Interdisciplinary Professional Education: Training College Students for Collaborative Social Change
Social Work and Human Services
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale for developing interprofessional competencies among graduates from professional and graduate programs, so that they are well prepared to participate in local, national and global social change strategies. Design/methodology/approach – After reviewing the literature on strategic social change initiatives the authors briefly describe two such initiatives: corporate social responsibility initiatives and social entrepreneurial ventures. After reviewing the interprofessional literature from various disciplines and professions, the authors categorized them into “competencies,” “rationale,” “conceptual framework,” “principles” and “challenges.” An examination of exemplar pedagogy from this body of literature suggests ways to prepare students to lead and actively participate in innovative, collaborative social change initiatives. Findings – Interdisciplinary competencies include teamwork, communication, contextual understanding, negotiation, critical thinking, leadership, openness and adaptability. Interprofessional educational models are difficult to implement, however, ethical responsibility of educators to prepare students for complex realities trumps the challenges. Practical implications – Interprofessional educational experiences can enable students to engage in generative and transformational learning which can later facilitate in creation of innovative solutions for society's recalcitrant physical, social and environmental issues. Originality/value – Based on the system's perspective, the paper provides guidelines and strategies for implementing interprofessional pedagogical initiative.
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