Social Work Practice Fellows (SWPF)

A Professional Development Program for Social Work Supervisors of Direct Practice across the Life Course

Now Accepting Applications for the 2020/2021 Cohort

This year’s Practice Fellows Program will be conducted live, via Zoom. Each content area will be presented in 3 two-hour live sessions from October 2020 through April 2021. Dates and times noted below.

Social Work Practice Fellows (SWPF) is a premier tuition-based professional development program for MSW supervisors from community-based agencies. The educational model, which has been proven effective, calls for face-to-face interactive workshops taught by academic and practice-based experts utilizing brief didactic presentations, group learning activities, discussions of cases and supervision experiences, and the provision of extensive educational materials. SWPF is delivered by the continuing education departments of participating schools of social work and its workshops are led by expert social work practitioners and faculty scholars.

Cohorts of 20-25 MSW supervisors convene for scheduled learning sessions to receive 36 hours of training on supervisory best practices and are awarded 36 continuing education units to apply toward their state licensure for practice. SWPF also facilitates the creation of much-needed peer support for participating supervisors who are known to experience professional isolation and to benefit from peer networking. SWPF is offered in multiple communities and each new cohort of graduates will join a growing professional network of alumni with whom they can connect for mutual support.

With an abundance of caution for the safety of learners and instructors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Work Practice Fellows program will be delivered through distance learning formats (Via Zoom) until further notice.

The curriculum will be covered through 18 convenient learning sessions of two hours apiece, on a once-weekly basis over three periods of six consecutive weekly sessions (see program schedule below). Completion of all 18 sessions is required for earning the SWPF certificate and CE contact hours.

Virtual sessions will be hosted online through video conferencing with both the full group and smaller breakout groups. Learners can expect interactive presentations and conversational engagement with peers and instructors. They will therefore need computers or tablets with reliable webcams, mics, and internet connectivity. Learners will be provided with an online learning readiness self-assessment as well as ongoing support in preparing for and utilizing online instruction.

Cost

$700.00 per participant.

Eligibility, Successful Completion, Cancelation and Application

The participants selected for the program must be MSW-level social workers who are supervising social service workers from diverse settings. Supervisees can include any number of MSWs, BSWs, or other social service staff, in any combination. Attendees are expected to attend all six-program days as well as completing anonymous pre- and post-program surveys. (All survey data will be de-identified and reported only in aggregate. Your name will not be linked in any way with your responses to this survey.)

To successfully complete the SWPF certificate program, participants are expected to:

  • Attend all 36 training hours.
  • Complete pre- and post-program self-assessments of supervisory practices.
  • Participate in activities and discussions.
  • For CECs, full attendance is required; CECs are not prorated.
  • Certificates of completion will be issued at the end of the program to those who completed all program hours.

Full refunds will be issued to those who cancel within 10 working days before the first training date minus a $25.00 processing fee. No refunds after the start of the program. Request for refunds must be in writing and submitted to the Social Work Continuing Education Program at swkce@syr.edu.

Social work supervisors must apply for acceptance into the program. We will strive to bring together a diverse group of participants. Apply early. Based on the volume of applications, acceptance decisions will be made every 2-3 weeks until the program is full. You can register and pay after acceptance into the program with the form sent to you with your acceptance letter.

Online Application

Workshop Titles and Dates:

Advancing skills in individual and group supervision

Date: October 9, 16 and 23
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Ellen Ketchum, LCSW-R, Director of Clinical Services, Catholic Charities and Tracy Walker, LMSW, Director of Field Education, School of Social Work, Syracuse University

Supervision to advance knowledge of mental health and substance use challenges impacting individuals and families across the life course

Date: November 6, 13 and 20
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Jennifer Genovese, ACSW, Ph.D., MSW Program Director and Teaching Professor, School of Social Work, Syracuse University and Kenneth Marfilius, LCSW, DSW, Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Social Work, Syracuse University

