Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Lyle


The major focus of my dissertation will be the use of benchmarking and best practices as a guide for program and curriculum development in social work. The case study method of research, with an emphasis on the development of the Addiction Studies Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, provided the focal point for this research.

A critical part of this problem; Program development is an ongoing necessity in social work. In order to meet the ever changing needs of our society, effective programs need to be developed. Yet, social workers often do not have the expertise or time to research even the nuts and bolts of each program they wish to develop. Hence, a method is needed to help them develop reliable and effective programs without requiring them to undergo extensive research and experimentation to determine the most effective programs to implement.

One method to guide development of new programs is benchmarking which can be briefly defined as a continuous learning process that can lead to a discovery of best practices, which can be used to improve quality within an organization (Hafner, 2004; Kristensen, 2003). It was hypothesized that benchmarking best practices can result in effective social work program development and implementation