Associate Professor of Social Work
Collaboration between law and social work for experiential learning
In 2012, Stephanie Boys and Carrie Hagan developed a new service learning opportunity through an interdisciplinary partnership between the schools of Law and Social Work. The purpose of the project was to enhance the joint JD/MSW program, as well as the experiences of JD and MSW students respectively. The researchers redesigned a Civil Practice Clinic, which had formerly involved only law students, to now pair law students and social work students in order to serve the holistic needs of clients. Referrals for the clinic are obtained through Indiana Legal Services, and many clients do not have resources to retain legal counsel or services by other means. The law students address the clients’ legal issues and the social work students ensure the clients are connected with appropriate social services, such as domestic violence counseling and social welfare benefits. The teamwork between students increases law students’ aptitude in client-centered lawyering, and familiarizes social work students with the legal rights and resources available to clients. The investigators have adapted pedagogies of engagement, most notably through problem-based and peer-led interdisciplinary team teaching and learning. Students more effectively and efficiently serve community members in need of legal counsel and social services, resulting in a clinic that is beneficial for both students and community members.