BPD Update Online, Fall 2008

President's Message
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Freddie Avant, Ph.D., President, BPD

President's Message
Freddie Avant
(936) 468-5105

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 issues. 

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.

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The Editor's Prerogative is on the next page...

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BPD Update Online, Volume 30, No. 3, Fall, 2008

Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning