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Social Work: Assessment in Social Work

SWSS 330 Z1 (CRN: 61836)

3 Credit Hours—Section is Full.

The course SWSS 330 Z1 is currently full.

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About SWSS 330 Z1

An advanced MSW concentration elective that analyzes competing and complementary assessment strategies and their implications in social work in health/mental health and with children and families. Prerequisite: Completion of MSW foundation course work; or Instructor permission.



Dates: June 20 - July 15, 2022; Tues/Wed/Thurs 5pm-8:45pm; MSW Concentration/2nd Yr students ONLY

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While the course will be slightly modified, below is the Syllabus from Summer 2021: The University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services Department of Social Work SWSS 330 Assessment in Social Work SYLLABUS Semester: Summer 2021 Lecturer: Danielle Jatlow, LICSW, LADC Credits: 3 Office: e-mail: Classroom: Online Phone: 415-407-2952 Day/Time: Live Sessions T and Th Office hours: By appointment Asynchronous assignments and activities Usual email pattern: Daily # of Students: 18 Preferred mode of communication: Email Pre or Co-requisite: Completion of MSW foundation course work COURSE DESCRIPTION Assessment in Social Work (SWSS 330) is a specialized practice course that explores and deconstructs contemporary assessment practices from a postmodern, constructionist, transformative social work orientation. This course will examine the impact of assessment and diagnostic discourses on the lives and relationships of diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions, and communities. The course will critically consider the ways in which social worker formulations impact clients, clients’ views of themselves, and social work practitioner relationship with clients. The course will also emphasize the ways in which formulations invite and hinder practitioner stance of connection, curiosity, openness and hope from a variety of fundamental social work practice theories. Students will adopt a critical stance toward the history and uses of traditional and contemporary assessment frameworks. The strengths and limitations of each of various approaches and paradigms will be considered, both from the practitioners and clients' perspectives. Integrated into all aspects of this course will be a focus on working with diverse individuals, families and communities and acknowledging the importance of intersectionality and cultural humility connected to social work assessment. Building on student experience and social work practice (course work, work experience, field placement), the class cohort will utilize critical thinking, deep listening, inquiry, and self-awareness to increase knowledge and skill in social work assessment role and identity. COURSE OBJECTIVES & SOCIAL WORK COMPETENCIES After completing this course, students will be able to: 1. Deepen self-reflections on the student’s own underlying assumptions and values regarding other human beings and difference. 2. Demonstrate a specialized approach to the critique of social work assessment practice ideas, paradigms, theories, and approaches. 3. Apply a multidimensional, multicultural, and postmodern constructionist assessment orientation to case examples and/or cases drawn from students' own practice or field practicum. 4. Expand and demonstrate specific social work assessment skills informed by a postmodern epistemological stance and modernist and postmodernist methods for understanding the struggles and resilience of individuals, families, and groups. 5. Demonstrate the abilities of engagement, inquiry, and practices commensurate with master’s level assessment practice. 6. Demonstrate practices of curiosity, listening, and seeking to understand the meanings people give to their situations and experiences. 7. Demonstrate (through the use of in class activities and out of class assignments) strengths-oriented social work practices that can be used across multiple practice settings. 8. Demonstrate relational and collaborative work within the learning colleague group and make connections to social work practice within agencies and organizations. 9. Demonstrate understanding, affirmation, and respect for diversity and difference in dialogue with and about individuals, families, and small groups. 10. Apply social work values and ethics to cases from students' own clinical practice in the context of appropriate assessment/theoretical frameworks. 11. Demonstrate reflexivity, i.e., value of the social worker being a participant in the assessment process in the mutual constitution of observer and observed, and the recognition of power differentials. 12. Translate respect for human diversity and the strengths of social and cultural differences into the promotion of social and economic justice and human rights with and on behalf of communities, groups, institutions, and organizations experiencing poverty and other forms of oppression. Diversity issues include, but are not limited to matters pertaining to gender, social class, ideology, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and physical/mental abilities. These course objectives align with items in bold in the following list of nine social work competencies that CSWE requires you to master by the time you graduate from the social work program: 1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior 2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice 3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice 4. Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice 5. Engage in Policy Practice 6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities 7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities 8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities 9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS Fadiman, Anne. (1997). The spirit catches you and you fall down: A hmong child, her american doctors, and the collision of two cultures. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Menakem, Resmaa. (2017). My grandmother’s hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press. All readings and course materials with the exception of the books mentioned above will be posted on BlackBoard at the start of the semester. LEARNING METHODS & RATIONALE The course methods include a combination of learning activities, large group and small group discussions, case examples, case presentations and conceptualizations, written assignments, and required readings. The course will require a sense of collective responsibility for encouraging a climate of openness, safety, inquiry, drawing on and sharing experience both from within and outside the field of social work, critical thinking, self-awareness, and courageous dialogue. LEARNING ASSESSMENT ASSIGNMENTS Table 1. Assignments, Deadlines & Grading Learning Assessment Assignments Dates Due Points Class Presence, Participation and Collaborative Learning Ongoing during semester 30 Book Discussion Group Preparation & Assignment June 24th and June 29th 20 (5 points for prep, 15 points for paper Reading Highlights (4 Highlights) Student choice 20 Addressing Assessment from a Transformative Social Worker Stance Paper July 15th 30 TOTAL 100 UVM Grading System Excellent: Good: Fair: Poor: Failure: A+ 97-100 B+ 87-89 C+ 77-79 D+ F A 94-96 B 84-86 C 74-76 D AF Administrative Failure A- 90-93 B- 80-83 C- 70-73 D- XF Academic Dishonesty Incompletes: A grade of incomplete (INC) may be assigned when course work is not completed for reasons beyond the student's control. Incompletes may be approved for the following reasons: medical, personal tragedy or academic. Attendance Policy: This is a term used to describe the overall way in which students value and come prepared to learn and participate in this course. Students are expected to actively participate in a manner that is respectful to the learning/teaching of both yourselves and others in the class. The professional curriculum in social work is relational and generative at its core. Therefore, ▪ Missing any assignment, discussion opportunity, small or large group experience, or not completing assigned readings or viewing other course content will be noted and considered as part of this grade. ▪ The Social Work Department Policy states, “Absence of more than 20% of in-class learning may result in the failure of the course.” While we are engaging in a mostly asynchronous online course experience, absence of more than 20% of your contribution to and participation in class discussions and experiences may result in failure of the course. ▪ The term “excused absence” is not language we will use in this class. This is not to say that the instructor doesn’t understand that illness, unexpected scheduling conflicts, or personal decision-making are not a reality of our human lives as learning colleagues. However, students are either engaged in class opportunities or not engaged in class opportunities and given the nature of the learning in this particular class, it is very difficult to have the same/similar learning experience if a student is not present for learning experiences. What is important to this instructor is the skill development related to “how” a student manages missed opportunities. This “how” will be considered when assigning this part of a student’s grade. For example, a student who misses class due to illness has some choice about how that is handled. If the choice is to let the instructor know ahead of time and then to consult with other students in the class about the class content missed, they will be assessed far more positively than the student who waits a few days and then emails the instructor with the question, “did I miss anything important?” ▪ Students are expected to participate in the class activities and discussion board posts as a part of this grade. For example, there will be multiple opportunities for leadership in group discussions and reporting back to the larger group; there will be opportunities for students to share thoughtful observations or key takeaways or to ask questions about the content of the course and the application of course content to social work practice. Demonstrating genuine interest, thoughtfulness, and engagement will be noticed. Assessments (Graded Work) I. Book Discussion Preparation and Book Discussion Reflection Paper (20 points) Purpose and Brief Description: By the beginning of the course, students will read the The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. This book will support students to think critically about interdisciplinary approaches to assessment, embrace multiple perspectives existing simultaneously, and provide an in-depth case example of how culture, spirituality, and family beliefs and values impacts assessment. a) Book Discussion