Trauma-informed supervision through a social justice lens

Date: January 8, 15 and 22
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Mark Buttiglieri, LCSW-R, Director of Social Work, Upstate Medical University Hospital and Tracey Musarra Marchese, MSW, LCSW, Professor of Practice, School of Social Work, Syracuse University

Supervision to advance knowledge of health challenges impacting individuals and families across the life course

Date: February 5, 12 and 19
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Tracy Torelli, LCSW-R, CASAC, Clinical Staff Educator and Clinical Social Worker, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Jane Fico, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker, St. Joseph’s Hospital

Teaching assessment and planning skills in work with individuals and families

Date: March 5, 12 and 19
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Kortney Dale, MSW, Vice President of Family Services, Liberty Resources and Kristin Esposito, LMSW, Internship Placement and Social Work Continuing Education Coordinator, School of Social Work, Syracuse University

Furthering supervisors’ capacity to address performance and organizational challenges

Date: April 2, 9 and 16
Times: 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Description & learning objectives >>

Faculty Instructors:
Ellen Ketchum, LCSW-R, Director of Clinical Services, Catholic Charities and Tracy Walker, LMSW, Director of Field Education, School of Social Work, Syracuse University

Session Descriptions and Learning Objectives

Advancing Skills in Individual and Group Supervision

This workshop teaches new supervisors and updates those who are experienced about the range of skills involved in individual and group supervision in an array of service contexts. Supervisors are guided in structuring regularly scheduled supervisory sessions in accordance with the learning styles of supervisees and the appropriate use of individual versus group meetings. Emphasis is placed on supporting staff in self-assessment with careful attention to diversity, inclusion, and equity issues within the service context.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Structure regularly-scheduled supervisory sessions in accordance with the learning styles of supervisees
  2. Support supervisees in self-assessment and planning to advance their practice strengths, address challenges, and develop as professionals
  3. Teach supervisees to use an “evidence-informed” approach to empirically evaluating practice
  4. Model the behavior of striving for professional competence through ongoing education, supervision, and self-care
  5. Structure group supervision sessions focused on common practice themes and situations (e.g., ethical dilemmas)
  6. Utilize social work group facilitation skills to promote group process during group supervision

Supervision to advance knowledge of mental health and substance use challenges impacting individuals and families across the life course

This workshop teaches supervisors how to support staff in planning to meet the needs of clients with mental illnesses and substance use across the life course. Included are supervisory considerations for supporting social service workers in the ongoing assessment of mental disorder symptoms and their potential impacts on clients and their families, building understanding of effective practice models as supported by research evidence, appreciating the complex nature of self-determination, and the intersections of these issues with cultural diversity.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Encourage and partner with supervisees in reviewing symptoms of relevant mental look disorders and their potential impacts on clients and their families
  2. Support supervisees in the ongoing assessment of signs and symptoms of mental illness, substance use, and trauma among clients and their families
  3. Guide and partner with supervisees to evaluate how our beliefs on mental illness and substance use influence our ethical practice
  4. Assist supervisees in planning for how they can help to meet the needs of clients with mental illnesses or substance use (who often require more effort, time, advanced planning, and skill from their social service providers)
  5. Work with colleagues and social service teams to identify effective models of service delivery for clients with mental illness or substance use that are supported by contemporary research literature and which fit with agency goals and structures
  6. Support supervisees in addressing the complex nature of self-determination, accounting for legal status, age, and neurodiversity

