that she was initially under pressure to enroll students in the fall 1997 term.9 Although the
fall 1997 target was not met, by December 1997, the program had reviewed 144
applications and accepted 64 students into its initial class, or “first cohort.”
Early Admission of Students. At the time acceptance letters were mailed, the
MSW program had not yet attained eligibility to apply for candidacy for accreditation,
and foundation courses had not yet been developed. To permit students to enroll for the
winter term (beginning in January 1998), the program arranged for this first cohort to
enroll in courses under an addiction studies major,10 and instructed them to list the MSW
program director as their advisor within this program. Students were told that courses
completed in addiction studies would later be credited toward the MSW as electives.
This plan to enroll students in addiction studies permitted students to progress
more quickly toward completion of MSW requirements, a result that was at odds with the
normal timetable established for CSWE accreditation. Typically, the CSWE accreditation
process takes approximately four years: two years for hiring faculty, developing
curriculum, and achieving candidacy; and two years for enrolling and graduating the
initial cohort, adding program enhancements and achieving full accreditation. However,
this CSWE accreditation timetable assumes that students have not enrolled until a
program is sufficiently developed to be admitted to candidacy.
A July 1998 communication from CSWE clearly advised that it was unwise to
admit students so early in the application process, warning that if students were enrolled,
the Commission would expect that the program "should be well on its way to have the six
faculty recommended."11 Despite CSWE's advice, the program enrolled 55 students in
foundation courses in fall 1998, and appeared to proceed without regard to CSWE’s
admonition that it would need to expend substantial additional resources if students were
curriculum, working from the ‘New Program Request’ for the MSW program which had been previously
approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education.”
9 The program director reported that she enrolled students in courses prior to fall 1998 at the urging of the
administration due to a concern that the University would lose some funding if the students did not begin
10 In an undated press release, Joan G. Porche, former interim director of the Master of Social Work
(MSW) program summarized, “Once again, I thought it inadvisable to begin offering MSW courses before
the program was in candidacy, so suggested that the students who had been accepted into the MSW
program register for graduate coursework in addiction studies, an already accredited program at GSU.
(Addictions was preferred, having been identified by members of the initial advisory board as a deficit
knowledge/skills of many current social service employees.)”
11 The letter stated: "As you will note, standard 1.5 requires that the program have all of its course syllabi
ready to submit if [the program] is already implemented when the Evaluative Criteria document is
submitted," and "Admitting students in the fall means that the program will have to expend substantial
additional resources in order to successfully negotiate the next stage."
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