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Graduates of the University of British Columbia School of Social Work, 1947-1965 : a descriptive survey and comparative analysis of caseworkers and groupworkers with regard to horizontal and vertical mobility and the factor of genericism Foster, Lynn Frances

Abstract

Professional education leading to a Master of Social Work degree has been offered at the University of British Columbia since 1945. In this period of time, more than 350 people have been awarded this Masters' degree. A large majority of these people have been caseworkers, while a minority have been groupworkers. There are two major focuses of this study. The first is a descriptive survey of the graduates for the purpose of gaining background and professional information. The second focus of this study is a comparative analysis of the caseworkers and groupworkers, with particular emphasis on vertical and horizontal mobility and on the factor of genericism. From the information which was obtained in a mailed questionnaire, many similarities and differences were identified between the caseworkers and the groupworkers. They indicated basically similar, patterns of upward social and professional mobility. Caseworkers and groupworkers have similar experiences in regard to such aspects of their profession as number of jobs held, number of settings in which they have practiced, length of time spent in one position, and geographical locations of their jobs. There are a number of interesting differences in the patterns of vertical mobility experienced by caseworkers and groupworkers, for example, a much higher percentage of group-workers than caseworkers entered supervisory and administrative positions in their first job after M.S.W. graduation. The section on genericism first outlines the three perspectives from which the concept can be viewed. A "generic" practitioner is operationally defined as one who spends not more than 80% of his time engaged in one method and at least 10% engaged in a second method. Fairly large numbers of both caseworkers and groupworkers were found to be generic Social Workers, but a significantly higher percentage of groupworkers than caseworkers could be so considered. Conclusions are drawn from the findings on mobility and genericism and possible implications are drawn for training and for the field.

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