Interdisciplinary Service-Learning: Building Student Competencies through the Cross-Cultural Parent Groups Project

  • Michele Belliveau West Chester University
Keywords: Cross-cultural, Interdisciplinary, Service-learning, Core Competencies


Changing demographics and an emphasis on competency-based social work education call for innovative approaches to the delivery of curricular content. In an effort to introduce BSW students to the socio-political issues facing the local Latino immigrant community, a service-learning project was developed in collaboration with the Spanish Language Department and a local middle school. An analysis of outcomes from social work student evaluations showed that students engaged with the community and issues in new and unexpected ways. Through their engagement in a cross-cultural group project, students developed greater cultural competency, honed their group practice skills in an unfamiliar context, provided a needed service to the community, and raised their awareness about the working conditions of new immigrants as part of a developing framework for social action. Details and implications of the project as a means to build student competencies are described.

Author Biography

Michele Belliveau, West Chester University
Assistant Professor Undergraduate Social Work