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South Dakota Immersion

National Immersion Programs

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers national immersion opportunities for students to gain knowledge and insights into social work policy formation and practices in settings outside their home communities and allow them to bring back skills that will have practical application in their future service to the social work profession.

National Immersion Overview
National Program Overview

Learn more about the National Immersion programs.
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National Immersion Program Goals

  • Enhance the school’s curriculum
  • Demonstrate a direct connection between sites visited and students home communities
  • Explore changing what we do as social work practitioners
  • Provide reciprocity and student/faculty engagement with partner institutions across the nation

Each program has a specific theme connected to social work practice and/or policy and takes place during the spring semester with travel to the program location during the spring break in March. Each immersion is faculty led and range in size from 20 to 25 students. Participants receive three elective credits upon successful completion of the immersion course requirements applied toward their MSW degree.

Current Programs

Military and Veterans Policy and Practice

Washington, DC
There are roughly 23 million military veterans in the United States who experience a number of unique problems and challenges. This immersion program in Washington, DC offers a unique opportunity to learn about the military and the important role of social workers in helping military members, veterans, and their families. It examines the military culture and the development of programs and policies to the military population. For students with little knowledge of the military, this course provides an opportunity to learn about this important group and their culture. For students who have experience with the military, it provides an in-depth look at policy development that few military members ever get to see.

Social Work Practice With Native American Children, Families, and Communities

South Dakota
Native American worldview and cultural traditions that may diverge from the Western ideological social work practice paradigm.

During the immersion, students will begin the process of developing a relationship between the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and local providers of health (physical and behavioral), education, child, and family enrichment services in Dupree, South Dakota, and the surrounding communities. They will learn about the history of Native Americans in the United States, specifically the Lakota Indians of South Dakota, and pertinent social, political and economic issues affecting the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Upon return, they will share learned knowledge, skills and experiences with their educational and local communities.

Social Change and Innovation

Washington, DC
This highly interactive and experiential immersion prepares students to become practitioners of innovation, ready to introduce new ways of thinking about and enacting change. Utilizing a specific social innovation model along with advanced facilitation and collaboration techniques, students will experience an intimate, hands-on learning process in Washington, DC designed to strengthen their professional skills, innovative thinking, and leadership capabilities. They will encounter problem spaces thinking about norms and deviance to find innovative solutions and diffuse people problems. Trained to become highly effective conduits between providers and the emerging practice of social innovation, they will join a network of social innovators committed to building capacity for innovation within organizations.

Washington, DC Immersion Program

Social Change and Innovation in Washington, DC


Past Programs

Child Development and Social Policy

Washington, DC
The Child Development and Social Policy immersion is designed for students to enhance understanding of government's role in child development policy –particularly California programs and services for children and their families – and the ways in which political agendas are set. The program will enlighten participants on the cornerstones of the policy process, including how legislation is proposed and enacted, the roles of advocacy and lobbying organizations, and the challenges of policy implementation and evaluation. Students will also gain insight about creating a game plan with tools they can use to influence the process and build networks with Southern California and Washington-based professional and policy organizations that can impact decisions locally.