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Fall 2016


Reconnect Oct. 23 — It's the first all-class alumni reunion

With a rich history reaching back more than 80 years, the School of Social Work has touched the lives of some 9,000 students. Now, an inaugural all-class alumni reunion, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 23, provides an opportunity for classmates to come together, network, make new friends, and see what’s new in the UW social work community. RSVP here.

ReunionThe idea was first proposed by School alumni themselves, according to Marzette Mondin, associate director for advancement. “We discovered that many alumni who had retired or were close to retirement wanted to re-engage with the School and past classmates,” she says. “Initially, we thought about a reunion for graduates from the late 1960s and early 1970s but then realized this idea had broader appeal—so it quickly grew. The October 23 event will be a great opportunity to bring all our amazing social work alums together.”  

A kickoff lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Hotel Deca Grand Ballroom, near campus. There, Dean Eddie Uehara will report on “Igniting Social Change,” followed by the presentation of two alumni awards: one for early career achievement and one for exceptional service, leadership and innovation. The inaugural recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award, Michael T. Kilmer (MSW '04), who is now chief consultant for care management and social work services at the Veterans Administration, will attend. For a full list of attendees, please visit our reunion website.

Following the luncheon, alumni can take a stroll to the School for an informal open house from 1:30 to 4 p.m. There, you can enjoy coffee, tea and dessert; listen to live music; tour the building; and learn more about current research and other innovative projects by connecting with students and faculty who will be on hand. 


Awards and accolades

Ninety students receive first-ever Social Impact Scholarships, announces Dean Uehara

CeFg-8RUYAAIqKK.jpgIn July, the School awarded 90 scholarships to social work students under the newly created Excellence in Social Impact Scholarship endowment. “This is just the beginning,“ said Dean Eddie Uehara. "Our goal over the next five years is to triple the amount of funding for students and to cut tuition burden by 40 percent for those students with the greatest need.” Established in 2016, the scholarship fund is transforming the School’s ability to prepare highly gifted individuals to lead, innovate and serve in local, national and global communities.

The scholarships support students in all degree tracks. Individual amounts vary and are based on criteria set by the Office of Student Financial Assistance and by the fund’s own goal to support students in the greatest need within their program cohort. To qualify, individuals must not be receiving additional financial support from their families. Both in-state and out-of-state students are eligible, with the higher tuition rate paid by non-residents taken into account.


Upcoming events

Hold the date: University-wide celebration gets underway Oct. 21

TogetherThe University of Washington launches a historic fundraising campaign, Together, on Friday, Oct. 21, advertised to be one of the most expansive celebrations in UW history. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members are invited to come together for this one-of-a-kind event, held immediately after the UW Homecoming rally. Doors to the Alaska Airlines Arena open at 6:30 p.m. Although the celebration event is free, registration is required.

School art exhibit on traumatic brain injury runs through mid-September

TBI Art Exhibit“Breaking the Silence,” currently on view in the School’s First Floor Gallery, ends Sept. 30. Now in its eighth year, this annual art show focused on brain injury is co-sponsored by the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington. Each featured artist has suffered some form of brain injury—the leading cause of death and disability for most age groups, including children. Creating art was used as a therapeutic tool in the recovery process. Read the personal story of Shanda Taylor-Boyd, traumatic-brain injury survivor and artist, whose work appears in this exhibit.


In the news

Finding affordable ways to combat homelessness through technology

geekwirePeople who are homeless often have many issues that need attention: physical and mental health problems, substance-abuse issues or domestic violence, to name a few. The services they require are fulfilled through a variety of government agencies and nonprofit groups, and tracking this information often creates unwieldy data-management challenges. In a June 29 article in Geekwire that explored how organizations are adapting and building new technology to serve the social services sector, Ben de Haan, executive director of Partners for Our Children, a School research and innovation center, discusses Oliver, a new POC-developed tool that focuses on young homeless adults. Oliver will collect data to help determine which programs are most effective, bringing modern technology to providers so they can better understand and measure what's working for this vulnerable population.

School expert on prenatal environment featured in documentary In Utero

Amelia GavinAmelia Gavin, associate professor of social work, was interviewed as a featured expert in the documentary In Utero, which premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival last year. Written, produced and directed by Kathleen Man Gyllenhaal and Stephen Gyllenhaal, stepmother and father of famous sibling actors Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, the film explores how the prenatal environment, combined with maternal experiences across generations, impacts human development. Gavin is the principal investigator on a School research project exploring the link between risk factors in women’s lives and adverse birth outcomes. Read more about Amelia Gavin and the In Utero documentary in UW Today.


