What is accreditation?
Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE) accreditation is a comprehensive process by which a BSW or MSW program is reviewed by trained site visitors following the submission of various supporting applications and self study reports. When a program is accredited it is considered to be delivering quality social work education that complies with nationally recognized standards. These standards comprise the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS 2008) of CSWE.
Why should a social work program be accredited, and what are the benefits to students and the community?
Accreditation is a statement to the students and communities the program serves that the program has complied with nationally recognized standards. It is like having the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval." An accredited BSW degree is required for employment in most states and for acceptance into Advanced Standing MSW programs. Students graduating from an accredited program are considered more marketable in terms of employment and graduate school.
What specific areas of the program are reviewed by CSWE?
CSWE looks at the entire program structure but focuses on the following areas:
- Program mission, goals, and objectives;
- The nature of curriculum content in the areas of values and ethics, generalist practice, populations-at-risk and social justice, diversity, research, human behavior and the social environment, social policy, and field education and how this content is implemented in various courses and evaluated on a regular basis;
- Field Education Program;
- Student rights within their educational process are an important aspect of a strong social work program. Programs also have a responsibility to educate students about the professional Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Work (NASW) in terms of their conduct and performance in the program and the field;
- Relationships with the university as a whole and the larger community are other important aspects of a robust and relevant social work program.
How does accreditation effect courses?
The adopted competencies of the ECU Social Work Program, which are derived from the EPAS 2008, guide our curriculum design and are implemented through course objectives. Upon graduation, BSW students will have achieved competence in all of the following areas:
- Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
- Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
- Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
- Engage diversity and difference in practice.
- Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
- Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
- Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
- Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
- Respond to contexts that shape practice.
- Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
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