NORTH CAROLINA AGRICULTURAL AND TECHNICAL STATE UNIVERSITY

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1 NORTH CAROLINA AGRICULTURAL AND TECHNICAL STATE UNIVERSITY Institutional Effectiveness Assessment and Improvement Report Department of Sociology and Social Work Bachelor of Social Work Degree (BSW) The Bachelor of Social Work program is a four-year undergraduate degree, serving approximately 275 majors. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In 2011, the BSW program received full accreditation for eight years. All aspects of the program were reviewed and no compliance issues were cited for any of the CSWE standards. 1. Expected Outcomes for the Educational Program and Its Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) a. Program Outcomes (1) The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students for careers as generalist social workers, following the program and curriculum standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). (2) The BSW in Social Work program will promote critical thinking, which will be infused into courses at all levels of the program. (3) The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students to enter graduate and professional schools. b. Program Student Learning Outcomes (1) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate effective communication skills in social work contexts. (2) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills to inform and communicate professional social work practice. (3) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline and understanding of the impact of social welfare policies on clients. (4) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to incorporate ethical decisionmaking strategies in solving problems in the field, consistent with the Council on Social Work Education code of ethics for social workers. 2. Analysis of the Expected Outcomes Assessment a. Program Outcomes The three program outcomes for the BS in Social Work are summarized in Table 1, showing the relationship between the outcomes, the assessment and results, and the improvements made. More detailed narrative follows the table.

2 2 Table 1: Program Outcomes, Assessments, and Improvements Name of Program BS in Social Work Program Outcome Method of Assessment Results of Assessment Use of Assessment Results for Improvement The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students for careers as generalist social workers, following the program and curriculum standards of the Council on Social Work Education. The BSW in Social Work program will demonstrate critical thinking skills to inform and communicate professional social work practice. The capstone course and field education experience of 440 practicum hours are the main methods of assessing the overall preparation of students for careers as generalist social workers. Critical thinking is measured through assignments in the capstone course, by analysis of content, knowledge, impact of student assumptions, review of social work ethics and the identification of varying views and perspectives. In the past five years, 97% to 100% of the graduating seniors successfully completed the senior capstone course with a mastery level of 85%, as set by the department, for course assignments. During the January 2011 Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) site visit, the on-site team of reviewers concluded that the course of study for the BSW program was aligned with the undergraduate curriculum standards of the council. In three years, the BSW majors have scored above the national CSWE norm of 85% meeting the minimum required score on the critical thinking assessment. During the January 2011 CSWE site visit, the on-site team reviewed course syllabi, course exams, and required readings and texts. The re-affirmation letter dated June 13, 2011 cited no curricula deficiencies or concerns, indicating that the course of study for the BSW program was aligned with the undergraduate curriculum standards of the council. This led the faculty to design a new BSW curriculum to reflect trends in CSWE national standards to offer more electives for social work majors. One of the major changes implemented was in assessment. Since 2009, we have used competency based measurements to maintain consistency with the accrediting standards. And, although large percentages of students were meeting the benchmark, faculty decided to vary the teaching techniques used in classes and to provide supplemental reading materials beginning fall 2011 to improve student scores. The faculty will analyze this data and make additional curricula modifications as needed. In fall 2011, the faculty infused critical thinking exercises into SOWK 235 (Interviewing and Recording Skills in Social Work Practice). The first opportunity to measure these changes will be Fall We will be looking at student performance indicators on additional assignments and practice activities students have been given to improve their skills in this area. Adjustments and modifications will then be made based on the data to continue to strengthen the students critical thinking skills.

3 3 Name of Program BS in Social Work continued Program Outcome Method of Assessment Results of Assessment Use of Assessment Results for Improvement The BSW in Social Work program will encourage students to enter graduate and professional schools The primary measure for this outcome is tracking data on the number of students who enter graduate and professional schools. During the past five years, 11% to 20% of the graduating seniors were admitted to graduate and professional schools. One explanation for the low numbers of students going directly into graduate programs is their ability to be licensed upon degree completion and enter the workforce. Faculty decided to track the Enrichment Activities that BSW students participate in each year and link them to students application to graduate/ professional schools and employment interests. Faculty will also track student attendance and participation in graduate and professional fairs and similar types of activities to cross- check graduating seniors placements with the activities that they were involved with. The results will help us better design and select enrichment activities for our students.

