Professional perceptions of social work and potential impact on developing field
University of Utah, United States; Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kumasi, Ghana
In 2007, a collaborative project was initiated between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology's (KNUST's) Department of Sociology and Social Work (DSSW) and the University of Utah (U of U) College of Social Work (CSW) to establish a Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) Program in Kumasi, Ghana. As part of this initiative, there was a specific need to develop a field education component in the emerging BSW. To assist in establishment of an effective field education program, a research team from the U of U CSW returned to Kumasi, Ghana in 2008 to conduct a qualitative exploratory case study. This article presents initial research findings regarding perceptions of key community stakeholders about the role of social work in this developing country; and their perceptions regarding the necessity of practica for preparing students to practice social work. From evidence sources, themes about professionalism, gender/role of women and community structures emerged concerning perceptions of the role of social work. Themes specific to exposure to vulnerable populations, skill development, understanding the roles and perceptions of social workers in Ghana, and the importance of field education will be presented and implications for future international collaborations will be examined. © The Author(s) 2012.