Community Partnership Action Award

The CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice is proud to announce the Community Partnership Action (CPA) Award to honor the contributions of schools and departments of social work and social work students (BSW, MSW, PhD/DSW) in advancing community partnership action. The CPA Award will be presented at the Carl A. Scott Memorial Lecture given annually at CSWE's Annual Program Meeting. Community is broadly defined as a self-organized network of people with a common agenda, cause, or interest and is not limited by physical locality.
Community partnership actions are central to the advancement of social and economic justice, which is intrinsic to social work education. Historically, dating back to the settlement houses, our profession is rooted in working with the community to solve social problems and issues. Community partnerships enhance social justice work by promoting meaningful reciprocal collaboration. These activities also develop connections between theory and practice in real-life contexts toward promoting social, economic, and environmental justice competencies.

Two awards will be given annually, one for each of the following categories.

  1. Social Work Program Award: Recognizes a CSWE-accredited social work program that encourages its faculty, students, and staff members to engage in community-based social, economic, or environmental justice activities. Some examples might be particular classes, advocacy activities, field assignments or projects, interprofessional collaboration, and culturally based interventions.
  2. Student Project Award: Recognizes a student (BSW, MSW, or PhD/DSW) who has engaged in a community partnership activity that successfully promoted social, economic, or environmental justice.


Selection Criteria

All submissions will be peer-reviewed by the CPA Award subcommittee of the Commission for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice using the following criteria:

  • The extent to which the educational efforts or the community partnership action project effectively address social, economic, or environmental social justice issues
  • The extent to which the educational efforts or the community partnership action project empowers the community or the community leaders
  • The extent to which the educational efforts or community partnership action project are evaluated and disseminated

CSWE membership is an eligibility requirement for all commission and council awards. To check your membership status, or link your membership your social work program visit and click Link to Program/Join CSWE.


2024 Program Awardee


Utah State University’s Transforming Communities Institute


Utah State University’s Transforming Communities Institute (TCI), housed in the USU Department of Social Work, brings Utahns together to build knowledge and co-create solutions for social issues that matter to their communities. Through a theory of change lens, TCI activities surround community-engaged assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation to contribute to immediate and long-term sustainable changes in communities and organizations. Examples of community research and solution-building projects with TCI involvement and leadership over the last two years include:
  • TCI faculty helped to develop the WAB Warming Center, which is the only organization providing emergency shelter for the general public in a three-county region in northern Utah during the year’s coldest months. TCI performed a community needs assessment on the warming center concept, supports capacity-building efforts, engages in advocacy, and provides evaluation services.
  • With community partners, TCI and the Department of Social Work recently co-developed a statewide initiative to increase access to quality legal services by training social workers as Community Justice Advocates (CJAs). Currently, CJAs may provide brief and limited legal advice regarding debt collection to underserved populations in Utah. Eventually, topic areas will expand to domestic violence, housing, and expungement.
  • TCI has with community partners across Utah to conduct human service assessments on various topics, including domestic violence, LGBTQ+ youth well-being, and tenant-landlord issues.
TCI and the Department of Social Work also provide free monthly online continuing education opportunities. In 2023, they provided nearly 14,000 continuing education hours to over 600 social workers and other human service professionals in Utah.