4 4 (1) The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students for careers as generalist social workers, following the program and curriculum standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE outlines ten core competencies needed to prepare students as generalist practitioners in BSW programs. Broadly, the competencies include general knowledge of the social work field, ethical principles to guide professional practice, critical thinking to inform and communicate professional practice, research-informed practice and practiceinformed research, and knowledge of human behavior and the social environment. Generalist Social Workers are expected to be able to: EP Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly. EP Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice. EP Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional practice. EP Engage diversity and difference in practice. EP Advance human rights and social and economic justice. EP Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research. EP Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment. EP Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services. EP Respond to contexts that shape practice. EP (a)-(d) Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Taken from the Educational Practices (EP) of the Council on Social Work Education The cumulative CSWE skills, competencies and abilities of the generalist practitioner are assessed in the senior capstone course, which majors must successfully complete in order to graduate. The standard for passing the course is a minimum score of 70% or higher on each major assessment. The national norm for the number of students passing the capstone course is 85%. Table 2 shows the percentage passing for the BSW Program for the last five years. A mastery level of 85% is required on course papers, exercises, and graded assignments. Because the capstone (Senior Seminar) assesses cumulative mastery and preparation for entry into the workforce or graduate school by mandating a passing score in an assignment from all the core social work courses, it gives faculty insight into the level of preparation of graduating seniors.

5 5 Table 2: Capstone Completion Year Graduating Seniors Capstone Course Completion % % % % % In the past five years, 97% to 100% of the graduating seniors successfully completed the senior capstone course SOWK 570 (Social Work Senior Seminar) with mastery at the expected level. This is considerably higher than the national norm of 85%. These measures indicate that students have mastered the generalist curriculum upon course completion which meets a graduation requirement. (2) The BSW in Social Work program will promote critical thinking, which will be infused into courses at all levels of the program. Table 3: Critical Thinking SLOs in Courses CSWE Outcome Lower Division Courses Upper Division Courses Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments SOWK 133, Introduction to Social Work SOWK 134, Social Work and Human Diversity SOWK 230, Social Welfare Policy SOWK 235, Interviewing and Recording SOWK 410, Human Behavior and the Social Environment I SOWK 420, Human Behavior and the Social Environment II SOWK 507, Social Work Field Education I SOWK 509, Social Work Field Education II SOWK 512, Field Education Seminar I SOWK 514, Field Education Seminar II SOWK 523, Social Work Practice I SOWK 524, Social Work Practice II As shown in Table 3, critical thinking has been infused in 4 of 4 (100%) lower division courses and 8 of 8 (100%) upper division courses. (3) The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students to enter graduate and professional schools. The BSW program seeks to prepare students for the rigors of graduate and professional school by adhering to the CSWE curricula content standards that allow for the production of quality graduates. The primary measure for this outcome is tracking data on the number of students who enter graduate and professional schools. Over the past five years, from 11% to 20% of the graduating seniors were admitted to graduate schools, based on informal

6 6 departmental tracking. One explanation for the low numbers of students going directly into graduate programs is their ability to be licensed upon degree completion and enter the workforce. Table 4: Graduate and Professional School Admissions Academic Year Graduating Seniors Graduate/Professional School Admissions (11%) (15%) (13%) (20%) (18%) To encourage students to enter graduate programs the department offers at least six enrichment activities annually to introduce them to opportunities that require graduate degrees as shown in Table 5. Table 5: Enrichment Activities Student Activity Number of Events Year/s Number of students that participated Speaker s Series 4 per year (2 per semester) and in the 1 st year 73 in the 2 nd year Graduate Recruitment Fair s on Campus Graduate Recruitment Fair s off Campus Graduate Research Assistantships Activities with the graduate program Travel to conferences or professional development training 2 each fall semester and in the 1 st year 50 in the 2 nd year 3 each fall semester and in the 1 st year 8 in the 2 nd year 8 students are awarded and in the 1 st year 8 in the 2 nd year 2 events each year and in the 1 st year 38 in the 2 nd year 3 events each year, depending on the budget allocations and in the 1 st year 14 in the 2 nd year The numbers of students going directly into graduate school are low because students graduating from an accredited social work program have the option/ability to be licensed upon degree completion and enter the workforce. Our department offers a master s degree in social work with an accelerated track, two-year track and 3-year track for working professionals.

7 7 b. Program Student Learning Outcomes The four student learning outcomes for the BS in Social Work are summarized in Table 6, showing the relationship between the outcomes, the assessment and results, and the improvements made. More detailed narrative follows the table.

