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Tools for Transformation Funded Proposals

Intergroup Dialogues Initiative: MSW Program

School of Social Work

IGD education is core to the School's strategy for cultural diversity education. IGDs are sustained, face-to-face meetings between members of different social identity groups with a history of conflict or potential conflict. Dialogue among diverse group members, aided by a semi-structured group format and trained peer co-facilitators, constitutes the major mechanism through which students learn about each other's group and individual histories and experiences, acquire skills to challenge stereotypes and misinformation, explore and understand sources of intergroup conflict, and identify ways to address institutional and individual forms of discrimination. IGDs are aimed at increasing participants' capacity to grasp the structural causes of intergroup conflict, detect and challenge demeaning and destructive intergroup processes and relations, and communicate and participate effectively in cross-cultural groups. The IGD education model was created at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s and is now being applied at Stanford University, Arizona State University, and the Universities of Washington, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Illinois (Urbana- Champaign). Since 1996, with grants from the Council on Social Work Education's Millennium Project and the UW Provost Office's Cultural and Ethnic Diversity Initiative, the UW School of Social Work faculty has developed, refined and intensively evaluated IGD curriculum for the BASW program. This comprised the first effort to apply the IGD model to a social work curriculum, and remains the only program of IGD education for undergraduate social work students. The School's initiative has been pioneering, contributing to IGD development through systematizing peer facilitator training methods and manuals, developing IGD curriculum content, and initiating multi- method evaluations of IGD curriculum innovations.

Creation and Extension of Advanced IGD Education in the MSW Program
IGD education is currently offered to bachelor's degree students in their junior year, through the required Cultural Diversity and Social Justice course (SOCWF404). As a next step, we propose to use Tools for Transformation funding to create an IGD curriculum for first year master's students. As in the bachelor's program, IGDs will be introduced into the MSW course on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice (SW504). This is a required first year (foundation) course for all MSW students except those who graduated from the School's BASW program. Similar to the BASW curriculum, master's level IGD curriculum will provide knowledge and skills relevant to working across racial differences. In addition, the MSW curriculum will provide increased content and skills development with respect to: (1) working across differences in gender, sexual orientation, social class, disability status, and/or religious affiliation; and (2) creating cross-group coalitions to take action around instances of discrimination/oppression. The expansion of IGD scope will require substantial modifications to the IGD curriculum used in the BASW course. These include, for example, acceleration in learning pace, the addition of new theoretical and substantive content on intergroup histories and tension, modification of IGD formats and dialogue questions, and expanded co- facilitator training to accommodate new content, format and foci.

Contacts: Ratnesh Nagada, Assistant Professor
Sue Sohng, Associate Professor
Allocation: $44,766
Date Funded: February 2000

Tools for Transformation Funded Proposals