The purpose of Service Learning is to give students in Social Work 312 (Generalist Social Work Practice) the opportunity to begin practicing relationship building skills with others and to observe the stages in the change process while the stages are being taught in the classroom. Students also learn about the social justice issues impacting residents of the Austin area in Service Learning and start to get a better sense of the social work profession. Professionalism and development of self-awareness are also emphasized.
Students completing Service Learning in Social Work 312 are expected to achieve the following:
- Develop professionalism and self-awareness
- Gain exposure to diversity within the community
- Beginning practice of relationship building skills through work with community members
- Experience opportunities to observe or discuss the change process with people receiving services from the service learning agency
- Learn about the social justice issues impacting the people served by the service learning agency
- Integrate what they are learning in SW 312 regarding relationship building, the change process and social justice with their experiences in a service learning agency
Service Learning is often completed as part of the second social work class students enroll in, usually in their second semester or year of college. Students are required to be either social work majors or minors to complete SW 312 and Service Learning. Students are still in the early stages of learning about the skills necessary to become a professional social worker and so can not function as a social worker in their service learning experience. Instead, students may take on smaller responsibilities needed to serve clients effectively in service learning agencies. Students are required to have human contact for the majority of their time in Service Learning.
Service Learning Courses and Hours
Undergraduate students enrolled in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHSSW) are required to complete 20 hours of service learning in a community agency during Social Work Social Work 312: Generalist Social Work Practice. Students complete service learning to understand the importance of civic engagement within the Austin community and to integrate classroom learning with experiential learning.