In this paper we discuss a change from following a conservative model of 'one-student-to-one-agency' tradition to the innovative use of social work student units in meeting the practical field education requirements of the Bachelor of Social Work program at Charles Sturt University (CSU), Wagga Wagga, Australia. In a rural setting where placement opportunities are shrinking, these units are also pragmatic solutions for communities as well as exciting and demanding learning environments for the students. In 2004 we set up a four-student unit to work with local shire councils to produce mandatory social plans on behalf of rural communities. In 2005 a new unit of eight students began the task of researching issues around aged care needs, models and facilities in the region. In both cases the students were immersed in experiencing community development work at the grassroots level, with the design and implementation of the units reflecting similar practice espoused in effective community development models. For example, the students were supported in a triad supervision arrangement that included the regional organisation of councils in auspicing the field education opportunities and setting the research focus for the placement period, individual councils providing on-site field supervision, and CSU staff participating in field teaching and liaison roles.
|Title of host publication||Toward excellence in PEPE|
|Subtitle of host publication||a collaborative endeavour|
|Place of Publication||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Publisher||Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland|
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|
|Event||Biennial Conference of the Association of Practical Experiences in Professional Education (PEPE) - Auckland, new Zealand, New Zealand|
Duration: 01 Feb 2006 → 03 Feb 2006
|Conference||Biennial Conference of the Association of Practical Experiences in Professional Education (PEPE)|
|Period||01/02/06 → 03/02/06|
Bowles, W., & Mlcek, S. (2006). Extending the use of student units for both professional education and community solutions. In Toward excellence in PEPE: a collaborative endeavour (pp. 204). Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland.