Emotional Intelligence and Social Work Student Education: Implications for Graduate Professional Education

Dr. James Smith
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Emotional intelligence (EI) or the ability to understand one's own emotional state and the emotional state of others, is hypothesized as critical for appropriately and effectively connecting with others (Bar-On, R., 1997a, Bar-On, R. & Parker, J., 2002; Goleman, D., 1992, 1995, Saarni, 1999).
Jaeger (2003) revealed a strong relationship between EI and academic performance suggesting the potential for enhancing social emotional learning (SEL) in graduate classrooms (p. 615). While research suggests cognitive and emotional development are inseparable and emphasizing one over the other leads to diminished learning and job performance; professional school graduates are as unable to adapt to change, inept at effective group work, lacking appropriate skills to deal with their own emotions and the emotions of others (Jaeger, p. 617). Corporate executives view graduate education as too theoretical and lacking consideration for the emotional development of students.
This presentation, reports the results exploring if an existing professional social work education program increases the EI level of students over a semester of education. EI is measured using the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). It measures five composite scales: Intrapersonal, Intrapersonal, Stress Management, Adaptability and General Mood EQ-i's. The study consist of a pre-test/post-test of BSW and MSW students at the beginning and end of the fall of 2004 semester. The purpose is to develop data on a possible connection between emotions, EI, social work professional education. The aim is to provide a foundation for future research and a SEL component for infusion into social work curriculum and or as a course.
It is hypothesis the students will manifest EI above the mean at the pretest and that the current social work curriculum will increase the pretest EI level at the post-test.
This presentation suggest implication for professional education/practice strategies, techniques, skills, outcome effectiveness, and overall professional competence.

Keywords: Emotion, Behavior, Emotional Intelligence, Academic Performance, Practice Effectiveness, Professional Competence
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Emotional Intelligence and Social Work Students

Dr. James Smith

Assistant Professor, Division of Social Work, College of Health Sciences, University of Wyoming

James E. Smith, MSW, MPA, Ph.D., is an Assistance Professor at the Division of Social Work, University of Wyoming. He started his social work career as a Casework with the American National Red Cross in Richmond Va. He spent 15 years in the Active Duty Army, and 9 years in the Army Reserves in a Combat Stress Medical Unit as a Social Work Officer. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in August of 2002. He worked 7 years in civilian clinical practice at Pawnee Community Mental Health. In addition to his University, teaching, research and service responsibilities, he is current a contract clinical therapist with the Counseling and Psychology Clinic, L.L.C. in Laramie, Wyoming. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Carolina and Wyoming; and Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist in Kansas. He research interest is in emotions, behavior, and social work education, criminal behavior and emotional intelligence; race, gender and the socialization of emotions. His most recent article, "Race, Emotion, and Socialization", can be found in the special issue of the Race, Gender, and Class Journal, entitled, "Race, Gender, and Class in Psychology: A Critical Approach" Volume 9, #4, 2002 (winter issue). His article, "Emotional Intelligence and Criminal Behavior" has been accepted for publication this year by the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation as well as a co-authored article, entitled, Felony Convictions and Program Admissions for The Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics.

Ref: L05P0035