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Class Descriptions

Independent Studies: Program Evaluation and Applied Research SW571

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor
Pathway Elective For: Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Theories and Principles of Socially Just Policies SW638

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials required
Course Description: In this course, students will be exposed to various theoretical frameworks informing policy development and gain an understanding of basic economic principles frequently employed in policy debates and discussions. With this knowledge, students will be able to identify, in a more sophisticated and nuanced way, policies that promote social justice and those that do not; understand how certain theoretical frameworks and ideas have been used to oppress and empower different groups, and identify points of interventions within existing institutions. One part of the course will cover different concepts of justice, fairness, and equity as they apply to public policy. Students will also interrogate ideas about neoliberalism, capitalism, globalization, and financialization and their influence on policies. Students will be introduced to concepts from economic theory that often used to promote or thwart the development of certain policies. This includes the concepts of supply and demand; market failure; and public goods.
Pathway Requirement For: Policy & Political Social Work (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership, Program Evaluation and Applied Research, Welfare of Children & Families

Methods for Socially Just Policy Analysis SW639

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials required
Course Description: This course will introduce students to a set of analytic tools and skills for critical policy thinking, reading, and writing. Analytic tools introduced in this class include frameworks for policy analysis and using feminist, intersectional, and critical race lenses for policy analysis. The impact of race, gender, and class on policy development and enactment are emphasized throughout the course as well as an exploration of global approaches to policy analysis. This course will enhance critical writing skills and teach concise and persuasive writing methods, issue framing, and legislative literacy for effective policy writing. Students will learn qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods frequently used for policy analysis. Students will also be introduced to policy document writing, including policy briefs, memos, factsheets, op-eds, and public comments. Finally, students will learn how to locate, read, and translate policy for community consumption.
Pathway Requirement For: Policy & Political Social Work (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Project and Program Design and Implementation SW660

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Traditional project management tools enable social workers to conceive, plan, design, implement, manage, assess, and change projects effectively. Whereas projects are time-bound and discrete, programs are an ongoing collection of projects that can be managed together. Managing programs and projects in an inclusive and socially just manner necessarily requires engaging all people involved or affected by a project in meaningful and deliberate ways. Students will weave technical—and technological—tools together with inclusive structures in order to include and engage all stakeholders in the success of projects and programs. Technical skills developed in this course involve selecting and implementing tools to strategically design and manage projects in rapidly changing environments, as well as maximizing inclusion and equity with diverse populations. Management is a set of well-known processes, like planning, budgeting, structuring jobs, staffing jobs, measuring performance and problem-solving. This course will concentrate on single service projects as planned systems of action that engage the perspectives of clients, program and project staff, directors and managers, as well as the full organization. This course will prepare students to assist in tasks common to all phases of project development and assume independent responsibility for performing tasks some of these tasks (e.g., documenting program plans, developing initial budgets, program process analysis, and scheduling change). Specific attention will be given to issues in program design and development and the differential impacts on social identity groups that traditionally have been marginalized.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Budgeting and Fiscal Management SW661

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will present the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage the budget and finances of a social impact organization and its programs. Students will learn to use the techniques necessary to: 1) Plan, develop, display, revise, monitor, and evaluate a program budget using different kinds of budget formats; 2) Evaluate past financial performance; 3) Evaluate and propose financial changes for the future; 4) Monitor and evaluate the cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of social impact programs and organizations. The course will include exercises to develop and manage a budget for a program in an organization, along with a review of relevant policies and procedures in these organizations. Students will learn to understand cost analysis, and calculate income and expense estimates. The pros and cons of using various types of budgets will be compared. Students will receive an introduction to the process of overall organizational financial planning and auditing, including such topics as the role of Boards of Directors and consultants in financial management, planning, and evaluation. Calculation of indirect (overhead) costs, allocation methods, and issues of continuation funding will be discussed. Students will learn to develop an annual budget.. Development of a budget will include estimating and allocating all costs, including that of of personnel, which is the major expense in human service programs. Students will learn how basic financial transactions are reported through standard accounting procedures, how revenues and expenses are monitored and how all the finances of the agency are consolidated into typical financial statements . Additional topics are introduced to highlight contemporary issues affecting financial stability and sustainability.
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Frameworks for Understanding Social Impact Organizations SW662

