A Critical Foresight-Informed Perspective on the Proposed 2022 CSWE EPAS (Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards) for Schools of Social Work in the U.S.


The Council on Social Work Education regularly goes through a lengthy process to revise its educational and practice standards. Currently there is an “open commentary” opportunity to weigh in on the latest round of the proposed standards for 2022. You can read about the process and the proposed standards themselves here.

This entry offers a brief analysis of the proposed 2022 CSWE EPAS Guidelines.   The lens utilized has been an expansive critical foresight-informed futures lens which explicitly seeks to incorporate current and possible trends in ecosystem forces that will influence the future of the social work profession.   It is a limited “point in time” snapshot.   It encourages deeper and broader dialogue about now only preparing students for the “world that has been and is” but the world that is emerging.    

A typical social work student studying right now will likely be practicing into the year(s) 2060-2070.  During the coming years, we should anticipate that things will be changing.   Catastrophes as well as significant breakthroughs in science and the history of human kind may occur.  Some of these events will be carefully planned, and some will be emergent and/or altogether unplanned.

To the best our ability, foresight brings new skills and perspectives to the “planning” table.

Anticipating and participating in change more thoughtfully, more equitably and more intentionally becomes a new ethical imperative.   These recommendations provide discussion points for how to make the new EPAS more future-responsive, agile and forward-looking. 

Look forward to hearing YOUR IDEAS and REACTIONS to these suggestions. I will be officially submitting these comments as part of the open call.

A note about foresight:  These are not intended to be “predictions” per se.  Foresight uses information from the airwaves, research, and other trend analysis to imagine possible futures where current trends continue, transform or stop altogether.    The recommendations offered here are intended to help social work education (and those receiving their educations) be as ready to participate in multiple future scenarios simultaneously.  



Written by Laura Nissen

Written by Laura Nissen