Shaping a Science of Social Work, a new publication by Oxford University Press, includes chapters written by Professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean in Social Work Eddie Uehara and Professors Susan Kemp and Paula Nurius.

The 280-page publication grew out of discussions that arose from a School-co-sponsored conference of 40 distinguished social work scholars from around the country that was held on Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 2016. The book outlines the basic constructs, domains and characteristics of a science that will inform the way social work is studied and practiced in the future.

During that meeting, the group discussed how best to mobilize the social work profession and shape the role of social work to meet the needs of the 21st century. In response, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare conceptualized and launched the Grand Challenges for Social Work, a groundbreaking initiative that champions social progress powered by science and identifies 12 key areas of focus to strengthen the social fabric. Since the initiative was launched in 2016, the Grand Challenges have inspired scores of conferences, books and articles and generated interest among European and Asian social work organizations.

“More than ever, social work expertise is recognized as absolutely vital to sustaining the quality of our lives,” said Dean Uehara, who contributed a chapter on social work science and the Grand Challenges jointly with Rowena Fong, University of Texas at Austin. “I believe the book will be invaluable to academics and organizational leaders who are engaged in social work practice and education.”

The book’s 12 chapters offer detailed and rigorous analyses of essential issues in social work science, including values and value-based assumptions; how client-provider relationships can promote client change; the importance of theory; rigor and relevance in social work science; and implications for the future of the profession. In addition to the Dean’s contribution, Kemp co-wrote a chapter on theory in social work science, and Nurius explores tools and training to support social work as an integrative science for social change.

Shaping a Science of Social Work: Professional Knowledge and Identity is available in hard cover as well as in ebook format at the Oxford University Press website.