Message from the Dean

Eddie image

“Blown away.”

Those were the words that General Peter W. Chiarelli, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff, used to describe the School of Social Work to a packed house at UW Kane Hall earlier this spring. The decorated general was visiting his native Seattle to spark badly needed community conversations about supporting veterans returning from extended war-zone deployments.

I was honored to introduce this committed and compassionate man who was eager to listen and learn about the School’s remarkable work to help men and women in uniform heal from conflict, trauma and injury.

Chiarelli’s message is one that would resonate with any social worker. He talked about the need for community partnerships and individual engagement. He said that in some areas, there may be hundreds of agencies, but the problem is linking them together. “The best solutions,” he said, “are not from Washington, D.C. They’re local.”

Social workers prize collaborations. And in our one-on-one presentation to the general, we brought the point home in a big way. We summarized our long-standing role in educating social workers, who provide services to veterans, military personnel and their families. We discussed our upcoming joint effort with the University of Southern California School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families. We outlined our current Department of Defense-funded project developed in cooperation with Madigan Army Medical Center to link soldiers with substance-abuse problems to proven and effective services.

Washington is one of five states with the highest populations of service members. The need is great and the School has responded with innovative programs, creative collaborations and skilled practitioners. My point of pride is that General Chiarelli left town with a deeper understanding of how we as social worker can tackle and transform some of our most pressing social problems.


Warmest regards,

Eddie Uehara,
Ballmer Endowed Professor and Dean in Social Work


In the Spotlight

SSW graduates 2011

Congratulations, graduates!
Nearly 2,000 people filled Benaroya Hall to send the Class of 2011 off in style. We were honored to host internationally renowned scholar and advocate for social justice Dr. Joy DeGruy as our commencement speaker. These newest alumni join the ranks of some very distinguished peers and we look forward to hearing about all of their their endeavors in the years to come.



Distinguished Alum 2011

Norman Johnson is our 2011 Distinguished Alumnus
Norman (BA, '71, MSW, '73) is a long-time leader and social justice advocate. For nearly 40 years, he has tirelessly promoted social and economic justice as Executive Director of Therapeutic Health Services, one of region’s largest nonprofit agencies providing outpatient mental health treatment, chemical dependency counseling and youth development services. Over the years, he has maintained a striking community profile, serving as an advisor, mentor and leader for diverse public service, nonprofit and professional agencies and boards. Thank you for your ongoing service to the community, Norman!


Intergenerational Roots

Student-led media project explores cultural identity
A unique course led by UW School of Social Work professor Theresa Ronquillo brought together undergraduate and graduate students from several different UW schools and colleges to form the Intergenerational Mixed Roots Heritage Project. The students wanted to undertake a course project dedicated to illuminating relationships between race, discrimination and identity, which resulted in the development of a documentary titled Beyond the Spiel. The oral history project takes its name from the often rehearsed, superficial responses given when individuals of mixed heritage are asked about their backgrounds.


Alums at work

2010 Alums Get on the Bus
Nicole Keenan and Natalie Ortega hit the ground running almost immediately after crossing the stage at last year's commencement ceremony, joining the leadership team with Washington Bus, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting and training young people to engage in state politics. As Outreach Manager and Summer Fellows Program coordinator, respectively, Nicole and Natalie help the organization reach out to people between the ages of 15-29, encouraging them to care about the political process and to understand the value of having their voices heard.

Nicole has worked with El Centro de la Raza, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and the Washington State Legislature on curriculum development, youth mentorship, outreach, and program evaluation. Natalie's background includes work with the Washington State House of Representatives and San Francisco nonprofit organization LYRIC.

The Washington Bus was created in 2007 and today engages with more than 2,000 young people in the Puget Sound region with events and activities including the popular "Candidate Survivor", a forum/Q&A/talent show at which audience members send text messages to "vote" Seattle City Council candidates off of the stage.

In the News


  • The School of Social Work bids a fond farewell to Assistant Professor Roberto Gonzales, who will be joining the faculty of the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago effective autumn quarter 2011.
  • Doctoral student Karen Tabb Dina was selected a 2011 Magnuson Scholar, one of the highest honors awarded each year by the University of Washington.
  • David Takeuchi, Associate Dean for Research, is the recipient of the Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, recognizing his outstanding contribution to the education and guidance of graduate students.
  • Associate Professor Tracy Harachi has received the University of Washington's Outstanding Public Service Award for 2011, honoring her extensive efforts in helping to build, from the ground up, a social work infrastructure in war-torn Cambodia.
  • Charles O. Cressey Endowed Associate Professor Susan Kemp was honored with the 2011 Lodge Prize from the Adelphi University School of Social Work . This prestigious award recognizes social work academicians for their outstanding contributions to the social work theory and practice.
  • Assistant Professor Amelia Gavin's research on the connection between mothers abused in childhood and low birth-weight babies was featured in Time magazine.
  • The Spring 2011 issue of UW's Viewpoints magazine featured several School of Social Work alumni and addressed the fact that many of the agencies that serve thousands of people in our region were founded - or are currently directed - by School of Social Work alums.

In Memoriam

Remembering Florence Stier

The School of Social Work lost a dear friend and pioneering faculty member, Florence Ray Stier, who passed away on June 15 at the age of 93. Florence began her dedicated and lengthy career in social work education at the University of Washington in 1964. She played a major role in developing the Community and Organizational Services track, which greatly distinguished the School for its innovative curriculum linking community development, planning and organizing.

Florence retired in 1986 after 22 years of service. In retirement, she was an active member of the Senior Caucus in Olympia and traveled extensively with her late husband Don Stier, whom she married in 1967.

In honor of her remarkable life and her commitment to the social work profession, the Florence Stier Memorial Fund has been established at the University of Washington School of Social Work. To support this fund, remembrances may be sent to:

University of Washington
School of Social Work
Florence Stier Memorial Fund
Box 354900
Seattle, WA 98195-4900

Check is payable to "UW Foundation"

If you have questions about the memorial fund, please call 206-543-7704.

Share your Good News

Please send word about your professional activities and accomplishments, an award, a new job or any other news you'd like to share with the School of Social Work community in the next issue of E-news. Send e-mail: sswalum@uw.edu


Spring 2011

In the Spotlight
In the News
In Memoriam
Share your Good News

Fast Fact

Each year for the last five years, the National Institutes of Health awarded SSW more research funding than any other school of social work in the nation!

Annual Report 2010

If you haven't read our 2010 annual report, check it out!

By the Numbers

  • Alumni, friends, parents, faculty, and current students donated $106,000 at the 2nd annual Student Scholarship Breakfast in March 2011.
  • 98 BASW students, 423 MSW students and 42 PhD students comprised the School of Social Work student body In 2011.