Macro Social Work Practice

This method includes education in those areas of practice that call for intervention to bring about change in large systems. It encompasses a broad spectrum of practice, involving planning, organizing, and managerial skills. The curriculum prepares students whose academic and career interests are aimed at finding solutions to social problems affecting population groups at the community, regional, and national levels.

The macro concentration rests on a set of basic values that includes participatory democracy, cultural competence, feminist principles, a strengths and assets approach, community/consumer empowerment, and social and economic justice.

The curriculum offers courses that provide theory, knowledge, and practice skills in community analysis; needs, assets, and resources assessment; outreach and recruitment; action research; strategic analysis; program design and implementation; leadership development; group dynamics; organizational development; collective action for large systems change; bargaining and negotiating; conflict resolution; public speaking; lobbying; media relations; supervision; proposal writing; budgeting; evaluation research; financial management; and nonprofit administration.

The curriculum begins with a foundation course required of all first-year students, SSW MP 759 Communities and Organizations: Analysis and Intervention. Following this course, macro students are required to take SSW MP 781 Community Organizing, SSW MP 783 Planning and Program Development, and SSW MP 773 Human Services Management. These courses stress the analytical and interactive skills and bases of knowledge on which the different types of macro practice build.

Macro practitioners are trained to become community organizers for local action groups, health and welfare planners for the private and public sectors, program developers and directors, consultants and policy analysts for state and federal agencies, and managers and supervisors.

Clinical social work practice students who are interested in macro social work practice as a secondary method may pursue a Macro Sub-specialization Certificate. They are required to:

  • Take any two of the following advanced macro courses: HB 750 (Organizational Behavior & Culture), SSW MP 773 Human Services Management, SSW MP 775 Strategic Management, SSW MP 781 Community Organizing, SSW MP 783 Planning and Program Development, SSW MP 795 Applied Macro Skills; and
  • Develop a substantive macro practice project as part of the advanced field placement.

Community Organizing

Whether the goal is organizational, institutional, or related to community change, the basic principles, methods, and skills of community organizing are essential for successful outcomes.

Core social work activities such as assessing resources and needs, increasing community involvement and ownership, developing indigenous leadership, designing and implementing new programs, creating democratic structures, staffing committees, conducting effective meetings, engaging in action research for issue campaigns, working with the media, lobbying elected officials, developing governance boards, and establishing participatory evaluation processes all draw directly and heavily on community organizing.

Students develop analytical, strategic, tactical, and interactional skills to work more effectively with diverse groups. The primary goal of the acquisition and enhancement of these skills is to strengthen efforts toward social and economic justice, institutional and organizational accountability, democratic participation, and consumer/community empowerment.

Social Planning

Social planning draws on both analytical and political skills in attempting to remedy the multiple social problems affecting a community. Courses on social planning and program development stress the importance of using community assets and development of capacity enhancement interventions in work with communities and agencies. In addition, they also are grounded in the use of a generic set of planning theories and principles. The student will develop and work with a set of concrete tools and skills necessary for the planning process.

Macro Social Work Practice Course Offerings*

  • SSW MP 759 Communities and Organizations: Analysis and Intervention
  • SSW MP 773 Human Services Management
  • SSW MP 774 Seminar: Community Planning
  • SSW MP 775 Strategic Management
  • SSW MP 776 Financial Management in Human Service Organizations
  • SSW MP 781 Community Organizing
  • SSW MP 783 Planning and Program Development
  • SSW MP 785 Program Evaluation
  • SSW MP 794 Macro Field Seminar
  • SSW MP 795 Applied Macro Skills, Groups and Systems
  • SSW HB 750 Organizational Behavior and Culture

For detailed course descriptions, please visit the School of Social Work website.