Harmony Revard Fuller and Katherine Conner: Building Community in the MSW Concentration Year

Developing a sense of community is an important factor in feeling supported while navigating through graduate school. Balancing personal and professional lives with coursework and practicum experiences can be a challenge and at times very stressful for MSW hopefuls. The Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma places a great deal of emphasis on community through various organizations, programs, and networking events that bring MSW students and faculty together in meaningful and memorable ways. One of the ways community is formed within the program is through the declaration of social work concentration. Students spend their foundation year deciding if they will declare Direct Practice (micro) or Administrative Community Practice (macro), with the latter focusing on a systems approach to social work that involves a variety of skills such as program monitoring and evaluation, resource development, and community organizing and mobilizing. The Administrative Community Practice (ACP) cohort is sometimes smaller in size and the Tulsa campus 2017 graduating class is no different, with exception to the tremendous strength of their bond with each other. Consisting of 12 social justice minded individuals, this year’s graduating ACP cohort has become much like a family to each other, frequently meeting outside of school time to foster the collective relationship. Although this cohort meets for classes only one day a week, all twelve students speak daily through group messaging to encourage each other, collaborate on various academic and professional works, make each other laugh, and remind each other that they are never alone. With each cohort member focusing on different areas of social work, they still take time to attend each other’s events and spread awareness on each other’s social work issues with an overarching theme of “What matters to one of us matters to all of us”. The sense of community within the ACP program has been heavily supported by concentration year faculty, especially Dr. Karen Gray, who continues to challenge this cohort to organize their efforts in informing policy and creating impactful change within our larger communities and throughout Oklahoma. As the May 9, 2017 graduation approaches emotions run high and this amazing support system continues to stay grounded and focused with hopes to continue their collaboration in social work far beyond their time at OU. This year’s Tulsa campus Administrative Community Practice cohort is thrilled to celebrate 100 years of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma and would like to thank the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, especially the concentration year professors for fostering their unique sense of community. Congratulations to all the 2017 University of Oklahoma graduates.

Harmony Revard Fuller, MSW 2017 and Katherine Conner, MSW 2017

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