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Developing S ustainable Graduate Social Work Education in the Former Soviet Republic: Tbilisi Georgia. James T. Decker, Ph.D., LCSW Director/Chair Professor Department of Social Work California State University, Northridge Northridge, California 91330. Introduction.

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slide1

Developing Sustainable Graduate Social Work Education in the FormerSoviet Republic: Tbilisi Georgia

James T. Decker, Ph.D., LCSW

Director/Chair

Professor

Department of Social Work

California State University, Northridge

Northridge, California 91330

introduction
Introduction

This paper will outline the steps that occurred:

  • In the development of a Graduate Social Work Program housed in Tbilisi, Georgia, and
  • Issues related to “human capital” and “sustainability” will be addressed that are developed in response to the social conditions of Tbilisi and issues of developing partnerships
introduction1
Introduction

Other Related Topics Include:

  • An overview of the developmental history and the justification for a Master of Social Work rather than a Bachelor of Social Work will be discussed.
  • As of March 2007, twenty-seven students have been admitted into this new graduate program.
developmental history
Developmental History
  • In 1991, the Republic of Georgia received its independence from Russia.
  • Prior to the Republic of Georgia receiving its independence, Georgia was under communist rule.
  • That meant there were no “social problems,”
  • Only “mental heath” issues that were treated with hospitalization and medication.
developmental history1
Developmental History
  • From 1991 through 1998, social work did not “exist” and social problems were simply not addressed in Georgia.
  • As an emerging nation, corruption in Georgia was present in all levels of government and still is.
  • During that time period, acknowledgement of social problems would not have receive favorable attention from other government entrees.
  • In 1999, professional social work or international social work was just starting to emerge in Georgia.
developmental history2
Developmental History
  • Social work as a profession in Georgia did not exist on an academic level till 2005-2006.
  • From 1991 till 2007; perception of the mission and role of social workers in Georgia remained vague and somewhat unclear.
  • During this time period, there was an urgent need for further development and the establishment of professional social workers based on:
  • Poor social conditions that existed in Georgia, which included:
developmental history3
Developmental History
  • Poverty;
  • Street Children;
  • Trafficking;
  • “Hidden Issues:”
    • Like Substance Abuse
developmental history4
Developmental History
  • Domestic (Spousal) Abuse;
  • Family Issues Related to Children;
  • HIV/AIDS.
the development of social work education in georgia
The Development of Social Work Education in Georgia

Based on the emerging social problems within Georgia:

  • The Georgia Social Work Fellowship Program was initiated by the Open Society Institute to foster the development of the Social Work Profession.
  • The primary goals of the Social Work Fellowship Program were to provide training in Social Work at United State Universities
  • Graduates hopefully would return to Mongolia, Azerbaijan and now Georgia
the development of social work education in georgia1
The Development of Social Work Education in Georgia
  • The goal of the Open Society Institute was to implement reform;
  • Create Social Policy;
  • Foster the Development of Social Work Practice, and
  • Starting in 2005 Develop:
  • Social Work Education
the development of social work education in georgia2
The Development of Social Work Education in Georgia

The long term goals of the Open Society Institute Fellowship

Program were to:

  • Graduates would be expected to return to their home countries;
  • Graduates would apply their new knowledge and skills into direct practice models related to local social problems
  • Contribute to the development of the social work profession on a Academic Level
the development of social work education in georgia3
The Development of Social Work Education in Georgia

Based on the social conditions that existed in Georgia, returning

MSW Graduates

  • Were placed in community leadership positions;
  • Rather than providing direct services, which they trained for.
issues related to sustainable
Issues related to Sustainable

In 2005 Social Work was added to the Open Society Institute

Fellowship Program (AFP) Educational list to develop and

enhancements Social Work Education Programs at both the

Undergraduate and Graduate Levels in Mongolia, Azerbaijan, and

Georgia.

  • AFP was seeking two international partners (Fellows) for Georgia:
  • One who could provide the resources to support faculty in the development of research agendas; and
issues related to sustainable1
Issues related to Sustainable
  • One who could help in developing curriculum for social work education.
issues related to sustainable2
Issues related to Sustainable

During the Caucasus Fellows Orientation Session from September

29th through October 2nd 2005 discussions in the Department of

Psychology at Tbilisi State University related to the development of

a new Master of Social Work Program with an emphasis on

leadership were set in motion

Highlights from that session were:

issues related to sustainable3
Issues related to Sustainable
  • An agreement to develop a Master of Social Work Program, housed in The Faculty of Psychology at Tbilisi University starting in the Fall Semester, 2006, which was approved by both the faculty of and the Dean of the Psychology Department.
tasks related to sustainable
Tasks related to Sustainable
  • A starting date for the first class to be in the Fall

semester of 2006, which would provide a planning

process of one year.