Preparation (5 points): After reading the book, each student will post three discussion questions or reflections to the class discussion board to thoughtfully engage class participants in a book group discussion connected to formulation, assumptions, implicit bias, power dynamics between providers and clients, and the importance of self-awareness in helping relationships. Questions/reflections should also be posted to the class discussion board by the due date (Thursday, June 24th). b) Book Discussion Reflection Paper (15 points): Each student will complete a brief (no more than 3 pages) paper that captures multiple viewpoints offered during the book group discussion focused on assessment considerations. Paper should include any new or fresh thinking about concepts from the book connected to a constructionist assessment practice. Paper should incorporate some aspect of the following fundamental concepts (discussed in class) of assessment from a constructionist perspective: Formulation or understanding, assumption, implicit bias, power dynamics and self-awareness. (Due Tuesday, June 29th) Evaluation Criteria: (a) Timely completion of both the discussion questions and paper (b) demonstration of understanding of concepts (c) demonstration of critical reflection and connection to constructionist assessment practice (d) active and thoughtful participation in book club discussion. II. Reading Highlights (20 points) Purpose and Brief Description: Students will write a brief (no more than one page, double spaced) paper on primary readings as assigned. For each Reading Highlight, choose an article from the assigned list, describe the key concept(s) from the article, explore ways the concepts could be applied to social work practice, and identify any critique or curiosity you have about the article or application of the main concepts. Students are asked to write 4 Reading Highlights for a total of 20 points throughout the course. Due by July 14th. Evaluation Criteria: (a) Timely completion; (b) demonstration of understanding of main concepts from reading; (c) demonstration of critical reflection and (d) identification of how the main concept(s) might apply to your own social work assessment practice. III. Assessment from a Transformative Social Worker Stance Paper (30 points) Purpose and Brief Description: Students will complete a final paper using a case example (an individual, family, group, community, organization, or institution) from prior work or practice experience to explore the multidimensional opportunities to engage in a constructionist assessment process using a transformative social work lens. This assignment is an opportunity to demonstrate reflexivity in understanding one’s own values, culture, awareness, beliefs and experiences contributing to understanding formulation or assessment practice. Students will be asked to think critically about the ways in which assessment practice supports or hinders client intention and priorities. Students are also asked to identify and evaluate the dilemmas that come with working within an organizational world of practice. The final paper should be presented in APA format and must be 5-10 pages in length. Additionally, the paper should incorporate 3-5 readings from the course as academic references. Additional academic resources are also welcomed. (Due Thursday, July 15th) Evaluation Criteria: (a) Timely completion (b) Critical thinking and self-awareness skills (c) Use of academic references (d) deep understanding and identification of main objectives of course (e) application of transformative social work and constructionist concepts to explore assessment in social work. COURSE OUTLINE AND SCHEDULE WK DATE CONTENT PREPARATION READING DUE 1 June 22 Live Session via Teams: 6:30pm-8pm Welcome and Class Introduction Course Syllabus Review Initial Explorations of Assessment in Social Work Introduction of Book Discussion Book Preparation and Assignment • Read Getting Started link on Blackboard • Review Week 1 Course Content 1 June 23 Self-directed reading & Book Group Discussion preparation. Readings: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman Dean & Poorvu article Briggs & Corcoran article Class-generated reflections on formulation, assumptions, implicit bias, power dynamics, and self-awareness via Discussion Board post. Book Group Discussion Questions: Posted to Discussion Board 1 June 24 Class Book Group Discussion (small groups will meet between 5-9pm or at another time as needed). Reading: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Book Group Discussion Class Introduction via Discussion board 2 June 29 Live Session via Teams: 6:30pm-8pm Instilling Hope and Stepping into a Transformative Stance with Assessment: Curiosity, Embracing Ambiguity, Knowing What We Don’t Know, Knowing What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know (DKDK) Readings: Graybeal, Iverson, Gergen & Fairbanks, Milner, Myers & O’Byrne Readings: Rodwell, Montigny. Book Discussion Paper Due 2 June 30 Collaborative Approaches and Co-Inquiry: Agency, Story, Voice, and Client Expertise Readings: Goh and Baruch, Madsen & Gillespie Chapter 5, Madsen (2007) Watch “We Are Foot Soldiers” and post to Discussion Board 2 July 1 Live Session via Teams: 6:30-7:30pm Anti-Oppressive Assessment Practice Readings: Carter, Robert T., DiAngelo, Ali, McFarlane, Hawkins, & Udo-Inyang, Jeyapal, Teasley, Schiele, Adams, Okilwa, Williams articles