Social Work Applied Learning
To gain understanding of, appreciation for, and experience in working with diverse clients in community-based human services, social work majors must complete 90 clock-hours of applied (or service) learning. Students complete 30 clock-hours during SOWK 200. An additional 60 clock-hours must be completed as outlined below.
- Hours must be completed after successfully passing SOWK 200.
- Hours may be completed during a semester, summer, or break; the hours may occur around Olivet, the student's home, or another community (including international volunteer service).
- The 60-clock hours of applied learning must be divided into three separate applied learning experiences with three different demographics in three different agencies (20 hours each). Approved demographics include children's services, youth services, adult services, aging services, services for individuals (any age level) with disability, advocacy and policy services, organizational or community outreach, or formal training in areas related to social work.
- All applied learning (except SOWK 200) must be approved by the student's academic adviser. Completion of applied learning must be officially documented by the agency where the applied learning occurs. This documentation must be submitted to the academic adviser who will approve it and give it the program director for the student file. If the student's academic adviser is not a social work faculty member, the social work program director should give written approval for the applied learning.
- The student must be accountable to his/her adviser for applied learning each semester during academic advising based on the following schedule:
- fall, junior year - a minimum of 20 hours completed
- spring, junior year - a minimum of 40 hours completed
- fall, senior year - 60 hours completed
- Generally speaking, volunteering at church, church camps, mission trips, MIA, regular study abroad activities, campus clubs and activities, etc. are not approved applied learning, although some exceptions apply for campus outreach clubs. Job shadowing and positions for which pay is received are not considered applied learning.
- Service experiences must include a significant learning experience. For example, distributing food at a food pantry is not adequate; doing intake assessments for eligibility of food distribution at the pantry is acceptable.
- Trainings must be formal in nature and include certification or documentation.
- Students must complete the Co-curricular Transcript form and have the applied learning added to this transcript. The academic adviser must sign the form to approve the addition of the applied learning hours (includes SOWK 200). Eligibility for SOWK 400 - Field Placement is determined once the student presents an official copy of the Co-curricular Transcript with documentation of the 90 completed hours.