Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership (I-CPL)

  • "To those who oppose us, we say, 'Strike the woman, and you strike the rock'." -  Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Member of Parliament, Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work Class of 1955, South Africa
  • ...the social worker, as much as the educator, is not a neutral agent, either in practice or in action.
  • Society is transformed when we transform it. -  Paulo Freire, Secretary of Education, São Paulo, Brazil
  • …the figures of the lynching record should be allowed to plead, trumpet tongued, in defense of the slandered dead, that the silence of concession be broken, and that truth, swift-winged and courageous, summon this nation to do its duty to exalt justice and preserve inviolate the sacredness of human life. -  Ida B. Wells, co-Founder NAACP                                  
  • I hope that you will recognize yourself for who you are in your entire being and that you will find support for yourself, and that you will find community support for yourself, and I wish you the best. -  Jim Toy, MSW, Founder, Jim Toy Community Center

If the passages quoted above resonate with you, you may be a candidate for the Wayne State University School of Social Work Concentration in Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership (I-CPL). The mission of this concentration is to produce practitioners who are skilled in working in community, policy, or leadership of organizations. Those who select this Concentration will receive training in the areas that make Social Work unique among the helping professions: a focus on the person in the environment through social action that leads to social change. This perspective assumes that change efforts are necessary at a systems level, and includes consideration of interventions designed for organizations and agencies, neighborhoods, communities, and the overall society. Individuals can be empowered to change their lives by participating in such macro efforts, which may be required to create the environment in which their individual change can be facilitated and maintained.

During the core year in the MSW program or in the BSW program, students have been exposed to a broad range of skills. They have learned about working with individuals and groups, and have gained experience with interpersonal, small group, and community interventions. All of these skills will be useful for those who decide to specialize in macro practice.

Learn more about this concentration in the MSW Program Day, ICPL segment below. 

Model of concentration

The model of the concentration (below) communicates how the faculty members envision the development of student learning and the convergence of the learning experience during the concentration year. Building on the knowledge, attitude and skill outcomes of the core year or on the outcomes of the BSW, Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership are contextualized within broad themes of social distress and social change emanating out of injustice. Practice in this context incorporates the vulnerability, marginalization and injustice which members of certain populations bear disproportionately. This context shapes the Concentration and gives social and cultural meaning to the competencies that form the effective social worker in Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership. Three intersecting career paths emerge from the learning experience (leading effective organizations, developing and sustaining effective communities, and developing and sustaining effective policies). All social workers work for an organization in a community, that is shaped by and shapes a policy context. Students may select courses that emphasize certain practice skills.

The content of these streams is designed to increase student awareness of career possibilities in Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership. Students also develop and deepen their awareness of the settings where Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership can take place through their field placements, class discussions, and firsthand experience in field situations.