Social Justice and Equity

NASW Providing Leadership and Advocacy

NASW is providing leadership and advocacy concerning the disparities in the social work licensing exams developed by ASWB.  On February 3rd, they released a strong statement against the exams, and in it they address the impact of this position on their support of the Interstate Compact Legislation and their commitment to efforts about licensing going forward.

Our School of Social Work at the University of Maine is supportive of this position and continues to participate in efforts to address these problems and harm that has been caused to social workers of color, older adult social workers and social workers who have a language other than English as their first language.

If you are interested in joining the related advocacy work, please contact Christopher McLaughlin, for more information at the email

NASW Supports Efforts to Promote Diversity within the Profession by opposing Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Social Work Exams 

February 3, 2023 

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) declares opposition to ASWB social work licensing exams after reviewing ASWB data showing significant disparities in pass rates for prospective social workers of color, older adults, and those who speak English as a second language. NASW is prepared to oppose the Social Work Interstate Compact Legislation being developed by the Council of State Governments (CSG) if the bill is not substantially improved, including the removal of provisions which codify the ASWB exams. NASW is eager to work with CSG to develop multi-state social work practice legislation.

 In an August 2022 statement after the release of the ASWB data, NASW committed to working closely with its partners to propose innovative solutions that reduce harm and increase diverse representation at all levels of social work practice. These efforts will initially target removal of non-independent social work practice exams which may be biased, and support efforts to strengthen competency measures. NASW looks forward to working with its partners to implement these strategic initiatives and to promoting the diversity and well-being of the social work profession, and the health and well-being of the populations social workers serve.

Proposed Action Steps Toward Racial Justice and Equity Phase Two

Please see the Equity Stewardship Team’s Plans for Phase Two of our work toward racial justice and equity at the School of Social Work:  Proposed Action Steps Toward Racial Justice and Equity Phase Two

Thank you to three members of the Equity Stewardship Team:  Athena Witham, Moriah Geer and Casey Faulkingham each gave hours of their time to our work toward greater racial justice and equity at the School of Social Work.  These three key members of the Stewardship Team had to leave the committee due to other obligations after providing months of service to the School community.  Thank you Athena, Moriah and Casey.

Social Justice and Equity at the School of Social Work

Social justice is a cornerstone of the social work profession and taken very seriously at the
UMaine School of Social Work. In 2021, we pledged a renewed commitment to diversity,
equity and inclusion (DEI) at the School.

Nico Chin, our consultant from Up With Community, has completed her Landscape Mapping of
the School of Social Work and has provided the Equity Stewardship Team with a memo of her

Information Regarding Recent News on ASWB Licensing Pass Rates

In response to the Association of Social Work Board’s recent release of social work licensing exam pass rate data on August 5, 2022, we are sharing the following statements from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the National Association of Deans and Directors (NADD) which represents Schools of Social Work across the United States and Canada.  On September 8, 2022, CSWE announced that it had removed the ASWB licensing pass rates from the 2022 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) for Schools of Social Work, and on October 5, CSWE contacted the Maine State Board of Social Work Licensure to recommend that the Board suspend the use of the ASWB exam until a thorough analysis of the data has been completed by ASWB, and recommendations have been offered to correct for inequities.

The University of Maine School of Social Work is in broad agreement with the statements from these respected social work organizations, and we share their concern and sense of urgency in addressing the substantial racial, language and age disparities in the social work exam.   We are closely following the action steps recommended by NADD for our state, and we will be considering and guided by NADD’s future work and recommendations regarding additional steps to be taken.

To Read More

Community Engagement: Trainings, Discussions and More

The School of Social Work will be holding four listening sessions to discuss Nico’s memo, the
Equity Stewardship Team’s response and suggested next steps, and to gather reactions and
thoughts from those attending.

This is the zoom link for all four sessions:

Faculty, staff, alumni and field instructors are invited to join either or both of the following
two listening sessions:

Friday, September 9 from 10:00 to 11:00 am
Wednesday, September 14 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm

Students are invited to join either or both of the following two listening sessions:

Friday, September 16 from noon to 1:00 pm
Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 to 11:00 am


The School of Social Work began its “Landscape Mapping” with Nico Chin of Up with Community early in the 2022 Spring Semester.

A Stewardship Team of faculty, alumni, field instructors and students will work closely with Nico to steward the School and its many constituencies and stake holders through this process.

The Stewardship Team, developed in December 2021, is composed of the following members:

Athena Witham (student)
Moriah Geer (alumna, Field Instructor)
Casey Faulkingham (alumna, Field Instructor)
Nancy Kelly (part-time faculty, Field Instructor)
Ann Hartman (alumna, part-time faculty, Field Instructor
Leah Maxwell (Field Director, alumna)
Len Kaye (Professor)
Elizabeth Armstrong (Assistant Professor)
Sandy Butler (Director, Professor)

Previous work

Fall 2021 Community DEI Update

 Spring 2021 Town Hall Summary

Do you have an event or training related to DEI that you would like to promote on this page? Please send us the inform via this form:

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