Greetings to everyone!
I hope all of you have experienced a very relaxing summer and that you are ready to return to work focused on the business
at hand – undergraduate social work education. The BPD Board and the conference planning committee have been busy this
summer and because of so many activities and commitments, we held our annual summer meeting in July. We concluded our meetings
in Phoenix refreshed about our commitment to undergraduate social work education and excited about the plans for the 2009
Phoenix Conference. Three topics on our agenda were the financial stability of the organization, the new Educational Policy
Accreditation Standards (EPAS) and the current status of the discussion on professional unification. Though all three topics
dominated our discussions, I am happy to report that BPD is fiscally sound and survived the transition from hosting its conference
from the fall to the spring.
In the last issue of Update, I commented on events leading up to the final minutes of the presentation of the EPAS document
for approval by the CSWE Board of Directors. I would like to thank all of you who participated in the preparation of a very
comprehensive report that was sent to CSWE for feedback. As always, the BPD conference provided the opportunity for the BPD
board to develop a highly deliberative, collaborative, and inclusive process that created a very comprehensive report. All
of your suggestions were forwarded to the committee for consideration, and although the outcome was not what we expected,
we are a resilient group that must focus on our mission of preparing competent undergraduate social work practitioners.
In an email following
the approval of EPAS, I call on the membership and BPD to be proactive and strategic in planning to move undergraduate social
work education forward. I continue to be inspired by the many messages I receive from BPD members that underscored the importance
of the social justice mission of the profession and the rich heritage of undergraduate social work education. Essentially,
accreditation standards should focus on curriculum, educational experiences, and resources deemed necessary to provide students
with the knowledge, values and skills required for competent professional practice. BPD must be proactive in identifying curriculum
models, content areas, educational experiences, and resources needed to deliver an effective undergraduate social work program.
We must also shift from being reactive to proactive.
In response to this call, at its summer meeting, the BPD board developed a task force that
will focus on exploring past, current, and future trends for undergraduate social work education. The task force is called
the BPD Task Force on Social Work Baccalaureate Curriculum and Competencies Development. The task force will be presenting
at the next Annual Program Meeting of CSWE. The title of the presentation is “Curriculum Content Areas and Competencies:
Developing Best Practices for BSW Education”. The presentation will focus on the early identification of competency
models, the facilitation and sharing of information, and the articulation of best practices in BSW education that will build
the academy that blends knowledge and skill development. If you are attending the APM, please make plans
to attend this presentation. I hope that the BPD Task Force will serve as the first initiative of being proactive in leading
undergraduate social work education down the road to professionalization.
Similarly, one of the greatest
challenges facing undergraduate social work education is it existence as a professional degree. To this
end we must work collaboratively with the organized professional social work groups like NASW, CSWE, NADD, GADE, IASWR and
ANSWER. Our efforts must not divide us but unite us to work on the common issues of the profession. BPD must build an undergraduate
social work agenda and platform that will further the mission of BPD and make undergraduate social work a professional degree
in all segments of our society.
In this issue, there are several articles related to unification. Unification continues to
be on the forefront and the transition team from the Wingspread meeting has yet to present a report. As undergraduate social
work educators, we must consider the implications of unification. Some have advocated the unification of the social work profession
and others have suggested the unification of social work education. It is critical that the membership begin to evaluate these
Finally, planning for the 2009 Phoenix Conference is in full swing. The conference theme, “BSW
Generalist Practice: The Future is NOW,” could not be timelier as we examine our curricula and prepare for implementation
of the new EPAS. This theme not only suggests what we must do to prepare our students for practice in this ever changing society,
but it also brings attention to the foundation of who we are: undergraduate social work educators. BPD and the Conference
Planning Committee are working on planning a host of activities to assist programs in transitioning with the new EPAS. Furthermore, the BPD conference will have several workshops that will focus on competency-based
education. The 2009 conference is creating a lot of excitement. We have received a record number of abstracts
and the conference planning committee is planning the extra curricular activities that make BPD what it is today.
Please join us as we embrace generalist practice as the foundation of social work education. I am delighted and proud that
BPD continues to serve as the vehicle for advancing undergraduate social work education.