The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the preeminent organization convening and representing social work education in the United States and two of its territories, Puerto Rico and Guam. As the recognized accrediting body for social work programs nationally, CSWE is in a singular position to catalyze discussions both within the academy and at the federal level regarding the future of social work education.
To lead the organization into the future and to play a primary, visible role in increasing its impact, CSWE seeks a President to serve as its Chief Executive Officer. Reporting to the Board of Directors and managing an operating budget of more than $7 million and a staff of 35, the President/CEO will lead CSWE during a period of significant opportunity. As higher education becomes increasingly visible as a matter of national and international policy, CSWE is well-positioned to play a principal role in discussions on such issues as accreditation, multiple modes of delivery, antiracism and anti-oppressive education, globalization, student financial aid and indebtedness, and academic freedom. The president of CSWE, which is headquartered in Alexandria, VA, will work closely with the Board and membership to add the voice of social work education to these national and international discussions.
Founded in 1952, CSWE operates as a 501(c)(3) to work toward realizing its vision of a well-educated social work profession equipped to promote health, well-being, and justice for all people in a diverse society. CSWE’s mission is to advance excellence and innovation in social work education and research by providing leadership, ensuring quality in teaching and learning, and strengthening the capacity of its member institutions. CSWE’s members include over 800 accredited baccalaureate and master’s degree social work programs and individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies who share a common goal of advancing quality social work education.
CSWE houses many initiatives, institutes, and centers that support quality social work education and provide opportunities for leadership and professional development, so that social workers play a central role in achieving the profession’s goals of social and economic justice. CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories.
The President & CEO Role
The President serves as the central and publicly visible representative of the organization and provides leadership in cultivating and strengthening relationships and partnerships with other higher education associations and other social work organizations, including those representing research, policy, and practice. In addition, the President is the organization’s primary spokesperson in all matters related to public policy and advocacy.The President of CSWE, who is appointed by and accountable to the Board of Directors, is the Chief Executive Officer of the organization. The President sits as a nonvoting member on the Board of Directors and, in collaboration with the Board, is responsible for the overall vision, direction, and operations of the organization and the promotion of social work education at the national and international levels. The President will foster high ethical and institutional standards and successfully engage volunteer leaders and members in organizational activities.
The President is responsible for organizational operations including staff leadership, membership development, CSWE’s finances, strategic planning, and accountability to the organization’s constituents and the public at large. The President speaks for and promotes the core values of social work education and responds to the aspirations, innovations, and concerns of member social work programs, staff, and affiliated groups.
Opportunities and Expectations for the President & CEO
Champion Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusiveness
The President will drive diversity, equity, access, and inclusiveness through CSWE’s initiatives, policies, and activities and continue efforts to integrate DEAI into the organization’s culture.
The President will continue to work with staff and members to actualize recommendations made in 2021 by CSWE’s Anti-Racism Task Force:
Updates to the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.
Ideas for a clearinghouse of curricular resources that address antiracist, anticolonial, anti-immigrant, and anti-oppressive theories and pedagogies.
Suggestions to improve data collection on program faculties, leadership, and students to better understand the social work education ecosystem as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Evaluate data to identify gaps and implement corrective actions to address them.
Promote Social Work Education
The demand for professional social workers is very high. Factors such as the impact of health disparities on disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups, a lack of access to technology and jobs, and growing economic disparities and social injustice increase the need for high-quality social work education and professional social workers. To meet these needs, the President will:
Play a vital role in advocating for high-quality social work education and for affordable access to educational programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels.
Advocate for the value of CSWE accreditation of social work programs and ensure organizational resources for the provision of accreditation services.
Refine and focus CSWE’s educational capacity and ensure access to professional and leadership development as a member benefit for a diverse group of social work educators and stakeholders.
Develop and oversee implementation of efforts to enhance value and opportunities for members.
Work Effectively with Coalitions Across the Social Work Profession
Build strong relationships with the leadership of other social work associations and related coalitions in the pursuit of collegiality and common purpose.
Expand the community of alliance partners to include those focused on social work issues such as policy, advocacy, education, practice, research, and scholarship.
Develop outreach to different constituencies around core issues relevant to the field of social work, including issues of social and economic justice, to unify and coordinate responses on matters of national interest and leverage the strengths of the various organizations.
