The Salish Kootenai College Social Work Department is very interested in the valuable feedback of our graduates. The information helps us to evaluate and continuously improve our program. In keeping with our strategic priorities, the department designed and implemented an online alumni survey in November 2012.
Forty one (41) students have graduated from the Social Work Program with a BSW degree since the program’s inception in 2005. For this survey, the program chose to solicit feedback from twenty seven (27) students who graduated between 2007 and 2011. Sixteen (16) students, or 59% of the target population, responded. Two surveys were only partially completed and were omitted from the analysis, resulting in thirteen (14) valid responses, a 52% response rate.
The survey, administered electronically through SurveyMonkey, consisted of 40 questions and included opportunities for both qualitative and quantitative feedback. The quantitative questions were scored on the 11-point scale, with 0 indicating “very poor” and 10 indicating “superb”. The qualitative responses were organized into themes and summarized.
Nine of the fourteen respondents (64%) had pursued and seven (50%) had completed a master’s degree program by the time of the survey. One respondent had obtained a LCSW credential. Overall, the graduates expressed an opinion that the Social Work Program prepared them very well for graduate studies. An average rating of the quality of preparation for graduate school was 8.56 (86%). Two respondents noted that more exposure to theories and better practicum experiences would have improved the graduate school preparation.
Ten of the respondents (71%) had worked in a full time social work position after graduating from the program. Majority of them (6 or 60%) gained employment in a tribal agency and half of them (5 or 50%) worked in the field of child welfare. Overall, the respondents rated the quality of preparation for their first social work position highly (7.4 or 74%), although three graduates expressed that they felt unprepared for their role as a social worker.
Overall, the alumni rated the quality of the SKC BSW Program highly, with an average group rating of 7.93 (79%). Respondents also rated how well the classroom activities, assignments, and internship experiences prepared them in professional competencies, skills, and knowledge. The responses show an average group rating of 7.13 for the three categories:
Preparation in professional competencies (7.73);
Knowledge development in various professional areas (6.62); and
Development of professional skills (7.04 average).
The scores indicate that the program should consider how to strengthen the curriculum content in the following areas (average group scores indicated in parentheses):
- History of social work (6.86)
- Current issues and latest developments affecting the individuals and communities (6.71)
- Current research and professional literature relevant to social work (6.93)
- Current intervention theories and treatment models (6.23)
- Impact of social policies on client populations both domestically and globally (6.71)
- Theories about clients from diverse groups (6.64); individual bio-psycho-social development (6.5); family development (6.43); group development (6.43); organizational development (6.36); and community development (6.29)
- Understanding and utilizing theories (6.5)
- Influencing organizational policies (6.36)
- Using supervision (6.43)
- Collaborating and working with colleagues (6.5)
The narrative feedback provided invaluable suggestions for program improvement. Most notable themes that emerged pointed to the need to strengthen the internship program, integrate more instruction in social work knowledge, skills and relevant theories into the classes, uphold high professional and writing standards for students, increase the elective course selection, and incorporate more lectures and presentations by social work practitioners into classes.
Campus-wide Satisfaction Survey
Every year, the SKC administration implements a campus-wide satisfaction survey. This year the SW faculty reviewed this survey and has decided to focus on mentoring the pre-social work students, specifically to promote a sense of belonging and connectedness to Social Work Program.