How to Make Reaffirming CSWE Accreditation Easier
Once a program achieves accreditation from the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), they are eligible to reaffirm their status as an accredited program every 8 years. Fortunately, the process is not as arduous as the initial application for accreditation is but it still requires a fair bit of work. Unfortunately, eight years is a long enough time to forget what the last time was like and having to train potentially new staff in on the process can make reaffirmation more stressful.
Programs wishing to renew their accreditation should start preparing early enough to be able to gather the reports and complete the site visit. Being informed and prepared will help make the reaffirmation process smooth and efficient. Here are a few tips on how to make reaffirming your CSWE accreditation easier.
Before you begin…
Know the timeline.
Depending on when you want to reaffirm your accreditation, your timeline may differ. Check out these helpful links from CSWE to make sure you’re building in enough time to maintain your status.
- CSWE’s Timetables for February Reaffirmations
- CSWE’s Timetables for June Reaffirmations
- CSWE’s Timetables for October Reaffirmations
If you’re not sure what your Commission on Accreditation (COA) agenda date is, either contact your program’s accreditation specialist or double-check the date in CSWE’s Directory of Accredited Programs.
Know the eligibility standards far in advance.
Make sure that you know if your program is eligible for reaffirming CSWE. Spend some time before you begin the application double checking the eligibility standards to minimize any unpleasant surprises.
Note: The requirements for Baccalaureate and Master’s social work programs are different. Make sure you’re checking the correct one before you begin. Here we discuss the eligibility standards for Masters programs.
For a Master’s of Social Work Program:
- Eligibility Standard 1: You’ll need the CEO of your institution to authorize the Commission on Accreditation’s review of your social work program. Then you’ll need to submit the “Authorization of Program Review” form once your CEO has completed it and signed it.
- Eligibility Standard 2: Show that you’ve been accredited by a regional accreditation agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
- Eligibility Standard 3: Submit your program’s affirmative action policy, plan, or program and procedures as well as a policy against discrimination. You must also comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and submit your compliance plan.
- Eligibility Standard 4: Your institution has a full-time social work program chief administrator. This person must hold a master’s of social work degree from a CSWE-accredited program and preferably with a doctoral degree in social work as well.
- Eligibility Standard 5: You have a catalog, or something similar, that highlights your social work program and explains its purpose, requirements, and education level(s).
- Eligibility Standard 6: You have an organizational chart that shows the position of your social work program within the governance structure of your institution.
- Eligibility Standard 7: Your master’s in social work program can be completed in 2 years if it’s full time and 4 years is it comes in a part-time format.
You will have an assigned Accreditation Specialist whom you will need to email your Reaffirmation Eligibility Application. Identify that person sooner than later as they can also answer questions surrounding eligibility as you work through the standards.
Build a calendar for yourself and key stakeholders.
As you review these standards and steps, updating a calendar can be helpful. Build in enough time to have meetings, gain approvals and signatures. Then, invite the right people to the right meetings or reminders to help keep the reaffirmation process on track.
Plan for fees and expenses.
While the details may change slightly from year to year, reaffirming CSWE accreditation isn’t free. The reaffirmation eligibility fee ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 while the reaffirmation fee ranges from $3,500 to $7,000. This doesn’t include self-study costs, site visit expenses, and annual program membership dues.
Self-study costs include:
- Faculty-assigned time
- Printing expenses
- Meeting expenses
- Other administrative costs
Site Visit Expenses include
- Airline tickets
- Hotel stays
- Ground transportation
Annual program membership dues are based on the number of graduates by program. Visit https://www.cswe.org/Membership for more information on what to expect to pay.
All told, you’re looking at a $10,000 or more. Make sure that this gets approved as part of your budget before the fiscal year starts.
Attend a workshop.
Finally, a full two to three years in advance of the Commission on Accreditation (COA) review, CSWE recommends attending a workshop.
Keep checking back as new trainings are added.
Reaffirmation of CSWE Accreditation Time!
There are five main steps to the reaffirmation of CSWE accreditation.
Step 1: Complete an Eligibility Application
Step 2: Set Up a Site Visit
Step 3: Write and Submit the Self-Study
Step 4: The Site Visit
Step 5: The COA Reviews and Makes Determination of Reaffirmation of Accreditation
If you only do one thing… invest in the right technology!
Automating how you pull reports and track data is the number one time-saving thing you can do to set yourself up for a stress-free reaffirmation process. Find an academic program management software that has the features and integrations you need and a team behind it who is reliable and helpful. For the best value, find one that has other features to help your students, you, and your field instructors succeed.
When it comes to reaffirming CSWE accreditation, there’s no such thing as over preparing. Set your key dates and work backward from there. Involve key stakeholders as early as possible and set reminders on their calendars. Double check your eligibility standards to eliminate bad surprises. And don’t forget to find a software program that can help you out.