Alumni and School Updates

Read the 2016–17 Health Sciences Common Book on homelessness

Catching HomelessnessThe 2016–17 Health Sciences Common Book is Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net, by UW Nursing faculty member Josephine Ensign. This memoir takes a piercing look at the homelessness industry, nursing and our country’s health care safety net. Ensign begins by detailing her experiences as a young, white, Southern, Christian wife, mother and nurse who runs a medical clinic for the homeless in the South. After losing her job, family and home, she herself becomes homeless. The author recounts the steps she took to reconstruct her life and how her views on homelessness and the health care system were forever changed. The Health Sciences Common Book is selected annually to provide a shared framework for inter-professional dialogue across the departments and programs of the UW Health Sciences.

Forefront leads initiative to reduce college suicide rate in Washington state

Forefront logoEach year, an estimated 1,100 college students in the U.S. die by suicide. Forefront: Innovations in Suicide, based at the School of Social Work, partnered in May with the New York–based Jed Foundation to launch a four-year collaborative effort to reduce suicide on Washington campuses. The program guides participating Washington colleges and universities in developing customized strategic plans. As part of the outreach effort, university and college representatives will meet annually at a conference organized by Forefront to share experiences. A separate conference will showcase student-led projects in suicide prevention and mental health awareness. The statewide initiative is funded by the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation, along with grant funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, administered by the Washington State Department of Health. Learn more in this UW Today story.

Check out the new School website

new websiteOn Sept. 7, the School unveiled its new website. The revised site is mobile friendly and ADA accessible. It also incorporates the University’s bold new brand, which reflects the institution’s worldwide academic stature, reputation for research, and relevance to local and global communities. Check out the new website here!



Distinguished faculty member Sue Sohng retires after 25 years

Sue S.Sue Sohng, who joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1991 and was a longtime force for social justice, retired at the end of June. She was known for her collaboration with the School’s community-centered integrated practice concentration. An active member of the Seattle/King County Minority Executive Directors Coalition, she also took a leading role in many other government nonprofit social service organizations in Seattle, Tokyo and Seoul. “We will miss her keen analysis, intellectual integrity, critical reflectivity and sheer warmth and energy,” said Dean Eddie Uehara, “as well as the quiet kindness she always extended to students, colleagues and friends.”

Leon Preston, Field Education Office director, retired July 31

PrestonLecturer and field education program director Leon Preston retired at the end of July. Preston joined the staff as lecturer in 2001, became practicum coordinator in 2005, and rose to director of field education in 2009. With more than 40 years’ experience in human resources and public-sector management and an extensive professional network, he developed key partnerships with public agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses to provide high-quality learning opportunities for social work students through their practicum placements. “Leon always underscored the importance of field educators having deep social work practice experience,” said Emiko Tajima, associate dean for academic affairs. “He knew the value of students learning from seasoned professionals who understand the social work profession and who can guide them with wisdom and confidence.”

Karl Leggett, lecturer and student mentor, retired June 30

Leggett.jpgAfter 40 years of service, lecturer Karl Leggett retired at the end of June. At his retirement party, Dean Uehara praised him for his unwavering dedication to the School, his passion for teaching, and his willingness to mentor and support students as they begin their social work careers. After earning two social work degrees from the University (BA ’76, MSW ’77), Leggett began his professional career with United Way of America, helping local chapters increase their annual campaign results. Later, as a fundraising consultant, he directed a number of multimillion-dollar campaigns for national organizations in education, human services, religion, health care and the arts. He joined the School as a guest lecturer in 1999 and taught classes on nonprofit financial management, grant writing and fundraising for human services.

BE A MENTOR — The Alumni Career Mentorship Network connects established social work professionals with current social work students and recent graduates exploring career options.

SHARE YOUR NEWS — Please send us recent accomplishments or noteworthy activities you'd like to share with the School of Social Work community by contacting the Advancement Office.

MAKE A GIFT — If you would like to make a gift, select from a number of School of Social Work funds at the University of Washington Foundation. Thank you for your support!