Be Part of the National and Global Conversation about Education
Perhaps never in the history of the United States has higher education been so visibly a part of and party to the conversation about national policy. With myriad educational issues now so much a component of the national consciousness—including growing student loan debt; the attack on the discussion of racism, equity, and social justice in the classroom; and the overall value of higher education as a public good—CSWE stands poised to play a leading role in this critical dialogue. As a respected voice within the field of social work education, the President will:
Work with colleagues in other disciplinary professional and education-focused organizations, to create opportunities to influence policy makers as these difficult issues are resolved, building on the President’s personal strengths, experience, and passions.
Make a substantive impact on the future of accreditation. The President, working with CSWE’s retained public advocacy firm, will continue to strengthen relationships with the US Department of Education, CHEA, and other stakeholders (e.g., the American Council on Education) and will position themselves and CSWE as major players in the discussion.
As CSWE becomes more engaged in global and international partnerships as well as conversations about social work education and higher education, the President will work with the Board and its globally focused commission and councils to enable participation in discussions that address human rights, social and economic justice, and health equity issues in international and global settings and to create opportunities to promote global awareness and collaboration on behalf of and among its membership.
Volunteer Leadership and Governance
In consultation with the Board Chair, coordinate Board meetings and set agendas.
Provide staff support for the Board and its committees.
Identify, assess, and inform the Board of internal and external issues that could affect the organization.
Recognize excellence and contributions of volunteers and staff, as appropriate.
Management and Administration
Plan, lead, and oversee day-to-day activities and programs of the organization, its centers, institutes, and initiatives in accordance with strategy and priorities established in concert with the Board.
Ensure the organization is in compliance with all local, state, and federal rules governing its activities and in compliance with CSWE’s governing documents.
Continuously evaluate and, where possible, improve operations, including financial operations; recommend potential changes.
Provide guidance, training, leadership, and supervision to staff, promoting professionalism and growth, including hiring, firing, promoting, developing, and recognizing staff, as well as oversight and improvement of staff structure.
Ensure and enhance revenue streams derived from institutional members (tied to the accreditation process), individual memberships, and grants.
As the Council’s influence and services expand, establish the infrastructure for fundraising and development and diversify revenue streams into new areas such as philanthropic sources.
Expand CSWE’s fundraising efforts by committing time, effort, and prestige to engagement with potential donors and funding sources (e.g., private foundations and the federal government).
Oversee budget development and ensure all funds and assets are appropriately stewarded and accounted for.
Negotiate contracts in accordance with Board directives.
Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications
Graduate degree in social work and a doctoral degree are preferred, though a substantial, equivalent combination of education and professional experience will also be considered.
Distinguished record of successful and progressively responsible administrative experience and leadership, preferably in social work education and/or higher education.
Experience in the nonprofit sector and the global arena is desirable.
Experience and demonstrated effectiveness in working with Boards of Directors in creating and advancing organizational vision and mission are essential.
Track record demonstrating strong organizational and educational leadership experience that includes the ability to manage a complex organization and to work effectively with colleagues representing diverse institutions and programs.
Strong preference for a candidate with demonstrated knowledge of the challenges and issues confronting higher education in the United States and beyond, and the strategies emerging for addressing the critical issues that characterize the current educational context.
The successful candidate will have demonstrated leadership in strategic planning and organizational visioning, public policy and advocacy, resource development, fiscal management, and in coalescing diverse constituents around common goals and aspirations.
Ideally, the candidate’s work history will reflect the extent to which they value the fundamental commitment of the social work profession to its core values: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.
The ability to weave diversity, equity, access, and inclusiveness throughout an organization’s vision, mission, strategy, culture, operations, and messaging.
Personal Qualities and Competencies
An authentic, transparent, approachable communicator who can build trust and foster open dialogue within an organization.
The emotional intelligence, listening skills, and coaching skills needed to unite a diverse group of members into a community with a shared purpose.
A courageous leader who engages in the thoughtful, difficult conversations needed to guide an organization toward achieving its mission.
The emotional intelligence, listening skills, and coaching skills needed to collaborate with and unite a diverse group of constituencies into a community with a shared purpose.
A visionary leader who can conceptualize long-term goals and translate them into a succinct, understandable, and actionable framework.
A motivated—and motivational—leader who leads by example.
A lifelong learner who demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement in pursuit of operational excellence.
Diverse candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.
To apply, please send a cover letter and current resume (Microsoft Word® format preferred). The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.
The Council on Social Work Education and Sterling Martin Associates are committed to providing equal opportunity for employees and applicants in all aspects of the employment relationship, without regard to race, religion, color, age, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, political affiliation, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.