8 8 Table 6: Student Learning Outcomes, Assessments, and Improvements Name of Program BS in Social Work Student Learning Outcome Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate effective communication skills in social work contexts. Method of Assessment Results of Assessment Use of Assessment Results for Improvement This learning outcome was measured with a case study assignment in the upper division course Interviewing and Recording SOWK 235. Students are evaluated in the categories of: coherence of ideas, completeness of information, body language during the presentation, and language usage. The benchmark for the outcome was set at 85% of the students passing the assessment with a minimum score of 70%. The percent meeting the benchmark ranged from 87 to 90%, with average performance scores ranging from 86 to 89%. The benchmark was set to be consistent with the national norm that comparable institutions use for their programs. The faculty have evaluated the average performance scores (Table 8) on the Interviewing Skills Assessment. The curriculum requires two Speech courses that are intended to better prepare students for oral presentations (SPCH 116 and SPCH 250). Beginning fall 2012, the faculty would like to review the impact of the two Speech courses to determine if they should remain in the curriculum or review and consider additional options to strengthen the skill sets of our students. Additionally, we have incorporated more classroom small group exercises where students are able to interview their group members as a way to practice the skills that they will be evaluated against.

9 9 Students in the BSW in social Work program will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills in the context of social work. Cumulatively, the critical thinking outcome is measured in the capstone course (SOWK 520 Social Work Senior Seminar) by having students address scenarios presented in minicase studies. Case responses are scored using a common evaluation that views grammar usage, content, impact of biases/assumptions, social work ethics and self-reflection. A rubric is used to guide the consistency of faculty evaluating students demonstrations of critical thinking. The normed national standard for this measure is 85% success for graduating seniors (This is the percentage of students meeting the minimum performance standard.). The mini-case scenarios used to evaluate the critical thinking skills are being reviewed in fall 2012 based on the assessment data. Additional readings have been incorporated to expose students to varying levels of complexity to demand that they utilize as many skills as possible to view and propose responses to the cases they are presented with. We plan to continue to collect data and make informed decisions to improve our students. BSW in Social Work Continued Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline by evaluating the impact of social welfare policies on clients. The primary measure for this outcome is an oral class presentation in which students identify the impact of social welfare policies on specific client populations and their knowledge of the available service options. A rubric is used to guide the consistency of faculty evaluating students presentations for substantial evidence, connections between policies and impacts, language and identification of oppression. The percentage earning the minimum score of 70% ranged from 86-91%, and the average score for the students assessed was 85% in each of the three years. For the past three years, students have had a level of mastery at or above the CSWE norm of at least 85% of the test-takers earning a passing score at 70%. The average performance score for the students ranged from 85% to 89%. A resource guide was introduced in lower division courses to provide a comprehensive overview of national support services for children and adults. The early exposure in academic year improved students scores on the social welfare policies presentation. In mastery was at 85%. In it increased to 90%). Analysis of the student s ability to identify resources revealed a lack of awareness of community-based supports and national initiatives that are funded throughout the country. The specific resource categories include: local mental health entities, outpatient clinics, residential treatment facilities, governmental agencies, private non-profits, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities and facilities for the elderly. Faculty has three years of data describing student performance on the Social Welfare Policy Presentations (Table 9). Each year adjustments were made to the delivery of materials and content of materials. Beginning fall 2012, students are able to utilize technology in the classroom to view policy practices and live (real-time) legislative meetings to hear social policies being made.

10 10 Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to incorporate ethical decision-making strategies in solving problems in the field consistent with the Council on Social Work Education code of ethics for social workers. The primary assessment of this outcome is a series of questions embedded in the field education course, (SOWK 512 Social Work Field Education II). The data presented in Table 11show that students had high scores on the items, ranging from 87 to 95.6% in and from % in While overall the students scores are high, faculty found that some students tended to struggle more with grasping the complex nature of human services work. Often strong religious values surfaced, which influenced their objectivity in analyzing public policies that may have contradicted their values and personal beliefs. This limited students ability to incorporate broader more global perspectives, and diverse points of view in their decision making. Beginning fall 2012, faculty will be discussing designing a single stand-alone ethics course. The measures of ethical decision-making are measured in field education courses by the instructor who observes student-client interaction, by the field liaison who teaches these students in a seminar course and by the students. The Field Education Director begin adding additional training items to the agenda Field Orientation Instructors to focus on how to strengthen student s skills in this area beginning fall 2012.

