From Theory to Practice: Preparing Students for Real-World Challenges in Social Work
May 10, 2023
Alliance University’s School of Social Work is initiating something that is about holistic learning and holistic training. It is called C4. Many students have done some practical experience in the front line of social work and community work, but even if they have had many years in the field, we at Alliance take very seriously their need for competency and skills and learning that will qualify them to be excellent social workers.
In all the curriculum the students have the opportunity to ask questions and sometimes drill down in some depth about Christian Faith and the relationship between faith and day to day social work practice.
We asked Dr. Kwi Yun, Dean of the School of Social Work to talk about C4 and expound on its goals.
Why is the C4 Institute important to you?
Dr. Yun: It is important because it will provide a practice lab for our students to apply our social work educational C4 model, which the Alliance University social work program has implemented since its beginning more than 20 years ago. Under the C4 model, the social work program has prepared our students to become competent and compassionate catalysts as they integrate their social work practice with their faith.
How do you think the Institute will impact the community, students, and culture at large?
Dr. Yun: The Institute will help participants seek to offer service with compassion as they practice and live out their Christian faith. They will be encouraged to practice spiritual disciplines in preparation for their work, through which virtues like humility, gentleness, patience, peace, and compassion will be nurtured and demonstrated. The transformation of the social worker will impact the clients who are exposed to the compassionate service. The Institute will provide space for social workers to develop professional and personal networks by providing continuing education classes and a mentorship program. It will also develop partnerships with other organizations in learning and offering services to the community.
The Institute will be operating under the premise that we do not have much capacity to bring about change on our own. But when we are in Christ, we can bear much fruit, based on John 15:5.
What do you hope the Institute will accomplish in 5 years?
Dr. Yun: The Institute will be a think tank that provides a conceptual framework for the C4 model and a space for support and community for social workers who seek to practice with 4Cs. It will engage in research that assesses the impacts of the C4 model in bringing transformation in the community, as well as to the social workers themselves.
Specifically about the March 2nd Opening Service, was there anything in particular about the event that brought you joy?
Dr. Yun: It was a joy to feel the warmth and positive spirit at the Opening Service. We did not want a big promotional launch event, but a cozy and focused Dedication Service. As I saw our faculty members listening to the testimonies of a student and an alumnus along with encouragement from PresidentMathews and Dr. Turk, our Provost, I was filled with hope for the future of the Institute.
Though I had a vision of this Institute for many years, I did not attempt to launch it because of concerns about sustainability. But when Chris Lawrence came along, I sensed the time had come. At the Dedication service, I felt like my vision is about to come full circle to completion.