Competencies for Program Evaluation and Applied Research
University of Michigan's School of Social Work (U-M SSW) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (COA), of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Accreditation is a system of recognizing educational programs as having a level of performance and quality that gain them the confidence of the educational community and the public. You can read more about the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards here.
At U-M SSW, each pathway has specialized competencies that describe the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes that comprise the competency in each pathway area.
1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
Social workers demonstrate the ability to apply ethical social work principles and critical thinking to products and work produced. Social workers understand the role of emotional intelligence and professional resilience in professional and ethical practice. Social workers understand the role of other professionals when engaged in interprofessional teams within their areas of specialization. Social workers recognize the importance of life-long learning and ways that supervision and consultation can support continued development.
- Utilize supervision and consultation to guide professional decision-making.
- Demonstrate emotional intelligence in practice and professional situations.
- Utilize effective communication strategies appropriate to context.
2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
Social workers critically assess the role of social identity, power, privilege, and diversity within applied research and evaluation practice.
- Engage with and across diverse populations within evaluation and research practice.
- Identify and address systems of power, privilege and oppression and the forces that may lead to inequities and marginalization within the practice of evaluation and research.
- Demonstrate fluency in a variety of communication styles to effectively engage and work with people of different political ideologies, interests, religious and cultural backgrounds, and points of view.
3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
Social workers understand the importance of a human rights framework to explore issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. Social workers develop knowledge, apply theories, and practice critical skills to advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.
- Identify issues, develop strategies, evaluate outcomes, and promote human rights and social justice with affected clients and constituencies.
- Engage members of society in designing, evaluating, and promoting programs and services that address human rights to access resources that ensure social, economic, and environmental equity.
- Identify and engage key stakeholders in the evaluation and research process to advocate for access to resources, services, benefits, and opportunities for vulnerable and marginalized clients, constituencies, and communities.
4. Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
Social workers apply the principles of logic, scientific inquiry, culturally-informed and ethical approaches to build knowledge and gather evidence to inform practice and understand how practice informs research.
- Design and administer quantitative and qualitative research methods to advance the evidence base of social work, social service, and human service practices.
- Monitor and evaluate processes and outcomes of programs and interventions.
5. Engage in Policy Practice
Social workers understand how to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and/or environmental justice through the application of critical thinking skills. Social workers are able to identify how current events are linked to policy issues, how to critically analyze and understand policy implications, and apply strategies to engage in policy practice that effect change and advocate for clients.
- Identify how current events are linked to policy issues impacting clients and client systems.
- Analyze the implications of policy across service systems.
- Identify strategies to engage with policy to advocate for clients and client systems.
6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers protect human subjects, practice ethically, and strive for integrity in all aspects of research and evaluation.
- Demonstrate professional use of self when engaging key stakeholders in the planning and implementation of research and evaluation studies.
- Describe and explain the ethical implications of research designs, sampling strategies and other methodological decisions.
7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers assess and analyze assets, needs, benefits, gaps in services, rights, and the inequitable distribution of resources and power to identify appropriate interventions.
- Know how to select assessments, standardized sales and/or develop new scales using appropriate metrics, analytical methods, frameworks, and tools to meet the needs of the client population being assessed.
- Know how to use primary data sources, secondary data sources, and the lived experience of affected individuals, families, groups within organizations, communities and policy arenas.
- Demonstrate the ability to calculate and interpret basic statistics to report assessment results for decision-making.
8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers critically analyze research and evaluation results to inform intervention development and modifications.
- Use appropriate methods and tools to research and evaluate programs, interventions and services.
- Collaborate with stakeholders to make appropriate recommendations to foster program improvements and inform new program designs.
9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
Social workers demonstrate analytical and reporting skills in the consumption, production, and dissemination of knowledge in research and evaluation.
- Select appropriate evaluation and research questions to facilitate documentation, improvement, or alteration of programs, policies, or community processes and outcomes, with a focus on culturally responsive practice.
- Demonstrate the ability to use and apply quantitative and qualitative data analyses and current technologies to inform and enhance evaluation and research activities.
- Use and translate evaluation and research results to inform decision-making.