Community and Administrative Leadership (CAL)

Concentration Description

The Community Administrative and Leadership (CAL) concentration fosters excellence, innovation, and change at the macro-systems level—

  • in the communities we serve,
  • in the administration of organizations that deliver social services and
  • in the policies that affect social and economic wellbeing.

The CAL concentration prepares social work students to critically analyze, influence, and evaluate key local, state, national, and global issues to meet today’s human service challenges and opportunities. We focus on developing students’ learning to creatively and ethically address social problems and enhance positive outcomes for communities, organizations, and the people we serve.

The CAL concentration teaches cross-cutting knowledge and skills that prepare students for macro practice as masters level social workers in community, administrative and policy practice settings. For example, MSSW CAL graduates may work in community planning, development, and organizing; social service management and program coordination; policy development, analysis, and research.  Six domains provide a basic framework to define the knowledge and skills in the Community and Administrative Leadership (CAL) concentration.

Advocacy: develop and defend well reasoned positions on critical issues in the community, champion systematic interventions that prevent problems, expand opportunities, and enhance quality of life for individuals and communities, and organize and mobilize community resources to advance the cause of social and economic justice. Specific practice skills include gathering and analyzing information on community problems, forming interagency committees and coalitions, organizing client groups, educating relevant segments of the community, engaging in policy development, lobbying elected leaders and public officials, providing expert testimony, and actively participating in the political process.

Program Development: apply a variety of planning processes, change strategies, and models for community capacity building, critically assess the program’s internal and external environment through effective assessment tools, and utilize common assessment methodologies to understand the demographics, resources, needs, and strengths of the community. Specific practice skills include developing and prioritizing goals and objectives, creating and implementing program structures, developing program budgets and monitoring financial operations to ensure efficient and effective services, mobilizing community resources to support new programs, identifying common ground to facilitate involvement of important constituents in planning for the future, and facilitating dialogue and consensus.

Evaluation: design and conduct community and organizational assessments, program evaluations and productivity analysis using appropriate scientific methods, and create strategies for community and organizational change based on empirical results. Specific practice skills include the development of logic models, analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative data that reflect program outputs, outcomes, and impacts, and writing and presenting research findings related to communities, administration, and policies.

Informatics: innovatively and creatively assess the organizational, interpersonal, ethical, and cultural factors that facilitate and impede the flow and exchange of information (i.e., formal/informal structure, hierarchy, organizational roles, democratic ideals and similar factors) within organizations. Specific practice skills include the analysis of the differential impacts of technology on diverse user groups and the technological assessment of the organizations that engage in community, administrative and policy practice.

Leadership and Communication: critically and creatively examine effective models of leadership and communication and decision making to (a) inspire, influence, and create change; (b) align individuals, groups, and communities to action; and (c) bridge differences and foster inclusivity. Specific practice skills include the ability to create and articulate a vision that inspires others to action; to encourage and receive constructive feedback; and to engage in active listening and constructive dialogue to help solve problems.

Governance: work with agency staff, Board of Directors, other governing bodies, and key stakeholders to design, implement and monitor effective policies, procedures, and practices that enhance the effectiveness of the operations, management, and service delivery (and quality) of organizations. Specific practice skills include, agenda building, budgeting, organizing and developing staff and constituents, establishing structure, developing policy, problem solving, project management, and providing quality outcomes for key stakeholders.