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SOWK 768-Writing for Professional Practice

The College of Social Work is proud to announce a new course: SOWK 768 - Writing for Professional Practice. The goal of the course is to enhance students’ success not only in the MSW program but also in their social work careers. In our experience, few students enter the MSW program with an adequate skill set for tackling the amount and type of scientific writing required in the program, and many students are silently struggling with learning this new approach to writing. To address this need, the College of Social Work has created the Writing for Professional Practice course, along with accompanying on-line writing skills assessment as an “early detection system” to help students identify any weaknesses in their writing before beginning their MSW coursework. By completing the on-line writing skills assessment, students will be able to evaluate their writing  more objectively and to determine whether they need to register for the course. Students may waive the Writing for Professional Practice course requirement if they pass this assessment. 

If you know that you can benefit from the course and would like to register for it without taking the writing skills assessment, you are welcome to do so...we applaud you for being proactive.  And you are able to apply the credit hours towards your general elective hours required for your MSW.

Assessment Format

You will be asked to read a short prompt and respond in a brief essay (250-500 word), within a 45 minute time limit. Although the prompt will focus on a topic related to the social work profession, it does not require any specialized knowledge; we are assessing writing skills rather than substantive knowledge or expertise.

Information and Instructions

By March 25, 2015, you will receive an email with detailed information about the assessment process. Attachments to this email will include a Rubric which shows you how your essay will be evaluated, and what qualities of “proficient professional writing” we are looking for. It will also include a copy of the Honor Code that you will need to affirm by adding an electronic signature (simply type your name) when completing the assessment. Finally, it will include an Instructional Guide that explains how you will access the Professional Writing Skills Assessment through the University of South Carolina’s Blackboard system and how you will complete the assessment. Please read each of these attachments carefully before you take the assessment.

Completing the Assessment

The assessment will be available to you to complete any time between March 30, 2015, at 8:00 a.m. EST and April 20, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. EST. You may complete the assessment at any time during this window, but once you begin, you must complete it within 45 minutes – you can submit only once, and you cannot restart or retake the assessment. So, you will need to arrange for use of a computer with reliable, high speed internet access, and for a quiet, private work space where you can work undisturbed throughout the testing process. If you do not finish the assessment, the system will automatically save your work and submit it for you.

Getting your Results

Assessments will be scored on a rolling basis, and students will receive their results (Proficient – Waive the Course, OR, Not Proficient – Course Required) via email as scoring is completed. Our goal is to have results to all students before Orientation on April 30, 2015. However, if many students wait until the April 20 deadline, scoring may not be completed until closer to the time when classes start. If you do NOT have your results by the time you register, please register for the Writing for Professional Practice course; you can drop it later if you waive the course.

We look forward to working with each of you, and we are confident that you will find the Summer Bridge Program to be an exciting and productive foundation for your MSW education. If you have any questions about the Professional Writing Skills Assessment process, please contact Dr. Katherine Leith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can contact her, or Dr. Naomi Farber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., if you have questions about the Advanced Standing Summer program, or about the MSW program in general.

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