SOW4343: Macro Level Roles and Interventions in Social Work
Susanny Beltran, an assistant professor in UCF’s School of Social Work
When is it offered?
Summer and fall
SOW 3300 Practice I: Generalist Practice and SOW 3352 Practice II: Interpersonal Skills
From the Professor
There are 27.6 million victims worldwide at any given time. — U.S. Department of State
Why should a student take this class?
This class is all about action. The entire course centers around creating change at the macro level, whether it be at the organizational, community, or policy level. Students are often eager to get out in the “real world” and have an impact, especially after several semesters of learning to assess problems and apply theories to inform their practice. They get an opportunity to partner with a community group or organization and apply all the skills they’ve learned. This includes interpersonal skills, assessment skills and planning and implementing of interventions. They find it rewarding to see the impact their projects have.
What does the coursework entail?
This course has a service-learning designation and as such, a main component involves partnering with a community agency to develop and implement a macro-level intervention to support their needs. Students have worked with mental health organizations, high school sports teams, and advocacy groups, where they help to develop training programs, write grants, fundraise, and more.
“Students are often eager to get out in the ‘real world’ and have an impact, especially after several semesters of learning to assess problems and apply theories to inform their practice.” — Susanny Beltran, UCF faculty
What role do social workers play in helping survivors of human trafficking?
Social workers are involved in supporting survivors of human trafficking in a variety of ways. They are often in the frontlines providing advocacy for survivors interacting with systems such as healthcare and law enforcement. They are also involved in providing trauma-informed care, coordinating medical services, and helping survivors access resources to rebuild their lives. At a macro level, social workers work with communities to provide education, raise awareness and develop programming to both prevent human trafficking as well as build capacity for supporting survivors. More broadly, social workers are involved in policy advocacy to impact the systems that contribute to human trafficking.
What do you hope students will learn?
I hope students learn the importance of engaging in the advocacy process, regardless of their social work practice orientation (micro, mezzo, macro). All social workers are called to engage in advocacy and there are many big and small ways to make a difference.
From the Student
Daniel Tiongco, a senior studying social work
Why did you take this course?
We usually look at the micro side of social work — how does this impact the person? But in Dr. Beltran’s class we were able to study the macro part of social work, where we understand that the community and society have a lasting impact on the individual’s life. I was interested in seeing how social workers can impact an individual’s life on a broader scale.
What did you like most about the course?
Our service project where we donated backpacks with supplies to survivors of human trafficking helped me see how we can make a difference firsthand. When they receive a backpack and our support they have hope to start school again and start their life toward the person they want to be, not just a victim of human trafficking, but a survivor.
“It’s surprising to learn how human trafficking doesn’t happen on a micro level, but it’s a community issue. I learned that Waterford Lakes is a prime location for human trafficking.” — Daniel Tiongco, UCF student
What is the most interesting thing you learned?
It’s surprising to learn how human trafficking doesn’t happen on a micro level, but it’s a community issue. I learned that Waterford Lakes, (which is located near main campus) is a prime location for human trafficking. For example, there’s a residual effect of what we post on social media — our geotags specifically, can unknowingly make us vulnerable to traffickers. It’s closer to home than we think.
What was the most challenging aspect?
Our service project was completed as a group so coordinating everyone’s schedule may have been the most challenging aspect. Beyond that, understanding that as we learn, each social work student has their own application of the methods, so collaborating with everyone to meet the client’s needs was the most important.