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Article

John E. Tropman

Supervision is an important life skill with many applications, all of which involve the provision of helpful guidance to others. Guidance may come in the form of encouraging self-realization or the explanation of specific procedures. Generally, supervisory encounters involve one or two issues or their combination: counseling problems and coaching problems, broadly conceived. Counseling problems involve issues of attitude, more or less. Coaching problems involve issues of information. A supervisory framework includes the identification of stairs of supervisee competence: novice, beginner, competent, proficient, expert, master, and maestro (a master who can motivate others and blend the individual skills into a larger collective product) (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986). Each stair, or stage, has its own "flow chart," where the complexity of tasks is matched by the level of competence. When the supervisee gets to 8/9 or 9/9, it is time to move to the next level. Supervisors need to know the six supervisory competencies: professional supervision (clinical/educational), managerial, supportive, career development, reflective supervision, and coaching. Being well supervised helps the supervisee be a better supervisor. There are several guidelines to follow to be a good supervisor: Consider what makes a supervisor “great” or a supervisor “awful” and apply what is learned to one’s supervisory practice. Organize each upcoming supervisory meeting and plan an agenda for it. It is helpful to be aware of “wicked problems” (which are multisided and complex, and often without simple resolution). Know the difference between professional work and emotion work, and between formal and informal managerial supervision. Finally, consider 19 common supervisory questions and suggestions.

Article

Many CEOs and other top-level managers spend over half of their time in meetings. There are several ways to address meetings that can make them more productive and useful. “Meeting Masters” create such useful groups and sustain enthusiasm in them over considerable periods of time. “Decision Maestros” then build high-quality decisions from these productive meetings. Codifying this successful work requires a new vocabulary (decision elements, rounds of discussion, decision crystallization). This language is then applied to selected moments in the meeting process. The ideas and techniques presented here are intended to assist nonprofit managers to move toward improved meetings and better decision-making.

Article

Cindy Sousa and Tamarah Moss

As social work continues the ongoing work of developing frameworks for community practice, globalization and the increase in multicultural societies make urgent the need to consult international models. Community practice must center attention on building and sustaining relationships; determining who defines need and who controls the practices within the social work cycle of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and maintaining community-centered practices that grapple with power dynamics in terms of status, resources, and culture. A learning approach is needed within international social work collaborations, characterized by an ethics of respect for sovereignty, cultural integrity, and the ways historical, political, cultural, and sociocultural contexts inform practice. Solidarity, authentic collaboration, and a respect for individual and collective autonomy and grassroots power are key features of community practice in international settings. The goal of the comparative perspective is for social workers to be better able to apply an international perspective to the building of theory and practice modalities within community practice.

Article

Related to understanding queer identities, an ongoing need exists for the expansion of competency among social workers across micro and macro practice frameworks. Practitioners must be aware of their own positionality and use of cultural humility associated with practice and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit+ (LGBTQIA2S+) communities, which include those identifying as demisexual, omnisexual, and pansexual, among others. Relatedly, social workers must be attentive to evolving terminology and contexts through which the term queer has been defined over the years, as well as relevant challenges with connectedness to (or separation from) the larger LGBTQIA2S+ community. Age cohort associations and the role of intersectionality also have relevance and underscore the multidimensional discourse necessary to develop effective competency and the ability to engage in affirming macro practice with queer communities. Social work practitioners must understand the implications for best practices associated with establishing and maintaining an affirming alliance with queer clients via policy practice efforts, advocacy efforts, community organizing, service provision, or therapeutic context. In addition, there remains a continued need for ongoing research associated with understanding the unique needs of queer identities and the queer community at large.

Article

Darlyne Bailey, Terry Mizrahi, and Jenay Smith

The original goal of the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice in Social Work was to increase macro social work courses and enrollments in master of social work programs to 20% nationally by 2020. Some saw this as more of a vision, with the numbers in 2013 closer to 8%. Nonetheless, through partnerships with other organizations, forming collaborations and networks, and joining advocacy coalitions, the Special Commission continues to move forward to achieve this goal. The essence of the Special Commission’s purpose remains the same: to monitor and reinforce the viability of macro social work education in professional schools and programs to ensure the most effective social work practice for all served. This article provides the story of the Special Commission from inception through early 2022. It begins with the history (i.e., mission, leadership, structure, staffing, systems, and strategy), highlights accomplishments to date, and concludes with the envisioned future directions of the Special Commission along with anticipated challenges and opportunities. A case example in the appendix describes the process by which the Special Commission engaged its allies and supporters to complete major projects.

