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Political social work is social work practice, theory, and research that focuses on the use of policy and politics to create social change. The Certificate in Political Social Work is designed for all social workers, regardless of area of primary practice, to fulfill their ethical obligation to engage in social and political action, or for anyone interested in applying social justice to politics and policy. Participants of this certificate program will learn how politics impacts the lives of those that they serve on both a micro and macro level, practice skills for advocating to policymakers, gain tools to empower clients to become politically engaged, and explore opportunities for running for office.
Participants will complete 28 online social work continuing education credits including:
This module will include the historical and current role of social workers in the political process, emerging political social work research and theory, as well as the NASW Code of Ethics standard which calls for social workers to engage in "social and political action" as part of their ethical responsibilities to the broader society.
1.1 Political Social Work Theories & Research
1.2 Political Justice & Voter Engagement
1.3 Ethics in Political Social Work
1.4 Bridging Divides
1.5 Engaging Elected Officials: An Inside Perspective
This module will cover skills and strategies that social workers can apply to effectively engage and communicate with constituents, policymakers, and elected and appointed officials to enact change across practice settings.
2.1 Identifying the Elected/Appointed Officials in Your Community
2.2 Activism and Advocacy
2.3 Building and Maintaining Coalitions
2.4 Political Social Work in the Workplace
2.5 Planning, Organizing, and Funding a Campaign
2.6 Identity, Messaging, Voter Contact & Targeting
2.8 Public Discourse
2.9 Reaching Your Audience: A Data Visualization Toolkit
This module covers important topic areas social workers should be familiar with when engaging in political social work practice, including organized labor and immigration. This module is intended to be responsive to emerging political topics relevant to social work and will be built upon and expanded in later iterations of the program.
3.1 Information Literacy: Combating "Fake News"
3.2 Political Parties
3.3 Social Work and Immigration
3.4 Environmental Justice/Climate Change
3.5 Tax Policy
3.6 Social Work and Unions
This certificate program is a self-directed online learning experience. Each module features pre-recorded self-paced lectures and other resource materials. The program also features ongoing opportunities to meet with the certificate lead faculty for drop-in interactive question-and-answer session.
For the live interactive sessions, participants require access to high-speed Internet and a computer with a camera and microphone. You do not need special skills to participate successfully in a distance-learning environment. We will provide detailed, user-friendly instructions and technical support.
We are dedicated to prioritizing the accessibility needs of participants in this program. If you have any questions or concerns related to your learning needs, please contact email@example.com.
$420 for the 28-hour certificate program.
$380 for UM SSW field instructors, faculty, and staff.
The University of Michigan School of Social Work, provider #1212, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. The University of Michigan School of Social Work maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period 5/15/2020-5/15/2023. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive 1 synchronous interactive online, 1 ethics asynchronous online, and 26 asynchronous online social work continuing education contact hours.
Washtenaw County Commissioner, District 5
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Social Work
Legislative Education & Action Delivers (LEAD)
Michigan, District 1
Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design
All the instructors were so knowledgeable and engaging in their presentations. This area of work is so different from what I have done in my career, so it was exciting to learn about political social work and what I can do to advocate for social justice issues I and my clients care about.
- Head Start Mental Health Coordinator
This program is fantastic! The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable in their respective fields, and they conveyed the course content in an engaging way. The specific topics covered are quite timely, though I would love to see a lecture on the economics and politics of the US healthcare system added to the program. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to enhance my macro skills in this way!!
- LCSW/Behavioral Health Clinician
I really enjoyed all the courses and learned great material to use going forward. Justin was approachable and knowledgeable and the live sessions added value to the pre-recorded courses. Thanks for making this program available and affordable!
- Field Organizer
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106