An Update From the Anti-Racism Task Force

Published on : March 24, 2021

In the coming weeks, the CSWE Task Force to Advance Anti-Racism in Social Work Education will convene to provide feedback on an initial action plan for implementing recommendations focused on accreditation, data, training, and curricula. The Task Force members are currently working to organize and condense more than 150 distinct recommendations into clear guidance for social work education to become actively anti-racist.
The Task Force is organized by four workgroups whose members include faculty and students from a wide range of social work programs across the United States focused on the following topics:

  • Curriculum
  • Faculty, student, and program equity
  • Educational policy and accreditation standards
  • Conferences and faculty development

"We want to update faculty, administrators, and students on the great work being done by our Task Force as we develop an action plan based on the workgroup recommendations. These volunteers have been hard at work, identifying and investigating dozens of ways that social work education can best prepare students to dismantle racism in their practice,” said CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW. The initial recommendations from the workgroups were shared at the CSWE Membership Meeting at the virtual 2020 Annual Program Meeting (APM) in November 2020 and are available on CSWE’s YouTube channel.
Below is a short list of topics being discussed by the Task Force as they prepare an action plan.

  • Improve data collection on program faculty, leadership, and students to better understand the social work education ecosystem as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Develop clearinghouse of resources that address anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-immigrant and anti-oppressive theories and pedagogies, with an emphasis on different epistemologies. Make these widely accessible.
  • Ensure that efforts to commit to anti-racism include attention to field placements (i.e., the vetting, matching, and ongoing training of field instructors).
  • Ensure that programs’ governance structures reflect a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (i.e., faculty recruitment and retention; tenure & promotion guidelines; climate; admissions processes; course evaluations; student organizations; decision-making processes).
  • Make explicit changes to the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards—not just in the narrative of Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice, but across all competencies and standards.
  • Amplify critical race theory and other theoretical approaches that support anti-racist practice.
  • Decolonize and indigenize the curriculum and the classroom.
  • Decolonize the research enterprise.
  • Develop a training academy to offer professional development for different stakeholder groups, such as deans, directors, chairs, faculty, field instructors and liaisons.
  • Promote more explicitly anti-racist and anti-colonial sessions during APM.
  • Rethink the charge and/or name of the CSWE Commission on Diversity and Social & Economic Justice.
  • Provide more support to HBCUs and tribal colleges.

In August 2020 Dr. Coffey and CSWE Board of Directors Chair Saundra Starks, EdD, LCSW, , announced the formation of the Task Force to Advance Anti-Racism in Social Work Education. Drs. Coffey and Starks enlisted Dr. Yolanda C. Padilla, director of the CSWE Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice, and Dr. Tracy R. Whitaker, associate dean for Academic & Student Advancement at Howard University School of Social Work, to serve as co-chairs. The Task Force developed a structure of workgroups that focused on four areas to make recommendations to CSWE on how to make social work education stronger by adopting anti-racism pedagogies and establishing anti-racist learning environments.
CSWE welcomes your feedback. Head to CSWE Spark to engage in conversations around social justice, educator resources, anti-racism, and more.