National Immersion Programs

The USC School of Social Work offers national immersion opportunities for students to gain knowledge and insights into social work policy formation and practices in settings outside of their home communities and allow them to bring back skills that will have practical application in their future service to the social work profession. Each program has a specific theme connected to social work practice and/or policy and typically takes place during the spring or summer semesters. Immersions are led by faculty and range in size from 20-25 students. Participants receive three credits per program.

Current Programs
Military and Veterans Policy and Practice

Washington, DC

The Military and Veterans Policy and Practice summer immersion, designed for students enrolled in the Virtual Academic Center (VAC) only, will take place virtually through the VAC (two class sessions) and in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas for one week in June. Participants will learn about the development and change of federal policies and programs for service members, veterans and their families; the roles of the legislative and executive branches of government in the development and implementation of policies affecting the Department of Defense; and the role of policy/advocacy groups. Students will also meet with military leaders involved in mental health and family issues in the Department of Defense. The immersion includes site visits and seminars with guests from Congress, government agencies and policy/advocacy organizations; and a one-hour class session at the end of each day, allowing time for discussion and reflection on the day’s experiences with time set aside for journal writing.

Child Development and Social Policy

Los Angeles and Washington, DC

The Child Development and Social Policy immersion is designed to enhance understanding of government's role in child development policy –particularly California programs and services for children and their families – and the ways in which political agendas are set. The program will enlighten participants on the cornerstones of the policy process, including how legislation is proposed and enacted, the roles of advocacy and lobbying organizations, and the challenges of policy implementation and evaluation. Students will also gain insight about creating a game plan with tools they can use to influence the process and build networks with Southern California and Washington-based professional and policy organizations that can impact decisions locally. Classes start in Los Angeles followed by a week in Washington, DC.

Future Programs
Trauma and Recovery

Los Angeles and New Orleans

The Trauma and Recovery immersion will provide training on disaster, response and recovery, and explore primary and secondary trauma in social work practitioners, mental health professionals and even teachers. It will equip students with the direct practice skills sets of post- traumatic stress disorder recovery, giving them a better understanding of the emotional and physical burdens of trauma. This program will allow students to witness individuals who have been directly impacted by such disasters as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, and examine their personal resiliency and risk factors. Classes start in Los Angeles followed by a week in New Orleans.