During the 2021-22 school year, students in both Newman University’s Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs reported 41,538 hours of service, valued at nearly $1.2 million, during their field practicum placements (internships) at nonprofits and community service agencies in Kansas and Colorado.
According to the national organization Independent Sector, the value of volunteer service the students provided in Kansas and Colorado combined was $1,195,881.
“[Those hours of service] represent the students’ real and tangible embodiment of our mission to empower graduates to transform society,” said Lindsey Stillwell, interim director of the BSW program and assistant professor of social work. “The organizations realizing these benefits are often nonprofits, low-income community clinics and community mental health providers that are often understaffed and under-resourced.”
Combined, BSW and MSW students were placed at more than 40 sites in Kansas and Colorado, with some sites receiving more than one student. Examples of some of the internship locations include schools, government agencies, addictions agencies, refugee and immigration services and family and pregnancy crisis services.
Beyond applied learning
The students’ field practicum is a culminating experience lasting for both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year.
“Through these applied learning opportunities, students work alongside licensed social workers in the community to transform their classroom education into real-life practice skills in the field,” said Stillwell. “These internships are more than just applied learning for students, but an opportunity for them to explore and encounter the ethics and values of the profession.”
All social work students are required by the Council on Social Work Education to engage in a field internship.
What makes Newman’s graduates stand out to future employers are the types of field sites the program selects for the student and the high expectations set for them. Most are placed in the community at agencies whose services are targeted toward marginalized, diverse or low-income populations. These placements provide students with the experiences necessary to transition into any type of social work services, from community organizing to mental health services.
And because social work isn’t known to be a high-paying profession, most students wish to enter the field to make an impact on the lives of others. Because of support from donors, many Newman social work students can focus more on getting the most from their education rather than worrying about how they’re going to afford it.
“When a donor gives to the annual scholarship fund, it’s students like our social work students who benefit the most from those scholarships,” Stillwell said. “Donors can know that their dollars go further in the value our social work students generate while they learn to perform some of the toughest and most underappreciated service work in the community.”
Moreover, great things are on the horizon for Newman’s social work programs. Stay tuned for future announcements about how they’re making it easier to fill the shortage of social workers in the community.
Earn a degree in social work
Social Work is not just a job, it is a helping profession rooted in dedicating oneself to continuous growth, learning, change and becoming the best version of yourself.