Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 5–16 | Cite as

(Re) Capturing the Wisdom of Our Tradition: The Importance of Reynolds and Towle in Contemporary Social Work Education

  • Naomi FarberEmail author
  • Melissa C. Reitmeier
Original Paper


This article argues that social work education has distanced itself from founding principles articulated by Bertha Reynolds and Charlotte Towle in ways that compromise the professional development of the learner in social work education. The authors trace persistent and historical professional social work education themes and identify key changes that have contributed to threats to educational integrity, with particular attention to field education and supervisory practice. After identifying both positive and negative trends and challenges to the quality of field education, the authors examine implications for field supervision and its place in the overall educational environment.


Reynolds Towle Field education Signature pedagogy Social work education CSWE Supervision Student learning Clinical practice 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Social WorkUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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