Article

Mildred Delozia and Charles M. S. Birore

Black Lives Matter (BLM), which led to the Black Lives Matter movement (BLMM), has been described as a movement with a global following. The movement is aligned with the social work profession’s purpose and values. The social work profession is a human rights profession and has a history of involvement with movements, beginning with the settlement house movement in the late 19th century. The BLMM frames its narrative based on human rights and espouses an agenda that calls out injustice in all facets of social justice. Therefore, a central aim is to understand the BLMM from multiple perspectives. Definitions, theoretical perspectives, and types of social movements are presented, and then the framework of social movements is used to understand the BLMM. Finally, the BLMM is examined in relation to historical social movements, advocacy organizations, and criminal justice reform.

Article

Cindy Sousa and Tamarah Moss

Community resilience describes the dynamic, ongoing process of coping and recovery in the face of collective stressors and trauma. Social and monetary capital, technological expertise, and strong physical and organizational infrastructure all undergird strong systematic responses to massive hardships. Other factors that underlie community resilience, such as shared philosophies; patterns and cultures of survival and meaning-making; emotional qualities such as optimism and trust; and norms around cooperation and interdependence, are more ethereal. Our world faces continual onslaughts to collective well-being. Thus, notions and practice models around community resilience are increasingly urgent to develop, with implications for macro practice across multiple methods - including community organization, policy practice, and management/administration.

Article

Steve Burghardt, Joseph Dibenedetto, and Bobbie Sackman

As baby boomers enter their later years, it has become apparent that ageism is a primary cause of much of the social marginalization and economic inequity experienced by older people. It is thus important to understand that ageism has both structural as well as cultural causes that require collective mobilization to correct. As such, anti-ageism and the fight for age justice fit within the intersectional movements of the 21st century seeking systemic change. This attention to systemic issues of ageism and the call for collective forms of action and organizing have become the foundation for an age justice movement. Therefore, an age justice organizing approach to the problems of older Americans is necessary and its solutions to aging-related problems are similar to solutions in other social justice movements. The historical context of aging and ageism informs present models of age justice organizing and issues addressed in age activism. For example, older workers have experienced workplace discrimination, and in the early COVID-19 pandemic, older people were marginalized. Looking to the future, an age justice framework that consistently addresses ageism as the systemic issue it is can be developed in micro, mezzo, and macro settings for all social workers and the older people with whom they work.

Article

Gina Griffin

As technological advances continue to develop, delivering macro human service through social work innovations becomes a new priority for the discipline. Digital technologies offer potential applications using tablets, smartphones, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and wearable technology to enable whole new possibilities for human services. As a result, policymakers and community organizers alike can access the existing information much faster, and potentially connect with hard-to-reach communities to make meaningful decisions. Incorporating the latest digital trends from business and industry settings to macro social work practice are highlighted. By utilizing digital technology, human service organizations can become more proactive and citizen-centered, potentially transforming personal and economic capacity.

Article

Laura Lein, Jennifer Romich, Trina R. Williams Shanks, and Dominique Crump

The Social Work Grand Challenge to reduce economic inequality is one of 13 Grand Challenges guiding future practice, research, and education. This article on the Grand Challenge to reduce extreme economic inequality documents the problem, probes the mechanisms by which inequality continues and deepens, and proposes approaches for addressing this problem so interwoven into our economy and society. This article describes economic inequality in the U.S. context as well as social work–oriented responses. It briefly compares the inequality level of the U.S. with that of other countries. It explores the distinctions between poverty and economic inequality and the particular ways in which economic inequality is maintained and grows in the U.S. It also explores the kinds of policy and program initiatives addressing this grand challenge, the barriers to and potential benefits of such ideas, and the roles for social workers and the social work profession in reducing extreme economic inequality in our society.