Older adults are the fastest growing population in our society. New Hampshire is no exception; the fastest growing age group is over age 60.
Schools of social work across the country are preparing students to meet this growing need by providing learning opportunities in gerontology. The Social Work Department at Plymouth State University is a participant in a national project, funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), to support geriatric enrichment in the curriculum of accredited undergraduate and graduate social work programs. PSU is one of 24 accredited baccalaureate social work (B.S.W.) programs in the country that received funding for this initiative. For more information about the national project and related resources, please refer to the national Web site at www.gswi.org (see Participating Schools).
The purpose of the project is to prepare Social Work students with cultural awareness, knowledge and skills to enhance the health and well-being of older adults and their families.
The Gerorich project at PSU has:
- Conducted an assessment of its B.S.W. curriculum to identify age-related strengths and gaps in the content of the foundation courses and made changes to enrich the content
- Participated in national faculty development institutes and regional meetings
- Held two faculty retreats with members of the elderly and adult services community, B.S.W. advisory board, field supervisors and alumni to generate ideas for aging-related student learning activities
- Developed a student award for social work with older people for practicum-based research on older adults and aging from a life span perspective
- Held a half-day workshop, Teaching Undergraduate Students about Ethical Issues in Aging, for field supervisors to discuss and encourage a life span approach to field education
- Developed a student survey to assess student knowledge and career interests in aging-related practice (students are surveyed in the introductory course, SW 2200, and the senior field seminar, SW 4550)
- Disseminated information and engaged in resources-sharing through scholarly activities, including:
- Publication of “Crisis in Caregiving: A Call to Action” in Health & Social Work, 27,(4), 307-311 by Francine Conway-Giustra, Ann Crowley and Stephen Gorin in fall 2002
- Faculty presentation of “Enhancing Gerontology Content in the Classroom and Field for Rural B.S.W. Programs” at the First National Gerontological Social Work Conference held in conjunction with the Council on Social Work Education conference in 2003
- Dr. Gorin served as reviewer for a special issue on Diversity and Aging of the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment