify the needs and challenges of some
Parts of the graduate program create a cohort of students. For example, the School Certificate
program, because of the requirements for DPI, convenes students as a group outside of class to
ensure student understanding of the requirements. This has had the added benefit of creating a
sense of a “group” among the students who get to know each other and are known by the School
Certificate Coordinator. A similar dynamic happens with the students in the Aging Certificate
Program. The courses for this certificate are only offered annually so students in this certificate
program are apt to be in the same series of courses together. Students have told us that this type
of “cohort” has been helpful to them in negotiating the program.
GPR (April 6, 2009): The department has taken strong measures to address several of the
points raised by the external reviewers and has routinely observed and evaluated their results.
Recommendation 12: Despite UWM’s strategic location within an urban setting and its mission
as an access and opportunity institution of higher education, the student body in social work
reflects less diversity than might be expected.
12a: Although many students face real challenges, financial and otherwise, in their
attempts to access higher education, the Department should consider implementing
more aggressive and targeted recruitment efforts.
12b: There may be opportunities to focus attention on local technical and junior colleges as
well as local high schools. The Department can consider ways to establish
relationships with these entities, bring prospective students to campus and to the
social work department for open houses and orientations. There may be ways to
establish relationships with local high school guidance counselors, for example, to
begin educating students about the social work profession and career opportunities in
Program Response (2/5/07): Both of those suggestions are important. As part of our recent
strategic planning efforts, marketing was identified as a critical task. For both programs, we
need to think strategically about how and where to focus our recruitment efforts.
Program Update (2/12/09): The School has entered into an innovative partnership with one
MPS high school, Custer High School. The principal and faculty have created a new curricular
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 13 April 20, 2009
option for students, grades 9-12, that they call “The Law Family.” Its purposes are to increase
students’ exposure to and interest in criminal justice and social work careers by (1) providing
students with content in their regular English, Social Studies, and Science courses that might
relate to these two disciplines and (2) developing a course sequence and electives which focus on
topics specific to preparing for college entry in these disciplines. At this time, we have
contributed to curriculum development, consulted around guest speakers, advised library
purchases, helped create experiential learning opportunities, and offered campus visit
opportunities for field trips. The project first year has been funded by the Dean’s office, and we
are continuing to apply for funding from the campus initiative program.
GPR (4/6/09): The department has taken significant measures to address the issue of diversity
within the undergraduate level. It is unclear if the department is taking similar measures with
their MSW and PhD programs.
Recommendation 13: Having data that are specific to the Department of Social Work is
important for evaluating whether the Department is satisfying its mission and meeting goals.
13a: The Department should carefully track enrollment and retention trends at the
programmatic level. These data can be useful in long-term planning for growth as
well as in identifying specific concerns related to attrition and should include data on
the numbers of applications, acceptances, and rejections to each program.
Program Response (2/5/07): Agreed. This past year, we began tracking our own numbers for
applications, acceptance numbers and numbers of students who actually attended. We have not
yet developed a mechanism for tracking retention rates but we agree that this would be important
Program Update (2/12/09): We have two years worth of admissions and alumni data. We are
tracking applications, acceptances, reasons for rejection, along with reasons for non-attendance
(if accepted). About half of our students come in a BSW and half do not; most of our students
are from Wisconsin, and most of those who chose not to attend once accepted do so for financial
or geographic reasons (e.g., they were also accepted to a program closer to home).
GPR (4/6/09): The department has implemented significant actions to track admissions and
enrollment. However, there is no indication of a follow-up study of retention.
13b: In addition to tracking current enrollment trends, the program should conduct regular
alumni and pre-graduation surveys. These data can help track how students are
transitioning from student to professional status, finding and maintaining
employment, and provide information regarding their professional trajectory and the
degree to which they feel well prepared by the program to be successful in the
Program Response (2/5/07): An evaluation committee began meeting Fall 2006 to develop exit
surveys and alumni surveys. The former will provide feedback about the program and the
experience of students; the latter will focus on employment experiences.
Graduate Faculty Document No.1060A p. 14 April 20, 2009
Program Update (2/12/09): We have two years’ worth of “exit survey” data and alumni survey
data. Over 80% of our graduates report finding jobs within the field of social work within three
months of graduation. Over half of our students (both graduate and undergraduate) work in the
Milwaukee area, legitimating our urban focus. Of the students just graduating, their self reports
on knowledge and skills acquired are very positive.
GPR (4/6/09): The department has addressed the recommendations by implementing the above
GPR: Recommendations for Action:
1. The Graduate programs in Social Work should be continued.
2. The next full review should take place during the standard review schedule.
Representing GPR 2009 for Follow-Up Review
Mesut Akdere, Department of Administrative Leadership
Simone Ferro, Department of Dance
Representing the COR for Regular 10 Year Review:
Christopher W. Peterson, Department of Music, Peck School of the Arts
Professor Karen Morin, College of Nursing
Kathleen Coulborn Faller, Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor, School of Social Work and Director
at the Family Assessment Clinic at the University of Michigan.
Humberto Fabelo, Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director at the Virginia Commonwealth
University School of Social Work.
School/College Representative (ex officio):
Deborah Padgett, Department Chair