California State University, Monterey Bay’s master’s degree in social work (MSW) program passed an extensive accreditation process recently, and is now nationally accredited.

CSUMB played host to the fourth site visitor over the past four years from the Council on Social Work Education last fall. Each site visitor met with administrators, faculty, students, and community advisory board members on campus, poring over the school’s programs, reviewing benchmark documents, and making suggestions for program improvement. The program submitted its final three-volume, 1,000-page report on April 1.

The visit was the culmination of four years of preparatory work by CSUMB faculty and staff. Evaluators recently issued their report, granting initial accreditation through February, 2018.

“CSWE accreditation recognizes the professionalism, competence and quality work put forth by our faculty and staff, as well as the quality of our students’ experiences in the field with our community partner agencies,” said Dr. James Raines, interim MSW program director. “It shows that our faculty are well-qualified and experienced in their fields, that our community partners provide outstanding support for our students, and that our program does a great job preparing future social workers based upon national standards.”

To meet CSWE standards, universities must offer intellectually rigorous standards-based programs relevant to the needs of the community. To the students, it means that they are now eligible for national and state scholarship programs and federal loan forgiveness programs. To the public, accreditation means that the school underwent rigorous review by an external group of professionals, and that programs meet standards set by the field at large.

"National accreditation causes you to continually assess your programs and constantly seek to improve," Dr. Raines said of the process. The university will go through the process again in four years when formal accreditation expires, but the university will also submit reports to CSWE along the way.