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Mission, Strategic Plan, and Global Strategy

The School of Social Work enhances people’s health and wellbeing, and empowers individuals, communities, and organizations to dismantle inequitable systems and promote social justice. We conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary research with real world impact, educate students to be effective and innovative practitioners, and collaborate with community partners to reimagine and design solutions to social challenges.

Social Work Strategic Plan 2021-2026

As we celebrated our 75th anniversary, the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign engaged in strategic planning to articulate and focus our efforts over the next five years. We were guided by existing strengths in our School, as well as the expressed aspirations of School members and other stakeholders. We also sought to build on the ambitious “Next 150” strategic plan developed by the University for our campus.

Our resulting strategic plan is organized into four sections. Three of these focus upon the critical missions that encompass most of our work: research, teaching and learning, and community and public engagement. The fourth area, our School environment and culture, considers the atmosphere we believe is crucial to stimulate progress in each of the other three areas.

We hope that this plan provides our many stakeholders with a sense of important objectives on which we collectively seek to excel. We understand that strategic plans are aspirational, and that we have much room for growth. However, we have selected areas in which we have many strengths, and in which we are well-positioned to make major contributions. We hope that our many colleagues and stakeholders will join us on this journey.

Social Work Global Strategy: Vision 2030

Strategy 1: Education for Global Citizenship

Integrate education abroad into the curriculum; expand global learning options for students that utilize cutting-edge technologies

  1. Action 1: Enrich the curriculum to provide transformative learning experiences that will prepare culturally competent practitioners.
  2. Action 2: Expand on the current short-term, faculty-led abroad course model, to include other destinations besides Athens, Greece, as well as to diversify the marginalized populations served.
  3. Action 3: Provide equitable and inclusive access to education abroad; diversify technological access to global learning.

Strategy 2: Engagement for Impact in the Global South

Enhance relationships in Africa and Latin America and lower-income countries.

  1. Action 1: Position our faculty and staff to be leaders in innovative scholarship to address critical global challenges.
  2. Action 2: Expand digital learning to offer social work academic programs and other offerings to global audiences.
  3. Action 3: Prioritize equitable, inclusive, and sustainable initiatives to support local communities abroad.
  4. Action 4: Outreach to donors in support of international programming enhancement in the Global South.

Strategy 3: Leadership for Innovative Partnership & Development

Identify and invest in partnership opportunities that expand existing networks

  1. Action 1: Develop mutually beneficial strategic partnerships with institutions in the Global South.
  2. Action 2: Institute a global communication strategy to raise awareness about our school’s profile for international audiences.
  3. Action 3: Keep an updated clearinghouse of our school’s global engagement activities to raise awareness and contribute to the university’s global strategic plan.

Strategy 4: Education for Inclusive Excellence

Identify key collaborations and methods to achieve inclusive excellence.

  1. Action 1: Strengthen integration of international students and scholars into the cultural and academic life of the school.
  2. Action 2: Expand international internship programming by incorporating student-driven models and adding new countries and communities beyond current destinations.
  3. Action 3: Expand international internship programming to include BSW’s.
  4. Action 4: Solidify human resource support for the Field Education Office to develop and prioritize international internships in the U.S. and internationally.
  5. Action 5: Devise a comprehensive international enrollment management strategy to diversify the school’s student body.
  6. Action 6: Implement a competitive funding model to support global accessibility to the school’s academic programs. Catalyze this model with digital innovation
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