CDI: Curriculum Development Institute

A program of the Council on Social Work Education National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education, which is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York City.

The Xavier University Social Work Department is one of 46 outstanding social work education programs from across the country that has received funding to prepare all graduates to work with older adults via the Curriculum Development Institute (CDI) Program. These social work programs were selected through a competitive review process by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education (Gero-Ed Center), which is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York City. The aim of the CSWE Gero-Ed Center is to prepare gerontologically-competent social workers to improve the care and well being of older adults and their families via sustainable social work education program curricular and organizational changes.

In their practice roles, nearly 75% of licensed social workers interact with older adults and their families, regardless of practice setting. Yet the majority of social workers lack the knowledge, skills, and values for effective practice with our society's growing population of older adults. This growing gap is documented in the 2008 Institute of Medicine ground-breaking report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, which recommends the preparation of all health care providers, including social workers, with competencies to work with older adults. Graduates of the Xavier University Social Work Department will be prepared to help address this gap, thanks to the generous funding of the Hartford Foundation, which has committed over $69 million nationwide to improve the health and quality of lives of older adults and their families.

As a result of participating in the CDI Program, the Social Work Department at Xavier received $5000 in grant funding to support faculty's competency-based curricular change planning and implementation, plus up to $2100 in travel reimbursement over 3 years. Faculty will work closely with a national mentor who advises them regarding effective strategies to increase gerontological content in their required curriculum and their organizational structure. They will also attend an annual national meeting for the next three years where they have opportunities to learn from their national peers and consult with their mentors and experts in gerontology. Based on these experiences, they will be able to design innovative ways to infuse gerontology into their foundation or required generalist curriculum and their program's structure. Additionally, teaching resources developed by the faculty will be disseminated to social work educators and researchers both nationally and globally. The social work department at Xavier is making a difference in preparing students for the rapid demographic changes facing our society. Shelagh Larkin, MSW/LISW, who is the Director for Field Education and principle faculty on the grant states,

"What I am most excited about is the opportunity to become a leader in preparing undergraduate students to meet what is being called, the "demographic mandate" for social workers to be trained to serve older adults. Our primary goal, by 2011, is to establish a comprehensive, coordinated, and competency based gero rich undergraduate BSW program across the foundation curriculum. This goal will be met through innovative curriculum development and interdisciplinary activities that fulfill not only the mission of Xavier University but also reflect the College of Social Science, Health and Education's motto: Collaborate, Innovate, Educate. The name of our program is engaging which captures the essence of the program's goals which is to engage students in an aging curriculum that is exciting and compelling thus, encouraging more BSW students to choose to work with and on behalf of older adults."