Mission: To develop culturally responsive practitioners, scholars, researchers, and leaders to create a more just society.
Vision: Making Social Justice Work.
Core Values: To accomplish our shared goals, the School of Social Work faculty, staff, and students embrace six core values:

  • Service to State
  • Cultural Competency and Diversity
  • Research
  • Social Justice
  • Education for the Future
  • Strength-Based Ecosystem Perspective

Our Strategic Plan is organized under four overarching areas of focus provided by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Working together as a team of faculty and staff within the School of Social Work, we have identified strategies within each goal to achieve these aspirations at the school level.  We have set our own strategies and will reach our indicators of success with insight, input, and dedication from our faculty, staff, and students. Our strategies aim to serve our constituents; to provide a springboard for pioneering faculty research, scholarship, and creative activity; to expand options and opportunities for students; to engage the public and the university in outreach activities; and to participate in the education of a global community. This Strategic Plan will be our roadmap to guide decision-making and resource allocation over the next five years to advance our historic areas of excellence as well as to cultivate new areas of excellence.

Strategic Plan

Goal 1

Provide state of the art MSW and BA curriculum that addresses pressing issues in the field of social work. 

Strategy 1

Redesign and implement new curriculum structure to prepare students for practice at multiple system levels and with various populations.

Critical Tasks:

  • Ad Hoc Committee conducts review and proposes redesign of MSW curriculum.
  • Ad Hoc Committee conducts review and proposes possible redesign of BA curriculum.

Indicators of Success:

  • Faculty votes on MSW curriculum structure.
  • Cohort enrolls in redesigned MSW.
  • Meet target admission numbers at each program site.
  • BA curriculum is reviewed for possible redesign.

Goal 2

Increase enrollment in and completion of certificate programs.

Strategy 1

As appropriate, provide all three certificates in online and in person.

Critical Tasks:

  • Certificate program coordinators and School of Social Work staff market certificates across University of Iowa.
  • Certificate program coordinators monitor enrollment and completion.

Indicators of Success:

  • Meet target completion numbers for each certificate program.

Goal 3

Provide social work education that is available to students at all programmatic levels.

Strategy 1

Leverage the historical excellence of graduate level social work education in the state.

Critical Tasks:

  • Enroll a new cohort into the online integrated concentration.
  • Develop and implement the online program for the family-centered concentration.
  • Based on demand and enrollments across all program sites, implement flexible strategies to merge sections across sites through online and hybrid education.

Indicators of Success:

  • Meet target admissions numbers for each online cohort.

Strategy 2

Continue to grow UI-SSW’s presence statewide through site locations in Iowa City, Sioux City, Des Moines, and Quad Cities.

Critical Tasks:

  • Conduct outreach efforts for recruitment, disseminating relevant information about MSW program and deadlines to prospective students in all site locations.
  • Track applications and acceptances (including rolling admissions).
  • Increase applications and admission to accelerated MSW program.

Indicators of Success:

  • Meet target admissions number in each site per year.

Strategy 3

Increase enrollment in Iowa City BA program.

Critical Tasks:

  • Conduct assessment of resources need to increase BA program enrollment (instructors, field placements).
  • Develop plan for incremental growth based on assessment.
  • Increase use of PhD students to teach undergraduate courses.

Strategy 4

Increase enrollment in PhD program.

Critical Tasks:

  • Conduct assessment of current curriculum structure and consider modifications to create greater flexibility (online instruction, reduced hours).
  • Improve recruitment strategies through targeted outreach efforts and new marketing approaches.
  • Increase opportunities for PhD students through funded research and independent teaching.

Goal 1

Increase grant activity in department.

Strategy 1

Leverage grant expertise in College (Social Science Institute) and SSW (NRC) to create infrastructure for grant activity.

Critical Tasks:

  • Facilitate contacts with the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice, Consortium for Substance Abuse Research, and other units (i.e., Social Science Research Center).
  • Provide peer mentoring for faculty developing grants through monthly scholarship seminars and seminars offered through OVPR, etc.

Indicators of Success:

  • Dollar amount per year.
  • Number of grants/contracts per year.
  • Percentage of faculty with funding per year.

Goal 2

Increase the visibility and vitality of faculty scholarship.

Strategy 1

Design and implement communication structure for showcasing student and faculty excellence.

Critical Tasks:

  • Faculty attend/participate in national conferences, podcasts, and other dissemination activities.
  • Faculty prepare and submit articles for publication in high quality and specialized journals.
  • Request new faculty tenure line focused on core areas of research excellence (i.e., behavioral health).
  • Prioritize RAs for junior tenure track faculty to support tenure requirements.
  • Make use of available UI funds to submit publications to open-access journals.

Indicators of Success:

  • Number of conferences/presentations.
  • Number of dissemination activities.
  • Number of articles published.
  • New tenure track faculty search in 2021-2022, hired for 2022-2023 academic year.
  • All tenure track faculty have RA through the time they submit tenure materials.
  • Number of open-access articles supported by UI funds.

