Faculty actively encourage students to become members of professional organizations, university committees and organizations as well as to organize themselves in order to voice concerns, participate in policy formation, and enhance their professional development and leadership skills. Faculty members act as mentors and advisors for a number of student organizations.
NASW is the national organization through which social workers stay connected with each other and stay informed on state-of-the-art practice approaches and ideas, as well as other resources to help them reach their full potential in the profession. Graduates of the social work program have recently organized a local chapter of NASW and often provide assistance to the program. Membership is a requirement for students entering the field practicum. Students may join NASW at one-quarter of the regular dues and after graduation are offered a transitional membership rate for two years. Membership includes subscription to the journal Social Work, published by NASW. Students in the program are expected to adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics.
The Social Work Club serves as a significant “collective voice” for students and provides numerous opportunities for professional growth and development. The club plays a major role in addressing students’ concerns and facilitating communication of those concerns to the Program Director and full-time faculty. Social Work Club officers are elected annually by the membership. Dues to join are minimal. Fundraising activities are the primary source of revenue for various projects the club undertakes.
The Social Work Club does exist to serve persons in need and to promote the personal as well as support to all social work majors and opportunities to engage in social activities. The club takes special field trips, for example, to Chicago to visit Hull House and the University of Chicago School of Social Work. The club also invites social work professionals, representatives from social work graduate schools, and community leaders to give presentations.
Peer support is organized by second year students through a buddy system to help other students in preparing for tests and written assignments. Involvement in the club’s activities fosters important skills for social work practice, especially communication and relationship-building skills.
For the past two years the Social Work Club has received the University’s Student Affairs Outstanding Community Service of the Year Award. The club engages in numerous community activities from organizing Christmas baskets for low income families, collecting nice work apparel for low income mothers going from welfare to work, to volunteering at various social service agencies. A number of club members have helped moms going from welfare to work get enrolled in the university, providing coaching and support to help them be successful.
Phi Alpha Honor Society is a national honor society for social work students. The purposes of Phi Alpha are to provide a closer bond among social work students and promote humanitarian goals and ideas. Phi Alpha embraces high standards of social work education and invites for membership only those students who have attained excellence in scholarship and service.
The APSU Chapter of Phi Alpha, Zeta Psi, was chartered in 1996. Officers are elected each spring by the chapter membership. Current members review students in the program each year and select new members based on high standards of scholarship and service. The chapter also honors community social workers who have made significant contributions during its award ceremony each spring. Social work students who have a GPA of 3.25 in the major and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 are eligible for membership.
Social Work Student Advisory Committee
The Social Work Student Advisory Committee was formed by a group of social work majors in 1998. The Committee is designed as a formal mechanism for students to provide input for program development and operation, including curriculum design and course sequencing and other matters directly impacting learning and student life. The committee fosters critical thinking and skill development in communication, leadership, advocacy, negotiation and mediation.
There are three elected officers, including a moderator, co-moderator and recorder. Membership is open to any social work major. The committee is comprised of no more than eight (8) students who reflect the wide diversity of social work majors. Members are chosen by the existing membership or members can be self-appointed with approval of the existing committee.
Committee members are given the option of remaining on the committee until they graduate or voluntarily relinquish their position. The president of the Social Work Club is an automatic member of the committee as well as a representative from the Minority Affairs Committee.
The committee has provided significant leadership in curriculum matters resulting in changes of course sequencing and content. Most recently along with social work practitioners from the community have been actively involved in revising the student handbook and providing input in the self-study process for reaccreditation.