11 11 (1) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate effective communication skills in social work contexts. Communication skills in a social work context are assessed in SOWK 235 (Interviewing and Recording) sophomore level course, which provides instruction in interviewing, presentations, clinical documentation, and advocacy. Faculty used a standard communications evaluation that assesses the categories of: Reviewing, Exploring, Consulting, Arranging, Use of Empathy, Self-exploring, Centering, Planning, Engagement, and Assessment. A rubric is used to guide the consistency of faculty evaluating students performance. The benchmark for this course is set at 85% of students passing the assessment the national CSWE norm. For the past three academic years, students have exceeded the 85% national norm for mastery. Table 7: Interviewing Skills Assessment Academic Year Average Performance Score Percentage of students achieving Mastery (70% or better) % 90% % 87% % 88% Despite the high percentage of students meeting the minimum performance score, faculty observed that many students do not have the confidence to engage and sustain extended dialogue, which is a key skill set for effective interviewing and, also, the vehicle by which social workers ascertain pertinent information about clients and use it to formulate interventions and plans. It is important to explain why the assessment data for communication skills covers only the last three years. In fall 2008 CSWE changed the standards by which undergraduate social work programs would be approved. The CSWE National Commission on Accreditation shifted from a focus on knowledge and skills to a focus on training and mastery of 10 CSWE core competencies. The competencies are to be measured through the observation and assessment of practice behaviors within each of the competency domains. (2) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills to inform and communicate professional social work practice. Cumulatively, the critical thinking outcome is measured in the capstone course (SOWK 520 Social Work Senior Seminar) by having students address scenarios presented in minicase studies. The case responses are scored using a common evaluation that assesses grammar usage, content, impact of biases/assumptions, social work ethics and selfreflection. A rubric is used to guide the consistency of faculty evaluating students demonstrations of critical thinking. The case responses are scored using a common rubric. The mini-case scenarios are evaluated by the items on the critical thinking skills rubric that

12 12 allow the instructor to evaluate content mastery, self-awareness, reflection, assumptions and biases, knowledge of social work ethics. The normed national standard for this measure is 85% success for graduating seniors (This is the percentage of students meeting the minimum performance standard of 70%). We have collected data for the past three years, which show that students achieved above the normed national standard of 85%. Table 8: Performance in Critical Thinking Academic Year National Norm BSW Program % 86% % 91% % 89% (3) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline by evaluating the impact of social welfare policies on clients. The primary measure for this outcome is a class presentation in which students evaluate the impact of social welfare policies on specific client populations and their knowledge of the available service options. The primary measure for this outcome is an oral class presentation in which students identify the impact of social welfare policies on specific client populations and their knowledge of the available service options. A rubric is used to guide the consistency of faculty evaluating students presentations for substantial evidence, connections between policies and impacts, use of language and the identification of oppression. Each rating category is scored with as follows: A (Highly Proficient), B (Competent), C (Marginal), and D (Unacceptable) with the criteria for each grade listed. Students earning a D are required to re-take the course. The benchmark for this course is set to the national CSWE norm of at 85% of students meeting the minimum score of 70%. For the past three academic years, students have had a mastery level at or above the CSWE norm. Table 9: Social Welfare Policy Presentations Academic Year Average Performance Score Percentage of students achieving Mastery (70% better) Level % 90% % 85% % 86% While the percentage of students meeting the minimum score on the social welfare policy presentations were at or above the CSWE national norm, an analysis of specific items on the rubric revealed a lack of awareness of community-based supports and national initiatives that are funded throughout the country.

13 13 (4) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to incorporate ethical decisionmaking strategies in solving problems in the field, consistent with the Council on Social Work Education code of ethics for social workers. Competence in ethical decision making is critical for students because it is the cornerstone of the profession. This national competency area is infused into every course at some level. The primary assessment of this outcome is specific items measuring critical thinking skills embedded in the field education course, (SOWK 512 Social Work Field Education II). Table 10: Performance in Ethical Decision Making Performance Items Performance Recognized and managed personal values such that professional values guided practice Made ethical decisions by applying principles from appropriate professional codes Tolerated ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts Applied strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions The performance items in Table 10 are assessed in the social work field education courses by the field education instructor and the field seminar instructor. They are assessed by one individual who is employed in the community agency with the student for 220 hours in a given semester and the other individual is in the classroom using a focused pedagogical approach to integrating theory with practice. The performance behaviors above are mandatory assessment items for undergraduate students in accredited BSW programs. It is important to explain why the assessment data for ethical decision making covers only the last three years. In fall 2008 CSWE changed the standards by which undergraduate social work programs would be approved. The CSWE National Commission on Accreditation shifted from a focus on knowledge and skills to a focus on training and mastery of 10 CSWE core competencies. The competencies are to be measured through the observation and assessment of practice behaviors within each of the competency domains. Generally, students received high scores on their ethical decision making skills. 3. Evidence of Program and SLO Improvements Using the Results of the Assessment (Closing the Loop) a. Program Outcomes (1) The BSW in Social Work program will prepare students for careers as generalist social workers, following the program and curriculum standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). During the January 2011 CSWE site visit, the on-site team reviewed course syllabi, course exams, and required readings and texts. The re-affirmation letter dated June 13, 2011 cited