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials required
Course Description: This course will provide an overview of traditional and contemporary organizational theories and strategic frameworks relevant to understanding social impact organizations. A wide range of topics will be covered including but not limited to: organizational survival and adaptation to environmental changes, power asymmetry/dynamics between service providers and clients, staff and client diversity and inclusion, and informal strategies that providers develop to legitimize their practices while satisfying multiple stakeholders’ expectations. Using multiple theories and perspectives, students will develop a conceptual framework for recognizing how various environmental-, organizational-, and individual-level attributes shape social impact organizational behaviors and service provider’s practices. The framework will help students to reflect on organizational experiences and critically analyze institutionalized assumptions and beliefs that reside within social impact organizations. Using the conceptual basis acquired from this course, students will be asked to analyze a social impact organization and recommend strategies to improve organizational functioning.
Pathway Requirement For: Management & Leadership (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research, Social Work Practice with Older Adults and Families from a Lifespan Perspective, Welfare of Children & Families

Fundraising and Grant Writing SW663

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Social impact organizations secure resources through a variety of methods, including fees, grants, contracts, financial gifts, in-kind (non-cash) contributions, and investments. This course involves assessing an agency’s resource mix and developing tactics and strategies to sustain or expand its revenue streams. Students will explore the range of possible income sources that organizations can allocate to advance social justice by expanding and improving services, empowering groups, reaching populations in need, improving social conditions or anticipating and responding to new challenges. The implications of using alternative approaches of income generation and of changing the income mix will be analyzed in terms of mission accomplishment, program viability, adherence to ethics and values, and organizational sustainability. Skill development will be emphasized in areas such as grant seeking, proposal writing, donor development, direct solicitation of gifts, service contracting, and strategically communicating mission. Students will learn how to identify prospective funding sources, build relationships with potential donors, funders and collaborators, write, package and submit grant proposals, and communicate strategically. This course will also address emerging and changing trends in philanthropy.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Qualitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry SW670

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed as an introduction to the process of qualitative inquiry with a particular focus on the challenges of engaging in anti-oppressive, socially just, culturally sensitive, and decolonizing research activities. It will introduce students to the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative inquiry as well as expose them to basic issues in designing and implementing qualitative research projects. Students enrolled in the Evaluation and Research Pathway must select from one of two required foundational courses before completing their specialized electives in methodologies and methods. This course will meet that foundational requirement
Pathway Requirement For: Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Policy & Political Social Work

Quantitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry SW671

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required
Course Description: This course is designed to advance the foundational ideas of quantitative research in social work and the social sciences, with a particular focus on applied quantitative research dedicated to the study of social problems and the development of social interventions at the macro, meso and micro levels. The course will deepen students’ understanding of such issues as sample selection, measurement, and questionnaire design, research design, and basic analytic approaches. Students enrolled in the Evaluation and Research Pathway must select from one of two required foundational courses before completing their specialized electives in methodologies and methods. This course will meet that foundational requirement.
Pathway Requirement For: Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Policy & Political Social Work

Data Visualization Applications SW672

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In an era of evidence based practice, community workers, advocates, and evaluators will likely find that they need to interpret and visualize data from a wide variety of sources. Understanding, interpreting and visualizing data (including some basic coding) can make the difference in successfully or unsuccessfully advocating for communities, clients or programs, and for understanding the impact of programs on clients. Increasingly, data relevant to community, participant and client well-being are available from a broad range of sources, whether those be databases of volunteers and donors, the Census, the World Bank, in addition to many others. This course will be focused on the acquisition of concrete applicable skills and strategies for interpreting and visualizing community data, including learning in R, Tableau and QGIS. Some learning of basic coding in R will be involved in this course.
Pathway Elective For: Global Social Work Practice, Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Advanced Statistics SW673

