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School of Social Work
School of Social Work


Reaccreditation Survey


The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has continuously accredited both the MSW (since 1940) and BSSW (since 1975) programs, most recently awarding reaffirmation of accreditation through the year 2013. Our accreditation must be reaffirmed every 8 years. The CSWE Commission on Accreditation issued new Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) in 2008.

The Council on Accreditation standard 4.0.2 and 4.0.4. requires that schools of social work make “summary data and outcomes for the assessment of each of its competencies, identifying the percentage of students achieving the benchmark . . available to the public and its constituents on its website.”

We are working hard to prepare for our next reaffirmation and would like to share with you:

UPDATE: We were officially reaffirmed by CSWE through 2021.

What is required for reaffirmation (quoted directly from the 2008 EPAS Handbook)

EPAS describes four features of an integrated curriculum design: (1) program mission and goals; (2) explicit curriculum; (3) implicit curriculum; and (4) assessment.

  1. The program’s mission and goals address the profession’s purpose, are grounded in the profession’s values, and are informed by its context.

  2. The explicit curriculum is the program’s formal educational structure and includes its courses and curriculum design. Core competencies (which define generalist practice or are applied in advanced practice) and field education (as the signature pedagogy of social work education) are the key elements of the explicit curriculum. Competency-based education is an outcome performance approach to curriculum design. Competencies are measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of knowledge, values, and skills. The goal of the outcome approach is to demonstrate the integration and application of the competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

    The explicit curriculum at the BSW [and Foundation] level is designed to prepare graduates for generalist practice through mastery of the core competencies. The MSW curriculum prepares graduates for advanced practice through mastery of the core competencies augmented by knowledge and practice behaviors specific to a concentration. The program’s mission and goals, as these reflect professional purpose and values and the program’s context, are consistent with the program’s competencies. The program’s competencies are operationalized in the explicit curriculum and in program assessment through measurable practice behaviors.

  3. The implicit curriculum refers to the educational environment in which the explicit curriculum is presented. It is composed of the following elements: the program’s commitment to diversity; admissions policies and procedures; advisement, retention, and termination policies; student participation in governance; faculty; administrative structure; and resources. The implicit curriculum is as important as the explicit curriculum in shaping the professional character and competence of the program’s graduates. Heightened awareness of the importance of the implicit curriculum promotes an educational culture that is congruent with the values of the profession.

  4. Assessment is an integral component of competency-based education. To evaluate the extent to which the competencies have been met, a system of assessment is central to this model of education. Data from assessment continuously inform and promote change in the explicit and implicit curriculum to enhance attainment of program competencies. (EP 4.0)

A summary of our preparations for reaffirmation

During the 2008-2009 academic year, the faculty became familiar with the new EPAS for reaffirmation. We also worked to update our BSSW and MSW programs to reflect our changing context. The MSW program revised its concentrations, including new course requirements and revised prerequisites. We added a new dual degree program with the Masters of Public Health at UNMC. In addition, we updated our website, and our academic policies and procedures, with the overall goal of making our systems more streamlined and transparent.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, we wrote practice behaviors for our Advanced Generalist and Clinical concentrations to augment the EPAS competencies; the EPAS provides us with practice behaviors for our BSSW program and Foundation courses. The faculty worked to update each of our 60 syllabi to include a link between course objectives, EPAS competencies and practice behaviors, and assignments. We also created an assessment plan, which included the creation of many new assessment pieces and moving current assessment pieces to a 5-point Likert scale. As part of the process, we created and utilized an online survey to map our curriculum.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, we will launch our data collection phase and continue to fine-tune work from all earlier phases. We will also seek input from students and community partners on our reaffirmation process and feedback on how we are meeting the needs of our constituents. In May 2011, we will begin drafting our self-study for CSWE reaffirmation.

An overall timeline for reaffirmation



✓ Faculty learn about new reaffirmation process

AY 2008-2009

✓ Faculty begin earnest work towards reaffirmation

AY 2009-2010

✓ Assessment of explicit and implicit curriculum

AY 2010-2011

✓ Drafting the self-study

May 2011 - March 2012

✓ Self-study completed and submitted

April 2012

✓ CSWE site visit – site visitors spend time with faculty, students, and community  members

Sept. or Oct. 2012

✓ Receive reaffirmation from CSWE

Feb. 2013