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Field Education Office Professional Development Series

Field Education Office Professional Development Series

Field Education Office Professional Development Series

2nd Annual Case Method Institute Training:
Thinking like a Social Worker

July 16-21, 2017

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Would you like to develop expertise in fostering critical thinking and
problem solving skills of social work students and practitioners?
Are you interested in teaching approaches that include actual dilemmas from social work practice in the classroom?
If so, this teaching Institute will be of great interest to you
(Qualifies for 15 CEUs)


Dates and Location

July 16-21, 2017
Hyatt Place
Downtown Columbia SC

Register here!


The Trainers

TWTerry A. Wolfer, MSW (1984, Ohio State), PhD (1995, Chicago), Interim Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs and Professor at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work (CoSW). Dr. Wolfer developed the casebased MSW capstone course, which has been taught at the CoSW since 2000. For more than 15 years, Dr. Wolfer has been writing decision cases and teaching other educators how to use the case method of teaching. To date, Dr. Wolfer has co-edited or coauthored six collections of decision cases, including most recently Decision Cases for Advanced Social Work Practice: Confronting Complexity (Columbia University Press, 2013) and cases for Trafficking in People: Modern Slavery in the U.S and Globally (Sage Publications, 2017). For his work on case method teaching and case writing, he was awarded the “C. R. Christensen Award for the Outstanding Teaching Case” by the North American Case Research Association, the “Distinguished Recent Contributions in Social Work Education Award 2009” by the Council on Social Work Education, and the "Garnet Apple Award for Innovative Teaching" by the University of South Carolina.

MRMelissa C. Reitmeier, MSW (2000, South Carolina), PhD (2010, South Carolina), is Director of Field Education and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. Dr. Reitmeier has taught the case-based MSW capstone course at the CoSW for 12 years, authored several decision cases, and conducted research on learning outcomes of case method teaching.


Wolfer and Reitmeier have collaborated on several case method projects. Currently, they are authoring a collection of decision cases for Directors of Field Education to use with field instructors. In 2015 and 2016 they conducted a Faculty Field Director Institute at the Annual Program Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education. Dr. Wolfer serves as the Director and Dr. Reitmeier as Co-Director of the Case Method Teaching Institute.

Learning Outcomes

This highly interactive institute introduces case method of teaching, an approach based on open-ended accounts of actual dilemmas from professional practice, and methods for writing decision cases. In-depth discussion of these ambiguous and complex dilemmas fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Monday through Wednesday, participants will learn:

  1. Definitions of a “case” and the case method of teaching
  2. Pedagogical rationale for the case method of teaching
  3. Empirical research on the case method of teaching
  4. What the method requires of students (e.g., advance preparation, active participation) and the nature of student participation in case discussions (e.g., analyzing situations, applying relevant theory and values, generating and evaluating solutions)
  5. Role of the instructor in the case method of teaching, including ways to initiate, guide, and deepen discussions

Thursday through Friday, participants will learn:

  1. Essential characteristics of decision cases
  2. Concepts and issues for developing effective cases
  3. Skills for collecting and writing cases

Participants may attend one or both segments of the Institute. However, the second portion on case writing will work best for those who have attended the first segment, either this year or previously.

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