Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Committee Chair

Faul, Anna

Author's Keywords

International; Social work; Best practices; Curriculum


Social work administration


In 1979, the U.S. President's Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies stated that to function successfully in the next century, all adults would need more knowledge about our interdependent world, awareness of other peoples, and greater sensitivity to global attitudes and customs. Social work is deeply rooted in the tradition of promoting social justice and in the profession's commitment to concern for culturally diverse groups. It is increasingly felt that social workers must acquire skills and attitudes that will enable them to effectively intervene with clients from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds. The inclusion of international content into social work curriculum varies widely in United States social work programs and curriculum approaches used. In order to assess the current status quo of International Social Work teaching practices curriculum in the United States and Puerto Rico, a survey was designed using Dillman's (2000) Tailored Design Theory and placed on the Internet utilizing PHP Surveyor. The format of the survey included three distinct sections: demographic information, format of international social work curriculum, and infusion of international social work content. Deans or directors of international social work programs in CSWE accredited schools of social work were invited to participate. The results of the study demonstrated what the literature had proposed: international social work curriculum varies greatly from social work program to social work program. Ninety-one deans or directors out of 186 responded to the survey. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents categorized their universities as public and 63% as urban. Seventy-one offer international social work either through a specific course or infusion into the social work curriculum. Eight do not offer international social work but are in the process of offering. Respondents rated the international social work curriculum and the infusion of eight key areas of international social work curriculum on 1-7 Likert scales and were offered opportunities to explain their ratings. Teaching practices were assessed and utilized to create a second survey with anchor points of unacceptable, acceptable, and exemplary.