CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA) and Commission on Educational Policy (COEP) is pleased to announce that the final 2015 educational policy and accreditation standards (EPAS) is now available! The educational policy, which details the new social work competencies for the 2015 EPAS, was developed by COEP and approved by the CSWE Board of Directors on March 20, 2015. The accreditation standards were developed and approved by the COA on June 11, 2015. The EPAS revision took place in accordance with the CSWE bylaws, which mandate that the policy statement be reviewed “at periodic intervals not to exceed 7 years." CSWE’s recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also requires that accreditors have a process whereby standards are reviewed periodically. The EPAS revision process took more than 5 years and resulted in three drafts issued for public review and comment. The intent of the COA and the COEP was to solicit feedback from as many constituents as possible in as many ways as possible. The COEP and the COA would like to thank the programs, individuals, organizations, and communities of interest that provided feedback on all of the drafts that led to the finalized 2015 EPAS.
Programs that have reaffirmation reviews in October 2017 or later will use the 2015 EPAS to prepare their self-studies. Programs applying for candidacy in 2016 and beyond would use the 2015 EPAS for their benchmark documents. Programs that have a reaffirmation review before October 2017 that would like to use the 2015 EPAS are highly encouraged to contact their accreditation specialist regarding a postponement of their reaffirmation review. Programs that continue to use the 2008 standards should be mindful of the 2015 EPAS and consider any modifications that may be necessary for compliance with the 2015 accreditation standards. A crosswalk comparing the 2008 and 2015 standards is available here so programs can begin to identify changes that need to be made in order to be compliant with the 2015 standards. Programs should begin to incorporate the 2015 social work competencies in their curricula and assessment procedures as they prepare for their next reaffirmation review. Additional accreditation resources (glossary, review briefs, and assessment guidelines) will be released prior to the 2015 APM for review along with several 2015 EPAS information sessions to be held at the Denver CSWE Annual Program Meeting (APM) October 15-18, 2015. Programs are encouraged to participate in these information sessions and future webinars regarding any questions they have regarding the 2015 EPAS. Reaffirmation and candidacy workshops on the new standards (for programs and site visitors) will begin in spring 2016 to assist with understanding the new 2015 educational policy and accreditation standards. Further details and updates on these workshops, webinars and APM EPAS information sessions can be found here.