SPRINGFIELD — Francine Vecchiolla, dean of the Springfield College School of Social Work, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Commission on Educational Policy (COEP) of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), by Barbara Shank, chair of the CSWE Board of Directors. CSWE is the national accrediting body for social work higher education.
A social work educator for 25 years, Vecchiolla has served on numerous national, state and local boards. For the Council on Social Work Education, she was appointed to the Commission on Educational Innovation and worked on the 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS); she chaired the Council on Leadership Development and launched the CSWE Leadership Institute. She has also served as a CSWE accreditation site visitor.
The Commission on Educational Policy reviews CSWE programs in relation to educational policy and planning, and suggests activities that would strengthen and expand CSWE’s leadership role in matters of education. The commission also establishes social work curriculum policy, used to develop accreditation standards for schools of social work across the nation. Accreditation verifies that a program meets the highest national professional standards.
Vecchiolla has served as dean of the School of Social Work for the previous 18 years. She led the school through the initial accreditation by CSWE and three subsequent reaccreditations. Vecchiolla has moved the school forward in a number of ways: Building a diverse faculty and a comprehensive curriculum, introducing a variety of programs, establishing strong community partnerships, developing an active advisory board, and increasing enrollment among them.
As part of the reaccreditation processes for the school, CSWE has acknowledged the school’s alignment with the mission of Springfield College; its commitment to educating competent professionals who provide services to diverse populations; the faculty and field education office’s strong relationships with agencies, schools, and community groups; the School’s clear message in its support of diversity; and it’s strong outcomes assessment program. CSWE also praised the school’s active community advisory board.
“Springfield College School of Social Work is preparing graduates to work in social service agencies, health and mental health care institutions, and community organizations at a time when the field of social work is expected to experience continued occupational growth in the United States,” said Vecchiolla. “It is an honor, a privilege, and a responsibility to be appointed to serve on the Commission on Educational Policy, which is entrusted with establishing standards that ensure programs are graduating competent, prepared, and knowledgeable practitioners who will work with society’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations.”