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Specialisation opportunities

1. Purpose

The ACSW has been set up to acknowledge and promote advanced practice in social work in Australia and to provide leadership in excellence.

As a community of advanced practice social workers, we are all involved in leadership and building practice excellence, and activities within the College may include knowledge transfer, networking, skills enhancement and development, and peer support/mentoring.T

he College vision is to encompass the wide range of environments and systems in which social workers practice and to represent the diversity of advanced practice within Australian social work.

2. Structure of the College

The ACSW is currently governed by a Steering Committee, which reports through to the AASW Board of Directors.
The proposed internal ACSW specialisations structure has at its base the general membership of the College, with two layers of specialisation groupings available to members. Members may elect to participate in a Community of Practice in a relevant area of practice, field or policy specialisation. These Communities of Practice may evolve to become a Division when certain prerequisites are met.

All members of the College are expected to contribute to the activities and development of the College and advanced social work practice in their own fields. It is not necessary to elect to be a member of either a Community of Practice or a Division. However, all members of the College have the opportunity to collaborate with other College members in establishing and working within a Community of Practice and/or Division.

3. Communities of Practice

A Community of Practice requires a minimum membership of four College members.

The purpose of a Community of Practice is networking, peer support and knowledge exchange. The focus is around sharing rather than a formal delivery of learning programs. The focus of a Community of Practice is determined by its membership and there is the flexibility for a Community of Practice to be a dynamic and evolving group. Communication may operate through the Learning Management System available to members, and through other forms of communication decided on by the group.

Each Community of Practice requires a Convenor who will also act as Moderator for online communication. The Convenor will be nominated by members of the Community of Practice.

To establish a Community of Practice, an Expression of Interest to Establish a Community of Practice should be submitted to the Chairperson of the College Steering Committee, on behalf of all members interested in being part of the Community of Practice. This EOI needs to be accompanied by an Expression of Interest in the Convenor Role of a Community of Practice.

A new Community of Practice, and the appointment of its Convenor, must be approved by the Steering Committee. Approval is given for an initial 2 year period. A report on the activities of the Community of Practice will be required for a further term.

4. Divisions

A division requires a minimum membership of 25 active members, in line with current quorum requirements from AASW bylaws.

The division through its membership should:

  1. Have a clear focus of identity as a specialisation of advanced practice
  2. Have a clear focus of activity, and develop annual plans for activity
  3. Engage in at least 4 leadership and professional learning activities in a calendar year conducted by members of the Division (these presentations will usually be available for access by general membership)
  4. Use a range of learning and communication platforms.

Each Division requires a Convenor, nominated by the Division Members to the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, and a Moderator for online communication, nominated by the Convenor. In the initial establishment stage of each Division, the Steering Committee will call for Expressions of Interest in the Convenor position. The Convenor will be responsible for notifying the Steering Committee of the arrangements for the Moderator role.

Establishing a Division is a serious and long-term College commitment, and the kind of Divisions that emerge will both shape and be shaped by the College ethos and purpose. For this reason, the Steering Committee will need to approve any new Division, and the initial term of any new Division will be 5 years. A report on the activities of the Division will be required for a further term.

5. (Re-) Establishing the Clinical Division and Planning Ahead

In February 2015, the ACSW Steering Committee resolved to establish the Clinical Division as the first Division of the College. This decision honours the early intentions of the College, and the members who joined in its very first phase as members of a Clinical Division. The plan is to recruit a Convenor of the Division, and officially launch the Clinical Division at the AASW National Symposium, to be held in Sydney 27/28 November.

Divisions representing the diversity of advanced social work practice will develop as the College grows. The structure outlined in this paper allows for Communities of Practice and Divisions to emerge from the interests of the membership. While the immediate and short-term priority is to consolidate the Clinical Division as the first division, the Steering Committee has committed to establishing a second division by the end of 2018, and interest has been expressed in Social Work Leadership as the second College division.

6. How to express interest

Please use the following forms to express interest in establishing a Community of Practice and/or being a Convenor

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers