Document Type

White Paper

Publication Date



The white paper chronicles the 25-year history of one graduate school of social work’s efforts in competency-based curriculum innovation. The authors argue that curriculum change is organizational change and share their experiences with a variety of curriculum assessment, design, and delivery efforts. Beginning with the development of the first social work competencies (labeled Abilities), pioneering efforts in assessment and holistic curricular design and delivery are reviewed. A new, one-semester, social work generalist curriculum is introduced. Emphasis is placed on the importance of developing a competency-based curriculum that is integrated both horizontally and vertically and that engages the social work student in active learning strategies. Special attention is focused on the iterative process of curricular innovation across platforms (on ground, online, and intensive weekend) and on developing a curriculum that continually seeks to integrate macro and micro social work practice. The opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned that arose from these efforts are identified and the reader is invited to consider how these experiences may be applied to their own school.


social work education, generalist curriculum, social work curriculum, curriculum integration, competency-based education, field education, leadership, remote instruction, academic policy, curriculum innovation, teaching innovation, EPAS, curriculum change, organizational change, outcome assessment, online teaching, flipped-classroom, change agent, macro-micro integration


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