The National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics stipulates that social workers who function as educators or field instructors with student should not engage in dual or multiple relationships with students in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to students. Although the prohibition is well-intentioned, faculty at schools of social work play many roles in relation to their students, some of which overlap and cause conflicts. Research on the subject of multiple faculty-student relationships has focused on the ethical dilemmas and potential problems in their situations rather than the strategies employed by faculty whose job requirements place them in multiple relationships without mishap. The purpose of this study is to examine how clinical faculty navigate their multiple roles with students and how they handle the dilemmas so students aren’t harmed.

This project will transcribe and analyze the audiotapes of 10 focus groups conducted with clinical faculty and masters-level students at the School of Social Work. Eight monthly focus groups were conducted in 2001-2002 with clinical faculty for the purpose of gathering data on how clinical faculty manage their multiple roles with students throughout the academic year. Two focus groups of students met once during the 2002-2003 academic year to gather data on the student’s experience of the multiple roles. Focus groups were 1 to 3 hours in length.

Faculty Research Award, The University of Texas at Austin