University News

WIU BSW Program Awarded Grant for Policy Practice in Field Initiative

July 21, 2020

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois Bachelor of Social Work program is one of 12 programs nationwide selected to participate in the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Policy Practice in Field Education Initiative.

This initiative enables schools of social work to create integrative models that heighten the policy skill set of undergraduate- and graduate-level social work students, regardless of specialization.

"These grants make it possible for future social workers to learn the importance of policies, legislation and regulation that advance social justice goals. We thank The New York Community Trust for funding this initiative and allowing CSWE and member programs to create opportunities for policy-focused field education and community engagement projects," said CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW.

The WIU BSW program Policy Learning for Environmental Action (PLEA) Project will provide hands-on field experience to advance policy improvement in the social work program curriculum. Field instructors will collaborate with students on the project with the guidance and support of a WIU faculty field liaison. This partnership between the social work program and field agencies will provide students multiple sources of expertise and guidance as well as their own vested interest in the project.

WIU Professor Kathy Perone will serve as project director. Social work faculty, including Associate Professor Deb Allwardt, Assistant Professor Kaycee Peterman, Assistant Professor Lori Smith Okon and Associate Professor Karen Zellmann, will assist with the project.

For more information about the WIU BSW program, visit

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