Building Doctoral Student Capacity through Student Organization
This roundtable session is intended to foster a discussion about how social work doctoral students can move beyond meeting their individual educational goals to collectively address systemic challenges engrained in social work doctoral programs. We will share the action-oriented initiatives we have been leading as part of the Doctoral Student Association (DSA) at University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. We will highlight the use of systematic and anonymous data collection from students and faculty to gain an understanding of issues of key concern to students and ways students can move this data into policy changes within our institutions.
We will invite participants to share successful strategies they have used to capitalize on mentorship relationships, research assistantships, training in analysis and writing, and peer-to-peer academic and social support. We will discuss the challenges associated with working on these initiatives while pursuing our academic responsibilities and the lessons that have been learned about working effectively within an academic structure.
We plan to facilitate the conversation through a process that highlights the shared challenges students face, as well as moves the discussion towards concrete ideas for action that may be implemented by doctoral students once they return from the conference. Participants will leave the session more energized and informed on how to meet not only their own individual educational outcomes, but also how to strengthen their educational institutions. The conversation will be facilitated with the goal of launching a network of social work doctoral students who can take advantage of future SSWR conferences and on-line platform (SSWR Graduate Student Resource Center) to share resources and collaboratively enhance social work doctoral education. Ultimately, we hope participants will utilize this session to build student-centered resources and support that could be maintained in the years to come.