Educating Students on International Social Work Issues in U.S. Social Work Programs: How Is It Done?

Susan Mapp, Elizabethtown College
Shirley Gatenio Gabel, Fordham University


Although social work education standards call for graduates to be able to practice in a global environment, it is unknown how schools are working to accomplish that as well as what supports they have and what the aims of this education are. A survey of all U.S. BSW and MSW program directors found they have multiple goals for introducing international perspectives in social work education and are using a number of methods in the implicit and explicit curriculum, including speakers, study abroad, international internships, and infusion of material in courses and stand-alone courses. Respondents indicated more supports are available at the institutional level than in their program alone. These results have a variety of implications for social work education including how to further integrate this material into courses and increase the number of students who learn this critical material.