Session: Transforming the Field Education Landscape: Intersections of Research and Practice in Canadian Social Work Education (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

260 Transforming the Field Education Landscape: Intersections of Research and Practice in Canadian Social Work Education

Friday, January 22, 2021: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education
Symposium Organizer:
Julie Drolet, PhD, Faculty
David Nicholas, PhD, University of Calgary
Background and Purpose: Social work field education in Canada is in crisis. There is an urgent need for social work education programs to re-vision how the profession prepares the next generation of social workers. The Symposium will present the research results of a new partnership project in social work field education that brings together field coordinators and directors, social work researchers, students, collaborators, and partner institutions in Canada and internationally. The goal of the Transforming the Field Education Landscape (TFEL) partnership is to integrate research and practice in the preparation of the next generation of social workers by developing partnered research training initiatives, both within academia and across the public and not-for-profit sectors, that enhance student and trainee research practice knowledge and applied skill development. The objectives of this project are: (1) To transform the social work field education by bridging the gap between research and practice; (2) To strengthen the recognition of the importance of social work practice research; (3) To train and mentor students and postdoctoral fellows; (4) To support the development of sustainable models of field education; (5) To engage students and postdoctoral fellows in partnership knowledge mobilization and the multi-directional exchange of knowledge. The Symposium will discuss the context, theoretical framework, methodology, and expected outcomes of the partnership project.

Methods: The TFEL partnership activities are organized into three streams: 1) Digital storytelling; 2) National study; and 3) Applied practice research. Each stream employs a range of research methods, including digital storytelling, surveys, interviews, and dialogue circles. The Symposium will include a presentation from the members of the working groups in each stream of the project.

Results: The project will contribute to building academic competencies and professional skills for students, postdoctoral fellows, and the current and future generation of social work academics, practitioners, and policymakers. Students and postdoctoral fellows will learn the art and science of integrating research and practice. The potential influence and impacts of the project will facilitate partnered research training initiatives in support of practice research and the collaborative development of a multi-level strategy aimed at moving beyond the current state of crisis toward sustainable models of social work field education. Effective academic skills of value for both academic and non-academic careers will be fostered through collaborative research teams; practice research; and writing and publishing reports, papers, articles, and chapters directed to diverse audiences.

Conclusions and Implications: The Symposium will discuss the role of partnerships in social work field education and the focus of training and mentoring. The projects’ training and mentoring plan recognizes the need for trainees to develop theoretical, research, professional and career readiness skills for social work practice, and to support the transition of students to practice settings in academia, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Through supervision and mentoring from team members and ‘hands on’ training and participation in research, students and postdoctoral fellows will learn how to carry out a research project, become ‘research-minded’, and integrate Research as Daily Practice.

* noted as presenting author
Transfomative Learning: Digital Stories
Christine Walsh, PhD, University of Calgary
National Study
Tamara Sussman, PhD, McGill University
Applied Practice Research
Uzo Anucha, PhD, York University
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