NSWM Policy Fellows

NSWM Policy Fellows ProgramThe aim of this program is to encourage social workers in management to be at the forefront of policy. Social workers should engage proactively with policies that directly affect the individuals, families and communities they serve – either to redress those policies that now produce a negative impact, or to promote policy solutions in response to issues made evident in the course of doing work.

The NSWM Policy Fellows program offers practical training in social work management for emerging and mid-career leaders seeking new experiences and skill sets. The nine month leadership and professional development experience equips participants with core management competencies to inspire, organize, and work effectively with others to advance the public good. Dependent upon the fellow’s interest the program will focus on the many different aspects of policy management including but not limited to policy advocacy, analysis, evaluation and organizing the community of interest.

View the 2016-2017 Policy Fellow Mentors and Policy Fellows!

Check out our Policy Fellows Program Feature in the Coalition for Policy Education and Practice in Social Work Newsletter


20160616-NSWM-Conference-day1-117“The Network for Social Work Management’s Policy Fellowship provided me with an amazing opportunity for my professional development as a macro social worker that has since reinforced my knowledge and practical application of social work theories, the immense and diverse value of a social work degree and my commitment to my own professional development and the field.

Through the fellowship, I made a commitment to produce certain projects, including a professional poster presentation, and was both held accountable by and supported by my mentor. This format encouraged me to reflect on my professional experiences and how my perspective and values as a social worker have been instrumental in my work. In addition, my mentor was very positive and encouraging, which was just the creative push I needed to return to writing and research.

As a result of the fellowship and the support of the program and my mentor, I had the opportunity to present at the Network for Social Work Management’s annual conference and have also been invited to present at other national and international conferences in which I will engage in the important social work value of continuous learning, as well as advance the understanding of the value and contributions of social work.”

-2016 Policy Fellow Lindsey Bishop, MSW



20160616-NSWM-Conference-day1-682Policy Fellow Applicants will be asked to provide an abstract describing their efforts to influence, inform, or advance a policy matter that affects the individuals, families or communities with which they work. Fellows will be asked to address the following questions within their abstracts:

Motivation: Why do you care about this policy issue?

Problem Statement: What problems are you trying to solve?

Approach: How will you go about solving or making progress on this policy issue?

A few examples of such projects include those that:

  • Offer alternatives to problematic program design of publicly funded initiatives
  • Involve policy advocacy for innovative programming that address gaps in service needs or structural inequities, e.g., living wage issues
  • Amplify community voice and community engagement with policy makers
  • Educate policy makers with research findings and other data in order to promote better policy solutions for vulnerable populations and communities served by that agency.



  • The Policy Fellows program requires participants to make a commitment to reflection, study, and the development of skills and new relationships.
  • Fellows join a diverse cohort of 10 professionals representing various social work sectors. Fellows will participate in group check-ins for support and to foster a peer network.
  • Fellows meet once a month with a mentor between November and early June, and travel to Los Angeles, CA for the Network for Social Work Management’s two-day annual conference.
  • Fellows will have exclusive access to the webinars from the International Mentoring Program and receive resources on how to make the most of a mentoring relationship.
  • Fellows engage in a poster project of their own design to address a public policy issue, which will be presented at the annual conference. Policy Fellows can expect to spend a few hours per month on activities related to the program. View an example of a poster project here.
  • Fellows will also select one of the following projects to work on with his/her mentor throughout the program:
  1. Submit a proposal to co-present a paper with their mentor at NSWM’s annual conference.
  2. Submit an article to NSWM’s journal Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership and Governance.
  3. Submit a socially conscious writing to a nationally known newspaper e.g. Huffington Post.

Fellow Eligibility

  • NSWM member
  • Submission of the Policy Fellows application form.
  • Preference given to holders of a MSW degree who work in a management capacity.
  • Hold a strong interest and/or experience in policy.
  • A viability to participate through the length of the program (9 months, October 2016-June 2017).
  • Availability to travel to the Network’s annual 2017 Management Conference in New York from Thursday, June 15 to Friday, June 16 (Registration fees will be waived and minimal stipend will be provided).
  • Access to equipment (webcam and telephone).
  • Access to internet connection minimum- DSL or cable connection.

Mentor Eligibility

  • NSWM member
  • 10+ years of experience as a manager in the policy human services sector. PhD is preferred.
  • Availability to participate through the length of the program (9 months, October 2015-June 2017.)
  • Availability to travel to the Network’s Annual 2017 Management Conference in in New York on Thursday, June 15 to Friday, June 16 (Registration fees will be waived.)
  • Access to equipment (webcam and telephone).
  • Access to internet connection: minimum- DSL or cable connection.