Macro Social Work Practice: BSW
Macro Social Work practice promotes social justice by developing and strengthening the capacity of communities to deliver social services to oppressed and disadvantaged populations through a sustainable network of formal and informal service providers. The Macro BSW Social Worker is an enabler, mediator, broker, facilitator, coordinator, mobilizer, advocate, and outreach worker. Practice includes engagement in joining or forming community groups and non-profit organizations to provide basic, but critical, social services to victims of social and economic conditions such as poverty, discrimination, abuse, crime, addiction, trafficking, and limited access to health care. The Macro Social Worker engages in collective decision making, consensus building, and grassroots organizing with a diverse group of community activists and social service providers.
Employment opportunities for Macro Social Work at the BSW level include community and faith-based social service organizations, citizen action groups, non-profit social service agencies, health care facilities, charitable organizations, and AmeriCorpsVista. Service in the Peace Corps can provide experience in community development and social enterprise and open up employment and post-graduate opportunities. Individuals with a BSW also have employment opportunities in international non-government organizations (NGOs).
BSW Students in Kansas Help Retain In-State College Tuition Rates for Immigrants
Four BSW students at the University of Kansas used a policy class assignment to help make a big difference in the lives of students across the state. Claudia Alterman, Ben Gerrard, Mona.
Kassim and Amanda Sprague-Brunk completed their policy class group assignment by organizing an effort to retain in-state college tuition rates for undocumented immigrant students who had lived in Kansas for at least three years and graduated from a Kansas high school.
The students titled their advocacy project, “The You Don’t Speak for Me Campaign: A Human Rights Advocacy Campaign in Opposition to Kansas House Bill 2006.” The House Bill would have had the effect of ending in-state college tuition rates for undocumented immigrants.
The policy students used online resources to track the legislation and organize a coalition in opposition to the bill. They quickly began an online petition to gather signatures from registered voters in Kansas who supported the continuation of in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants.
The BSW students also organized students at public and private universities across the state, engaged a film student in their efforts, and made a video regarding the impact of HB 2006 on students from diverse walks of life. The video was posted on YouTube. You can watch the “You Don’t Speak for Me” video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evmOhg9zLxY
When the time came for testifying, the BSW student group made a well researched and professional presentation to the Senate committee that heard the bill. In the face of committee questions and legislator disagreement, the students continued to advocate for social work values. They were especially passionate about the legislation’s defeat because they all had personal contact with college students who would have been hurt by the proposed policy.
Because of the use of new technologies in the student organizing process, the Senate Committee had to make decisions about how to incorporate an online petition into testimony. Thus, the BSW students also had an impact on the future of the legislative committee process in terms of the use of new electronic media in influencing Kansas state policy. In the end, the online petition with hard copy signatures and comments from registered voters in Kansas was presented by the students, along with their verbal testimony, to the Senate Committee that heard HB 2006.
While HB 2006 had already passed the Kansas House, it was defeated in the Senate committee thanks, in part, to the efforts of the BSW policy students.
Melinda Lewis, MSW, who is a policy advocate in Kansas, said “I was thrilled to work with these students, and I can absolutely say that they made a difference in the legislative debate, particularly in the Senate, which was where immigrant students ultimately prevailed.”
The students who participated in this BSW policy class project at the University of Kansas, under the guidance of instructor Vicki Arnett, are the 2011 winners of the national “Influencing State Policy” award. The award will be presented at the 2011 CSWE APM in Atlanta.
Submitted by Deborah Adams, PhD, ACOSA Board Member, with much credit and many thanks to BSW Program Director Alice Liberman and Newsletter Editor Vicki Mignot, The University of Kansas, BSW Newsletter, September 2011, available at: www.socwel.ku.edu/academics/bsw/resources/index.shtml.