Articles2014

Columbia School of Social Work Can Better Support Development of Effective Writing Skills


ABSTRACT

The Editorial Board of the Columbia Social Work Review holds a firm conviction that social workers must possess advanced written communication skills to serve individuals and communities and advance the field as a whole. To pair this conviction with action, the Board conducted a survey to explore student experiences with writing in graduate studies at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW). The surveyed students agreed that effective writing skills are imperative for social work professionals, and they overwhelmingly wanted the school to do more to help them develop these skills. Although students highly valued writing, their enthusiasm did not always translate into perceptions of adequate writing instruction, exposure to diverse writing assignments, or adequate institutional support. As editors of a student-run journal, we believe in the value of cogent writing to our field, and we feel compelled to share this student perspective as a contribution to a meaningful discussion on writing at CSSW. This editorial uses student opinion from survey data to underscore the value of critical writing skills to the social work profession, and recommends ways that school supports can be enhanced to match student need. The goal of this editorial is to enrich the scholarly and professional nature of CSSW.

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