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School honors field instructors during annual appreciation conference

Nearly 100 people participated in the School of Social Work’s annual Appreciation Conference for Field Instructors and Task Supervisors on May 18. The day-long event honors agencies across the state for supporting the School’s Field Education Office and for providing valuable internships for MSW students.

Assistant dean of field education Rebecca Brigham welcomed participants and thanked field instructors and task supervisors for their key role in teaching MSW students to be practitioners. School of Social Work Dean Gary L. Bowen provided an update on current efforts within the School and spoke about the importance of field education in the MSW experience.

This year, the conference keynote presentation featured an interactive panel discussion on “Social Work Advocacy in Our Current Times,” and focused on what advocacy work looks like in practice, how to involve MSW students in advocacy work across practice settings, and how to use the social work voice to empower client systems and advocate for social change. Panelists included Cari Carson from Legal Aid of North Carolina, Isela Gutierrez-Gunter from Democracy North Carolina, Michelle Hughes from NC Child, and Lynne Walter from NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. Clinical assistant professor Laurie Selz Campbell moderated the discussion.

As part of the presentation, Valerie Arendt from the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers provided an update on social work advocacy within the state.
During the afternoon, field instructors were given the opportunity to participate in one of four workshops. Presenters included:

  • Ravita T. Omabu Okafor, a practicing psychotherapist with children, adolescents and adults, who discussed ethics and student autonomy in supervision;
  • JP Przewoznik, an educator, trainer, technical assistance provider, practitioner, and program evaluator in the LGBTQ+ and women’s communities, who discussed current knowledge about the causal factors of sexual violence against the LGBTQ+ community; and
  • Ronni Zuckerman, a clinical assistant professor at the School, who discussed the impact of chronic stress on the development of young children.

Each year, the School also recognizes agencies that exemplify “the best of the best” in field instruction. Award winners this year were: Caring Services, Volunteers for Youth, Duke University Medical Center, Wake County Public Schools, InterAct, and Orange County Department on Aging.