  • Faculty members each selected one course related to their area of expertise and planned to infuse Social Work foundation year (1st year master) content into their existing Psychology and/or Social Work courses.
tasks related to sustainable1
Tasks related to Sustainable
  • The development of a field manual related to social work in Georgia would be developed in the summer of 2005
  • Field agency training would be available for potential field instructors within the development of a field internship program in the summer of 2005.
  • review curriculum content and field content for implementation deadlines in the summer of 2005.
tasks related to sustainable2
Tasks related to Sustainable
  • Curriculum would be developed to meet:
  • International Accreditation Standards set forth by:
  • International Federation of Social Workers (ISFW);
  • International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and;
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accreditation Standards.
outcomes related to sustainability
Outcomes Related to Sustainability
  • The first step towards sustainability was achieved with the Rector awarding program status to the MSW in March 2005.
  • The second step related to sustainability was the Rector inviting the Bridgewater and CSUN Presidents to meet with him to open up discussions on developing joint programs between each university.
  • The third step toward sustainability was admitting students and providing graduate courses for the new MSW Degree.
outcomes related to sustainability1
Outcomes Related to Sustainability
  • The fourth step, related to financial sustainability; was to develop a grant and submit it to OSI for field training of agency supervisors.
  • The fifth step, also related to financial sustainability, required submitting grants to United States Foundations.
flexibility related to sustainability the politics of
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of

Everything Changed In May of 2006,

  • The Rector stepped down and an Acting Rector took over.
  • At the same time, the Dean of The Faculty of Psychology also stepped down as Dean and an Acting Dean took over.
  • The Original Master of Social Work Program had to be reintroduced to both the Acting Dean and Acting Rector.
  • Both stated supportive.
flexibility related to sustainability the politics of1
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of
  • But the reality was that the program was back at “square one” as both were “acting” and would not commit to any long-term formalization of the program until their “acting” positions were made permanent or a new, permanent dean or rector were appointed.
  • The Minister of Education permanently appointed the Acting Rector to Rector, who in turn appointed the Acting Dean of The Faculty of Psychology to be Dean.
flexibility related to sustainability the politics of2
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of
  • University approval again was granted on May 5, 2006, one year after it was initially approved and the program was already teaching twenty-seven full-time students.

Based on lack of Support from the Dean of Psychology the results were:

  • The co-director made plans on July 8, 2007 to move the MSW Program to Ilia Chavchavadez State University, Tbilisi Georgia.
  • 20 of the 27 students moved to the new University
flexibility related to sustainability the politics of3
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of
  • Support by AFP was dropped
  • Positive Results were:
  • Ilia Chavchavadze State University Made Social Work a Department within the College of Philosophy and Social Studies
  • Provided Space for a Library and Resource Center (TSU did provide for Space for a Library and Resource Center)
  • A Newer and Heated/Cooler Building with Newer Classrooms
flexibility related to sustainability the politics of4
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of
  • I made a commitment to stay for one more year so we could develop the Concentration Year Curriculum on my Dime
  • We Submitted of a Grant to The Eurasia Foundation to develop:

A 3 Day Workshop for Field Instructors Related to the Concentration Year Field Practice, a Two Day Workshop for Instructors

Prepare and Publish a Field Manual

Develop the Library and Resource Center

Purchase Desktop Computers

Purchase Printer

Purchase Copy Machine

flexibility related to sustainability the politics of5
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of

Purchase Projector with a Screen

Purchase Tape Recorders and Video Camera

Purchase New Books

Develop Course Reader in Georgian Language

Hire a Half-time Resource/Field Coordinator

flexibility related to sustainability the politics of6
Flexibility Related to Sustainability The Politics Of
  • Grant was Founded for $45,000
  • Workshop is Scheduled for November 8, 9, & 10 2008
  • Curriculum Development Workshop For Instructors November 11th and 12th
  • I Will Return in Early March and Co-Teach Concentration Courses for two weeks.
implications
Implications

In order for emerging countries to develop “self

determination” and become “self-sufficient,”

they must utilize their “human capital” to help develop a

belief system that includes the concept of staying in their

home country so they can in fact make a difference.

implications1
Implications
  • One way to implement this principle is through the use of Sustainable Graduate Social Work Programs that are developed in response to the social conditions of each country.
  • These programs must be University and Government supported, which will require a financial commitment from that country.
implications2
Implications

By providing a financial commitment:

  • 1. It demonstrates the country’s ability to have a vision for its “human capital” past today.
  • 2. It is also implied that every human being has a unique value and that each individual has the right to self-fulfillment
  • 3. That this individual now has an obligation to contribute to the well-being of their society
implications3
Implications
  • 4. Based on the principles of the International Federation of Social Workers (ISFW), International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the aforementioned concepts are what Graduate Social Work Education is all about.
  • Lastly, and most important:
  • Even if your funding source's have dried up and the project is not finished; you must continue if in fact you are committed to “Sustainable.”
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