Welcome to the Social Work Program at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith!


As Program Director, I would like to personally welcome you to the BSW Program.


The purpose of the profession of social work is the enhancement of human well-being and the alleviation of poverty and oppression. The profession is dedicated to assisting individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities to reach their full potential. Social work is particularly concerned with achieving social and economic justice for vulnerable populations while respecting and valuing human diversity.


To achieve its basic purposes, the faculty, students, staff, and agency field instructors are involved in a variety of teaching, research, and outreach activities that involve them in the life of the university, communities around the state, and at the national level.  I welcome you to join us in our efforts to achieve excellence in the preparation of professional social workers.  


We are currently in the second year of Candidacy of the accreditation process with the Council on Social Work Education. As a program in Candidacy, we provide a statement below about our current accreditation status:


Statement for Programs in Candidacy

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Social Work Program has achieved Candidacy for Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.

Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards but has not yet demonstrated full compliance.

Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation.

Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation.  Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program.  Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program.


Thank you for your interest in the social work profession and, again, welcome to the University of Arkansas, Fort Smith, Social Work Program.




Vaughn DeCoster, PhD, LCSW, ACSW

Director and Professor

Social Work Program