Social Work



Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Type of Paper/Work

Banded Dissertation


Robin R. Whitebird


The focus of this banded dissertation is to gain a better understanding of how undergraduate social work programs are guided to provide culturally competent practice across the curriculum. Critical Race Theory (CRT) informs this scholarship.

For the first section, the author completed a content analysis of the historical EPAS to determine how CSWE guides programs in culturally competent practice. The study finds that concepts of culturally competent practice are throughout the editions of EPAS in the language, and in both the implicit and explicit curricula. However, findings suggest CSWE needs to reframe the concept of cultural competence as a multi-dimensional, developmental, and dynamic construct, changing over time in relation to continuous learning, and explicitly connecting EPAS to culturally competent practice.

The second section discusses the need to integrate culturally competent social work practice throughout the undergraduate curriculum. It further articulates the use of the 2015 National Association of Social Workers Standards and Indicators for Culturally Competent Social Work Practice as a guide to integration.

Finally, the last section provides an overview of Cultural Competence across Distance Education. This presentation highlights current practices in distance education and how to utilize technology to enhance culturally competent practice within a distance format, and was presented at the 41st National Institute Conference on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas on July 8, 2016, in El Paso, Texas.

This banded dissertation asserts that social work programs need to intentionally integrate concepts of cultural competence throughout the foundation curriculum. It poses the challenge to CSWE to be more explicit in its language to connect cultural competence within the EPAS to better guide social work programs. It also encourages the use of the NASW Standards and Indicators for Culturally Competent Social Work Practice as a framework to integrate cultural competence across the foundation curriculum.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.