Watch Hardy video Self & Partner Identity exercise 3 July 6 Live Session via Teams: 6:30pm-8pm Family-focused Assessment Practice Reading: McGoldrick, Gerson, & Shellenberger, Zimmerman & Dabelko, as well as the genogram symbols and ecomap examples Menakem: My Grandmother’s Hands Podcast: Code Switch/The Perfect Son episode (on Blackboard) 3 July 7 Cultural, Community, Institutional and Organizational Assessment Practice Reading: Netting, Kettner, & McMurtry Chapter 3, 4, 5 & 6 Menakem: My Grandmother’s Hands Perfect Son podcast Discussion Board post. Final paper meetings to take place this week through July 14h. 3 July 8 Live Session via Teams: 6:30-7:30pm Cultural, Community, Institutional and Organizational Assessment Practice Lightfoot, Simmelink McCleary, and Lum Menakem: My Grandmother’s Hands Genogram/Ecomap self and partner activity and Discussion Board post. Community Assessment small group activity 4 July 13 Live Session via Teams: 6:30pm-8pm Spirituality and Assessment Practice Dominant Frameworks of Assessment and the Rush to Answers: DSM, Diagnosis, and Biopsychosocial Understanding Reading: Hodge, Coates, Gray & Hetherington DSM-5 Selected sections Lavie-Ajay & Nakash, P. & Jungbauer Bio-psychosocial-spiritual podcast 4 July 14 Navigating Practice Setting Assessment with a Transformative Social Work Stance Bio-psychosocial-spiritual practice with a colleague Reading Highlights all due by this date 4 July 15 Live Session via Teams: 6:30-7:30pm Moving from Assessment to Intervention, Assessing Motivation, Addressing Assessment Discussion Questions, Curiosities, Ongoing practice learning, Closing Readings: Hultman, Cederborg & Magnusson and Cemlyn & Nye Assessment from a Transformative Social Worker Stance/Final Paper UNIVERSITY AND COURSE POLICIES Student Rights and Responsibilities Students are responsible for knowing and observing all UVM policies regarding student rights and responsibilities. These policies address the following: Academic Integrity, Class Attendance, Athletic-Academic Conflicts and Religious Holidays. Likewise, social work faculty and students are responsible for knowing and observing the Classroom Code of Conduct. This is the link to these policies on the UVM website: Accommodations In keeping with University policy, any student with a documented disability interested in utilizing accommodations should contact SAS, the office of Disability Services on campus. SAS works with students and faculty in an interactive process to explore reasonable and appropriate accommodations, which are communicated to faculty in an accommodation letter. All students are strongly encouraged to meet with their faculty to discuss the accommodations they plan to use in each course. A student's accommodation letter lists those accommodations that will not be implemented until the student meets with their faculty to create a plan. Contact SAS: A170 Living/Learning Center; 802-656-7753;; or Difference and Diversity In keeping with the program’s commitment to promote diversity, human rights, social and economic justice and clients’ strengths in its conceptualization and implementation, the courses in the Department of Social Work will affirm and respect difference. Explicit attention will be given but not limited to the intersectionality of age, class, color, culture, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status (Competency 2., CSWE 2015 EPAS). This affirmation will be apparent in the construction of the course objectives and course assignments, the selection of course materials and the instructor’s ongoing attention facilitating a respectful, engaged learning for all students. Of particular significance, students and faculty should "apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in the classroom and in communicating about and working with diverse clients and constituencies (Competency 2). Freedom of Expression & Speech, and Respectful Dialogue Due to the topics of this course, some readings and discussions may be emotionally challenging or evoke controversial ideas. Considering and engaging multiple, complex positions is a necessary dimension of the discursive processes and applied learning in social work education. Moreover, as employees of a public university, UVM faculty must seek to protect everyone’s First Amendment rights and the free speech exceptions established by the Supreme Court. Respect for difference and diversity is to be demonstrated toward all members of the class, whether or not agreement exists among the positions taken on an issue. This is an integral part of engaging difference and diversity in social work practice and of participating professionally in the collaborative learning processes of social work courses. For further understanding of the ethical standards, values and norms informing these policies, see: the NASW Code of Ethics (2017), the university's Our Common Ground, the core philosophy of the Department of Social Work and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifically Article 9. Bibliography Ali, Alisha N., McFarlane, Emily, Hawkins, Robert, & Udo-Inyang, Ini (2012). Social justice revisited: psychological recolonization and the challenge of anti-oppression advocacy. Race, Gender & Class (19) ½, 322-325. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Briggs, H.E. & Corcoron, K. (2001). Shared power in social work: A native american perspective of change. In Briggs & Corcoron (Eds.) Social work practice: Treating common client problems. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Carter, Robert T. (2007). Racism and psychological and emotional injury: Recognizing and assessing race-based traumatic stress. The Counseling Psychologist, 35(1), 13-105. Cemlyn, Sarah J. & Nye, Miriam (2005). Asylum seeker young people: Social work value conflicts in negotiating age assessment in the UK. British Journal of Social Work, 35(5), 689-708. Coates, J., Gray, M. & Hetherington, T. (2006). An ‘ecospiritual’ perspective: Finally, a place for indigenous approaches. British Journal of Social Work, 36(3), 381-399. Dean, Ruth G. & Poorvu, Nancy Levitan (2008). Assessment and formulation: A contemporary social work perspective. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 89 (4) 597-604. DiAngelo, Robin (2011). White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3), 54-70. Dorcas Bowles, Obie Clayton & June Gary Hopps (2017) Spirituality and social work practice at historically Black colleges and universities, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 27:5, 424-437, DOI: 10.1080/10911359.2016.1203384 Goh, Esther C.L. & Baruch, Herzl (2018). Young persons as epistemological agents in social work assessment and intervention. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 88-95. Graybeal, Clay (2001). Strengths-based social work assessment: Transforming the dominant paradigm. Families in Society, 82(3), 233-242. Hodge, David R. (2001). Spiritual assessment: A review of major qualitative methods and a new framework for assessing spirituality. Social Work, 46(3), 203-214. Hultman, E., Cederborg, A.C., & Magnusson, K.F. (2015). Social workers’ assessments of children’s health when arguing for children’s needs. Children and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 32, 301-308. Iverson, Roberta R, Gergen, Kenneth J. & Fairbanks, Robert P. II (2005). Assessment and social construction: conflict or co-creation?. British Journal of Social Work, 35, 689-708. Jeyapal, D. (2017). The evolving politics of race and social work activism: a call across borders. Social Work, (62)1, 45-52. Lavie-Ajay, M. & Nakash, O. (2017). “If she had helped me to solve the problem at my workplace, she would have cured me”: A critical discourse analysis of a mental health intake. Qualitative Social Work, 16(1), 60-77. Lightfoot, Elizabeth, Simmelink, McCleary, & Lum, T. (2014). Asset mapping as a research tool for community-based participatory research in social work. Social Work Research, (38)1, 59-63. Madsen, William (2007). Working within traditional structures to support a collaborative clinical practice. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, No. 2 Madsen, W. C. & Gillespie, K. (2014). Engaging people to envision new lives in Madsen and Gillespie (Eds.). Collaborative helping: A strengths framework for home-based services. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. McGoldrick, M., Gerson, R. & Shellenberger, S. (1999). Developing a genogram to track family patterns in McGoldrick, Gerson & Shellenberger (Eds.) Genograms: assessment and intervention. Menakem, Resmaa. (2017). My grandmother’s hands: Racialized trauma and the pathway to mending our hearts and bodies. Las Vegas, NV: Central Recovery Press. Milner, Judith, Myers, Steve, & O’Byrne, Patrick (2015). An Explorer Map: Strengths-Based Approaches in Milner, Myers & O’Byrne (Eds.) Assessment in Social Work (pp. 158-180). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Montigny, Gerald (2018). Social workers’ peculiar contribution to ethnographic research. Qualitative Social Work, 17(3), 452-468. Netting, Ellen F., Kettner, Peter M., McMurtry, Steven L., & Thomas, Lori M. (2017). Assessing Communities in Netting, Kettner, McMurty, & Thomas (Eds.) Social Work Macro Practice (pp. 153-184). Boston, MA: Pearson. Netting, Ellen F., Kettner, Peter M., McMurtry, Steven L., & Thomas, Lori M. (2017). Assessing Community and Organizational Problems in Netting, Kettner, McMurty, & Thomas (Eds.) Social Work Macro Practice (pp. 87-115). Boston, MA: Pearson. Netting, Ellen F., Kettner, Peter M., McMurtry, Steven L., & Thomas, Lori M. (2017). Engaging with Diverse Populations in Netting, Kettner, McMurty, & Thomas (Eds.) Social Work Macro Practice (pp. 59-86). Boston, MA: Pearson. Netting, Ellen F., Kettner, Peter M., McMurtry, Steven L., & Thomas, Lori M. (2017). Understanding Communities in Netting, Kettner, McMurty, & Thomas (Eds.) Social Work Macro Practice (pp.116-187). Boston, MA: Pearson. Peter, O. & Jungbauer, J. (2018). Diagnosis talk and recovery in people with a mental illness: A qualitative study and perspectives for clinical social work. Clinical Social Work Journal ( Rodwell, Mary K. (1987). Naturalistic inquiry: An alternative model for social work assessment. Social Service Review, 61(2), 231-246. Teasley, Martell Lee, Schiele, Jerome H., Adams, Charles & Okilwa, Nathern (2018). Trayvon martin: Racial profiling, black male stigma, and social work practice. Social Work, (63)1, 37-45. Williams, David R. (2018). Stress and mental health of populations of color: advancing our understanding of race-related stressors. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 59(4), 466-485. Zimmerman, Jennifer & Dabelko, Holly I. (2007). Collaborative models of patient care. Social Work in Health Care, (44)4, 33-47.

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