CSWE Celebrates Feedback to EPAS

Published on : December 23, 2021

Author: Marianne Varkiani

CSWE’s Commission on Educational Policy (COEP) is charged with preparing a statement of social work curriculum policy to encourage excellence in educational programs to be used by the Commission on Accreditation (COA) in formulating and revising accreditation standards. This revision takes place in accordance with the CSWE bylaws, which mandate that the policy statement be reviewed by COEP “at periodic intervals not to exceed 7 years.” CSWE-COA’s recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) also requires that accreditors have a process whereby standards are reviewed periodically by the COA.

The EPAS revision process is a multi-faceted and years-long effort that commenced in December 2017 as COEP began its environmental scan. Since the educational policy and the accreditation standards are conceptually linked together, a joint 2022 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) Committee was formed comprised of members from COEP and COA in Summer 2020 to collaboratively develop and advance the EPAS.

“We are incredibly grateful for the hundreds of educators and students who participated in this process, and we believe that the 2022 EPAS will be stronger for their feedback,” said CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW. “It is clear from the suggestions, comments, and recommendations that we are united in our commitment to prepare students to identify and dismantle racism and empower them to make their communities’ and clients’ lives better through social work.”

The first draft of the proposed changes to the 2022 educational policy was released for public review in fall 2019, and multiple feedback sessions were subsequently held at the 2019 and 2020 Annual Program Meetings (APM). The Joint Committee then compiled and reviewed the feedback received to inform the first draft of the 2022 EPAS, which was released for public comment in April 2021. Constituents were able to provide feedback through an online survey and at the following events:

  • The Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors spring 2021 conference (April)
  • The National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work spring 2021 conference (April)
  • The CSWE Council on Field Education (COFE) Town Hall, which was made available on YouTube (April 2021)

COA, COEP, and COFE members facilitate a virtual town hall to inform attendees of the proposed changes to draft 1 of the 2022 EPAS 

CSWE received 233 fully complete responses to the 2022 EPAS draft 1 survey, and 564 respondents answered at least one question on the feedback survey. In addition to feedback solicited from CSWE constituents, the Joint Committee reviewed educational policies and accreditation standards from other programmatic accreditors, as well as CHEA recognition standards, to inform Draft 2.

During an EPAS feedback session held in December, Deana Morrow noted, “Through feedback sessions for Draft 1, we noticed that programs want more stability by being more innovative and creative. This has been reflected in Draft 2.”

A slide from a presentation, originally delivered during a 2022 EPAS feedback session at the 2021 APM

Draft 2 was released in October 2021 for a third round of public comment and feedback. The Joint Committee collected feedback through an online survey, from the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, and at the following meetings: 

  • Two live presentations at CSWE’s 2021 APM in Orlando, FL (November)
  • North American Association of Christians in Social Work annual meeting (November)
  • A session for faculty and administrators at HBCUs and MSIs (November)
  • One live presentation for CSWE’s APM On-Demand event, which was made available on YouTube (December) 
  • Black Administrators, Researchers, and Scholars meeting (December)


COEP Chair Shirley Gatenio-Gabel, COA Chair Deana Morrow, CSWE Vice President of Education Tanya Smith Brice, and CSWE Executive Director of Accreditation Megan Fujita present during an online EPAS feedback session in December 2021

CSWE received 74 fully complete responses to the second draft survey, and 495 respondents answered at least one question. A full timeline of the EPAS revision process is available on the CSWE website.