More than 375 women and men come to the Smith campus each summer, with the entering class representing about 125 of these students. Students come from across the country, reflecting diversity of many kinds including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age and physical ability. All are joined by one common pursuit: a master's degree in social work. They are supported in their professional ambition by 18 resident and more than 100 adjunct faculty members, all of whom bring a broad and deep expertise in and dedication to clinical social work.
With a faculty-student ratio of one to four, faculty are available not only to instruct, but to encourage, guide and inspire students. Faculty maintain regular office hours, serve as liaisons to student groups, collaborate with students on research and mentor students in special endeavors. Smith faculty take a personal interest in the professional development of each student. Faculty support follows students into the field practicum, with faculty field advisors visiting students twice a year in their internship sites, working collaboratively with agency-based supervisors in support of the students' clinical learning. Students communicate with the faculty adviser on a monthly basis and receive support and feedback on clinical and anti-racism assignments during the internship year. Additional advisers are assigned to work with students in support of the community and research projects. Smith students and alumni cite the accessibility and support of instructors as one of the school's greatest strengths.
Campus Events Inspire and Engage
Extracurricular activities and additional learning opportunities planned by students fill the summer weeks from the student orientation, to the senior skit and Commencement. Through the sponsorship of various student organizations, students host lectures, discussion groups, demonstrations and other creative events that inspire and ignite campus energies. Students also present their research project at community colloquia and organize a range of varied social and recreational events during the summer months. As a largely residential community, exchanges among students and between students and faculty extend beyond the classroom, spilling into dining halls and cross-campus walks, creating an informal and ongoing supportive environment.
Student organization is the central organizing body for students at the School for Social Work. This highly active organization is committed to responding to the changing needs of Smith students and has several functions which have evolved through the years. Its primary role includes providing student representation and input into all aspects of the school, taking an active role in shaping school policies and procedures, organizing extracurricular activities, both social and intellectual, providing a forum within which all groups and special interests of the student body can be heard and working together to share and allocate resources. Student organization serves as an umbrella for a number of special interest student groups.
Alumni Give Support
Once students enter their field work internships, they leave the support of the campus community to be received by a dynamic network of alumni across the country. SSW alumni live and work in virtually every state in the country (and over a dozen of foreign countries). Together they form a vast system of skilled professionals providing leadership in a variety of social work settings including family service agencies, mental health centers, child welfare agencies, veterans' hospitals and hospitals. They are also a vital and professionally involved group with a strong commitment to the School, to the profession of social work and to the support of School for Social Work students. Through alumni placement area coordinators (PACs), alumni eager to receive social work students into their communities are able to provide support in everything from welcoming receptions, to help in finding temporary housing, to mentoring, or just offering a cup of coffee and a listening ear. The Alumni Association also maintains and supports a number of active chapters in many cities across the United States. These chapters sponsor professional lectures and workshops, organize alumni networks, provide emotional and material support to students in placement, assist new graduates as they establish their careers and raise funds in support of student scholarship.
Social work students benefit from the wide variety of services offered by Smith's Lazarus Center for Development which is dedicated to helping students find employment after graduation. Experienced staff members provide resume and cover letter reviews, lead on-campus workshops during the summer academic sessions, and offer individual career advising in person and by phone. The Center coordinates a School for Social Work Career Fair each summer, and its website includes social work-specific resources and a database of job opportunities received by the office. The Center also houses a career resource library. Lazarus Center services are available to current students and to graduates five years following graduation.