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BPD Update Online, Spring 2001
BPD Response to EPAS II

The following series of papers are a compilation of BPD's response to the second draft of the EPAS now in front of two Council committees. - Ed.

March 23, 2001

Dr. Barbara White, President
Council on Social Work Education
1725 Duke Street, Suite 500
Alexandria, VA 22314-3457

Dear Barbara:

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the second draft of the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards on behalf of the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors. I applaud you for the open process allowing comment from all constituent groups and programs to improve each draft to meet the needs of social work education. I realize that this process has not been an easy one due to the lack of trust as it relates to EPAS. However, after seeing some of the recommendations included in the second document that concerned many baccalaureate programs. I believe the BPD membership now supports this open process to a final EPAS document. BPD believes this process should serve as a model for CSWE, allowing input from all groups representing social work education before the final standards are enacted.

Once again, BPD had a process to gain information from its members regarding EPAS Draft Two. As you are aware, we held meetings at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas which included a separate session sponsored by BPD and a discussion at the BPD membership meeting. We also allowed BPD members to share their comments and thoughts through the BPD WebPages and the BPD list serve. And, finally, the EPAS Review Committee sent a questionnaire to all baccalaureate programs requesting their agreement or disagreement to several of the major points within the document. All of the attachments are included for you to carefully review and digest.

I am pleased to let you know that many of the major points that BPD was seeking were change from EPAS Draft One to EPAS Draft Two have occurred. The BPD membership has addressed several areas in which we would ask the members of the Commission and CSWE to consider in the next draft of EPAS.

1. BPD continues to support the elimination of the requirement of the doctorate for fifty percent of the faculty. Although we agree that those who hold a doctorate and are committed to undergraduate education enhance the academic quality of the social work faculty, we still argue that the pool of applicants is limited. Small programs report that they have advertised on numerous occasions for terminally qualified faculty and they did not receive any applications. Small programs make up over half of the baccalaureate programs, serving clients in rural areas in which social work services are desperately needed. All of us realize that the pool of applicants to staff baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral programs is small by reviewing the numerous ads for employment. Presently, the graduation rate of doctoral qualified faculty is relatively small and can not meet the staffing needs of social work education in the immediate future. For this reason and also for the rationale that Universities and Colleges determine the qualifications of the faculty. The process of accreditation is to set the minimum standards of the curriculum delivery. BPD argues, although it may only be a relatively small group of universities, they should set their standards for faculty entering their system, and not CSWE. BPD would urge you to consider the small baccalaureate programs and delete the requirement of the doctorate for 50% of the faculty as we feel it is critical for small programs to survive in these economic, fiscally lean times. In addition, Field Director's may have the classification of a faculty member. BPD strongly feels that MSW Field Director's are qualified and serve as strong advocates for social work education. To change the requirement for field director's to be included in the formula for doctorate is not necessary.

2. In addition, the BPD membership requests that baccalaureate program directors be compensated in the summer. Deans and directors of masters programs generally have twelve month contracts, and most baccalaureate directors have nine month contracts. Although the standards remain the same in the covering of the office for social work students and directing the program, the compensation and parity are non-existent between the master and baccalaureate director's. This is a gross injustice to the position and this must be corrected through the EPAS standards. Therefore, BPD recommends summer compensation for program directors.

3. BPD applauds the EPAS document since it supports non-discrimination. We also interpret that their will not be any exception or waivers on the curriculum content on gay and lesbian people by CSWE. Populations at risk is included in the professional foundation curriculum along with social and economic justice but the policies no longer list specific populations that must receive attention in the content. BPD can not support the requirement of discriminating faculty and students because of their sexual orientation. BPD realizes the ethical dilemma, however as an organization and as social workers we have a responsibility and commitment as a profession which does not allow us to support discrimination of people. Although, the discussion at CSWE Annual Program Meeting was stimulating as well as challenging, social work educators must continue to dialog about how CSWE will handle programs who blatantly discriminate against faculty and students.

4. BPD seeks further clarification regarding the continuum of social work. Several issues were unclear in the second draft that causes confusion with the interpretation. Specifically, what distinguishes BSW and MSW education other than the generalist professional practice vs. the advanced professional practice. EPAS must clearly identify the distinctions between the senior year of the BSW program and the first year of an MSW program. Finally, EPAS must deal with the issues of the advanced standing by stating exactly how programs who do not have advanced standing insure that duplication and redundancy is handled with a graduate of a baccalaureate program. EPAS must continue to support the advance standing provisions for MSW programs.

5. BPD also feels that the strengths perspective should resurface in the next EAPS document for baccalaureate programs. BPD also encourages the language of professional advisor by faculty and staff for students.

In conclusion, although there are other issues that could be raised, BPD feels if the above areas that were sited are address in the next document the next draft of EPAS would be one that represent the social work profession. BPD is excited about EPAS Draft Three as it should conclude the process and as an organization we would be in a position to strongly encourage all of our members to support the EPAS revisions.

As President of the Association, I do believe that there are certain issues that are not pertinent to EPAS but to the direction of social work education that have emerged through this open process. The Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors will submit a letter to Dr. Don Beless, Executive Director of CSWE as well as yourself regarding our concerns that we feel must be discussed with the CSWE members. If you have any questions or additional concerns after reading this document, please feel free to contact me or any member on the EPAS Committee. Once again, thank you for the opportunity to be heard.


Mildred C. Joyner, President
Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors

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