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Innovative Methods of Assessment

Valuing External Feedback in the Master of Social Work Program

The most typical approaches to assessment of student learning focus on the work of students or
students’ perceptions of their own learning. The Master of Social Work program at Miami not
only follows these standard approaches, but its assessment leaders also take an important
additional step: gathering the input from field supervisors of students as well as members of their
Professional Advisory Committee.

The Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) consists of community members who work in
human resource departments that have hired program graduates or who have long-time
experience serving as field instructors of social work interns. The PAC reviews the assessment
data that are related to nine competencies and that are collected in course-embedded assessments
as well as field education contracts; they also review the Association of Social Work Board
(ASWB) exam pass rates and students’ perceptions of their own learning.

At the May 2023 PAC meeting, the program leaders specifically asked PAC members to offer
general feedback on the program and specific feedback related to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
principles that are core to the program mission. PAC members offered insights into important
DEI principles that need to be emphasized in the program, including cultivating cultural
humility, understanding the difference between intent and impact, and stressing the need for
“brave” conversations. They also recommended additional instruction in several content areas
(e.g., secondary trauma, clinical documentation, home-based services) as well as soft skills (e.g.,
professional boundary setting, disability accommodation, self-care).

As Dr. Angela Curl, the Master of Social Work program coordinator, has noted, this input is
critical in ensuring that the program meets community and industry needs and that the program
graduates are well prepared for professional success.

For more information, contact Dr. Curl, Associate Professor, Department of Family Science &
Social Work, at

April 2024