Goal 3

Increase enrollment and research productivity of doctoral students.

Strategy 1

Increase enrollment of research-focused doctoral students.

Critical Tasks:

  • Recruit excellent PhD students with interests in line with faculty research/funding.
  • Build research opportunities into faculty grants.
  • Provide competitive support package to PhD students including a mix of RA and TA opportunities.
  • Draft plan of study for PhD students located outside of Iowa City.
  • Study additional options to increase enrollments (i.e., further use of online education, a DSW option for doctoral education).

Indicators of Success:

  • PhD students are matched with faculty advisor as early as possible from admission.
  • Increased number of students in PhD cohort as ability to fund improves.

Strategy 2

Strengthen research productivity of PhD students to prepare for job market.

Critical Tasks:

  • Allow a three-paper option (with advisor approval) in lieu of a traditional dissertation to increase opportunities for publication.
  • Create opportunities for PhD students to participate in grant development.
  • Strengthen opportunities for students to co-author with faculty.
  • Increase expectations for PhD students to participate in scholarship seminars.

Indicators of Success:

  • All PhD students will have at least one first-authored publication prior to graduation.
  • All PhD students will have at least one co-authored publication prior to graduation.
  • All PhD students will assist with the preparation of at least one grant application.

Goal 1

Showcase the infusion of social work advocacy and practice into the larger University, State and Regional community.

Strategy 1

Refocus the role of Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop to include focus on social justice and disability rights advocacy.

Critical Tasks:

  • Convene ad hoc committee of faculty, staff and community partners to discuss redesign and improved efficiency of Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop.
  • Propose implementation plan for redesign beginning in Fall 2021.

Indicators of Success:

  • Number of community partners involved in meeting about redesign of Wild Bill’s Coffeeshop.
  • Redesign is implemented.

Strategy 2

Build community education programming to meet the needs of the social work community.

Critical Tasks:

  • Create and distribute online survey to community partners statewide on needs for CEUs.
  • Develop at least one new online / remote CEU event per academic year.
  • Include student recruitment component in all CEU events.

Indicators of Success:

  • Meet target enrollment number at each CEU event.

Strategy 3

Strengthen relationships between the school and community agencies through field placements.

Critical Tasks:

  • Create new partnerships with community agencies around the state.
  • Develop placements in areas that are removed from program sites.

Indicators of Success:

  • Number of new placement opportunities for BA and MSW students.
  • Students in all centers, and online students, have field placements in their substantive areas of interest.
     

Goal 1

Cultivate a culture in the school to deepen and enhance inclusiveness, and to fully respect and appreciate diverse voices and backgrounds.

Strategy 1

Investigate best practices for conducting an organization audit to assess commitment and accomplishments in social justice and culturally responsive practice.

Critical Tasks:

  • Sub-committee investigates best practices for organizational audit.
  • Implement the organizational audit.

Indicators of Success:

  • Results of the organizational audit are implemented.

Strategy 2

Strengthen retention/recruitment of BA, MSW, and PhD students and faculty/staff of color, disability, LGBTQ, and first generation.

Critical Tasks:

  • Seek feedback on DEI from students and alumni through surveys and focus groups.
  • Develop (with involvement from students and alumni) a system of collecting and resolving DEI problems before they rise to formal complaints.
  • Implement a trauma-informed restorative justice process that attends to DEI-related incidents of harm – in and outside of the classroom.
  • Review SSW policies and procedures related to admission and advancement with a DEI focus.
  • Monitor retention of students and provide additional advising support and resources. Examine how our curriculum and grading may contribute to lower GPA among systemically marginalized students.
  • Implement strategies for recruitment with community colleges.
  • Seek opportunities for student financial support (i.e., grants, scholarships).
  • Recruit diverse faculty for faculty positions, including adjunct positions in all centers.

Indicators of Success:

  • Improvement in DEI climate over time.
  • High level of student retention with no demographic disparities.
  • High retention of transfer students from community colleges.
  • Increase in students receiving financial support.
  • Increase in diversity of faculty across programs/centers.

Strategy 3

Support ongoing work with faculty to become an anti- racist and culturally competent organization.

Critical Tasks:

  • Conduct cultural competence work at monthly faculty meetings.
  • Develop yearly plan for the cultural competence work.
  • Faculty include DEI objectives in annual activities statement in teaching, service and/or research.

Indicators of Success:

  • Completion of yearly plan of cultural competence work.
  • Course outlines include readings, assignments, lectures, discussions, guest speakers, etc. that reflect DEI integration.

Strategy 4

Support immersion and international learning and scholarship.

Critical Tasks:

  • Offer immersion learning opportunities to broaden students’ experiences.
  • Support faculty in international/cross-cultural development/scholarship.

Indicators of Success:

  • Number of students participating in immersion learning opportunities.
  • Number of faculty participating in international/immersion activities.