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to statistics and statistical methods. It is intended and designed for students who already have some familiarity with statistics. Students in this course will acquire the skills to create and comprehend statistical reports related to program evaluation and research practice. Students will be able to assess the value and limitations of measures of central tendency (means, medians and modes), rates, and statistical estimates such as correlations and regression parameters. This course will help students develop the ability to use advanced quantitative methods to describe and analyze real world situations in social work settings and to make ethical inferences and decisions based on the statistical results. Students will learn to choose methods of statistical analysis to improve social policy decisions, service delivery, and intervention programs. Students will learn to understand and use appropriate language with their statistical analyses to clarify meaning and to explain the inferences (e.g. causal inferences) that can be appropriately made from specific data. 
Pathway Elective For: Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Advanced Qualitative Analysis SW674

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course is designed to enable students to explore and apply a variety of methods of analyzing non-numeric empirical evidence. It builds on the epistemological and methodological approaches covered in the Qualitative Methodologies for Socially Just Inquiry. Students will be introduced to the theoretical justifications for selecting among different strategies for qualitative analysis, including deductive, abductive, and inductive approaches. Methods covered might include thematic analysis, content analysis, narrative analysis, discourse analysis, grounded theory, or ethnomethodology.
Pathway Elective For: Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Project-based Evaluation Practice SW675

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Students will obtain practical community-based experience in data collection, interpretation, presentation and dissemination of evaluation results.This course will focus on the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods to monitor and evaluate social services. Students will assess service needs of target populations and communities, monitor the implementation and operation of social welfare programs, and/or evaluate outcomes. Students will develop skills in choosing and implementing appropriate evaluation strategies and designs to inform practice.
Pathway Elective For: Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Mixed Methods SW676

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In this course, students will be introduced to mixed methods research in the social and behavioral sciences. Mixed methods, here, include both qualitative and quantitative inquiry and can be situated in either positivistic and constructivist paradigms. The course will explore the kinds of research questions that are best answered with mixed methods, and this understanding will enable students to determine if mixed methods are advantageous, given their problem statement and research questions. In this course, less attention will be given to the single methods alone, but rather, how they integrate during each stage of the research process for a mixed methods study. The focus of the course is to consider how each method can inform each step of the research process to answer complex research questions. The course is best suited for students with comfort and familiarity using one or both of the single methods (qualitative or quantitative).
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Community Engaged Research with Indigenous Communities SW677

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Indigenous communities in the U.S. are unique in their status as sovereign nations. This unique status creates particular opportunities and limitations for doing research. The course will identify different levels of engagement with Indigeous communities for developing and implementing research within them. Students will consider the underlying values, ethics, commitments, mutual respect and relationships from which these inquiry efforts are built and extended.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Social Work Practice in the Era of Fake News SW740

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The term “post-truth,” the Oxford Dictionaries 2016 Word of the Year, reflects an era where everyone is a few clicks away from information that supports any goal, belief, or outcome desired whether or not that information is factual. Evaluating information and recognizing “fake news” is a critical skill for everyone. For social workers, advocates, policy makers, and others responsible for human well-being, it’s essential to find reliable data and other evidence to promote best practice and avoid the dangers of inaccurate information. Skill in locating and evaluating information can also help a practitioner work with clients and others who bring incorrect information into an interaction.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change, Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Interdisciplinary Problem Solving (Law) SW741

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Through a team-based, experiential, and interdisciplinary learning model, small groups of U-M graduate and professional students work with faculty to explore and offer solutions to emerging, complex problems. This course is offered through the Law School’s Problem Solving Initiative and the topics vary by semester.
Pathway Elective For: Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, Policy & Political Social Work (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Photovoice SW750

