This spotlight features one of our students, Sean Michels, who is the CPS Initial Assessment Social Worker for Sheboygan County.
Year in the program & focus:
4th year-Advanced Standing: Children, Youth, and Families – Child Welfare
How would you describe your experience in the Part-Time MSW Program?
The best word to describe my experience in the Part-Time MSW Program is FAST. Once my classes began and the work started, I didn’t realize how fast the time would go. The experience has been comfortable and ultimately rewarding. My professors have been fun, supportive, and inspirational in this path toward career development.
Why did you choose the Part-Time Program?
I chose the part-time program because of the convenience. I searched for a long time for a program that would help me grow in my career while sustaining my current professional role. The UW-Madison Part-Time MSW Program was the best option for that. The program allowed me to continue working full time while attending classes on Saturdays, so I didn’t have to stop my career in order to improve it. The separation between educational and professional life was perfect for supporting my goals.
What has been your favorite course so far in the program and why?
My favorite class in the program has been SW 741, Interventions with Children, Youth, and Families taught by Teri Thomas. Teri has a wealth of knowledge and brings excitement into a career in Child Welfare. She knows in-depth knowledge on just about every evidence-based practice available to the field of Child Welfare and her teaching challenges me to critically rethink my current practice. The class encourages me to take what I’m learning and directly apply it to my cases when I return back to work.
How do you think the Part-Time Program has prepared you for entering the field?
The Part-Time MSW Program has enhanced my development through Child Welfare. It has allowed me to critically analyze my professional experience and consider ways in which I could better my practice as a child welfare social worker. Every Saturday I get to compare my own experiences not only with what I’m learning, but also with the experience of my classmates from around the state. We also get to talk with guest speakers from the Department of Children and Families, County Departments, Policy Advocates, and many others who influence direct practice. The program has definitely opened my worldview to the many different perspectives in Child Welfare.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting the program?
I wish I would have known more about parking! Badger football home games are a major obstacle for part-time students, and the parking goes fast. I wish I would have known about different parking options to make the morning commute a bit easier.
What would you say to someone who is considering the program?
Do it! It’s a huge step, and it’s daunting, but it’s totally worth it. The transition back into education was comfortable and stress-free, and the new information, networking connections, and collaborative experience have given me so much to bring back to my work in the field. I would definitely recommend taking the leap and jumping right in.