Published on :
May 15, 2020
This is the time of year known for campus-wide celebrations of student achievements and faculty exhausted pride in all that has been learned and achieved over the past year. Those moments are typically bittersweet—a mixture of exuberance of dreams realized mixed with sadness about the ways in which relationships will change. It is both a beginning and an ending.
This year, the pandemic adds additional layers of emotions: sadness, and maybe even anger, about not being able to celebrate this occasion with the traditional pomp and circumstance that mark commencement ceremonies. Nevertheless, it is a moment to acknowledge—and feel pride in—your students’ achievements. Programs are demonstrating social work resourcefulness to create new kinds of ways to mark such achievements.
The University of Tennessee created a special Web page for social work grads, including prerecorded name announcements and congratulations from faculty members. The University of Southern California School of Social Work is pushing students to join pop-up Facebook groups to mark the occasion. The University of Buffalo ran a contest for students to share photos of decorated graduation caps on social media before a virtual graduation, where the winner received a prize and recognition. They also created a space for personal messages from faculty members and students.
Like our students, social work educators and leaders are beginning to plan for a future without knowing what that future holds. There are many questions and dilemmas to face. This week, the CSWE Commission on Accreditation (COA) met to address one of those key questions and voted to recommend that the reduction of field hours currently in place through December 31, 2020, be extended to May 31, 2021. Please see the updated language from COA and the CSWE accreditation team’s recently updated FAQ document.
We cannot know what the Class or 2021 graduation will look like yet, but CSWE is committed to supporting faculty members, staff members, students, and programs with flexibility during this unprecedented and unsettling time so they can maintain a focus on quality education.
Darla Spence Coffey
CSWE President and CEO