1.2.7. Information Sharing and Release of COA Decision Letter

Information Sharing

Each accredited program selects one (1) primary contact. To streamline communication, the primary contact’s responsibility is to represent the program in all exchanges with CSWE and the public. The primary contact manages all accreditation-related communications including reviewing periodic COA and DOSWA updates, submitting program materials for accreditation reviews and in-between review cycles, receiving official COA-issued letters, processing fee invoices, and engaging in consultation or other accreditation services with accreditation staff.

The primary contact also ensures that CSWE program records remain accurate and current, including the public-facing Directory of Accredited Programs located on the CSWE website. To complete updates to the program’s record or Directory listing, review the steps outlined in policy 1.2.4 Program Changes regarding changes in key program personnel. Email complete contact information per the policy to the program’s accreditation specialist.

The primary contact may request additional program authorized personnel (e.g., designees) to be added to the program’s CSWE database record. Accreditation staff may share program-specific information with designees (e.g., program director, field director, coordinators, dean, chair, committee chair, key faculty writing the self-study, etc.) as long as the primary contact is included on all communications. When designees initiate contact with accreditation staff, it is the program’s responsibility to ensure the primary contact is aware of and involved in each verbal exchange and copied on each written communication. If the program fails to include the primary contact on communications, accreditation staff will include the primary contact in their response. To add designees to the program’s CSWE database record, follow the steps outlined in policy 1.2.4 Program Changes and email complete contact information required per the policy to the program’s accreditation specialist. Accreditation staff reserve the right to verify authorized personnel status with the primary contact.

To change the primary contact, the current primary contact and/or their superior must follow the steps outlined in policy 1.2.4 Program Changes and email complete contact information required per the policy to the program’s accreditation specialist to facilitate the transfer of responsibility.

Accreditation staff do not share program-specific information or provide accreditation services to any individual not identified in the program’s CSWE database record as the primary contact or a designee. Such services are reserved for authorized personnel only.

Accreditation staff do not share program-specific information with other programs. For any purpose, including independent scholarly research, accreditation staff do not share program contact information, program lists, accreditation spreadsheets, or other individualized program information not already publicly available on the CSWE website and Directory of Accredited Programs.

General and public-facing information may be shared upon request with any stakeholder including administrators, faculty, students, and members of the public.

Release of COA Decision Letter

The COA is required by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to release the COA decisions and programs’ accreditation status to the public. The COA will use the text of its decision letters for research and evaluation purposes in aggregate. The COA’s policy is not to release the full text of letters. If an institution or program releases parts of the site visit report or the COA letter that distorts the decision, the COA reserves the right to release the full text of such reports or letters to correct the perceived distortion. 

Programs are expected to maintain accurate records of their accreditation-related documents, including any documents submitted to the accreditation department or COA and official COA decision letters. Examples of accreditation-related documents include self-study/benchmark documents, Letters of Instruction, commission/site visit reports, program responses to the commission/site visit reports, COA decision letters, deferral letters, postponement/adjustment approvals, waiver notifications, program change notifications, and substantive change acceptances.

Authorized personnel from accredited social work programs have the right to request a copy of a COA decision letter or custom letter confirming the program’s accreditation history, current status, and next review date. The following are not considered COA decision letters and will not be re-released to programs: self-study/benchmark documents; Letters of Instruction; commission/site visit reports; program responses to the commission/site visit reports; postponement/adjustment approvals; waiver notifications; program change notifications; and substantive change acceptances.

Authorized personnel include the primary contact and any additional designees listed in the program’s CSWE database record. Follow the steps outlined in policy 1.2.4 Program Changes and email complete contact information required per the policy to the program’s accreditation specialist policy to update authorized personnel in the program’s record.

The request for a COA decision letter or custom accreditation confirmation letter must be made in writing via email to the program’s accreditation specialist a minimum of two (2) weeks in advance of the date the program requires the documentation. Requests that are not allotted a full two (2) weeks for staff processing are not guaranteed to meet the program’s expected timeframe.