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Photovoice is a process in which people typically those with limited power due to poverty, language barriers, race, class, ethnicity, gender, culture, or other circumstances use video or photo images to document their environment and experiences and share them with others. It uses visual methods to communicate lived experience and to create a basis for discussion and action. The images are often used, with captions composed by the photographers, to bring the realities of the photographers lives home to the public and policy makers and to spur change. However, PhotoVoice can also be a method used direct practice, evaluation, and management settings. This course will cover basic methods for using Photovoice methods with individuals, groups, and communities. The course will provide an overview of the method and its application in different contexts, both domestic and intergenerational, and how visual images can be a powerful form of communication. This section of the class will include a walk through the School of Social Work's collection of documentary photography. The ethical dimensions of this method will also be covered. The remainder of the class will teach methods for photovoice and engage students in their own photovoice project. We will end with an exhibit of photos from the course that will take place in our School of Social Work.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Participatory Facilitation SW753

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Participatory facilitation is the process of increasing participation of diverse people within groups and community contexts. Emphasis will be placed on understanding theories of group work and group process. In this course, students will develop skills and techniques to strengthen participatory facilitation practices, including understanding intergroup dialogue, liberating structures, participatory planning activities, and alternative forms of facilitation including world cafes and online facilitation practices. Students will explore examples as well as practice skills. Special focus will be on the role of power, privilege, and social identities within a facilitation context.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Participatory Research & Evaluation SW755

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will describe the values/ethics, processes, outcomes and dissemination strategies used in participatory research (i.e. community-based participatory research, Photovoice, digital storytelling, participatory action research, participatory evaluation). Students will learn how to develop research steering committees (or other guiding and decision-making bodies made up of stakeholders), engage partners in assessing community strengths, priorities and issues, and use research and evaluation as a tool for action. The course will include how to work with interested community partners to develop key research questions to solve (or better understand) prioritized problems. It will also explore different participatory approaches to engage community in each step of the research and evaluation process.
Pathway Elective For: Community Change (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Social Enterprise & Entrepreneurship SW760

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In this mini-course, students will learn a theoretical framework for social entrepreneurship and design thinking, as well as explore the individual skills and will necessary to respond to complex social needs both locally and globally. Students will be placed on teams throughout the course to engage in hands-on activities, case studies, competitions and a leadership project. The objective of this course is to inspire and begin equipping students to become innovative leaders in the social sector. Specifically, we will address how to understand yourself as a leader within the context of a community and how to lead with moral imagination (the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the people you are serving); understand how an entrepreneurial mindset and operational skills can create and support social change; and turn theory into action by designing and carrying out a team leadership project.
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership (Host), Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Budgeting and Fiscal Management SW761

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will present the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to develop and manage the budget of a nonprofit social service organization and its programs. Students will learn to use techniques necessary to: 1) Plan, develop, display, revise, monitor, and evaluate a program budget; 2) Evaluate past financial performance (e.g. financial statements); 3) Monitor and evaluate the cost-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of a nonprofit program and a nonprofit organization.
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership (Host), Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research

Philanthropy, Evaluation, and Performance Measurement SW774

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This minicourse focuses on trends and issues of contemporary philanthropy and their approaches to evaluation to inform allocation models. The ways in which both philanthropic entities and their grantees evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of the programming will be explored.
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

GIS and Spatial Analysis SW775

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The goal of the GIS minicourse is to provide a general introduction to the use of GIS software for social work practice. Students will learn the basics of practical mapping of data and information using a range of GIS software. Student will learn the basic strategies of securing data, securing map images, and integration of maps and data to create single and multi-layered data maps. Students will be presented with real time applications of this mapped information in clinical and community practice.
Pathway Elective For: Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

Report Writing for Public Consumption SW776

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In this mini course, students will learn about communication strategies and how reports are used in social work practice. Students will learn how to develop a variety of report formats for different purposes and audiences. Students will be exposed to numerous technologies and applications to assist with report writing and formatting. Students will construct basic reports, meaningful charts, tables, and graphs, text and narration for various audiences and purposes.
Pathway Elective For: Management & Leadership, Policy & Political Social Work, Program Evaluation and Applied Research (Host)

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