Trauma-informed supervision through a social justice lens

This workshop focuses on trauma-informed supervision through a social justice lens, an approach to supervision that begins with the personal and extends to the professional. Personal histories, identities, characteristics and psychological experiences of supervisors, as well as structural and environmental conditions of the organization, are considered in supervision. This perspective promotes the role of the supervisor as a leader in establishing a culture within their team that is responsive to and inclusive of the positionalities and unique experiences of clients and colleagues. Supervisors are encouraged to remain vigilant in their commitment to social justice by leading their teams and organizations in achieving truly inclusive diversity.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Draw upon social work values to enact my commitment to social justice in my role as a leader within my organization
  2. Shape my interactions with supervisees by accounting for our positionalities and unique experiences
  3. Partner with my supervisees to critically discuss the culture of our organization
  4. In supervision, reflect on implicit bias and how it impacts the supervisory relationship and work with clients
  5. Seek knowledge and consultation to better understand my positionality and the impact my identity has on the supervisory relationship
  6. Discuss with supervisees the applications of trauma-informed perspectives in supervision and practice

Supervision to advance knowledge of health challenges impacting individuals and families across the life course

This workshop helps supervisors to support social service staff in using evidence-informed approaches to common illness-related challenges that confront individuals and families across the life course. Included are supervisory considerations for supporting social service workers in helping clients with care transitions, acute health crises, management of chronic conditions, navigating health and long-term care systems, and the intersections of these issues with cultural diversity. Supervisors explore techniques for supporting teams in service planning, health education, and health advocacy.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Review with supervisees the common illness-related challenges that confront individuals and families across the life course (including care transitions, acute health crises, and navigating health and long-term care service systems)
  2. Support supervisees in the ongoing assessment of client health and illness, especially for clients with heightened vulnerability due to late-life frailty, neurological disorders, and co-occurring chronic conditions
  3. Encourage and partner with supervisees to seek contemporary literature to better understand the health challenges confronted by clients and their families (including chronic conditions, developmental disabilities, and acquired disabilities)
  4. Assist supervisees in assessing and planning to meet the health needs of their clients through client interviews, reviews of available client data, and the introduction of acceptable new measures
  5. Help supervisees to prepare for providing culturally-informed health education to clients and their families
  6. Support supervisees in empowering and joining with clients in health advocacy

Teaching assessment and planning skills in work with individuals and families

This workshop offers the supervisor a multi-dimensional framework for teaching the practice skills required in work with individuals and families of all ages through the assessment and planning phases. Included are a review of the core content areas that need to be addressed in assessing the client/family situation including both strengths and challenges; the critical thinking required in collecting client data; and the ability to organize, interpret, and summarize these data. Supervisors will be encouraged to use interactive training techniques to teach the interviewing and communication skills that engage the client and family in assessment and planning. The special skills involved in working with the family as a social system will be discussed, as will the influence of the worker’s own cultural background on assessment and planning.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Use a social work assessment/planning framework as a teaching tool to guide supervisees in direct practice with individuals and families
  2. Encourage critical thinking on the part of supervisees in the collection, organization, and summarization of client data
  3. Emphasize with supervisees the importance of documenting and supporting client strengths and setting measurable and attainable goals
  4. Help supervisees recognize the influence of their own background on the assessment process and be cognizant of the ethical dilemmas they may face
  5. Facilitate interactive training among supervisees on interviewing and communication skills that promote effective collaboration with clients and other stakeholders
  6. Emphasize with supervisees the importance of a family systems approach both in assessment and in planning

Furthering supervisors’ capacity to address performance and organizational challenges

This workshop highlights challenges supervisors may face including supervisees’ performance problems, organizational challenges, and ethical dilemmas in practice. Supervisors will collaborate in exploring strategies for addressing these challenges and promoting worker self-care to strengthen worker wellness and retention. Participants will seek to integrate lessons learned throughout the program.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Communicate clearly and directly with supervisees about performance problems
  2. Teach and partner with supervisees to recognize and respond to ethical dilemmas
  3. Guide and partner with supervisees to identify practices which promote wellness among staff
  4. Engage in my own supervision and ongoing professional development
  5. Provide leadership within the organization to create a culture where supervision is sanctioned and necessary resources are allocated to assure staff learning
  6. Assist supervisees in understanding their roles and the roles of other team members, administrators, and clients in achieving collective and individual goals