San Diego State University

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MSW Administration and Community Development Concentration

The Administration and Community Development Concentration includes core courses and electives which will enable students to specialize in either Administration or Community Development. In their final year, Administration and Community Development students take courses including civic engagement, core management functions and processes, advanced evaluation/research, advanced social policy, and a field practicum and electives in areas including leadership, organizational change, and community development. Administration students will also be able to receive a Certificate in Social Work Administration, upon completion of core administration courses and designated electives.

Administration internships are in administration settings in community-based organizations, the County Health and Human Service Agency, or hospitals. Community Development students are placed in grassroots community agencies and nontraditional settings such as libraries and community development corporations.

Administration Specialization

The Administration specialization educates students who can upon graduation assume positions as supervisors, program managers, or staff workers such as analysts, program specialists, or program evaluators in public and not-for-profit human service agencies.

Administration is defined as a combination of management and leadership. Management includes functions such as planning, program design, information systems, program evaluation, financial management, human resource management, and supervision. Leadership includes visioning, inspiring and motivating staff, strategic management, and organizational change. Effective administrators design and manage programs and management processes, using evidence-based practice and management knowledge, and provide change leadership to continually improve agency operations and respond to new needs and opportunities.

SDSU Administration concentration graduates are now serving as chief executives and managers in community-based and advocacy organizations and hold middle to upper management positions in governmental human service organizations. Others are consultants in areas including grant writing and staff development. Several are professors or university administrators.

“SDSU is one of the few [Social Work] schools with
well-defined management programs.”

Rino Patti, DSW
Professor and Dean Emeritus
University of Southern California School of Social Work
Former Editor, Administration in Social Work

Four journal articles on the School’s Administration Concentration and its courses have been published in professional journals.

Community Development Specialization

Community Development is defined as a set of practices or values, which are significant in ameliorating disadvantaged communities and strengthening democracy. It involves changing the relationships between ordinary residents and people in powerful positions, so that everyone can take part in constructing solutions to the problems affecting their communities. Community Development starts from the principle that within any community there is a wealth of knowledge and resources, and if used creatively, can achieve long-lasting changes. In other words, the goal of Community Development is to empower community residents and encourage them to gain control of their neighborhood issues. Community Development practitioners are key in this process. They are the individuals who are out in the community, working with the residents to help strategize and carry out solutions.

The Community Development track provides non-traditional placements in the San Diego community such as libraries, neighborhood associations, environmental agencies, and theatres. The Community Development track provides students an opportunity to not only develop programs, write grants, and research evidence based interventions, but it allows students to get involved with community residents to assist with strategizing and carrying out long-lasting community-driven changes. Students in the Community Development track are evaluated based on their ability to develop community projects which benefit residents and further the mission of the organization with whom they are interning. This option produces well-rounded social workers who are more capable of being successful in any setting.

SDSU’s Community Development specialization is led by Mike Eichler and Jessica Robinson. Mike is a Distinguished Lecturer in the School of Social Work, founder of the School’s Consensus Organizing Center (COC), and creator of the Consensus Organizing Model. Mike is the author of Consensus Organizing, a book describing this method. He holds a Master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and has been involved in community organizing and community development for over 30 years. He teaches the courses for the Community Development track, including SW 720: Civic Engagement and the Social Environment; and SW 758: Community Organizing and Problem Solving. Students in all concentrations can enroll in the Community Development courses as electives.

Jessica Robinson is a lecturer in the School of Social Work. In addition to her work at SDSU Jessica is a lecturer at the University of San Diego’s Nonprofit Leadership and Management Masters Program. Jessica was trained in Consensus Organizing by Mike Eichler, and chosen by him to spearhead the work of the COC. Jessica is best known for her work with foster youth and, specifically, for her role in developing and operating a specialized high school graduation and post-secondary education program for foster youth. A San Diego native, Mrs. Robinson earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Master’s in Administrative Social Work from San Diego State

last updated: 6/23/2011