In this together: Social Work launches student peer support learning community

The Wayne State University School of Social Work has launched the Social Work Peer Support (SWPS), a University supported learning community (LC). Organized by bachelors and masters level mentors, SWPS aims to support Social Work Warriors through their academic and field education journeys in a peer-to-peer student-led environment.

Coordinated by Social Work Lecturer and CHAMPS Director, Judith Wineman, SWPS creates opportunities for students to receive specialized training led by Social Work faculty that provide them with the tools and knowledge necessary to connect with their fellow peers and recognize when a student may need a referral for additional support. As one of 40 registered learning communities organized by the Wayne State Office of Academic Success, mentors also receive training on University level resources offered by units such as the Dean of Students Office, the Academic Success Center, and Counseling and Psychological Services. For the 2020-21 academic year, SWPS received funding for three mentors who will work to support their fellow students and build a strong student community within the School.

One of the key indicators of success for students is having a peer cohort to connect with throughout their social work training. We started SWPS because we believe strongly that building peer relationships is an added benefit in a profession where building relationship skills is critical to future professional practice. - Judith Wineman, SWPS Faculty Advisor

Through individual meetings focused on self-care and monthly group events, BSW and MSW student participants are able to connect and discuss their field education and school experiences. By helping one another to build coping skills and resilience, students can achieve a better balance in their educational and professional development.

From left, SWPS Mentors Angelica Kummer and Marchelle Washington-James

For us, engaging with classmates is so important and even more vital in our new COVID-19 world. As mentors, we are able to provide an essential link between students and the School. As mentors in a learning community, this role also affords us the ability to inform students of resources and events within the School, with the goal of increasing the diversity of students who participate in our School offerings. - Angelica Kummer and Marchelle Washington-James, MSW students and SWPS mentors

Students interested in learning more or participating in SWPS can submit their information on the SWPS webpage.

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