Session: Developing Project-Based Learning That Embeds Equity- Focused Environmental Justice Education into Existing MSW Programs (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

180 Developing Project-Based Learning That Embeds Equity- Focused Environmental Justice Education into Existing MSW Programs

Friday, January 13, 2023: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Cave Creek, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Sustainable Development, Urbanization, and Environmental Justice
Wahiba Abu-Ras, PhD, Adelphi University
Kelly Smith, DSW, Adelphia University, Daniel Kaplan, PhD, Adelphi University and Ashley Butler, Adelphi University
Environmental justice is a critical component of social work practice with implications for individuals' and community well-being. Often, social work education maintains boundaries and impedes the achievement of its stated Grand Challenges by siloing environmental issues apart from examination of other vulnerabilities and social injustices. Yet, evidence abounds demonstrating climate instability threatens historic social justice and equality gains over the past half-century. Moreover, these negative impacts are accelerating with disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, a reality that makes environmental justice significant to social work.

This timely and interactive workshop incorporates online pedagogical approaches to activate student engagement with strengths-based environmental justice advocacy. Modeling X University's creative reimagining of its Social Action Project to better support disciplinary ethical mandates and meet students' stated interests, articulated in prior research, for more education on these topics can benefit other social work programs. The workshop uses parallel process to showcase social work education that centers on collaborative, strategic, and replicable approaches that train future social workers to advance equity-based environmental justice. This workshop includes members from X University that developed a unique virtual semester-long Social Action project completed by 481 social work students (394 MSW and 87 BSW) and can speak to various components and outcomes from this endeavor. The panelists include university faculty, a community partner, and a student representative. These individuals will explore the Social Action project in the context of the profession's move toward environmental justice, such as with the 2020 launch of the Council for Social Work Education's Curricular Guide on Environmental Justice. Panelists will also address the conference theme of battling inequities and building solutions by sharing replicable environmental justice interventions for social work students that build relevancy and advance equity.

Panelists will cover the following topics: 1) Defining environmental justice and adjacent concepts, such as "person in environment/person and environment" approaches and connections to racial and social justice. 2) Employment of online pedagogical practices to develop meaningful integration of environmental justice and advocacy within the MSW curriculum. Panelists will share how these practices increase accessibility and participation among students across five diverse campuses within a university system. 3) Community collaborations: panel members will discuss the importance of bridging gaps between the university and how various community partnerships were developed. These collaborative efforts engage students in advocacy projects that expand their perspectives and offer opportunities to practice social work skills such as listening to community needs and using a strengths-based approach. 5) Incorporating research outcomes from X University's semester-long Social Action Project, panelists will demonstrate how other schools can replicate these Social Action Projects by sharing timelines, planning processes, students' choice pathways, and research survey outcomes. During a ninety-minute session, panelists will address each of the topics above with prepared statements, discussion, response to questions, and facilitation of an interactive activity.

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