Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Smith College. School for Social Work-Students-Attitudes, Anti-racism-Study and teaching, Social workers-Supervision of, Teacher-student relationships, Fieldwork (Educational method), Race, Racism, Field education, Field supervision, Racial dialogues, Anti-racism commitment, Students, Supervisory relationship


This mixed method survey study explored Smith College School for Social Work (SCSSW) students' experiences in talking with field supervisors about issues of race. Increased racial and ethnic diversity in the United States calls for attention to issues of race in social work education and practice. The SCSSW shares with major social work organizations its commitment to anti-racism. Field supervision is an integral component of the SCSSW social work curriculum and represents an arena in which students can incorporate anti-racism learning into practice. A dearth of social work conceptual and empirical literature examines racial dialogues in field supervision from the perspectives of social work master's students. The researcher hypothesized that students' year in graduate school and amount of completed graduate coursework and training in issues of race influenced students' comfort talking with supervisors about issues of race. Open-ended questions inquired into students' perceptions of the factors influencing racial dialogues in supervision. This study surveyed 84 SCSSW master's students during their practicum placements. While the study sample was representative across gender and age of the SCSSW student population and social work graduate programs nationwide, students of color were underrepresented in this sample. In spite of this major limitation, the findings demonstrated the importance of an open and safe relationship with a supervisor, who has developed the racial awareness necessary to initiate and explore issues of race in depth with the student. These findings are significant given the dearth of current knowledge on SCSSW students' experiences incorporating anti-racism learning into field practice through racial dialogues with field supervisors. Findings have implications for social work education, training, practice and policy




vi, 111 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 96-102)