Professor Susan Kemp's research interests focus on place, environment and community as foci of social work practice; low-income children, youth and families; public child welfare; and social work history and theory. Dr. Kemp's scholarship is deeply grounded in her extensive community-based practice experience, initially as a child welfare social worker in New Zealand and later as a consultant to community agencies in urban neighborhoods in the United States.
In 2007, she was awarded the Charles O. Cressey Endowed Professorship in recognition of her accomplishments in the field of child and family welfare. In 2011, she received the national Richard Lodge Prize for distinguished contributions to research and scholarship in social work.
Author of and contributor to numerous academic articles, books and chapters, Dr. Kemp has enriched the social work profession with her scholarship and insight into the environmental and community aspects of human well-being. She is co-author ofPerson-Environment Practice: The Social Ecology of Interpersonal Helping and co-editor of The Paradox of Urban Space: Inequality and Transformation in Marginalized Communities and Communities, Neighborhoods, and Health: Expanding the Boundaries of Place. Her recent work has also included a national study of social justice-oriented urban youth programs.
Dr. Kemp currently serves as associate editor (North America) for Child and Family Social Work. She has been honored with visiting professorships at Columbia University in New York and Hokusei Gakuen University in Japan.
Since joining the faculty of the University of Washington School of Social Work in 1994, Dr. Kemp has held many leadership positions within the School, including associate dean for professional degree programs (2001–2003) and director of the doctoral program (2006–2008). Also a committed and enthusiastic teacher, she received the Students' Choice Teaching Award in 1996 and the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.
Dr. Kemp holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Massey University, New Zealand, a master's degree in sociology (with a qualification in social work) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a doctorate in social work from Columbia University, New York.