The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck 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 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 takes place during the spring semester. Immersions are led by faculty and range in size from 20-25 students. Participants receive three credits per program that can be applied to the MSW degree.
Military and Veterans Policy and Practice
The Military and Veterans Policy and Practice immersion for MSW students who have completed all foundation requirements will take place virtually (two classes) and in Washington, DC for one week in March during spring break. 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; seminars with guests from Congress, government agencies and policy/advocacy organizations; and a one-hour class 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 for students 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.
Native American Children, Families and Communities
The Native American Children, Families and Communities immersion for MSW students who have completed all foundation requirements will include five weekly on-ground and virtual seminars and eight days in South Dakota (Rapid City and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation) during spring break in March. Participants will learn about the history of Native Americans in the United States, specifically the Lakota Indians of South Dakota, and pertinent social, political and economic issues impacting the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Students will have the opportunity to directly contribute to capacity-building for local service providers; learn how to engage with Native American children, families and communities in a culturally appropriate manner using indigenous practice wisdom; and exchange evidence-supported interventions with their host social service agency.