Elms College Social Work Program Receives Reaffirmation of Accreditation

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The Elms College social work program's accreditation is valid through 2020 and ensures the highest standards of competency for faculty and students.

“Without accreditation, our students would not be able to sit for their social work licensing exam after graduation and would not be able to enroll in master of social work programs in advanced standing," said Mary Brainerd, Ph.D.

The social work program at Elms College recently received Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) reaffirmation of accreditation through 2020. The accreditation is effective for all bachelor’s degree programs, including the traditional undergraduate degree, weekend college degree, and the social work degree completion program available through partnership between Elms College and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

Under the direction of Program Director Mary Brainerd, Ph.D., the social work department began a self-study in July 2011 that included three volumes addressing the 10 competencies as required by the CWSE’s Commission on Accreditation (COA). In February 2012, a COA representative made a site visit to the college and met with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the advisory board. In June 2012, the COA voted to reaffirm Elms College’s accreditation for eight years.

“The accreditation is a lengthy, involved process, but it is very important for our program,” Brainerd said. “Without it, our students would not be able to sit for their social work licensing exam after graduation and would not be able to enroll in master of social work programs in advanced standing—which allows them to complete a graduate degree in one year.”

Elms College began offering social work as a concentration in the sociology department in 1960. The program was first accredited by CWSE in 1982. It was the first accredited undergraduate social work program in western Massachusetts. Today, the program offers a four-year undergraduate curriculum that educates students to become competent and effective entry-level generalist social work practitioners. There are currently around 90 social work majors, including students who complete a bachelor’s degree on the STCC campus. The social work program has successfully gone through the reaccreditation process five times since 1982.

CSWE is a nonprofit national association representing more than 2,500 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in this country.

Elms College is a co-educational, Catholic college offering a liberal arts curriculum that gives students multiple perspectives on life. Founded in 1928 by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Elms College has a tradition of educating reflective, principled, and creative learners, who are rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to civic and social obligations, and capable of adjusting to change without compromising principle.

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