Using Research and Education to Explore the Dynamic of Healthy Relationships

Dr. Dione King
Dr. Dione King

Emerge Faculty Fellow: Dr. Dione King

The proposed high-impact activity will occur in two phases through my graduate level “Domestic Violence and the Social Work Practice” course. The first phase would be geared towards undergraduate and graduate students on a voluntary basis. These students would be eligible to attend specific graduate class sessions for content knowledge. Individuals completing the first phase will focus on the evaluation of UWF student health risk behaviors (i.e. violence perceptions and typologies) in conjunction with the campus peer educators. The students will conduct pre and post-test evaluations. They will be responsible for data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of key findings. The completion of this opportunity will help facilitate their understanding of data and its role in the development and evaluation of social services for communities, organizations and groups.

The second phase will consist of community-based presentations. During the fifth module of the course, students are assigned a mock support group presentations or community based presentations. The community-based presentations provide groups of students the opportunity to synthesize material learned and disseminate it to community members in a relevant and meaningful way that is highly appropriate for social work practice. The students completing community presentations will also be expected to develop feedback surveys and complete statistical analysis of the results.

These activities meet the established criteria to be considered high impact practices. In each phase the student is required to devote significant time to tasks that allow them to become fully immersed in learning and understanding the process of research and/or community education. They are working with peers to develop appropriate evaluation measures, educational materials and asses their own content growth. This requires them to devote significant time in the learning process.

The interactive design of the evaluation and community presentations activities support and enhance peer-to-peer and faculty-to peer relationships. This approach was designed to provide students the opportunity to implement their research skills in a tangible way that also serves to enhance their professional skills upon graduation. The ability to work alongside their peers and instructors while working with data allow them to see each other as “research colleagues” creating a new relationship dimension. Additionally, the intentional design of feedback fosters trust that supports the building of substantive relationships.

The opportunities to challenge thinking and experience diversity are also present in this project as students begin to understand that any individual can experience an unhealthy relationship. This knowledge is presented throughout course material and discussions. The design of this project provides students with an opportunity to apply their course knowledge in new or “real-life” research and community settings. These experiences deliberately push students beyond the classroom creating opportunities to engage with individuals, families and communities that social workers serve.

Furthermore, this course provides numerous opportunities for honest reflection and feedback to develop and strengthen the novice social worker’s skill set. The reflection opportunities are built into the course formally through journal assignments, discussion board topics and reflection papers. The formal feedback opportunities are present through graded assignments using rubrics. The informal feedback occurs during task completion through discussion, peer feedback, one-on-one feedback and small group feedback. The informal reflection occurs through small group and peers.

High Impact Practices (HIPs) Utilized

  • Faculty/Student Research
  • Collaborative Assignment and Projects

For more information, please contact Dr. Dione King at or (850) 474-2154

Project Presentation

Domestic Violence and Social Work Practice (