14 14 no deficiencies or concerns, indicating that the course of study for the BSW program was aligned with the undergraduate curriculum standards of the council. This led the faculty to design a new BSW curriculum to reflect trends in CSWE national standards to offer more electives for social work majors. One of the major changes that we implemented has been in the way we assess. Since 2009, we have used competency based measurements to maintain consistency with the accrediting standards. Additionally, although large percentages of students were meeting the benchmark, we made several adjustments which included: varying the teaching techniques used in classes and by providing supplemental reading materials beginning fall 2011 to improve student scores. We will analyze this data and make additional curricula modifications as needed. Faculty also analyzed data on the performance of program majors in upper division courses to determine what curricular changes might strengthen the program in order to better prepare students for careers as generalist social workers. Because the capstone (Senior Seminar) assesses cumulative mastery and preparation for entry into the workforce or graduate school by mandating a passing score in an assignment from all the core social work courses, it gives faculty insight into the level of preparation of graduating seniors. Starting spring 2012 (this course is only taught in the spring semester), students began compiling a portfolio that contains previous works, resumes, training certificates from their field practice sites and other supporting documents that reveal mastery within the discipline that demonstrates preparation as a generalist level social worker. The BSW in Social Work program will promote critical thinking, which will be infused into courses at all levels of the program. In fall 2011, we infused critical thinking exercises in SOWK 235 (Interviewing and Recording Skills in Social Work Practice). The first opportunity to measure these changes will be fall We will be looking at student performance indicators on additional assignments and practice activities students have been given to improve their skills in this area. Adjustments and modifications will then be made based on the data to continue to strengthen the students critical thinking skills. (2) The BSW in Social Work program will encourage students to enter graduate and professional schools. The Enrichment Activities that BSW students have an opportunity to participate in each year will be tracked and linked to students application to graduate/professional school and employment interests. Historically, we had anecdotal data. Beginning fall 2012, we will take attendance at all lecture and lunch series. We will track the student attendance and participation in graduate and professional fairs. We will then be able to cross check our graduating seniors placement with the activities that they were involved with. We have asked seniors to provide us with a copy of all graduate school acceptance letters and employment offers. Additionally, we began asking seniors in spring 2012 for contact information so we can follow-up with them after graduation to determine their employment and academic statuses.

15 15 b. Program Student Learning Outcomes (1) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate effective communication skills in social work contexts. The faculty have evaluated the average performance scores (Table 8) on the Interviewing Skills Assessment. The curriculum requires two Speech courses that are intended to better prepare students for oral presentations (SPCH 116 and SPCH 250). Beginning fall 2012, the faculty would like to review the impact of the two Speech courses to determine if they should remain in the curriculum or review and consider additional options to strengthen the skill sets of our students. Additionally, we have incorporated more classroom small group exercises where students are able to interview their group members as a way to practice the skills that they will be evaluated against. (2) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills in the context of social work. The mini-case scenarios used to evaluate the critical thinking skills are being reviewed in fall 2012 based on the data revealed in Table 8-Performance in Critical Thinking. Additional readings have been incorporated to expose students to varying levels of complexity to demand that they utilize as many skills as possible to view and propose responses to the cases they are presented with. We plan to continue to collect data and make informed decisions to improve our students. (3) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to demonstrate breadth of knowledge in the discipline by evaluating the impact of social welfare policies on clients. Faculty has three years of data describing student performance on the Social Welfare Policy Presentations (Table 9). Each year adjustments were made to the delivery of materials and content of materials. Beginning fall 2012, students are able to utilize technology in the classroom to view policy practices and live (real-time) legislative meetings to hear social policies being made. (4) Students in the BSW in Social Work program will be able to incorporate ethical decisionmaking strategies in solving problems in the field, consistent with the Council on Social Work Education code of ethics for social workers. While overall the students scores are high, faculty found that some students tended to struggle more with grasping the complex nature of human services work. Often strong religious values surfaced, which influenced their objectivity in analyzing public policies that may have contradicted their values and personal beliefs. This limited students ability to incorporate broader more global perspectives, and diverse points of view in their decision making. During the spring semester 2012, faculty accompanied students to the National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter training series on Ethical Clinical Practices. Beginning fall 2012, faculty will be discussing designing a single stand alone ethics course. The measures of ethical decision-making are measured in field education courses by

16 the instructor who observes student-client interaction, by the field liaison who teaches these students in a seminar course and by the students. The Field Education Director began adding additional training items to the agenda Field Orientation Instructors to focus on how to strengthen student s skills in this area beginning fall

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