The John A. Hartford Foundation, through the Geriatric Enrichment in Social Work Education Project, has funded 24 baccalaureate
programs to plan for the implementation of aging-rich learning opportunities for BSW students. Combined with the number of
joint programs funded (e.g. Projects that proposed changes in both undergraduate and graduate curricula), 54 undergraduate
programs now have additional resources to prepare BSW students for working effectively with older adults and their families.
This represents 80 percent of the total number of proposals funded. The long-term goal of all projects is to ensure that
BSW level social workers are prepared for the roles and responsibilities necessary to enhance the health and well being of
older adults and their families in a rapidly aging society. .
The focus of the Geriatric Enrichment project is on organizational and curriculum change, and complements the CSWE Strengthening
Aging and Gerontology Education for Social Work (SAGE-SW) project that provides faculty with curriculum content for infusion
into foundation courses. During their planning year, the Geriatric Enrichment projects are engaged in an intensive change
process with key stakeholders (deans/directors, faculty, students, practicum instructors) to expand the number, quality and
sustainability of aging-rich learning experiences (in classroom curricula, field practica, lectures, presentations and other
A thorough, careful review process was used to select successful proposals. Each proposal was reviewed by a three member
team: an advisory board member, an applicant, and a mentor from the Hartford Scholars Program. Three members of the national
advisory board then reviewed most proposals a second time as a basis for their recommendations during a three-day meeting
at the Hartford Foundation.
The two primary criteria that guided the review process were pervasiveness of gerontological learning opportunities (will
reach the majority of undergraduate social work students) and long-term sustainability after the funding has ended. Other
criteria of successful proposals:
- Reconceptualize aging content in terms of crosscutting themes and as normative
- Awareness of the process of change, especially recognizing structural barriers to change and obtaining widespread buy-in
from key stakeholders (faculty, students, field instructors, practitioners and older adults)
- Goals grow out of the program's particular mission and fit with its culture and context
- Committed and sustainable social work leadership able to obtain faculty's buy-in
- Generation of community, including enthusiasm/excitement about the project
- Knowledge of how to access assistance (gerontological expertise and knowledge of the change process) needed to move
- Programs will ultimately enhance the health and well being of older people through graduates with gerontological social
work knowledge, skills and values.
The Geriatric Enrichment staff is conducting regional workshops for project directors during March, April and May. These
will focus on the processes needed to create sustainable change, on identifying how project staff and advisory board members
can assist projects with their initiatives, and on creating effective communication networks among the funded projects.
Four project directors, one from each of the geographic regions, will present a workshop at BPD on Friday, October 25th.
Please plan on attending to learn more about ways each of you can create aging rich learning opportunities for your students.
For additional information about the Geriatric Enrichment in Social Work Education Project, please contact the project
office: 206.221.HART (4278) or firstname.lastname@example.org