Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Deb Western


Group work is a major social work intervention method. In professional practice in the field, social workers are required to practise effective group work interventions in diverse settings, with families, service users, stakeholders, community groups, inter-agency networks, colleagues in the workplace and in policy environments. The unit requires students to work effectively in groups to develop a relationship with a partner organisation and complete a project nominated by the partner agency.

The unit has a focus on the theory and practice of group work, including the historical development of this social work method, planning and implementing a group work intervention, communication in groups, managing group conflict and group leadership styles. Students will also learn how to negotiate and navigate a community engagement process with a partner organisation in the field and successfully complete a 'real-world' group project.


  1. Describe the stages of group development
  2. Apply the stages of group development to the student group project
  3. Analyse the impact of different group leadership styles and processes
  4. Demonstrate a beginning level of competence in group problem-solving strategies relevant to a range of social work contexts
  5. Critically analyse all aspects of their own group experience through engaging in critical reflection
  6. Engage effectively with professionals in a nominated partner agency through the use of evidence-based community engagement processes
  7. Articulate the features of an effective community engagement process
  8. Negotiate, manage and document the planning and completion of a group project
  9. Evaluate the group and project processes and outcomes through application of evaluation methods appropriate to a range of group work interventions


The assessment requirement for the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) 6 point unit Critical Social Work 3: Community Engagement Group Project is the completion of two assessment tasks.
1. A structured reflective journal (2500 words) that: (a) critically analyses the group experience, demonstrating knowledge of relevant group work theory and group processes, and (b) provides a critical reflection on the student's own contribution to and learning from the group experience (60%).
2. Contribution to a group project report (2000 words) and participation in a forum (Pass) where project reports will be presented to an audience of students, University staff and agency staff. Each student in the group is responsible for a specified component of the project report and group presentation. Groups will be encouraged to defend and reflect on their project approach at the forum, where questions and comments from the audience will be invited (40%).
Students must pass both assessment tasks to successfully complete the unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Deb Western

Contact hours

The unit runs for 12 weeks. Students are expected to undertake 156 hours per semester study. Students are expected to use their study time to attend on-campus lectures and workshops, undertake the weekly unit tasks as set out in the Unit Outline and in the off-campus Unit Guide, which include set readings; and, to complete two assignment tasks: a reflective journal (2500 words) and a contribution to a project report (2000 words).

Off-campus attendance requirements

Mandatory attendance is required by off-campus students for a 2 day workshop which is held at the Caulfield campus in late May, of semester one.


SWM5102, SWM5104





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