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Empowerment through Collaboration

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   About the Program Mission Statement and Goals  |  Program Description  |  Curriculum Plan  |  Program Assessment  |  Location Facilities   

The Greater Rochester Collaborative MSW program is an innovative response to a long-standing need for an MSW program in the Greater Rochester area.

The program is the first public/private partnership in social work education. This collaboration between The College at Brockport and Nazareth College of Rochester provides students with the best educational experience from two of the area's finest academic institutions.

The MSW program focuses on the delivery of collaborative, community-based practice using an integrative practice model that stresses a strengths-based, empowerment oriented, interdisciplinary teamwork approach to social work practice.

The program is a direct response to community, student, and agency needs and provides opportunities for graduates of the program to be on the cutting edge of new directions for social work practice.

The GRC MSW program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in November 2002.

The GRC MSW program provides opportunity for advanced professional study and emphasizes demonstrated mastery of knowledge as well as practice skills. The primary goals of the program are to:

  1. Provide advanced social work education incorporating theoretical knowledge and critical thinking within an advanced integrated practice framework; emphasizing an ecological strengths-based community collaborative, empowerment model of practice to promote social and economic justice.
  2. Educate social work practitioners who are ethical, critical thinkers engaged in ongoing inquiry and life-long learning.
  3. Develop practitioners who provide autonomous social work practice and leadership in health, human service, and other community organizations, as well as in diverse communities to assist high need or at-risk populations.
  4. Infuse a critical understanding of culturally competent and gender sensitive advanced practice in working with diverse groups, and to adapt social work knowledge and skills to meet the needs of disenfranchised and historically oppressed groups.
  5. Promote and support research and knowledge development to improve the effectiveness of social work practice, policies, and programs.
  6. Promote the health and well being of individuals, families, groups, and communities by advancing social justice in a changing environment and in a global society.
About the Curriculum
The curriculum as a whole is designed around an integrated practice model delivered within the framework of collaborative community-based practice and an empowerment perspective.
Foundation Curriculum Concentration Curriculum Family and Community Concentration Interdisciplinary Health Concentration
Foundation Curriculum year builds on the generalist perspective, which introduces students to the framework of multi-system, multi-level intervention. Students explore the generalist perspective as it relates to human behavior, policy, practice and research with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. The theoretical underpinning of the curriculum is knowledge and skill development from the systems and ecological perspectives. The core first-year courses and field practicum integrate the problem-solving process through a strengths-based empowerment as the main theme of the generalist perspective.

Concentration Curriculum year builds on the generalist framework by applying the integrated practice perspective, a refinement of the generalist perspective. The integrated practice perspective allows for the development of advanced intervention skills in working across the five client systems: the individual, family, group, institutions, and community. Collaborative and empowerment skills that prepare students to work within an interdisciplinary and interagency community-based practice are emphasized. In integrated practice, social workers engage in a partnership with the client system to provide interventions that mobilize the client system to higher levels of competency.

Family and Community Practice Concentration prepares students to plan, develop, and implement family-focused services from a collaborative, community-based perspective. The concentration is based on a strength-and-empowerment philosophy with primary focus on agency-based work with vulnerable and at-risk populations. Students will become familiar with federal, state, and local trends, policies, and programs in community-based intervention and preventive services related to families. Students will explore theories of family practice, including traditional family therapy, family preservation, empowerment strategies for families, and working with multi-needs families. Students will also explore theories of community development, including traditional models of community organizing, theories of local social development, and models of community enhancement. The goal of this concentration is to prepare students for leadership roles and practice in agencies serving high-risk and high-need families from a community perspective. The concentration provides students with the requisite knowledge and skills to work with children, families, communities and organizations to promote and preserve family well-being in the context of promoting, developing, and maintaining healthy community life. Emphasis is placed on developing advanced practice intervention strategies that foster collaboration and partnerships between and among various community agencies and organizations in the design, implementation, and evaluation of family support services. Students in this concentration are specifically prepared to practice in community-based programs such as schools, community centers, mental health centers, residential and day treatment programs, public assistance, preventive, protective and other agencies serving families and individuals within families.

Interdisciplinary Health Concentration prepares independent practitioners who are skilled in promoting health and wellness. The traditional medical model's deficit orientation is challenged and the graduate students are trained in a family systems model of care that incorporates problem-solving approach that integrates policy, technology, and practice. Family-centered care recognizes the family as the expert in the needs of the affected family member and positions team members as collaborators in this care. From the family-centered knowledge base, students are then pushed to understand community interventions from a public health perspective that enfolds the community's role in promoting well being. The contemporary managed care environment has radically influenced the healthcare delivery system at all levels of care. Students in this concentration are specifically prepared to practice in comprehensive healthcare facilities, specialized healthcare facilities, public health clinics and programs, medically based senior health care facilities and programs, wellness and preventive healthcare and mental health programs.

Graduates of the GRC MSW program will provide leadership across multiple systems and at different levels within the systems. This perspective is brought to bear on specific target systems/populations within the concentrations of Interdisciplinary Health Care, and Family and Community Practice. Expected competencies are: an ability to synthesize and apply a broad range of knowledge; an ability to practice with a high degree of autonomy and skill; and an ability to refine and advance the quality of professional practice and that of the larger social work profession. The outcome objectives of preparing practitioners who can analyze, intervene, and evaluate in ways that are highly differentiated, discriminating and self-critical assure coherence between the foundation year and the concentration year.