Visiting professor Dan Knapp, Ph.D., LSW, USF’s Bachelor of Social Work program director, was recently interviewed recently by an online social work resource called “MSW Online.” Read his expert advice about pursuing a BSW (and consider USF for yours!)
What are the most important factors for students deciding on a BSW program?
Many students have a strong passion for what they want to learn in addition to how they want to apply that learning. One of the most important factors for deciding on a BSW program is to follow that passion. For example, many people who enter the helping profession have a strong desire to improve the lives of others or advance some process or policy that influences others. A social work degree effectively prepares students to become these change agents.
What kinds of hands-on or fieldwork experiences are available to your BSW students?
Students are offered very diverse opportunities. These opportunities can include, but are not limited to, experiences in healthcare (i.e., hospitals or nursing home-related), child welfare agencies, county services, schools, advocacy centers, and crisis centers to name a few. Students will have opportunities to work with a wide range of populations throughout the developmental periods (i.e., adolescents through late states of life), veterans, homelessness, people of varying cultural or racial backgrounds, and those with mental illness as examples.
Can students take electives, or customize their BSW experience?
Students are required to enroll in specific foundational courses that effectively prepare them to work with diverse populations. In addition, students have opportunities to register for additional elective courses that can provide added experiences to specific areas of social work practice.
What does it take to be successful as a BSW student?
A strong desire to learn and help others. As a part of any clinical practice, students must have a desire to improve themselves first. This means taking the time to learn and assess their strengths and talents. Then, students can apply the skills and knowledge learned to help others.
What types of jobs are BSW graduates finding?
Students are finding jobs within hospitals, nursing home facilities, advocacy centers, and activity directors for mentorship programs to name a few. Many students elect to enroll in the one-year MSW program to obtain their master’s in social work degree which effectively opens opportunities for jobs such as other areas of healthcare, schools, private practice, etc.
If you had to choose one or two books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, etc. to be included on a required reading list for social work students, what would it be?
This is a great question, and I would always recommend students to invest time into recently published materials found on the scholarly databases. For example, what is currently literature saying about people’s mental health given COVID-19 and how does this compare to prior decades? How are different cultures or racial groups being impacted? Now, if I have to truly provide one resource, I have always enjoyed the video called The Secret Life of the Brain which helps students understand the power of the brain on human functioning.