Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP) Track

Track for Leadership, Mezzo, and Macro Practice (LMMP) Specialization

Within the LMMP Specialization is the Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy (LCAP) Track. This track prepares students for a range of mezzo and macro practice roles within a variety of organizational and community settings. Historically social workers have been called upon to assume leadership and facilitative roles in areas related to personnel supervision and development, program management, agency/organizational administration, community organizing, policy development, and advocacy.

Whether rooted in a generalist or clinical model of professional education, social workers must have the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to perform their roles and have an impact as leaders, advocates, organizers, and administrators. Social work supervisors, program managers, administrators, community organizers, policy developers, and advocates must know how to work with diverse and multicultural communities, organizations, personnel, and clients. For social workers providing leadership in organizations that provide direct services, they must ensure quality and affirming service provision for all client populations.

The track in Leadership, Community, Advocacy, and Policy is critical to effectively prepare the social work profession to maintain expertise in the operation of human service organizations, mobilization of communities in creating change, creation of policy, and promotion of legislation that promotes equity.


In the second year of the program, LCAP students are required to take two advanced core courses that are required of all students (SOWK 680 & SOWK 681), three core courses specific to LCAP, and two general electives. In addition, students complete their internship and integrative practice seminar. The required LCAP track courses are: SOWK 650 Leadership & Supervision in Service Organizations, SOWK 652 Organizations, Program Development and Evaluation, and SOWK 653 Community Organizing and Policy Practice.

Track courses:

SOWK 650: Leadership & Supervision in Service Organizations  

This course prepares students for practice related to leadership and supervision within social service and community organizations. The content focuses on providing knowledge, values, ethics, and skills in guiding the work and development of others. Content areas include but are not limited to leadership theories, styles, and types, staff management, administrative supervision, clinical supervision, staff development, teamwork, staff selection, legal and ethical issues, evaluation and termination, mediation, and conflict resolution. The course emphasizes self-awareness and self-reflection as a foundation for successful leadership. Students who successfully complete this course should possess a beginning level of effective staff leadership skills and competence. Such skills will be applicable to future work with diverse and multicultural administrators and staff members within organizations and among oppressed and disenfranchised populations. 

Learning Objectives: 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to: 

  • Understand various theories of leadership and critically analyze the assumptions that undergird them
  • Reflect on their own abilities, personalities, and communication styles and how these translate in leadership settings
  • Identify behaviors that enhance and/or hinder effective leadership
  • Explore the intersection of power, stereotypes, and diverse identities in management structures and supervisory relationships
  • Examine ethical dilemmas in leadership
  • Practice doing performance appraisals
  • Understand types of workplace teams and how to lead them
  • Recognize staff burnout & stress and identify organizational and supervisory interventions to mitigate distress
  • Explore their own conflict resolution styles, and identify and practice alternative styles depending on context
  • Understand the differences between administrative, educational, and clinical supervision

SOWK 652: Organizations, Program Development, and Evaluation 

This course builds on material presented in required core courses of the social work curriculum and develops knowledge and skills in the areas of program development, sustainability, and evaluation. The course draws upon an ecological systems-based understanding of nonprofit organizations and program development, situating social service nonprofits in historical policy contexts. Issues of race and power in U.S. social service and community organizations are integral to the course. Program development is presented using an approach that also highlights the role of power, values, needs, and resources in decision-making processes. Grant-writing skills are developed alongside a critical analysis of social entrepreneurship and longstanding models of philanthropy. Knowledge and application of technology-based strategies to monitoring, evaluation, and program improvement through data collection, data analysis, and data presentation are covered as well.  

Learning Objectives: 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to: 

  • Critically examine the history and functions of nonprofits within policy contexts
  • Understand processes of nonprofit board building and board relations 
  • Create program logic models based on social theory (theories learned in required core courses of social work curriculum) 
  • Identify the goals and objectives of a program 
  • Create program descriptions using logic models 
  • Design a rudimentary Information Management System to facilitate monitoring, evaluation, improvement, and reporting of the program.
  • Develop skills for effective grant application review and writing 
  • Understand program budgets 
  • Examine organizational dynamics and their impact on inclusion/exclusion of stakeholders 
  • Review the role and importance of social entrepreneurship and examine its relation to traditional governmental and nonprofit social welfare provision

SOWK 653: Community Organizing and Policy Practice 

This course focuses on the practice of community and political organizing designed to bring about social, economic, and racial justice. It explores interdisciplinary theories relating to processes of social change, representation, and power. Additionally, it reviews the histories of social work and community-based organizations that influenced policies at national, state, and local levels. Students will learn how to facilitate social change processes through community organization, advocacy, and policy practice by learning skills including participatory planning, identifying social issues, influencing decision-makers, assessing power dynamics, securing resources, building collaborations, using traditional and social media, and campaigning for electoral issues and candidates. The course will draw upon innovative forms of organizing relating to criminal justice, affordable housing, environmental justice, and the rights of BIPOC, women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, youth, and other marginalized groups.

Learning Objectives: 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to: 

  • Explain interdisciplinary theories of social change, representation, and political and civic participation
  • Explore the intersections of social work practice with social change at all levels of practice, particularly in community and organizational settings
  • Understand historical and contemporary political and civic participation in the U.S., focusing on social identities, power, and policies or practices that enhance or hinder participation
  • Understand practice principles of community organizing, including identifying and prioritizing issues, identifying decision-makers, and leveraging the power
  • Identify community, organizational, and individual assets as a basis for community building and collaborative planning.
  • Identify strategies for organizational collaborations
  • Identify the benefits and challenges of various advocacy strategies
  • Describe how resources can be mobilized to facilitate participation and social change, including social media


Students interested in LCAP must submit an application for internship through the online internship management system, Sonia. To access SONIA, a student must have been admitted into the MSW program. Students can submit their internship applications throughout the year and decide which semester(s) they want to complete their internship – Fall-Spring, Spring-Summer, or Summer Block.

The second-year LCAP internship is specifically developed to allow the students to put into supervised practice the theory they have been learning in class. All LCAP field supervisors are social workers in upper-level management. Many of the organizations are the same ones that are available for our clinical practice students, but the LCAP students are involved in management, policy, or organizing practice. Students are expected to develop such skills specifically and are not allowed to do direct service in LCAP internships. Agencies currently being used for LCAP students include Lutheran Child and Family Services, Catholic Charities, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Department of Children and Family Services, Gads Hill Center, BUILD, Inc., JEWISH Federation, and the Council on Jewish Elderly.

LCAP Elective Recommendations

  • SOWK 602: Health and Behavioral Health Policy and Systems
  • SOWK 654: Global Social Work: Reflective Practice for Justice and Peace
  • SOWK 663: Women in a Global Context
  • SOWK 709: Social Work & the Law
  • SOWK 714: Philanthropy, Public Policy, & Community Change
  • SOWK 730: Migration Dynamics and U.S. Social Policy
  • SOWK 732: Migration, Social Justice, and Human Rights