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2022 EPAS

CSWE’s Commission on Educational Policy (COEP) is charged with preparing, at periodic intervals not to exceed 7 years, a statement of social work curriculum policy to encourage excellence in educational programs and to be used by the Commission on Accreditation in formulating and revising accreditation standards.  The educational policy (EP) and the accreditation standards are conceptually linked to each other, so a joint Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) 2022 committee was formed with members from each commission.  

Several sources have contributed to the following recommended changes to the EPAS 2022 educational policy. For the past 2 years the COEP has been engaged in environmental scan work with respect to the changes and challenges facing professional social work practice, nonprofit service organizations, higher education, and social work education. The COEP has been especially cognizant of the importance of ensuring the relevance of the EPAS 2022 through the remainder of the decade and the next EPAS revision in 2029.

COEP organized the data into five priority areas to be used in the evaluation of the current EPAS: 

  1. Technology and Information Literacy 
  2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  3. Data Driven Standards
  4. Field Education and the Changing Practice Context
  5. Changes and Challenges to Higher Education

These priority areas were presented to the CSWE membership for review and discussion during open Connect sessions held at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting (APM) in 2018. In addition, COEP sought consultation with several other key CSWE commissions and councils including the Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice, the Commission on Global Social Work Education, the Commission on Research (COR), and the Commission on Accreditation.

Finally, an EPAS Feedback Survey was developed using the five priority areas as the organizing framework. The survey was sent to the CSWE membership in spring of 2019. There were 2,827 invitations sent with 586 responses. Program respondents accounted for 236 of the responses, with 140 MSW representatives (52.0% of MSW programs) and 216 from BSW programs (41.3% of BSW programs). The overall response rate, including individual members, was 20.7%.  

In June of 2019 the joint EPAS 2022 committee met to review the work of COEP, including the survey findings, and discuss recommended changes for the educational policy for EPAS 2022.  The current committee members are as follows:

COEP representatives: Debra McPhee, dean, Fordham University, COEP chair; Nicole Bromfield, University of Houston; Chris Bruhn, Aurora University; Estella Williamson, Seattle University, Council on Field Education chair

COA representatives: Deana Morrow, West Virginia University, COA chair; Lisa Clifton, Southeastern University; Michele Hanna, University of Denver; Lynette Reitz, Lock Haven University; Thomas Walsh, Boston College

COR representative (advisory):  Shari Miller, University of Georgia

CSWE staff:  Jo Ann Regan, CSWE vice president of education; Mary Kurfess, CSWE director of social work accreditation; Julie Rhoads, CSWE director of educational initiatives & research; Marilyn Gentner, Accreditation Specialist

The overall survey findings indicated the following:

  • Most respondents were positive about the impact of the accreditation standards, including diversity, field education, and the administrative standards for faculty and administrative time.
  • Deans and directors were more positive about the ffects of the standards on the program.
  • There was fairly even interest on the inclusion of global perspectives, interdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives, equity, inclusion and environmental justice in the revision of the EPAS.
  • Regarding field education, most respondents responded positively about the potential for changing the traditional structure and allowing students to use paid employment hours.
  • However, 80% of respondents said their field structure does not differ from the traditional model.
  • Respondents indicated that programs were using technology as a teaching/instructional tool more than preparing students for the information/digital age.

The revision of the EP and standards will be a thoughtful, 3-year, inclusive and collaborative process that includes public comment periods and feedback sessions on three drafts. The timeline is available here.

The intent of the COEP and the COA is to solicit feedback from as many constituents as possible in as many ways as possible. CSWE invited and encouraged all individual and program members and interested organizations to provide feedback on Draft 1 of the EP for the 2022 EPAS in fall 2019. The feedback collection period ended on December 13, 2019. The resulting data will be published in Spring 2020. We thank all those who submitted feedback.

Two information and feedback sessions were held at the 2019 APM; view the presentation slides here.

CSWE suggests reading two documents for additional information about the process: Recommended Educational Policy Changes for EPAS 2022, which offers an overview of the proposed EP changes for the 2022 EPAS, and Draft 1 of the 2022 Educational Policy with track changes.

CSWE is committed to a comprehensive and thorough review process to develop a 2022 EPAS that reflects the excellence of social work education programs. Updates on the process will be shared in CSWE’s monthly newsletter Compass and on the CSWE website. 

If you have questions about the feedback process or experience technical problems with the online feedback system, please contact the CSWE Department of Educational Initiatives and Research at