Nonpartisan voter engagement is central to social work's mission, professional mandate and impact. Students, as future practitioners, need to understand the important connection between voting and healthy communities, and they need the skills to include voting within their social work practice. See below for best practices and resources for integrating voting into your curriculum and field practice.
Best practices for integrating voter training into social work curricula and field education
- Add training on voting as a social work intervention into a required course or seminar. Download sample slides or use this recording
- Add voter activities to students' educational contracts, which tie to all nine CSWE competencies. Example Practice Activities
- Invite speakers to your class/event (election officials, civic engagement organizations, social justice groups that GOTV)
- Build students' civic IQ, confidence and political efficacy by giving opportunities to apply what they learn! Get ideas from our Sample assignments.
- Dispel the myths! Educate students about nonpartisan voter activities by social workers, nonprofit organizations and most government agencies, which are legal, ethical and professional.
- Share student successes!
- The role of social workers in voter turn out (in schools and agencies): Role of Social Workers in Voter Turnout
- Allowable non-partisan voting activities for nonprofits: Nonprofit Vote’s 501(c)(3) Fact Sheet
- Check out our annotated list of articles, books, videos and podcasts
Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) Recommendations for Action
- Election Imperatives 2020: A Time of Physical Distancing and Social Action provides recommendations for higher education administrators, faculty and students on building a campus culture of student political learning and participation.
- Election Imperatives v.2.0: Ten Recommendations to Increase College Student Voting and Improve Political Engagement in Democracy
- A Memo on Fall 2020 Voting Conditions
Part of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and engagement in democracy. Their mission is to inform and shift higher education’s priorities, practices, and culture to strengthen democracy and advance social and political equity. Learn more about IDHE here.
Utilize Voter Engagement Activities in Field Practice to demonstrate CSWE competencies:
Engage your field agencies and supervisors in voter engagement activities:
Integrate Nonpartisan Voter Engagement into Social Work Practice and Organizational Culture:
Empower students, faculty and staff to find out who represents them: This simple worksheet can be used in classrooms or workshops to build awareness of the three levels of government, how to contact elected officials and find local resources. Know Your Elected Officials Worksheet
Share ideas with students on how they can incorporate voter engagement in their field placement:
The Humphreys Institute has developed an evidence-based model for integrating nonpartisan voter education into classroom and field education for schools of social work. For more information, contact Tanya Rhodes Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.