Rutgers School of Social Work Master’s Program Prepares Profession’s Future Leaders

Rutgers School of Social Work Master’s Program Prepares Profession’s Future Leaders

More than two-thirds of Rutgers social work students go into supervision and management

The traditional role of a social worker who does home visits and individual counseling is changing – about 70 percent of social work students at Rutgers will eventually go into supervision and management. 

William Waldman
Photo: Nick Romanenko
William Waldman, professor and executive in residence at the Rutgers’ School of Social Work, oversees a program that focuses on management and policy (MAP), reflecting this major shift in the profession.

Social workers are now employed in a wider variety of settings than ever, including educational institutions, government agencies, NGOs, health care facilities and businesses of all types.

“Even our clinically focused graduates are promoted to supervisory or management positions within two to three years after graduation,” says Waldman, who served as director of New Jersey’s Division of Youth and Family Services and commissioner of the Department of Human Services.

“They manage large organizations; develop, evaluate and analyze policy; and serve as advocates for social justice,” he says. “They want to have a broader impact in a way that improves life outcomes for large groups of vulnerable citizens – something more than just one-on-one counseling.”

Social work student Kareim Oliphant is following that path. He came to Rutgers thinking he wanted to pursue a career in drug counseling after working with teens during an internship program. But his goals changed once he started working on his MSW.

Heather Ciociola
“I didn’t know about other opportunities beyond counseling and therapy,” Oliphant says. “I wanted to have a broader impact. Lots of people making policy aren’t necessarily being advised by or working with social workers. There is a need to work with people on the ground.”

The roots of management and policy (MAP) date from the settlement houses of the 1880s, when neighborhood organizations provided services to identify and reinforce the strength of individuals, families and communities. The goal of the MAP concentration is to train future leaders of nonprofit and public service organizations.

At Rutgers, students work in field education placements focused on nonprofit or public management, with emphasis on such areas as human resource management, fundraising and marketing.

“Counseling and therapy have their place, but there is more recognition than ever that social workers have contributions to make at the macro level,” Waldman says.      

Heather Ciociola, is pursuing her MSW following a career in marketing and advertising. She receives leadership training as an intern with Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, a nonprofit agency that offers social services including a food pantry, programs for seniors, therapy, education and advocacy.

“I spent 20 years in the business world, first at a museum and then in advertising, branding and marketing,” Ciociola says. “I decided it was time to take what I learned and apply it in a different way.  It made perfect sense to be attracted to the management and policy side of social work.”

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